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  1. #1
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    Disappointing First Race. Need Some Advice.

    Last Sunday was my first race.
    Short version: dropped, bridged back, dropped again, lapped . Avg 24mph but the constant surging out of corners killed me.

    I had no structured training plan going into the race. I decided a month in advance that I was going to do it. Found a group. Rode well with them and thought I would do okay.

    My next race is 7 weeks away hope to race as much as possible aftwerwards. I've bought Friel's book and I've been up late researching specific posts on this forum. I've found out that this is a very tough sport but I love it. So, how would you train?

    I would say I have a max of 10 hours a week to train. If I have to start a base period I'm fine with that too. Thanks for any advice. I just don't want to get lapped in front of my girlfriend and her dad again

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    Without knowing specifics about your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your goals, it's going to be difficult to tell you exactly how to train.

    Training aside, trying to stay near the front 1/3 of the pack will help with the surging as there is less of an accordion slowing / acceleration effect, especially in more technical races.

  3. #3
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    LOOK HERE for workout ideas.

    Then, do a build block for 2 weeks, then take 1 week to recover. you still ride during your rest week, but you don't do any hard interval work, just mainly z1, and lower z2 at most..

    then repeat another 2 week build block followed by another rest week.

    Friel outlines this approach but with some varieties such as 3 weeks of build instead of 2 etc...

    the idea is that each build week is slightly harder than the previous, forcing you to adapt and improve on your goals.


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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Most people suck in their first races. You can get discouraged, or you can use that "failure" if you want to call it that to motivate you.

    I'd recommend doing the exercises in Friels' book to determine your strengths and weaknesses, then training the weaknesses.
    It'll be tough in your first year to set up a season plan with 'A' races if you don't know what you like and are good at yet. But if you do have one or two races you really want to do well in, pick those as A races and then make the plan around them. But try lots of different races, you may like something unexpected.

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    Thanks for the reply. That sounds like a good plan.
    Quote Originally Posted by fordfasterr View Post
    LOOK HERE for workout ideas.

    Then, do a build block for 2 weeks, then take 1 week to recover. you still ride during your rest week, but you don't do any hard interval work, just mainly z1, and lower z2 at most..

    then repeat another 2 week build block followed by another rest week.

    Friel outlines this approach but with some varieties such as 3 weeks of build instead of 2 etc...

    the idea is that each build week is slightly harder than the previous, forcing you to adapt and improve on your goals.


    GOOD LUCK !

  6. #6
    Realist Greg180's Avatar
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    Don't bring the girlfriend or her Dad. Wait till you figured it out and have finished your beatings then invite them back. That should be next year...

  7. #7
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    Sounds a lot better than my first race, I was OTB sometime during the first corner.

  8. #8
    umd
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    The first question is why did you get dropped? If you were able to bridge back then it seems like the fitness may be there but not the technique. Were you leaving too big of a gap to the rider in front, or having trouble cornering? The accordian effect could have hurt you especially if you were near the back. Another thing that gets a lot of people is being overgeared, which can make it more difficult to respond to accelerations.

    As for training time, 10 hours a week should be plenty for beginning racing, especially if you are smart about it. Some people here seem to be happy with the "time crunched" training plan. Doing a steady diet of SST can also help a lot quickly and without spending tons of time on base.

    Edit: dur, I should have read more carefully. The number one thing you need to work on is cornering. Find some practice/training crits if you can, find some more experienced racers to watch you and tell you what you are doing wrong.
    Last edited by umd; 03-16-10 at 08:50 PM.

  9. #9
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Most people suck in their first races. You can get discouraged, or you can use that "failure" if you want to call it that to motivate you.

    I'd recommend doing the exercises in Friels' book to determine your strengths and weaknesses, then training the weaknesses.
    It'll be tough in your first year to set up a season plan with 'A' races if you don't know what you like and are good at yet. But if you do have one or two races you really want to do well in, pick those as A races and then make the plan around them. But try lots of different races, you may like something unexpected.
    I would go as far as to say can the whole A and B race idea. If you can't finish yet it really doesn't matter a whole lot. Race as much as you can. If you can find some mid week crits do those instead of a training rides. Training races most often allow lapped riders to stay in, and usually cheap to enter.

