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Old 01-10-08, 12:05 PM   #26
carpediemracing
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When I started riding, I thought that climbing defined "strength", and since I was pretty light (sub 100 lbs), I could climb pretty well when I compared myself to some of my already-racing friends.

However, on my first long ride with more than one or two people, I realized very, very quickly that speed is king. Not sprinting, not climbing, but the ability to go fast for short(er) periods of time (30 seconds to a few minutes). Once you have speed, esp since you looked fit in the thread about bike fit, you'll be relatively fine for everything else. "Relatively" because your sprint will be seriously affected by tactics and genetics and your climbing (longer than 5-6 minute climbs) will likewise be affected by genetics and training.

botto's "racing plan", as often as it's repeated here, is probably the best, most succinct, and most effective way of getting into racing in a somewhat reasonable fashion. Group rides teach you group riding etiquette, some group riding techniques, but mainly gets you used to riding with other people around you while you're going hard.

As far as training goes, I tell people that for the first year of racing, if you train consistently for 3 months, you'll be about as good as you get for racing for that year. Physically and tactically it'll be hard to improve significantly after 3 months of determined riding while in your first year of racing. It's been said that it takes 3 years to get comfortable racing, i.e. you feel "in the groove" immediately at the beginning of the season, not after a few races.

My "generic" training schedule is based on Eddy B's and other mid 80s and early 90s training plans:
Mon: rest or easy spin, like 30-45 min
Tue: sprints, do 10 intervals (start with 3, work up), efforts should be 60 seconds or less. 60 min ride.
Wed: longest ride you can do based on your schedule, ideally 2-3 hours
Thu: pursuit type efforts, 2-5 minutes, only way I can do this is with hills since mentally I can't go for more than 200-300 meters on flat roads. 60 min ride.
Fri: easy spin, 30-45 min. Don't rest, you'll be very slow Saturday if you rest.
Sat, Sun: group ride, 1.5-2.5 hours each.

If Saturday is a big day for you, start the week on Tuesday's workout (so on Monday do sprints), then on Thursday take a day off (you'll need it), go easy Friday, and Saturday you'll be itching to go.

Eat plenty (of good food) before the hard days. I can't go hard if I don't eat a lot.

My thoughts on crits versus road races. Crits emphasize pack riding and/or cornering, along with speed. Road races emphasize crit riding with long hills thrown in. Trying to move up when the field is jammed curb to curb and flying along at 30 mph is difficult enough in a crit, but at least you know there'll be a turn in a few seconds to help break things up. In a road race there are very few turns so people get much more desperate to move up. I've been pulled along in such conditions for miles, can't move up, can't move sideways, guys tumbling into the shoulder on the right, other guys getting DQed for going over the yellow line on the left. Not my idea of fun. Then suddenly everyone slows down because the lead guys hit the hill and then it breaks up a bit. After it breaks up it's all strung out, guys dying to stay on wheels, and that's how the rest of the race is.

Road races are much, much harder than crits, else I'd be entering road races and not crits. For me, a road race is a chance to train on roads where the turns are marshaled for me.

Some of my other thoughts on race specific speed work:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...sprinting.html
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...ing-lines.html
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...scenarios.html
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...-sprinter.html

There are more but you get the idea.

hope this helps,
cdr
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Old 01-10-08, 12:14 PM   #27
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so wait there are other races other than crits only in America? i heard they were tough but mostly geared toward sprinters who have acceleration and power. i thought road races were only popular in Europe. it seems like the races people talk about are either crits or track races. ive never heard of a road race. i would like to try an event that has climbs since i think it may be one of my strengths.
See the thread I started about mt evans and other climbing races- between myself and the other posters we listed most of the climbing races in nor cal. We've got a lot of road races with climbing in them here, and some that are nothing but climbing.

When you join a club, you can ask your more experienced clubmates what the various races are like. There's also info about the races in the race flyers. You can find out what is scheduled and links to flyers on the http://ncnca.org/road page.
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Old 01-10-08, 01:31 PM   #28
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[...] I was pretty light (sub 100 lbs) [awesome stuff]
BUH!!!?!??!^%

How tall are you?
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Bring the pain.
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Old 01-10-08, 02:37 PM   #29
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also, see if your college has a cycling team. its a cheaper and subsidized way to get into the sport.
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Old 01-10-08, 03:11 PM   #30
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so wait there are other races other than crits only in America? i heard they were tough but mostly geared toward sprinters who have acceleration and power. i thought road races were only popular in Europe. it seems like the races people talk about are either crits or track races. ive never heard of a road race. i would like to try an event that has climbs since i think it may be one of my strengths.
Dude!

http://www.ncnca.org/road/

There are races within driving distance every weekend from now until mid September.
I'd suggest going to at least 1 early bird crit in Fremont to get some pack racing experience.

