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  1. #1
    ....gets the cheese Second Mouse's Avatar
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    Square Crit Advice

    Any tips for racing a Cat 5, 30 minute crit, 'round and 'round a city block, about 1/8 mile on each side? I'd think the usual would apply--stay toward the front, hold a line through the corners, etc. Would you stay inside or outside in the corners? I've never done a race that's set up like this one before and was hoping to draw on the collective BF wisdom/experience again.

    Thanks!

    Cheers

  2. #2
    . botto's Avatar
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    attack your attacks.

  3. #3
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    so the entire course is a simple square? 4, 90 degree corners, total 1/2 mile length?

    as corners get closer together, packs string out more. so get a good start - line up on the front row, clip in, and sprint for the first corner. don't let yourself slide back more than 10 guys or so.

    if you're feeling frisky at the bell, jump on the backstraight and try to hold it to the line.
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  4. #4
    ....gets the cheese Second Mouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    so the entire course is a simple square? 4, 90 degree corners, total 1/2 mile length?

    as corners get closer together, packs string out more. so get a good start - line up on the front row, clip in, and sprint for the first corner. don't let yourself slide back more than 10 guys or so.

    if you're feeling frisky at the bell, jump on the backstraight and try to hold it to the line.
    Yeah, very short and square. They're expecting a field of 50 so, like you say, anything further back than about 10th would be miserable. Do these things tend to end up in a single line? I know it's tough to predict what will happen with a bunch of 5s.

  5. #5
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    I would ride tempo on the front and jam it into every corner. The accordion affect would be popping so many people off the back that things would be just fine and dandy for you as you are just doing a tempo ride with some corner sprints.

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    Not necessarily single file, but shorter courses with lots of turns tend to string things out and it becomes increasingly difficult to move up and much easier to get popped if your not up front. Practice clipping in fast and sprinting to be one of the 1st, if not the 1st guy, around the first set of turns. It may hurt like hell, but things will calm down.

  7. #7
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Mmm.. I've done a couple of those and I always stayed outside since there were some goofballs riding the inside lane in the race and were coming into the corner too hot, got scared and hit the brakes. Makes for some interesting moments.
    During our Tuesday nighters, which also a square setup I just hold the line since most of the times we only have like 15-20 people at the training races.
    Gelato aficionado.

  8. #8
    slow up hills kudude's Avatar
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    i like the outside line. if the group isn't strung out and is cornering poorly it really sucks to get pinched on the inside, have to brake and then accelerate out of the corner.
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  9. #9
    ....gets the cheese Second Mouse's Avatar
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    I noticed in the last Tuesday nighter that in the course's two sharp corners, it was much easier to go outside, the only trouble being everyone tended to set up in a tight single file right out of the corners and it was tough to get back on someone's wheel.

    Good info--thanks everyone!

  10. #10
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    get near the front early and stay there.

    dont worry about optimal lines through the corners, the pack will dictate where you go. BUT, try to take note of where the faster ways through are for each corner. Last few laps, as things speed up, taking better (i.e. faster) lines will matter more.

    know how far the last corner is from the finish. crits are often races to the last corner, (i.e. 1st few through the last corner will win/place/show). be prepared for this and you should be golden.

    every crit has a rhythm. good crit racers find it and utilize it to their advantage. bad crit racers never find it and wonder why they either go otb and get pulled or always finish mid -> back of the pack.

  11. #11
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Inside or outside is really road/pack dependent. It can change corner to corner and lap to lap. Just try to be where everyone else ain't to stay away from the accordian.

    In CAT5, there won't be a break that sticks unless there is someone there that is so strong you don't have a hope in hell of catching them (like a super strong Tri competitor getting into bike racing or something). If you're not that guy, then don't expect to be able to take off and ride everyone off your wheel.

    Ride near the front of the pack. There will be smaller accelerations and fewer crashes. Be no further back than 5th place going _into_ the second to last corner. Start your sprint on the exit of that corner and lead through the last corner. Don't just get on the front of the pack and sprint, or you'll just pull the pack around with you and they'll pass you on the exit of the last corner. Go somewhere they ain't, like way inside when you take off. Get some seperation, even if it's just 10-20 feet. With a little luck, you'll have enough momentum to carry it until the end.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Keep pedaling into, through and out of the corners. Even if you are soft pedaling, you will keep gaps from opening up and are in a good position to pass people coming out of the corners.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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    Your line through the corners, (inside or outside) will depend on a lot of factors, like how everybody else is setting up for the corners, as well as what the corners look like (manhole covers, potholes, cracks, grates, curbs, etc.). That will have to be a game-day decision.

    1/8 mile straightaways are quite short, and will make it VERY HARD to move up because there just won't be enough room. Getting a good spot at the starting line, clipping in fast, and getting a good spot going into the first corner will be very important.

    It also means that the last corner before the finish line will be critical. It will be almost impossible to pass anyone between that last corner and the finish line. Whatever position that the first 10 guys are in coming out of that corner, will be their finishing position. So your race should be a race to be the first guy going into that last corner.

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  14. #14
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    Lots of variables - wind, field size (from a few riders up to 50 riders), width of course, etc.

    The first race is about survival and experience, not much else. If you're "strong" you'll have learned it already ("why does everyone train below 25 mph?" etc).

    If there's any wind at all then I think that sitting in the top 5-10 would be a mistake. Ever since I started racing everyone's always said "stay at the front", but that takes an immense amount of energy, energy that can be used either to hang onto the field or to do a good last 2-4 laps. I cannot stay in the top 5-10 unless I'm having an excellent day, I'm extremely motivated, I have one or two teammates looking after me, or I go back 10-20 years in time. I typically do a little face time at the beginning to open my legs up, retreat to the back of the field, and pop up again with 2-3 to go. I figure I didn't race smart if I see more than 1-2 minutes of wind in an hour. At about 5-10 minutes of wind I'm usually off the back.