  10. #10
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Congrats on entering your first race and wanting to get better. A huge number of bike riders quit after the first try. You are now better than all of them.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  11. #11
    Me Likey Bikey neurocycler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
    Congrats on entering your first race and wanting to get better. A huge number of bike riders quit after the first try. You are now better than all of them.
    +1 Congrats for pinning a number on. Keep at it.
    "Suffering you need; literature is baloney."
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  12. #12
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    Well done for your first try.
    You need a structured plan for training. Buy a book on the subject...there are plenty of good ones. My books of choice are Eddy B's and Greg LeMonds but they are several decades old and possibly hard to get. Eventually you will develop a system that works for you and the racing/training time you have and/or are willing to commit. It takes a modestly large time commitment to become a decent racer.

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    Thanks for all the kind words fellas. Gotta marinate on all this and hopefully come up with a training plan that works for me.

    umd--yea, I definitely need to work on cornering. I held my lines pretty well but I kind of froze when it came to cornering and pedaling at the same time. And you nailed it when it came to me leaving gaps open or not being aggressive enough to fill one. I also found myself in to high a gear many times to match a surge. I found myself floating further and further back because of that with no clue why. I really had to adjust to the overall demeanor of the field which felt like "kill or be killed." I guess that will come with more races and confidence.

    Watching the open field guys race really was a thing of beauty to me. The speed, how smooth they were, really everything. They made racing look effortless. Oh well, one step at a time for me.

  14. #14
    umd
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    I was having trouble cornering in crits when I first started. One of the guys gave me some good advice that really helped me. Once it clicked it felt like I was twice as strong just because I wasn't wasting so much energy in the corners. The advice was to drop your inside shoulder and look through the corner, not at the corner.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Braden1550's Avatar
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    Without derailing the thread, I find it interesting that the culture in America is heavily geared towards "Getting on a structured training plan" or at least having one.

    Here down under, We tend to do everything by feel. And we don't seem to do any worse for it

    http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2010/...win/#more-8851

    Thats pretty much how we roll down here. I have a fast finish and I'm a little bloke. So I train my butt off to sprint faster and survive the hills, which isn't hard considering my frame. I don't have a structured plan but In my first couple of months I'm now in B grade and A grade track.

    Just an interesting little tidbit I wanted to ramble on about for no particular reason. Sorry
    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    Look boys, this stuff is like crack, once you get going, it's hard to stop. Some of you know this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    I was having trouble cornering in crits when I first started. One of the guys gave me some good advice that really helped me. Once it clicked it felt like I was twice as strong just because I wasn't wasting so much energy in the corners. The advice was to drop your inside shoulder and look through the corner, not at the corner.
    This - you tend to steer towards what you're looking at. If you're concentrating too hard on not hitting the corner you're invariably going to hit the damn corner.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braden1550 View Post
    Without derailing the thread, I find it interesting that the culture in America is heavily geared towards "Getting on a structured training plan" or at least having one.

    Here down under, We tend to do everything by feel. And we don't seem to do any worse for it

    http://www.cyclingtipsblog.com/2010/...win/#more-8851

    Thats pretty much how we roll down here. I have a fast finish and I'm a little bloke. So I train my butt off to sprint faster and survive the hills, which isn't hard considering my frame. I don't have a structured plan but In my first couple of months I'm now in B grade and A grade track.

    Just an interesting little tidbit I wanted to ramble on about for no particular reason. Sorry
    You are confusing internet weenies with Americans.

  18. #18
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    i think it's a little early for a structured training plan, even friel agrees with me. i think for now it's time for the botto plan.

    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'.

  19. #19
    Mitcholo CrimsonKarter21's Avatar
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    The first race is never a race, it's a learning experience.

  20. #20
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    I have a feeling the training isn't the problem. It's more the comfort in the field, the use of gears, the metering of effort.

    My first race I was 4th going into the first turn. I was so scared of not getting in the pedals (clips and straps days) I'd been drilling getting into the pedals. I also figured the small ring would help me accelerate faster. While everyone was fumbling with their pedals I shot away from the line, pedaling furiously, into the first turn, maybe 50 meters from the line.

