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Old 03-15-08, 11:14 AM   #1
MrCrassic 
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Grant's Tomb Criterium Report

NOTE: The race ended about three or so hours ago, but I live only a few miles away from Columbia, so I was able to go home and post about it.

Abridged: I FAIL.

Unabridged:

It's never a good idea to start a race late. Especially when the consequences are racing with a higher category you aren't ready for.

Left the apartment late (breakfast with Slashdot is NOT a good idea) and got to the race site exactly at the time our division was up (Intro to Racing). Fortunately, our team was ripping heads, as most of the guys were in the lead of the leading pack.

Unfortunately, the story was not the same for me. I was to race Men's D-Div 2, which isn't too different from Intro except pre-race crash tutorials (on crash avoidance).

For the first lap and a half, I was doing pretty well. I was able to stay with the leading pack with mild difficulty. However, I felt my power saturating...quickly. As soon as I hit the short climb, I lost it. Went striaght to the back and never saw the guys again (until they were a lap ahead of me). Obviously, I came in last this time around.

After the race, I kind of felt ashamed, yet indifferent about it. While my team-mates (one who won the crit, and a few others not too far behind him) were kind of dying, I didn't feel the same way. I was by no means relaxed, but I wasn't in total destruction like they were. Even though I was trying and pushing, I wasn't pushing hard enough. Which brings me to the questions.

After the races at Rutgers and Columbia, I think I have seen the areas I need most improvement on. What kinds of training can I do to work on my speed and endurance? Where in New York (other than the parks) are the best places to work on this? Also, how should I treat my training rides around the park? When I usually go up there, I go with the mentality to ride hard, but that seems to fail when I actually get there.

For those that have been in the same position as me (was new, not outstanding at all in your first bouts); what have you guys done to improve yourselves?

Thanks for reading!
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Old 03-15-08, 11:28 AM   #2
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I hate to say it, but "Ride Lot's."

Think about crossing the GW and heading out toward bear mountain. Hop on PCad's Nyack "Drope-the-Hamer"-fest.

Get a HR monitor and train by any one of a bunch of books that are out there. If you have cash to blow, get a power meter or a coach.

Read Friel's training bible.

Oh, and did I mention? Ride Lot's.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:30 AM   #3
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First off, good job for keeping going and finishing. Miles on the bike help more than anything. You will be amazed at how much better you will be after 3000 miles and a year on the bike. So the basic answer to improve endurance, is to ride. Aim for at least 100 miles a week if you can.

Do you have any way to measure your effort other than your perception? A heart rate monitor will help you see your effort and isn't too expensive. Cheaper than a power meter. A heart rate monitor is all I have right now to gauge effort. From going on hard rides and seeing what my HR is when I feel comfortable (140-155bpm), when I start to get uncomfortable but can hold (155-170), and when I red line and can't hold for long (170+). Of course this isn't always 100% accurate, but it gives you something to go buy other than your perception. I have had mine for a year and it has helped immensely on my solo rides. Keeps me honest.

But as I said to start, you just need miles in your legs.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:32 AM   #4
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I hate to say it, but "Ride Lot's."

Think about crossing the GW and heading out toward bear mountain. Hop on PCad's Nyack "Drope-the-Hamer"-fest.

Get a HR monitor and train by any one of a bunch of books that are out there. If you have cash to blow, get a power meter or a coach.

Read Friel's training bible.

