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  1. #1
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    best way to train for Crits???

    The Socal race schedule just got release and I was hoping there would be some more road races in there (better at endurance stuff), but NOPE almost all crits. I counted about 25 races in the season that I can do, only 5 are road races. Since the other 80% is crits, whats the best way to go about training for it? I've only been in one crit last yr and rumors around said it was the fastest pace one of the season. I only last about 10 minutes of the 30 minute crit. I didn't know what to expect off the start, I needed a heavier warm up time. Sure my goal is to survive a race, but what should I do to get to that point of doing 25-30mph for that length of time?

  2. #2
    shut up and ride
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    just start racing them
    do more big, fast group rides
    hit the track

  3. #3
    Quarq shill cslone's Avatar
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    Intervals helped me. During some of my longer rides I would do 60 seconds hard/60 seconds rest x 10. This helped with the pace changes a lot.
    FS: Fuji SL1 frameset, 55.5cm toptube, excellent condition.

  4. #4
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzwillzzz View Post
    just start racing them
    do more big, fast group rides
    hit the track
    That about sums it up. Once you have done a bunch and think you still need advice, then come back and ask again. Until then, experience is everything. Now go find some fast groups and get on with it.

  5. #5
    Ninja don't wear flipflop king-tony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cslone View Post
    Intervals helped me. During some of my longer rides I would do 60 seconds hard/60 seconds rest x 10. This helped with the pace changes a lot.
    This is the best way to do it. Also ride with packs to work on your bike handling although it will not be the same on a road ride.

  6. #6
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Try to negotiate rain slicked 90º curves @ 30mph. Crash. Repeat.

    That is all.

  7. #7
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    I dont think there's any magic bullet. "Best" way is to follow a training program for bicycle racing, be it periodization a la friel, coggan/allen training with power, whatever. Included in any good training program is a mixture of intervals (long and short), structured and "unstructured" group rides, races/training races, and workouts dedicated to skills like cornering.

    That being said, I've found that for me, doing short maximal intervals with = recovery (e.g. multiple sets of 10x30"on/30" off, 5' - 10' of 15"on/15"off, 1'on/1'off) is very effective for handling surges (in both rrs and crits). In addition to that, cornering - practice, practice, practice so that you can minimize your effort coming out of a corner. Acclerations out of corner after corner during criteriums really wears folks down, the less effort you have to put out getting back up to speed gives you an advantage. Prehn describes strategy for this in his book (cant think of the name off the top of my head) better than I can communicate.

    Good luck - criterium racing is fun and will make you enjoy road races that much more!

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    there will come a time when there will not come a time.

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    ^ that's the one.

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    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    You really want the Magic Bullet?
    In addition to group rides?

    Motorpacing on a closed course with sharp corners. (school parking lot on weekend evenings, industrial parks on Sunday)
    Attack the motor regularly. Try to hop back into the draft when it catches you.

    When you get good at it, do it in the rain.
    Last edited by EventServices; 11-20-07 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Clarity

  11. #11
    everyone has a plan... sleazy's Avatar
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    one circuit race my Garmin recorded, demonstrated that in the course of about 40miles, there were 16 times that speeds went from ~20 to ~30 mph.

    to prep for that, ive started to do RTM (ramp to max) efforts.

    go out for a ride and start at 20 mph. accelerate to 30mph and then coast back down. when you get to 20mph... accelerate again. and again, and again.

    do that until your legs fall off.

    does wonders.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

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  12. #12
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    The Socal race schedule just got release and I was hoping there would be some more road races in there (better at endurance stuff), but NOPE almost all crits. I counted about 25 races in the season that I can do, only 5 are road races. Since the other 80% is crits, whats the best way to go about training for it? I've only been in one crit last yr and rumors around said it was the fastest pace one of the season. I only last about 10 minutes of the 30 minute crit. I didn't know what to expect off the start, I needed a heavier warm up time. Sure my goal is to survive a race, but what should I do to get to that point of doing 25-30mph for that length of time?
    The thing about crits and road races that most new racers overlook is that they are going to be decided by how much power you can push, for how long. The positioning thing comes into play a bit more in crits, obviously. Your "endurance" really doesn't matter much, because your races won't be long enough for that to affect the race.