If you like climbing try these for starters:
1/26/08 - Early Bird Road Race - Patterson
2/17/08 - Pine Flat Road Race
3/22/08 - Copperopolis Road Race
4/5/08 - Wards Ferry Road Race
4/17-19/08 - Sea Otter
4/26/08 - Wente Vineyards Road Race

I could go on and on........


Also, don't worry about the bike. I know a guy who has been tearing it up in Cat 5 (now a Cat 4) who is riding a 20+ pound steel frame 105 equipped bike.

If you miss winning a hill top finish race by a couple seconds, it could be the bike.
If the Cat 5 pack drops you, it's not the bike.
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Old 01-10-08, 07:17 PM   #31
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Early Bird Series (Velo Promo on NCNCA.org as posted earlier) would be perfect for you. They have cat 5 races for riders with less than 5 race experiences-- instruction time prior etc etc as already posted--- get your rear end out there-- you won't regret it and it is in your backyard.
oh man that's awesome! i didn't know there were races so locally. almost literally in my backyard. it seems the races aren't official races which is perfect! so the admission cost is $20. $15 for entry fee and one-day license for $5?

man i am so stoked. it's a little sooner than i anticipated (haven't been riding for a month due to bad weather) but what kind of things should i be bringing to a race besides the obvious bike, helmet, pump, spare tube, water, food, etc.?

Also, how risky is it riding with a bunch of new guys? I am not as worried about my own bike handling skills as much as other people crashing into me. I've been told by a cat 3 guy that the solution to this is to stay in the front. This issue of crashing is always nerve wracking for me even though i try to put it in the back of my head as much as possible. But the few racers i've talked to had said they got out of racing because of too many crashes and blowing money to replace their wheels, dura ace derailleur, etc. crashing sounds like a common thing. Even though the event is so close, I'm thinking of driving there in case my bike breaks in a crash so i don't have to walk home.

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also, see if your college has a cycling team. its a cheaper and subsidized way to get into the sport.
I wish! CSUH is like a commuter college that sits on the top of a hill. People go there for school and leave. There's really no student life. When I first went there, i was surprised they don't even have a football team. I wanted to be on a swim and water polo team but they didn't have that either. But i'm glad they didn't because i discovered cycling and it is saving me gas money and helping me enjoy steep hills by biking to school.

there is one cat 4 racer i met at a free racing skills clinic at a LBS who is the vice president of his team. He was a one of the instructors of that clinic and turns out he is a professor of human development at my school. i ran into him once at school and he was thinking of starting a race team but there is a lack of interest. other than him, i have seen no remnants of road cyclists on my campus ever for 3 years. Heck i rarely see any roadies on my commute.

Last edited by h2o_polo_boi; 01-10-08 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 01-10-08, 07:26 PM   #32
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(haven't been riding for a month due to bad weather)
HTFU I have been commuting to work by bike at 5am in the dark and the cold just because I want to race.
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Old 01-10-08, 07:29 PM   #33
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oh man that's awesome! i didn't know there were races so locally. almost literally in my backyard. it seems the races aren't official races which is perfect! so the admission cost is $20. $15 for entry fee and one-day license for $5?

man i am so stoked. it's a little sooner than i anticipated (haven't been riding for a month due to bad weather) but what kind of things should i be bringing to a race besides the obvious bike, helmet, pump, spare tube, water, food, etc.?

Also, how risky is it riding with a bunch of new guys? I am not as worried about my own bike handling skills as much as other people crashing into me. I've been told by a cat 3 guy that the solution to this is to stay in the front. This issue of crashing is always nerve wracking for me even though i try to put it in the back of my head as much as possible. But the few racers i've talked to had said they got out of racing because of too many crashes and blowing money to replace their wheels, dura ace derailleur, etc. crashing sounds like a common thing. Even though the event is so close, I'm thinking of driving there in case my bike breaks in a crash so i don't have to walk home.
You live in NorCal...what bad weather?

Anyways, yeah, ***** happens. And, don't think your bike handling skills are better than any other Cat5, unless you have some semi-pro MTB or BMX background we don't know about. Everyone sucks at first, that's part of the game.