Oh, and did I mention? Ride Lot's.
correct.

btw - is the CP pack ride dead as a doornail?

that's how i got ready to race. every tuesday/wednesday/thursday night at 7PM, 30-50 guys/gals opening uo a can of whoops ass, with the NYPD in tow. good times.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:37 AM   #5
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every tuesday/wednesday/thursday night at 7PM, 30-50 guys/gals opening uo a can of whoops ass, with the NYPD in tow
Botto, please clarify. Does this still go on? If it does, I can actually do it.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:38 AM   #6
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And how much does a HR monitor normally go for? I'm not in intern season, so cash flow is not in my favor.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:40 AM   #7
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Your basic monitor can go as low as $30
http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...=0&searchSize=

Depends on what options you look for. Performance also has HRM watch mounts so you can get the watch and don't need a computer with HRM.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:46 AM   #8
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yeah, they're definitely cheaper than they used to be. don't get the cheapest one because there is nothing more frustrating than a weak signal or poor quality heart rate strap.
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Old 03-15-08, 12:03 PM   #9
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Botto, please clarify. Does this still go on? If it does, I can actually do it.
i've heard that it doesn't. but i don't live in NYC at the moment.

ask in the NE regional forum.
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Old 03-15-08, 12:46 PM   #10
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I'm planning to ride down later today to catch the cat1/2/3 group. I was planning on racing but I decided not too. I'm down there a lot, and I've ridden the course a few times.

As for improvement- Ride 9W up to Nyack or Bear Mountain, or ride route 9 (this side of the river) up to Ossining or Tarrytown. (50+ miles from Brooklyn) Do FAST rides (Nyack, Gimbels, rides with the NYCC, etc.)
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Old 03-15-08, 12:49 PM   #11
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what time are they on? i'm just about to head out for a ride...
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Old 03-15-08, 01:04 PM   #12
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^

5:30 according to bikereg. Maybe I'll see you there.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
[B]
After the race, I kind of felt ashamed, yet indifferent about it. While my team-mates (one who won the crit, and a few others not too far behind him) were kind of dying, I didn't feel the same way. I was by no means relaxed, but I wasn't in total destruction like they were. Even though I was trying and pushing, I wasn't pushing hard enough. Which brings me to the questions.

After the races at Rutgers and Columbia, I think I have seen the areas I need most improvement on. What kinds of training can I do to work on my speed and endurance? Where in New York (other than the parks) are the best places to work on this? Also, how should I treat my training rides around the park? When I usually go up there, I go with the mentality to ride hard, but that seems to fail when I actually get there.

For those that have been in the same position as me (was new, not outstanding at all in your first bouts); what have you guys done to improve yourselves?

Thanks for reading!
To be honest, from this post and your previous posts on the subject, it sounds like you just don't know how to suffer. You're afraid of the pain and you give in to it quite easily.

And, this seems to be the case with a lot of people who don't have a background in athletics. I don't know your whole story, but I've been around sports my whole life, and it simply sounds like you just don't have a handle on the whole intensity thing just yet. That's not an insult towards you; it's something that has to be learned and nurtured.

I'm guessing you didn't play any sports in middle school or high school, correct? You probably never got picked on or bullied because you were a normal, run of the mill kid.

I got picked on, relentlessly, from the end of elementary school through middle school. I got all sorts of ***** from people who wanted to elevate themselves by putting down a kid who was 4'3" in 6th grade. I cried myself to sleep a good portion of the nights between 6th and 7th grade. I didn't enjoy my life, aside from sports. I didn't have the typical athletes body, and I'm never going to call myself naturally gifted, but I was more intense in my desire than the people I competed against. Why? Because I hated the people that had made me feel bad about myself for something I had no control over. I wanted to beat them in something they thought they should be better at, and rob them of their supposed superiority.

And, some people will look at that, and say that I'm bitter and that I should let it go. I'd agree with that, by and large. But, the formative experiences of my childhood made me who I am today. I finished out high school at 5'7", a 4 sport varsity athlete, and captain of two of those teams. Not because I was any more talented than my teammates; because I simply wanted it more.

So, you have to find something that motivates you. For me, it's people who picked on me, and a mentally handicapped kid I met two years ago. What is your motivator?
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Old 03-15-08, 01:44 PM   #14
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Actually, Duke, you are partially right.

Even to this day, I have not been a great fan of athletics. I played baseball for several years, but hated it and stopped. I tried basketball, but it wasn't my kind of thing. Also tried track (which a lot of my team-members are seasoned in), and I gave up (even though I'm not sure if I should have). I certainly didn't have an athlete's body (and still don't; I'm much leaner, but can easily lose that if I'm not careful enough), and I didn't have the drive to do athletics.