    In a crit it's a matter of surviving the initial surge(s) for the 10-15 minutes, moving up or getting off the front in the middle part of the race, and surviving/maintaining position or staying away in the last third.

    A road race is similar, but probably easier for newbies. Generally, the only really hard part of the race is the last couple of miles towards a mass sprint, or whatever long climbs you might face along the way. Similar increases in effort to a crit. The draft in a road race really makes it a matter of hanging out till you hit the 5 mile climb, and then it comes down to the all-knowing, all-seeing equalizer: power.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  13. #13
    Scum, Freezebag! Mo'Phat's Avatar
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    Jeff:

    I've never raced a Criterium, so I'm talking from zero experience here...but...if I were training for them, I'd do a few things.

    1. Come up with a training course. A mile to a mile and a half loop with no signals, little traffic, variety in ups, downs, and flats, and is within a short distance to where you start so you can get a warmup in.
    2. Interval training. Contrary to popular belief, Criteriums are a series of sprints, hard efforts, and recovery periods. Being able to go 30 mph for the whole time is great, but isn't really realistic. You brake into turns (recovery) and sprint out of them. If you're in the pack, drafting is recovery. Work on steady state and short burst intervals.


    That's pretty much it. You know how to handle a bike from your mountain races, and you know how to gauge your fitness from training for those. You probably just need to focus on power over endurance right now.

  14. #14
    Scum, Freezebag! Mo'Phat's Avatar
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    ps. Go out and do simulated Crits with Chucklehead. He'll edumacate you.

  15. #15
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    I dont think there's any magic bullet.
    +1 on the MB.

    For crits, you are going to want to concentrate on your handling skills, and your jumps the most. Speed goes up and down constantly in a crit. You need to be able to accelerate quickly to be able to hold your wheel coming out of a turn.

    Also be prepared to go all out right from the ***. Get a good warmup, as you're gonna need it.

    ... Brad

  16. #16
    i got nothing. Crash716's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    Try to negotiate rain slicked 90º curves @ 30mph. Crash. Repeat.

    That is all.
    you need to move to california..
    14 days...

  17. #17
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash716 View Post
    you need to move to california..
    Them Cali boys didn't fare so well in the rain at Downers this year...

    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  18. #18
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    The best thing for me was to go out on the local hammerfest (ask in the SoCal forum or at your LBS, if you don't know) and work on your pack skills. Get a feel for how much effort it takes to match the accelerations, learn how to red-line it and then recover at speed, get comfortable elbow-to-elbow.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  19. #19
    i got nothing. Crash716's Avatar
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    From my whopping 2 races and those that have done them allot....

    there is allot less surge in the front 3rd of the pack...
    14 days...

  20. #20
    i got nothing. Crash716's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    The Socal race schedule just got release and I was hoping there would be some more road races in there (better at endurance stuff), but NOPE almost all crits. I counted about 25 races in the season that I can do, only 5 are road races. Since the other 80% is crits, whats the best way to go about training for it? I've only been in one crit last yr and rumors around said it was the fastest pace one of the season. I only last about 10 minutes of the 30 minute crit. I didn't know what to expect off the start, I needed a heavier warm up time. Sure my goal is to survive a race, but what should I do to get to that point of doing 25-30mph for that length of time?
    also....ride with ben more.
    14 days...

  21. #21
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    As already mentioned, interval-training really helps build the type of fitness needed for crits.

    The other often overlooked part of crit-success is mental-skillz and tactical strategies. You want to have automatic bike-handling up to the limit and beyond. Practice cornering and knowing exactly how far you can lean to scrape the pedals 2-3x in a corner. Practice cornering faster than that by holding your bike upright so you can continue to pedal around the corner. Being able to start pedaling 5-10ft ahead of the others coming out of a corner means you can move up 2-3 positions without much hard work at all.

