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  1. #1
    ..... Jynx's Avatar
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    How do you race safely?

    Hey guys, I stumbled across this thread in a search and am looking for some opinions/advice.

    http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=315550

    The thread is mostly about crashes during crits.

    I am interested in starting to race cat 5 but my question is slightly different. I have been riding for a little over a year. I have always rode by myself. Haven't done any group rides or races. Obviously if I were to race I would start in Cat 5. My concern is how can I do it safely. My concern may seem like I am scared to crash but what I mean is I am scared to cause a crash. I definately wouldn't try to cause a crash intentionally but being new I can see it happening. How can I get skilled enough to not be able to cause crashes, near misses, or other frustrating circumstances? Having never raced I do lack experience, so is there anyway to work on this or do you just have to go out and race?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dave_737's Avatar
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    i would definatley go on group rides first. im in your position also, i havent started racing yet but doing group rides is a good way to learn how to ride in a pack.

  3. #3
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    In no particular order:
    1. Relax.

    2. Practice cornering until you are so supple that you can almost sleep through them.

    3. Watch the problem areas where crashes occur. Oddly, the worst crashes are in the straighaways where speeds are high and wheels overlap.

    4. Learn to identify "wrong" convergences of riders. (you can sometimes predict crashes by how riders are approaching corners. Learn to see the wrong ones.)

    5. Watch out for sudden speed changes. When it slows, it bunches. When it speeds up, everyone is scrambling for a wheel.

    6. Look farther ahead.

    7. Pay attention later in the race when people start getting tired and sloppy.

    8. Relax some more.

    9. Practice bumping elbows with your clubmates. Learn that it's not the end of the world.
    My teammate and I got to the point where we could slam into each other pretty rough, lean on each other, and recover. Try it. It's fun.

    10. Don't change the tire pressure in an attempt to get more grip. That's a fallacy.

  4. #4
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Try some group rides, and remember you are racing for stuff that is not worth even minor road rash.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  5. #5
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    group rides are obvious. Learn how to handle your bike particularly with corners. Practice in a parking lot somewhere. when you race, if you are scared, be near an edge, either one of the sides, on the front or on the back. This way you aren't claustrophobic and you have some wiggle room. Finally, yeah, you don't want to cause a crash, but no one does. They still happen. Experience will be a good thing.

  6. #6
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Don't bother with all that bike handling balony! Be "safe" the BF way. Ride mainly TT's, and if you must mass start avoid Crits like the plague. Get in every breakaway, and or get droped off the back. And above all else if you see a field sprint comming try a flyer.

  7. #7
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Time Trials.
    Bring the pain.

  8. #8
    Huh?
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    group rides, group rides, and group rides. Sooner or later you will get comfortable enough NOT to over adjust to situations that arise. Most crashes happen because of over adjustment (at least for beginners). Get yourself comfortable riding in close proximity to other riders.

  9. #9
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recursive View Post
    Time Trials.
    Correct. And if you handle a bicycle like a total ****** even this is no guarantee.

  10. #10
    I'm that guy that I am.
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    As a fellow cat 5'er, here are my tips: Do some local group rides to get a feel for being in close quarters with other riders. Then, just plain go enter a race. Don't try to attack, don't worry about drafting 1 mm off the wheel in front of you, don't chase the breakaway. Just ride in the pack then slowly ease your way up some spots. Go easy and at your own pace. After all, cat 5 is about finding a comfort zone, not winning the race. Heck, you aren't even after points and you won't get any money for coming in at the front.
    It's not how many miles you ride, but how hard you ride them. Time trials aren't races.

  11. #11
    I miss my bike. GatorFL's Avatar
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    Sitting near the front is safer IMO. Less bunching into the corners, less acceleration out, making for a much smoother race. Usually the sketchiest riders are farther back (don't be THAT GUY, though). Plus you can see better. But first, do group rides (as if enough people hadn't already said that).
    ex-poor-fessional tri-geek.

  12. #12
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    Correct. And if you handle a bicycle like a total ****** even this is no guarantee.
    You mean like that Danish fellow MR a couple of years ago?

  13. #13
    Senior Member curiouskid55's Avatar
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    Get off the front by 100 meters and stay there.

  14. #14
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Time trials have some pretty bad crashes.
    1. the bikes are built for speed, not handling.
    2. morons ride with their heads down
    3. more speed than they can handle.
    4. too much concentration on technique, not enough on the road.

  15. #15
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    At least if you crash in a TT, it will be your own fault.
    Bring the pain.

  16. #16
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    Time trials have some pretty bad crashes.
    1. the bikes are built for speed, not handling.
    2. morons ride with their heads down
    3. more speed than they can handle.
    4. too much concentration on technique, not enough on the road.
    I think this is all covered by 'bike handling ******'. In my view the most crucial part about riding a TT bike is knowing when to NOT be on the aerobars. Some of these pinheads are worried about shaving seconds instead of the DNF that will result if they CRASH. My TT bike handles as well as any racing bike I've owned when I'm on the cowhorns. When bike handling might be impacted by aero positioning, I use the cowhorns. Those are the handlebars with the friggin brakes on them velo cadets.

  17. #17
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    Ride with groups and just remember one thing-don't overlap wheels, don't overlap wheels.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

  18. #18
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    6. Look farther ahead.
    ES posted all great advice, but this, along with being relaxed will help you do the rest.

    You can also pick out someone who is a better racer than you, and a little bit stronger, and just sit on their wheel for a few races. You still have to watch out for everything, but they'll be picking the responses to things up ahead, and you'll probably get a better finish than if you rode it on your own. Eventually you'll start to see ways that you could finish better than them. Combined with looking way ahead, you'll learn fast.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  19. #19
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    Stay near the front and pick out the dangerous people early on. Stay in front of them.

  20. #20
    europoseur
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    Off the back is pretty safe.

  21. #21
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshi View Post
    Stay near the front and pick out the dangerous people early on. Stay in front of them.
    In 7 full seasons of racing 20-35x annually, I crashed in a mass start race once. The biggest reason for this was I generally tried very hard to race near the front at all times, mainly to stay out of crashes. Doesn't always work, but most crashes do not happen near the front. I've had many crashes *just* slide by my rear wheel. One or two places back and I would have been down.

  22. #22
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    One of the funniest crashes I've seen was in a TT. Dude takes a turn too hot and slides out. He sits up next to his bike, wheels still spinning. A few seconds later POP! rear tire blows! Like on of those old cartoons where the final brick falls on a characters head long after the rest. Kind of added insult to injury (guess you had to be there).

  23. #23
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Solo breakaway.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  24. #24
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Solo breakaway.
    Or of course, Pcad's preferred method these days, Solo dropaway.

  25. #25
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    10. Don't change the tire pressure in an attempt to get more grip. That's a fallacy.
    Not so sure about that. A tire under high pressure will tend to bounce and skip where a low pressure tire will deform over objects and maintain contact. I always reduce pressure for tight cornered crits or bad pavement.

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