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Old 07-09-09, 08:50 PM   #1
cdry
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Question about racing (criteriums)

The National Criterium Championship is coming to my town in August and I was wondering what kind of speed/shape would I need to be in to race Cat 5 (20min +1 lap). I have never raced, and not sure I will but though I could get an idea of what is involved from here.

I ride avg 17mph on a 30 mile route of stop lights quick but steep hills.

I could be in better shape, getting there tough.

Would this be realistic, or am I high and should I just train for next years?


Thanks

Chris
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Old 07-09-09, 08:56 PM   #2
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Have you done a bunch of fast group rides?

If the answer is no, then you have no business entering. Sorry.
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Old 07-09-09, 09:04 PM   #3
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Have you done a bunch of fast group rides?

If the answer is no, then you have no business entering. Sorry.
The point being you need to be competent at riding at high speed in close proximity to other riders while braking, accelerating, cornering.... Otherwise you will cause a crash and cause bodily harm to other people ..... not fun.
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Old 07-09-09, 09:09 PM   #4
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The point being you need to be competent at riding at high speed in close proximity to other riders while braking, accelerating, cornering.... Otherwise you will cause a crash and cause bodily harm to other people ..... not fun.
Says Mr. I bumpted RTC off his teammate's wheel with 2 to go at the KB Crit.

Are you doing New britain on sunday?
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Old 07-09-09, 09:21 PM   #5
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Have you done a bunch of fast group rides?

If the answer is no, then you have no business entering. Sorry.
This is what a load of sh&t, a crock, a bunch of bull, or a cockamamie must look like.

It's cat 5. Guys race cat 5 in shorts and a T-shirt.

Why the hell National Criterium Championships have a category 5 race is another story.

To the OP: Go race your bike if you want to, be safe, and have fun. You don't need permission from anyone. (well, USA cycling maybe)
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Old 07-09-09, 09:25 PM   #6
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crdy, there are training crits every tuesday evening in the south suburbs (south chicago wheelmen host) and that would an excellent opportunity to try racing in a low pressure learning environment.

But I agree with all the above posts...group rides, and for exactly the same reasons Homebrew lists. Check the Great Lakes forum. There are a bunch of north/west suburban teams that host fast rides. That will give you an opportunity to chat with people too...

I'm going to miss downers grove yet again this year. bummer....
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Old 07-09-09, 09:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cdry View Post
The National Criterium Championship is coming to my town in August and I was wondering what kind of speed/shape would I need to be in to race Cat 5 (20min +1 lap). I have never raced, and not sure I will but though I could get an idea of what is involved from here.

I ride avg 17mph on a 30 mile route of stop lights quick but steep hills.

I could be in better shape, getting there tough.

Would this be realistic, or am I high and should I just train for next years?


Thanks

Chris
There's really only one way to find out. I would recommend some group ride experience, but honestly, it's Cat friggin 5. There aren't going to be many great bike handlers in your race. Give it a shot, see how you do. If you get dropped, you aren't there yet. If you don't, good for you! Lots of people get dropped in their first crit. And just so you know, most people consider the constant surging in crits to be much worse than the average pace. I have pretty good anaerobic capacity, and for me the surging isn't too bad (though if you're on your limit it WILL make things even worse, I can tell you from experience); so it partly depends upon your natural strengths and/or what your training has emphasized.
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Old 07-09-09, 09:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by schnabler1 View Post
This is what a load of sh&t, a crock, a bunch of bull, or a cockamamie must look like.

It's cat 5. Guys race cat 5 in shorts and a T-shirt.

Why the hell National Criterium Championships have a category 5 race is another story.

To the OP: Go race your bike if you want to, be safe, and have fun. You don't need permission from anyone. (well, USA cycling maybe)
1) They don't. It's a "regular" race for category racers.
2) definitely

Before people say to just go and race this one--its NOT a simple 4 corner crit. It's a technical 8 turn course with nice little kickers in it. Learning to ride with others is a damn fine thing to put on a pre-race "to do list" and should be encouraged for all new racers. Not, mind you, at the barrel of a gun--but strongly encouraged nevertheless.

Last edited by slim_77; 07-09-09 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 07-09-09, 10:47 PM   #9
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I wouldn't make Downers my first race if I were you.....


Plenty of races around here between now and then. Hell I am doing 8 in 5 days starting this Saturday.
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Old 07-09-09, 10:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by cdry View Post
I ride avg 17mph on a 30 mile route of stop lights quick but steep hills.

I could be in better shape, getting there tough.

Would this be realistic, or am I high and should I just train for next years?


Thanks

Chris
Chris - didn't read the rest of this the first time - sorry. Some advice...first - there are no steep hills around here. Second - are you a little slow for the cat 5 fields around here? Yes, but just slightly. Most cat 5 racers I have known in this area average in the 18-20 range over 30 miles when riding alone- keeping in mind that average speed is a bad measure but if you're in this area then all of the terrain is basically the same so it gives a good indication.

So should you skip it and train for next year? No. Will you get dropped? Probably. Here's the thing though....almost everyone does. Everyone except exceptional athletes with good genetics or internet tough guys.

You will never be able to train yourself into the intensity that is needed to hang on in races by training alone. You have to race. Most suggest going to fast group rides and that's great advice. These rides are usually pseudo races anyway. I will give you experience riding in a pack at speed so that you don't kill yourself or others.