    We went up this slight grade. In later years I'd use a 53x14 to roll up the grade, a 12 to attack it, and a 17 if I was spinning along. In my first race I shifted to my bottom gear (equiv to a 39x20) because "it was a hill". All my previous learning had gone out the window.

    I was otb (off the back) at the end of the 100 meter hill.

    Later a teammate that crashed (I passed him while he was somewhere on the ground - never saw him - then he caught me) yelled at me to corner harder. I didn't know how to corner harder - I felt convinced I was blazing through the turns.

    "Try and fall over!!"
    "What?!"
    "Try and fall over!! Go so fast you're going to slide out!!"

    I kept going at "max speed", i.e. slowly, through the turns. My teammate got livid.

    "You m*ther f*cker, ******** try and fall over in the turns or get the f*ck out of the way!"

    And that was my teammate yelling at me.

    So, pissed off, I went so fast into the next turn there was no way that I'd make it. In fact, there was no way the house on the outside of the turn would be able to withstand the impact when I overshot the turn. For sure I'd end up drilling through the block of houses and fall out the other side.

    I blasted into the turn.

    Blasted out.

    Hey! That was cool!

    Did it again and again.

    By the end of the race my teammate had totally shut up. He was cornering, in my opinion, a bit weakly. Hahaha.

    So that's one way to approach the cornering dilemna. Just be careful of those around you - I was in a 3-4 rider group and we were all in single file.

    Botto's list above (zzzwillzzz's post) is pretty much where you start. Even moderately fast group rides have natural surges, just like a race, they're just less frequent. You can make them just as hard though.

    Learn to ride closer to others. That's the main difference between a new racer and a slightly more experienced one (Cat 5 and Cat 3 say). This post mentions the sphere. Unfortunately it's not really a complete post but you get the idea:
    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...scenarios.html

    And the reason why you don't close gaps is because you have some self preservation instinct. That's totally normal and healthy. You need to become more comfortable when you have less of a margin of error.
    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...-crashing.html

    Finally, don't worry about the gf when you race. I mean, yeah, love her and all that. But when you race it's a very selfish thing. They're there to support you. You're not there to support them. Do your race. Do your best. Your gf will be happy for your triumphs, sad for your disappointments. No matter how poorly you ride, it's okay. When you improve it makes racing all that sweeter.

    Whenever I see a younger guy attacking a race for no particular reason, the first thought that comes to mind is "his gf must be standing there". It makes collegiate racing really, really aggressive

    cdr

    btw, for RTC, that hill is the hill just past Pedal Power - if PP is on the right, go about 3 blocks, turn right to go up the wide road with a church like building across the street. Hill has a park-like green on the right, very small one. Middletown Crit. The corner that I was scared of is now a one way going up hill but we turned right (2 streets back towards PP) and went down the narrow road. It has parking meters on it now and would be unusable in a crit. You pop out on Main St after PP, i.e. PP would be to your left.

  21. #21
    Occasionally Here ft_critical's Avatar
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    Good grief. Structured training plan. Waste of time until you get enough experience to know what you need to work on. Find every race and group ride you can join in and hang on. You will learn, improve, get faster rapidly. After the race, like if you were slow through a particular spot, ask someone who was at the race. After the race people love to talk about what happened and help out someone learning.

    In summary, race more. Don't back off and try to find a secret from a forum or a book.
    Fear of losing is a racers biggest limiter. Attack, write the story of the race.

  22. #22
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    IMO, forget a structured training plan (for now). Follow the below link to Botto's thread.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-a-tip-or-two
    EOL Ra Ra F
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  23. #23
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    I flatted in my first race.

    Many people DNF in their first race.

    Keep pinning numbers on, just like sex, it gets better the more you do it.
    Putting the Duh in Floriduh.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apus^2 View Post
    IMO, forget a structured training plan (for now). Follow the below link to Botto's thread.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-a-tip-or-two
    +1000. Don't get caught up in the small details when you've only done one race. Find race-like group rides & race more. You will learn a ton in your 1st season.

  25. #25
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    I remember my first crit (I'd already crashed out of my first RR). I was having a really tough time, beginning to let gaps open up, cramping up, etc. Then I realized I was in my hoods. Went to the drops and things got a heck of a lot easier. Finished mid pack or so.
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