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  1. #1
    SLO-1 Yaniel's Avatar
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    First Time Racer: Crit or Circuit?

    What would you guys (or gals) recommend for a first time racer. They're holding an event here next month with a Circuit (3.4 mile) followed by a TT then a Crit the following day. I have group ride experience but no racing experience. Am I assuming properly that a circuit should be safer than a crit to get my feet wet racing? Both would be strictly Cat5 fields, not cat4/5.

  2. #2
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    i'd suggest doing the Circuit and Crit, as a CAT 5 just racing (any race) is great experience.

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    personally i would do the crit., and i am no crit racer

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    Do all of them.

    Circuit races (usually) means less corners, so for pack handling skills it's less tricky. However, since it's hard to hold a meandering line (think of a pack riding around a kidney shaped lake), circuit races can get a bit iffy. Look at my helmet cam clips on Nutmeg State Games - I mention the side to side "scrunches" where riders kinda sorta conveniently forget there are guys to their inside on meandering bends.

    Crits, you have to do them sometime. Usually you'll have real turns, i.e. 90 degree, so you have to follow a somewhat concrete line through the turn (i.e. you follow the others). You'll experience the easing before turns, the turn, and the acceleration out of them. I think they're safer in general than circuit races because you can kinda predict if someone's gonna eat it. In circuit races when crashes happen they happen suddenly and out of the blue. In crits you see a guy going into a turn really hot and you think, "Oh jeez.." Not as surprising, a little more predictable.

    The TT is nice too. You can work hard for yourself and get some idea of how hard you can go. This is especially good after your induction into racing with the circuit race. Usually the peak speeds in a mass start race are a bit higher than expected. Armed with that knowledge you'll push yourself harder in the TT.

    Sounds like a great schedule. Have fun at the event.

    cdr

  5. #5
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    As a Cat 5 I would skip the TT unless you want to become a TT specialist and want the experience. You pay $'s to enter the TT and don't get anything toward your upgrade with a TT.

    Do the crit and the circuit. Lots of folks think that road races are safer than crits/circuits, but my experience is that there are a lot more crashes in road races and the crashes are worse. It isn't logical, but that is my experience.
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    I'd say do the circuit and the crit, but if you must choose, do the crit. Even if you have the fitness to do well, it's not uncommon to get dropped in a circuit race (if it's hilly), which can be discouraging. But I am biased, as I love crits and dread RR's like the plague.
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  7. #7
    cycle-dog spot DinoShepherd's Avatar
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    Assuming you are going to stay on, go for the circuit. Especially if you are concerned about turns, etc...

    Things just happen much slower in a circuit race.

    -Z

  8. #8
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    The circuit won't be any safer than the crit. I think I've seen more crashes in RRs than crits that I've been in. Often the crit crashes are slower because it's in a corner anyway. In a road race, it's often a horrible 35mph downhill jitterbug causing the whole thing.

    Race them both and don't sweat the crashing.

  9. #9
    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    I'm with cdr, why not do them all?

    Is it an omnium, where you can choose to not do one/two of the events, or are you locked into all three?

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    ... because you can kinda predict if someone's gonna eat it.
    cdr
    This just made me spit out my granola.

    Sorry I'm no help.

  11. #11
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Do both. I agree with cdr and waterrockets about safety: circuit races are no safer than crits. If anything, it's the other way around. I think that crits are reputed to be dangerous because everyone is on "high alert" the entire time. In road races, people zone out or lose focus for a second, and can cause really dangerous situations as a result. The worst crash in any race that I've ever been in was caused by something like that; the guy next to me just wasn't focused and holding on firmly while the pack was descending at ~35 mph or so, maybe a bit slower. He hit a bump from a water or gas connection embedded in the pavement and lost his grip on the bars. He basically did a face plant, then half of the field plowed into him, with the result being a massive TdF-style crash that spread across the entire road and took down probably 15+ riders (I just missed going down, his wheel hit my bike). It was horrible to behold. That just doesn't happen in crits.

  12. #12
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I'm assuming you're referring to the Sunrise Classic, and I agree with others; do both.

    Haven't done that race before, but looking at the flyer, it looks like the Circuit Race on Saturday is almost a crit anyway, given that your race will 40 minutes plus 2 laps.

    My bet is the "circuit" is likely jus slight longer than a typical crit course, and they are choosing to call it a circuit race because they don't want to market a race weekend with 2 crits.

    The Sunday cirt sounds like it might be a bit more technical from the description. But by Sunday, you'll have the benefit of Saturday's experience.!
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  13. #13
    . botto's Avatar
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    circuit.