    Another energy-saving tactic is to open up a 4-6ft gap going into a corner by coasting early. Then instead of braking like the guy ahead, just go through at full-speed and close up that gap. Right as you're about to rear-end him on the exit, cut in slightly tighter and start pedaling. You'll make up 2-3 positions instantly and will have saved energy compared to the others.

    Learning to pick out the likely winners of the race really helps. If you can do practice-crits in the area you're racing, you'll learn who these guys are. Just follow them around in races and they'll move you up to the front at the right time for primes and finishes.

    For me, the mental tactics have played a much bigger contribution to results than pure-fitness. There have been times when I was in tip-top shape being able to TT 40Ks in under 55-minutes and sprint up to 39mph solo. But I ended up finishing mid-pack because I got too overconfident and missed out on the opportunities. Then there's been other times where I was sick and barfing in the porta-potties and I still won because I felt weak and took every chance I could to draft and conserve energy and found the perfect people to follow.

  22. #22
    europoseur
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    The best thing for me was to go out on the local hammerfest (ask in the SoCal forum or at your LBS, if you don't know) and work on your pack skills. Get a feel for how much effort it takes to match the accelerations, learn how to red-line it and then recover at speed, get comfortable elbow-to-elbow.
    +1

  23. #23
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    Speed is your friend.

    I've watched many bicycle riders get into racing and found one common thread between all new racers - lack of speed. They also had a LOT of endurance - a lot of them could probably out ride me. New racers almost always have tons of endurance.

    If you've ever driven on a 65 mph or faster highway and then get to a 55 mph section, you know what it's like to change from a higher speed to a lower speed. This is what you want racing to feel like, relative to your max speed.

    Your maximum speed needs to be higher than your racing speed. For many new racers, this is not the case. Ask a new Cat 5 to go 35 mph and you'll get some incredulous looks. But when the race is going 30 or 35 mph, even for a few hundred meters, if your top speed is only 30 mph, you'll be in a world of hurt.

    As a side note, in a standard, flat Cat 3 race (New Britain, for all you CT people), the field will move along at 32+ mph on the main straight without getting strung out - check out 5:35 on in the following clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-gqK3VKNqs
    Notice all the coasting? "Fast" on that section would mean 38-40 mph - and even then it'll take a while to get things really strung out, maybe a few minutes at that speed.

    The key is to increase your top speed. You want to be racing and feel like you're in the 55 mph zone, not a 65 mph zone. 55 is nice, comfy, manageable relative to a 65 mph zone.

    Although these links are tips on sprinting, sprinting is max speed work.
    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...sprinting.html
    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...imum-rpms.html
    There are more but the main idea is to increase max speed. The endurance comes naturally from all the riding an enthusiastic rider will do - the speed is something you have to work on.

    +1 on group rides. They are good but with one caveat - when doing group rides, don't worry about finishing the ride. Bring a map so you can find your way back. Work on not getting dropped. As soon as you get dropped, well, you're not on a group ride anymore. Now you're just riding on your own.

    +1 on tactics. I struggle to maintain 200 watts/hour but can place in Cat 3 races in the area. My training rides typically average 15-17 mph. But when I work on speed, I work on speed. And then crawl home. Those are 12-14 mph rides.

    hope this helps,
    cdr
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  24. #24
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    ^^^ 38-40 mph. Does this mean a compact crank is contraindicated?

  25. #25
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    I ran a 51x11 sometimes - so a 50 would be fine. But given the choice, on that course, I'd run a 53 or 54 (11 in back). I would sprint in a 53x14-12, maybe 11 (shift up during the sprint). The 11 would come in handy when moving up while the pack is at speed (i.e. it doesn't require tons of power, just pedaling fast). A 54x11 will let you almost soft pedal through the field, even at speed; a 50x12 would require some fast spinning and therefore effort. I prefer not to make efforts unless necessary.

    The guy whole lined up behind me (or rather I lined up in front of him - he's the one cracking jokes about getting in my pedals quick) runs a 55x11 and he won the race one year after leading out the field for a whole lap. His leadout guy blew up at the bell and he just went faster and faster. Unbelievable. I was about 10 guys back and waiting for him to blow up - he never did.

    cdr
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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