    (I should point out that I'm at a very low wattage Cat 3 - sustainable 220-250w for an hour - and that means I can't afford to go into the wind too much, since that takes, typically, 350-500 watts).

    Cat 5s - figure no break, or if there is, it's a pro mtb/tri guy with a Cat 5 license. Therefore you can usually count on a field sprint.

    4 corners - will get strung out. You still get more protection from wind a few guys back from the front. I'd say the sweet spot is 10-15 back. If it's an under-20 rider field, then I'd stay 3-5 from the back because if you're at the very back and someone lets a gap go, you're dead.

    When in doubt, corner on the inside. Only you can take yourself out. On the outside, anyone sliding out can take you out. Having said that, I usually take advantage of the "inside protects me" thought process and corner on the outside when I feel it's judicious.

    Hold your line. Imagine lanes in the road, all the way around the corners, like a running track. When you veer from your "lane", that's when trouble starts.

    Don't forget anything (shoes, helmet, license, shorts, pump, etc).

    A friend who recently started racing wrote this:
    http://suitcaseofcourage.typepad.com...101/index.html

    Good luck,
    cdr

  15. #15
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    Watch out for pedal strike on the corners and be careful if guys in front of you are pedaling through corners and have been looking sketchy.

    Good luck!
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  16. #16
    Foot + Mouth = me aperez8264's Avatar
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    To build off of what has already been said, find the fastest wheel there and fight like hell to keep it. In a short course like that, things will get strung out pretty quickly so make sure you not stuck in the back playing yo-yo with the front group.

    Practice carrying speed through corners and sprinting out of them, if you're still in it w/ a lap to go then try find a good wheel to get a lead out from.
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  17. #17
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Attack. A course like that with very short straights gives a small group of riders a definite advantage because they can roll through the corners faster, and there's not much straight for the pack to makeup ground.

    And a small break has a good shot of lapping the field if the get away. With just 1/8th a mile for the longest stretch, its not too much for the break to get out of sight, and once that happens, it tends to demoralize chasers.
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  18. #18
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    lots of good info here.

    i hope i can put some of it to use tonight, if i make it to my race in time.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
    I would ride tempo on the front and jam it into every corner. The accordion affect would be popping so many people off the back that things would be just fine and dandy for you as you are just doing a tempo ride with some corner sprints.
    to be taken with major grain of salt: the good doctor's tempo wattage is around 320.
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  20. #20
    old & slow Snap's Avatar
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    The first few laps are gonna hurt like hell anyway that you do them. Do them near the front, there will be plenty of people coming off the back. You don't want to have to worry about fighting your way through them.

  21. #21
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Cat 5s - figure no break, or if there is, it's a pro mtb/tri guy with a Cat 5 license. Therefore you can usually count on a field sprint.
    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Attack.
    I've found that, in Cat 5 races that "inevitably" come down to a sprint, a safe, fun, and aggressive move to make is to attack with maybe 1K to go. A lot of people, glad to have made it to see the end of the race, are looking for position and shelter, and the pace slows down a lot. In park races I've been in packs that went from 32 mph to 22 mph. Go flying off the front, hard, and aggressively enough that anybody who tries to chase you will wear themselves out. Try to hold it to the finish. On this short course a late attack might get some assistance by the fact that you'll be able to corner faster than the pack behind you. Take them by surprise and try to ride home alone. If you fail, that's okay, and if you don't, that's rad. If you get swallowed up by a field sprint, don't try to sprint in, just hold your line and hope that everyone behind you has their head up.
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  22. #22
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    I've found that, in Cat 5 races that "inevitably" come down to a sprint, a safe, fun, and aggressive move to make is to attack with maybe 1K to go. A lot of people, glad to have made it to see the end of the race, are looking for position and shelter, and the pace slows down a lot. In park races I've been in packs that went from 32 mph to 22 mph. Go flying off the front, hard, and aggressively enough that anybody who tries to chase you will wear themselves out. Try to hold it to the finish. On this short course a late attack might get some assistance by the fact that you'll be able to corner faster than the pack behind you. Take them by surprise and try to ride home alone. If you fail, that's okay, and if you don't, that's rad. If you get swallowed up by a field sprint, don't try to sprint in, just hold your line and hope that everyone behind you has their head up.
    I've experienced the opposite in cat4/5 races. The last 2 laps the speed really picks up at least 2 mph and they are absolutely drilling it in front trying to drop as many people as possible.
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  23. #23
    部門ニ/自転車オタク NomadVW's Avatar
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    Adding to the "strung out" comments, remember that you'll only make up ~2-3 people at most per corner/straight on that short of a course. So if you're 20 people back, you could need 10+ turns (2+ laps) to get from 20 back to the top 5 riders - unless you're willing to burn a serious match. That match burn may/may not require some recovery for the inevitable cat 5 field sprint - so you wouldn't want to start moving up 2 laps from the end.
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  24. #24
    ....gets the cheese Second Mouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    lots of good info here.
    +1 Good food for thought.

    Thanks again, everybody.

  25. #25
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Attack. A course like that with very short straights gives a small group of riders a definite advantage because they can roll through the corners faster, and there's not much straight for the pack to makeup ground.

    And a small break has a good shot of lapping the field if the get away. With just 1/8th a mile for the longest stretch, its not too much for the break to get out of sight, and once that happens, it tends to demoralize chasers.
    incorrect: attack YOUR attacks.

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