  14. #14
    SLO-1 Yaniel's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice. Funny how when you have no experience you can get the wrong idea about things. By description, the circuit would seem safer than the crit. Everyones right though, I'm just going to register for all 3 to get a feeling for different races.

    cdr: I watched the videos and see exactly what you mean. Position seems to be very important in the circuit around the soft bends. As for the crit, my entire understanding of crits come from your videos.

    Merlin: Yes, it's the Sunrise Classic. It seems like the perfect event to get my feet wet. The circuit is supposed to be 3.4 miles long, not all that big and I'm assuming it goes around the bank atlantic center. They didn't post any info on the crit apart from "fast and technical" and I also didn't see any info on the TT distance. Will you be coming down for this race or is it not something on most Florida racer's schedules?

  15. #15
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    It's a Florida Points Series Race, so you'll get people from all over the state. Not sure how much turn out you'll get from NE Fl just because of the drive. I may go, not sure if I can fit it in the family schedule yet.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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  16. #16
    SLO-1 Yaniel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    It's a Florida Points Series Race, so you'll get people from all over the state. Not sure how much turn out you'll get from NE Fl just because of the drive. I may go, not sure if I can fit it in the family schedule yet.
    Oh OK. It would be cool to meet some BFers out there

  17. #17
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
    As a Cat 5 I would do the TT, you might find you're good at them and the experience will help you later on.
    Fixed.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yaniel View Post
    ...

    cdr: I watched the videos and see exactly what you mean. Position seems to be very important in the circuit around the soft bends. As for the crit, my entire understanding of crits come from your videos

    ....
    I think I have no real crits on cam. Well, maybe Hartford, but that's kind of bendy too. I'm thinking 4 corners, square/rectangle, and that's different from a meandering course (which apparently I like). Harlem crit would have been good to cam but I didn't. East Hartford Crit, another flat 4 corner. Naugatuck Crit, a 3 turn course, but the head official made me take off the cam (for no good reason than to show authority - many complaints about this particular official). The official btw originally thought I had a radio (illegal for me that year) but the cable was a cam connection. Instead of saying "Oh, okay" the official insisted I take all the stuff off.

    Anyway, corners in crits are a bit different when you ease a bit, go through the turn, then accelerate. My Plainville clips has some stuff like that, Hartford a bit too.

    have fun at the races,
    cdr

  19. #19
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    I've done hilly, winding courses that were called crits, And rectangular two-block courses advertised as circuits.
    The designation seemed to have little to do with the course geometry.
    Marketing?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metzinger View Post
    I've done hilly, winding courses that were called crits, And rectangular two-block courses advertised as circuits.
    The designation seemed to have little to do with the course geometry.
    Marketing?
    You're right, course geometry (turns etc) have nothing to do with the course designation. I'm sure I'll be corrected but a circuit race where the circuits are under a certain length is a "criterium". I think the length is 3 km, 2.2 miles. I think over that it's a circuit race.

    Biggest difference racing wise is that crits can have free laps. Circuit races don't.

    Now I'm waiting for a correction.

    cdr

  21. #21
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    2010 rulebook says Circuit course should be at least 5km, and a Crit course should be 800 meters to 5km.

    Around here, it seems that Promoters are pretty loose using the term "Circuit Race". For example the Winter Garden circuit race was well short of 5km, and they ran it with a free lap rule, but called it a Cirucit race.
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  22. #22
    SLO-1 Yaniel's Avatar
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    Registered for all 3 events, baptism by fire. Figured if I did it early, I can't back out. Now I'm going to have a looooong wait for April 10th.

  23. #23
    slow up hills kudude's Avatar
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    2 things:


    1) crits and circuit races count for the same number of points, so who cares what you call them and

    2) My new favorite set of photos, and a link I will post every time someone claims RR/circuits are safer than crits. Thanks to whoever put this in the race report thread (and thank god I was out of town for this race):
    http://hcphoto.smugmug.com/DBC-My-Ho...4_G4KXX/Medium
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  24. #24
    Criterium Coach
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    Do the criterium!

    I would suggest doing the crit. Criteriums are a great way to experience the thrill of riding in a pack and corning shoulder to shoulder at speed.

    I have a lot of information about how to race a crit at http://criteriumcoaching.com.

    I would suggest you read: http://criteriumcoaching.com/2010/02...st-critierium/
    Steve

  25. #25
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    Do them both.

    My personal belief is that Crits are safer than RR. RR tend to be slower, people bunch up more, yellow line rule is in effect and people are trying to get through. Crits are faster, can be on wider roads, often more strung out, so (not counting corners), and thus, IMO, are safer.

    My crit accidents have resulted in road rash mostly (sliding out). My RR accidents, well the bad one, I'm still recovering from.
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