However, on a social aspect, it seems that we share a very similar story. I went through so many changes in my middle school/high school life to try and at least gain something of acceptance from people. Being turned down by girls was routine for me , and I lacked plenty of friends and social skills. This appended being bullied almost constantly until my soph year of high school and massive problems at home made some significant dents in how I would move forward. Unlike you, I did not apply that athletically, but academically, finishing top 10% of my class, going to an engineering school, and taking up competitive internships that paid reasonably well for a student.

That life doesn't have much to do with why I got into racing, underperforming, and posting here for help. What did bring me here was being tired of placing terribly in these races because I have only a vague idea on how to prepare for them. My team has practices, but as a commuter, those practices being later in the night can become very inconvenient. When I go out on my own, I really am not sure what to do or focus on. Is the "pain" that I'm feeling a sign of getting better or just an unnecessary measure? For how long and where do I "go hard" on these long-ish rides (i.e. 70+ miles to Nyack from Brooklyn)? Is there a specific exercise I should be doing to start flying in these crits instead of being invisible pack fodder?

Sorry for a long answer, but I am beginning to realize what you're talking about, which is what's leading me to find out more information.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:14 PM   #15
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First and foremost:

1) Ride lots.
2) Intervals.
3) Recovery (rides).

Intervals:
Stretches of time at a hard pace designed to increase your ability to process lactic acid in your body, specifically your legs. These could be done at 12mph up a hill, or 28mph with a tailwind on the flats.

Typical interval workouts, for me:
1) 1hr warmup, 20min hard, 10min recovery spin, 20min hard, 1hr cool down.
2) 1hr warmup, 20min hard, 10min recovery spin, 10x1min super hard, with 2-3min between each 1min interval at a recovery pace, 1hr cool down.
3) Hard group ride.
4) 5x5min very hard.

Repeat as necessary.

As an aside: School never did it for me. I loved learning, and still do. And while I went to a great school (top-40 national doctoral U's), going to school never excited me. Perhaps because I never got to apply what I learned in a practical way. Working, though, is actually more fun. Doing CAD/GIS with Autodesk/ArcGIS and actually seeing something that I've designed.

Cycling is like that for me. I get to see the end result of something that I've pieced together, through my own efforts, my trial and error. And I'm still learning a lot about both.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:30 PM   #16
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Actually, Duke, you are partially right.

Even to this day, I have not been a great fan of athletics. I played baseball for several years, but hated it and stopped. I tried basketball, but it wasn't my kind of thing. Also tried track (which a lot of my team-members are seasoned in), and I gave up (even though I'm not sure if I should have). I certainly didn't have an athlete's body (and still don't; I'm much leaner, but can easily lose that if I'm not careful enough), and I didn't have the drive to do athletics.

However, on a social aspect, it seems that we share a very similar story. I went through so many changes in my middle school/high school life to try and at least gain something of acceptance from people. Being turned down by girls was routine for me , and I lacked plenty of friends and social skills. This appended being bullied almost constantly until my soph year of high school and massive problems at home made some significant dents in how I would move forward. Unlike you, I did not apply that athletically, but academically, finishing top 10% of my class, going to an engineering school, and taking up competitive internships that paid reasonably well for a student.

That life doesn't have much to do with why I got into racing, underperforming, and posting here for help. What did bring me here was being tired of placing terribly in these races because I have only a vague idea on how to prepare for them. My team has practices, but as a commuter, those practices being later in the night can become very inconvenient. When I go out on my own, I really am not sure what to do or focus on. Is the "pain" that I'm feeling a sign of getting better or just an unnecessary measure? For how long and where do I "go hard" on these long-ish rides (i.e. 70+ miles to Nyack from Brooklyn)? Is there a specific exercise I should be doing to start flying in these crits instead of being invisible pack fodder?