While there are crashes, don't let them put you off. Generally speaking most of them only amount to a bit of missing skin and a flat tire. Don't sweat it. I haven't crashed in a race since March 2006. Probably close to 50 races have come and gone since then.
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Old 01-10-08, 07:30 PM   #34
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HTFU I have been commuting to work by bike at 5am in the dark and the cold just because I want to race.
haha i'm working on it. I just got fenders yesterday so i just need to get a helmet cover and some rain clothing so i can commute to school rain or shine. the commute is the only time i have to ride/train.
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Old 01-10-08, 07:38 PM   #35
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And, don't think your bike handling skills are better than any other Cat5, unless you have some semi-pro MTB or BMX background we don't know about.

While there are crashes, don't let them put you off. Generally speaking most of them only amount to a bit of missing skin and a flat tire.
haha you may be right about my bike handling skills. what i meant by bike handling was experience riding in tight packs, riding straight, and in the drops so you don't clip anybody with your elbows, not thinking about the apex and picking your line on turns in a tight group, etc. pain and losing money i can deal with. it's the really bad injuries i'm worried about. right now i'm in the nursing program of my school. if any sickness or injury should befall on me which the school thinks may affect my care, i'm automatically dropped from the program with no guarantees of getting back in. no questions asked. HTFU doesn't even apply lol. but if racing is not as risky as you say it is, than i guess it will be worth it. after all commuting to school is probably just as risky
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Old 01-10-08, 09:08 PM   #36
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HTFU I have been commuting to work by bike at 5am in the dark and the cold just because I want to race.
Ironic that someone in Pasadena, CA would tell someone else to HTFU due to weather.
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Old 01-10-08, 09:22 PM   #37
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I am not as worried about my own bike handling skills as much as other people crashing into me. I've been told by a cat 3 guy that the solution to this is to stay in the front. This issue of crashing is always nerve wracking for me even though i try to put it in the back of my head as much as possible.
I've crashed a couple times. I've just ended up with road rash and about two days of not wanting to look at my bike. When you do get road rash, use tegaderm. It ain't so bad. Adrenaline keeps it from hurting immediately.

You are young. Wear your battle scars with pride. I do. I've got matching hip scars.
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Old 01-10-08, 09:49 PM   #38
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Ironic that someone in Pasadena, CA would tell someone else to HTFU due to weather.
Only because the OP lives in CA also. Otherwise I wouldn't dare make a comment, because my idea of "cold" is 40 degrees
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Old 01-10-08, 10:07 PM   #39
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If you live in the North Bay part of NorCal drop by NorCal Velo an LBS just west of Mendocino on College in Santa Rosa. They are the top shop for racing in the area. Both junior and Adult teams. We have criteriums one evening a week all summer long. The Santa Rosa Cycling Club has C level rides that are often free-lance races, sprinting for city limit signs and such. I usually work the Pine Flat hill climb race each Spring; people race the 3,000 feet in 11 miles in 45 minutes (Leipheimer) to 2+ hours (me).
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Old 01-10-08, 11:57 PM   #40
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btw I've done some of the Velo Promo road races and they are great. They also have the Sea Otter Classic in Nor Cal as well. Down here in So Cal, we have almost all crits
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Old 01-11-08, 01:34 AM   #41
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You live in NorCal...what bad weather?
we had a storm roll through last week that did a decent amount of damage. wind gusts in my area of 70mph and the power was out for over 1 million people for a few days. i was on the local MUP yesterday and its litered with fallen trees and boulders from the storm. so yeah, we can get some crappy weather. that said, im heading out for a 3 hour ride tomorrow. its supposed to be in the low 50's and mostly cloudy.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:39 AM   #42
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'sub-100lbs'? Sweet Mother of Merckx my dog and my 14 year old weigh more than that.



The dog drops me on the climbs.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:41 AM   #43
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I'm not sure anyone's every really ready to race.

Only way to start racing is to start racing. So get out there and get dropped at the next available race.

"Get a bike. You won't regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain
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Old 01-11-08, 08:35 AM   #44
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'sub-100lbs'? Sweet Mother of Merckx my dog and my 14 year old weigh more than that.

The dog drops me on the climbs.
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BUH!!!?!??!^% How tall are you?
5'7"

The key is "When I started riding". I was 13 (probably still growing at that point). At 17, after two years of racing), I was in college and a massive 103 lbs and trying to eat as much food as possible. You know, 2 foot long subs and 2 quarts of gatorade after a long ride or a whole large pizza or enough ribs that I had to have a second plate for the bones. I managed to gain 9 pounds over the next four years so at 21, when I left school, I was 112 lbs.

And I still couldn't climb.