....but...you will never appreciate the speed of racing until you do it. You also just won't be able to tell when you're going hard enoughin training until you've done it in a race and know it's possible.

That's my opinion.

As for getting back to the speed discussion...those cat 5's that ride between 18-20 on their own will average 24-26mph in the races around here. It's one of the things that happens on fast flat crits with a bunch of fat cat 5's that provide a ton of drafting and are constantly chasing anything that moves. (we're all fat BTW).

Come out to some races during Superweek. Go to one and you're going to want to enter the next one.
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Old 07-09-09, 11:23 PM   #11
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Please do not make Downers Grove your first race.

Not trying to be a dick, but that is a fast, tight course where inexperience, even at the Category 5 level, can be dangerous.

There are plenty of other races and courses coming up in IL that would be far more friendly to a beginner racer; check out the Fall Fling and some of the other early fall races.
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Old 07-09-09, 11:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by schnabler1 View Post
This is what a load of sh&t, a crock, a bunch of bull, or a cockamamie must look like.

It's cat 5. Guys race cat 5 in shorts and a T-shirt.

Why the hell National Criterium Championships have a category 5 race is another story.

To the OP: Go race your bike if you want to, be safe, and have fun. You don't need permission from anyone. (well, USA cycling maybe)
Your inexperience is showing. Move along now.

Not sure what your race experience is because you've posted about doing 4/5 races, so I'm going to guess you're a 5.

Sending someone with little to no group ride experience into a technical crit is a stupid idea. Everyone else here agrees.

Edit: Apologizing for dooshbaggery.

Last edited by ridethecliche; 07-10-09 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 07-10-09, 12:42 AM   #13
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Sending someone with little to no group ride experience into a technical crit is a stupid idea. Everyone else here agrees.
+1

it's less a question of fitness than experience. especially if someone lives in an area where there are group rides to learn how to ride in a group. almost no one should enter a crit without some group riding experience
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Old 07-10-09, 01:37 AM   #14
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psimet is spot on. you will never appreciate race speed until you do it. but having said that its best to work your way up. if only out of respect for the sport.
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Old 07-10-09, 05:33 AM   #15
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To the OP, read the thread stickied at the the top of the 33:

New to Racing? Here's a tip or two
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Old 07-10-09, 05:36 AM   #16
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There's a 5 race at the nationals?

and


It's a 5 race....do it. That's the point. The rest of the guys are 5s as well. Most 3s can't handle a bike, never mind 5s. A technical crit is SAFER, because gaps will open and the race will break apart, and hopefully they pull riders.

Last edited by gsteinb; 07-10-09 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 07-10-09, 06:00 AM   #17
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Says Mr. I bumpted RTC off his teammate's wheel with 2 to go at the KB Crit.

Are you doing New britain on sunday?
I did ? So you should have grabbed my wheel

I'll be at NB doing the 35+ and 45+
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Old 07-10-09, 06:03 AM   #18
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Say hi
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Old 07-10-09, 06:52 AM   #19
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Your inexperience is showing. Move along now.

Not sure what your race experience is because you've posted about doing 4/5 races, so I'm going to guess you're a 5.

Sending someone with little to no group ride experience into a technical crit is a stupid idea. Everyone else here agrees.
Coming from the same guy who just a few days ago tried to explain the difference between striking the ground with his pedals, and touching the ground with his pedals (and justify his sloppy bike handling skills), I find this hysterical.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:08 AM   #20
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Not sure what your race experience is because you've posted about doing 4/5 races, so I'm going to guess you're a 5.
Whats wrong with that? The question is about entering a Cat. 5 race, not a Cat. 2 race. The Cat. 2 can throw in their opinion about what it was like racing cat. 5 ~ 3 years ago, or the Cat. 5 can give his opinion about how it was to race Cat. 5 last weekend. I think he should be able to put in his two cents, no need to belittle him for it.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:15 AM   #21
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Coming from the same guy who just a few days ago tried to explain the difference between striking the ground with his pedals, and touching the ground with his pedals (and justify his sloppy bike handling skills), I find this hysterical.

Plungergirl.jpeg
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Old 07-10-09, 07:25 AM   #22
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OP can do what he wants but he asked our opinion, and many racers (but clearly not all) will say that it's a good idea to have at least some pack riding experience before endangering others.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:33 AM   #23
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OP can do what he wants but he asked our opinion, and many racers (but clearly not all) will say that it's a good idea to have at least some pack riding experience before endangering others.
Sure. But there's a huge difference between suggesting he needs pack skills and saying "move along now", especially when it's coming from an internet tough guy who by his own account of his skills is "that guy".

And, we are talking about a cat5 crit. My first cat5 crit had a dude with jorts, t-shirt, and vans on.

So, back on topic.. OP, read the thread I posted above especially Botto's guide to racing. And have fun.

Remember, everyone here was a beginner at one point (and some still are).
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Old 07-10-09, 07:44 AM   #24
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I'd just like to understand the skill set this imaginary group of cat fives posses. I fear their upgrade.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:46 AM   #25
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Coming from the same guy who just a few days ago tried to explain the difference between striking the ground with his pedals, and touching the ground with his pedals (and justify his sloppy bike handling skills), I find this hysterical.
Hay now.

I may or may not have been tipsy writing that!

Glad to have made you laugh.
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