Sorry for a long answer, but I am beginning to realize what you're talking about,
which is what's leading me to find out more information.
pay attention.
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Old 03-15-08, 03:27 PM   #17
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'pre-race crash tutorials'?
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Old 03-15-08, 03:30 PM   #18
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Special aside to botto: Coldplay's last three albums sold thirty million copies. Somebody likes them. I hated them at first. But they really got me. God help me now I love that stupid band, and I don't know why.

More importantly I don't care. They stay on the Pcad ipod.
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Old 03-15-08, 05:36 PM   #19
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Special aside to botto: Coldplay's last three albums sold thirty million copies. Somebody likes them. I hated them at first. But they really got me. God help me now I love that stupid band, and I don't know why.

More importantly I don't care. They stay on the Pcad ipod.
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Old 03-15-08, 06:04 PM   #20
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It's good to see Bongo every now and then.
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Old 03-15-08, 06:44 PM   #21
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Hey, I saw you today! (I have the rare luxury of internet access this race weekend). I was in D1, so I got to see your race. I gave you a cheer on that last bend - good on your for sticking it out and finishing. That climb was definitely sharp, but short. The thing really is to make yourself hurt going up it and recover on the downhill into the last bend.

Regarding the suffering: it's pretty common, from what I've seen, for a lot of the guys in the D field to be unwilling to make themselves really hurt. For that reason, developing that capability can be a huge advantage in the lower categories. I ran some track and field and played soccer in high school, so I do have some previous familiarity with the concept. A lot of people are getting into cycling as their first real athletic endeavor, and I think that learning that pain is not only not to be feared but embraced as part of the racing experience takes some getting used to. Running track, rowing, cycling, cross-country skiing - in any endurance racing sport, suffering is good for you (not just morally ), and being able to suffer is part of how you win.

Anyway, if this is the place for results, I did well. I won the first prime (a cookie prime!) and got second in the race. I was really strong enough to win, but my sprint positioning isn't great and I went from too far out. I think my success today had as much to do with being much stronger on uphill sprints than most of the other guys as it did with smart racing. It's definitely time to upgrade to C's after this weekend, though.

I happened to think that this was a great course, and that quick climb was probably one of my favorite things about it, after the sweeping final turn and uphill finish. Pretty fast, remarkably safe despite the number of turns and the wet pavement. I hope you were able to enjoy the course somewhat! Good luck with the training and don't give up!
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Old 03-15-08, 08:05 PM   #22
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I was forced to race C's for beaurocratic reasons.
I had a lot of fun with it.
The kids were actually pretty good bike handlers.
Being able to solo faster than the entire pack at any given time is really fun once in awhile. Now I know how Doc W feels.
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Old 03-15-08, 08:09 PM   #23
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ah nice, see you in Cs. I got 11th today in Cs but i felt horrible. Spring break of alcohol and no sleep is bad apparently, hopefully everyone is in the same boat
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Old 03-15-08, 08:10 PM   #24
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I was forced to race C's for beaurocratic reasons.
I had a lot of fun with it.
The kids were actually pretty good bike handlers.
Being able to solo faster than the entire pack at any given time is really fun once in awhile. Now I know how Doc W feels.
which one were you?
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Old 03-15-08, 09:09 PM   #25
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good to see everyone

i got 11th in the B race, without any real sprint to speak of just kind of picking people off at the end

got 30th in the 3/4 race...it was THE SCARIEST RACE EVER. You NYC guys need to take a chill pill, we know its your first race of the year but there was people swinging at each other before they even crashed. So sketchy, i had to bunny hop two guys because they completely over-reacted to a little handle bar bumping from inside the peloton. Guys flying up the inside corners and clipping the curb, guys throwing bottles, man it was a mess. I tried a flyer with 3 laps to go but no one wanted to bridge up to me or work, so it was a decidedly bunch sprint that i wanted nothing to do with

slow is smooth, smooth is fast = not the mantra today
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