I could hit 42 mph from a standing start in a 54x12 but I couldn't climb.

Now I weigh about 70 lbs more than I did when I left school. And the kicker is that I have a hard time going over 40 and I definitely can't climb now.

Life's a b*tch,
cdr
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Old 01-11-08, 10:12 AM   #45
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^ Sounds like me (up to a point). I started riding at age 12. At age 14 I was 120 lb and stayed that way despite growing 2" to rest at 5'10". I was eating 6000 calories a day and my parents even made me drink that weight gainer formula. I stopped riding during college, which then led to an inability to climb stairs without being winded and an extra 45 lb on my belly. 15 have come off since I went back to riding, but I'm sure I'll never be 120 again.
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Old 01-11-08, 10:51 AM   #46
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someone less lazy than i will post botto's plan for racing soon. read it, follow it live it.
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where in nor-cal are you? im a 21 year old college student and plan on getting my feet wet with some cat 5 races this year after i start hitting up the group rides per botto's "program".
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botto's "racing plan", as often as it's repeated here, is probably the best, most succinct, and most effective way of getting into racing in a somewhat reasonable fashion. Group rides teach you group riding etiquette, some group riding techniques, but mainly gets you used to riding with other people around you while you're going hard.
I'm totally ignorant on this. Ran a search and didn't find it. Can someone link, please?
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Old 01-11-08, 11:25 AM   #47
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5'7"

I managed to gain 9 pounds over the next four years so at 21, when I left school, I was 112 lbs.

And I still couldn't climb.

I could hit 42 mph from a standing start in a 54x12 but I couldn't climb.

Now I weigh about 70 lbs more than I did when I left school. And the kicker is that I have a hard time going over 40 and I definitely can't climb now.
How do you explain this? I assume most of the 70 lb increase is muscle. I figure if it were mostly fat, on a 5'7" frame, you'd be too unfit to compete as CAT 3. So with that extra muscle, you must be putting out more power, while your frontal area increase will be small. So how can your sprint not be better?

One obvious answer is age. But surely with the extra muscle, you must have been a faster sprinter in your early 30s than your early 20s?

BTW, love your blog.
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Old 01-11-08, 11:27 AM   #48
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I'm totally ignorant on this. Ran a search and didn't find it. Can someone link, please?
Needs to be stickied.

botto's 8 step program.

Bike Racing for Beginners: How to get started

1. Find some group rides, fast group rides. Sit in the back.
2. Don't get discouraged if/when you get dropped from those group rides.
3. Go back the following week and do the fast group ride again.
4. If you're dropped a 2nd time, repeat steps 2 & 3
5. Once you're comfortable with the group and pace (and vice versa), take some pulls.
6. Once you're comfortable taking pulls, try some attacks (if it's that kind of group ride).
7. Once you're comfortable with steps 5 & 6, it's time to enter a race.
8. At your first race, repeat steps 1-6, but substitute 'race' for 'group ride'.
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Old 01-11-08, 11:49 AM   #49
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How do you explain this? I assume most of the 70 lb increase is muscle. I figure if it were mostly fat, on a 5'7" frame, you'd be too unfit to compete as CAT 3. So with that extra muscle, you must be putting out more power, while your frontal area increase will be small. So how can your sprint not be better?

One obvious answer is age. But surely with the extra muscle, you must have been a faster sprinter in your early 30s than your early 20s?

BTW, love your blog.

There was a guy racing Pros/CAT 1/2 at the Soto Memorial SR last year that must have been 40lbs overweight... Dont know his exact number of weight but when the pack surged his belly jiggled like hot jello... when he was in the drops his kneed would disappear in the belly fat while peadling. This was a pretty stacked pro field for a race and he did just fine......

Numbers arent everything.
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Old 01-11-08, 01:19 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
5'7"

The key is "When I started riding". I was 13 (probably still growing at that point). At 17, after two years of racing), I was in college and a massive 103 lbs and trying to eat as much food as possible. You know, 2 foot long subs and 2 quarts of gatorade after a long ride or a whole large pizza or enough ribs that I had to have a second plate for the bones. I managed to gain 9 pounds over the next four years so at 21, when I left school, I was 112 lbs.

And I still couldn't climb.

I could hit 42 mph from a standing start in a 54x12 but I couldn't climb.

Now I weigh about 70 lbs more than I did when I left school. And the kicker is that I have a hard time going over 40 and I definitely can't climb now.

Life's a b*tch,
cdr
A tragic tale of woe.

Anyway, your blog is amazing. Keep writing that stuff.
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