Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

"The 33"-Road Bike Racing We set this forum up for our members to discuss their experiences in either pro or amateur racing, whether they are the big races, or even the small backyard races. Don't forget to update all the members with your own race results.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-25-10, 09:14 AM   #1
robncircus 
Gunner.
Thread Starter
 
robncircus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,713
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Does anyone tweak stem height for technical crits?

Just curious. I'm doing my first 'technical" crit (Redlands) this weekend. I have heard from some of the more senior racers that they used to lower their stems (back in the quill days) for technical courses. Is this still common practice? I have about 1.5 cm I could lower and thought maybe I'd try it out. I'm merely pack fodder so I don't expect much improvement but who knows

FWIW this is the course:


Cheers

Rob
robncircus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 09:15 AM   #2
Racer Ex 
Resident Alien
 
Racer Ex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Location, location.
Bikes:
Posts: 12,556
Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
No.
Racer Ex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 09:18 AM   #3
waterrockets 
Making a kilometer blurry
 
waterrockets's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Austin (near TX)
Bikes: rkwaki's porn collection
Posts: 26,130
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
+1 No.
waterrockets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 09:20 AM   #4
gsteinb
out walking the earth
 
gsteinb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: teh Jersey
Bikes:
Posts: 19,880
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
I bet you get 60-70 watts out a stem tweak.
gsteinb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 09:22 AM   #5
NickDavid
Senior Member
 
NickDavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 994
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Nein!
NickDavid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 10:11 AM   #6
Brian Ratliff
Senior Member
 
Brian Ratliff's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Near Portland, OR
Bikes: Three road bikes. Two track bikes.
Posts: 10,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Perhaps not common practice in these days of threadless stems... but don't let the people here discourage you from trying out new things on your bike. I would certainly recommend riding in the new position a time or two before your race, but don't be afraid to experiment. Lowering your bars will effectively shift your weight further over the front wheel which will make it more stable in a corner. You will also potentially be more aerodynamic in the lower position, and you will be more stable when the elbows start flying around.

Along with the lower position, you might think about moving your saddle forward a cm or so, so you aren't sitting on the tip when in the drops. Be sure your fundamentals of fit are still correct after the adjustment. Don't be riding around with locked arms when in the drops, and make sure you can still raise your head high enough to see down the road. You should still be able to put out full power with your elbows bent and your butt on the saddle without knocking yourself in the chest with your knees. No point in getting lower if your power output suffers because of it.

Lastly... if you experiment with new positions, you might find you like it. Most racing noobs have their bars too high and ride around with locked arms. Trying things out with a lower bar position and consciously bending your elbows might be illuminating.

I am sure that if most people here were completely honest, the reason why most here don't futze with their stem is because they 1) bought an expensive fit and are afraid of changing anything afterwards, and 2) don't have the torque wrench they think they need and are completely paranoid about overtightening their carbon steering tube. Just a joke ... sort of. In my experience, bike racers sometimes make for the worst mechanics ever.
__________________
Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
"If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

Last edited by Brian Ratliff; 03-25-10 at 10:19 AM.
Brian Ratliff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 10:19 AM   #7
ridethecliche
Village Idiot
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Bahstaaaaan
Bikes:
Posts: 20,241
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Perhaps not common practice in these days of threadless stems... but don't let the people here discourage you from trying out new things on your bike. I would certainly recommend riding in the new position a time or two before your race, but don't be afraid to experiment. Lowering your bars will effectively shift your weight further over the front wheel which will make it more stable in a corner. You will also potentially be more aerodynamic in the lower position, and you will be more stable when the elbows start flying around. Along with the lower position, you might think about moving your saddle forward a cm or so, so you aren't sitting on the tip when in the drops.

To be completely honest, the reason why most here don't futze with their stem is because they 1) bought an expensive fit and are afraid of changing anything afterwards, and 2) don't have the torque wrench they think they need and are completely paranoid about overtightening their carbon steering tube.
You're pretty full of yourself aren't ya?
You can generalize for most of the people on the racing forum?

Position tweaking is generally a good idea. However, lowering your stem also might hinder your breathing and it takes time for your body to adapt to a new position, i.e. flexibility, power generation, etc. I'd stay away from blindly recommending stem and saddle adjustments.

ktxbai
ridethecliche is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 10:23 AM   #8
Brian Ratliff
Senior Member
 
Brian Ratliff's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Near Portland, OR
Bikes: Three road bikes. Two track bikes.
Posts: 10,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
You're pretty full of yourself aren't ya?
You can generalize for most of the people on the racing forum?

Position tweaking is generally a good idea. However, lowering your stem also might hinder your breathing and it takes time for your body to adapt to a new position, i.e. flexibility, power generation, etc. I'd stay away from blindly recommending stem and saddle adjustments.

ktxbai
Sorry, if you look again, I softened my comment; came out a bit harsh. But it's true, some of the best bike racers around ride the ricketiest rigs. They are interested in racing, not bike mechanics.
__________________
Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
"If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter
Brian Ratliff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 10:26 AM   #9
ridethecliche
Village Idiot
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Bahstaaaaan
Bikes:
Posts: 20,241
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Heh, it's fine. My comment was a little tongue in cheek as well.

I'd argue that a lot of bike racers are good mechanics because they can't justify paying someone to do all their work given the costs. Depends on their commitment to racing. There's no way in hell I'd let someone else I didn't know touch my bike before a race. There's only one mechanic who ever looks at my bike, and even after that, I take it home and tweak it.

I need to trust my equipment, and I can only do that if I've done everything and know that it has all been checked and double checked.
ridethecliche is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 10:40 AM   #10
bdcheung
Carpe Diem
 
bdcheung's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: MABRA
Bikes: 2007 CAAD9; 2014 CAADX; PedalForce CG1
Posts: 13,147
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
we're getting a little OT here but I'm the same as rtc: me and one other person are the only ones who ever wrench my bike.
__________________
"When you are chewing the bars at the business end of a 90 mile road race you really dont care what gear you have hanging from your bike so long as it works."
ΛΧΑ ΔΞ179 - 15% off your first Hammer Nutrition order!
bdcheung is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 10:50 AM   #11
mattm
**** that
 
mattm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: CALI
Bikes:
Posts: 13,816
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 154 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Sorry, if you look again, I softened my comment; came out a bit harsh. But it's true, some of the best bike racers around ride the ricketiest rigs. They are interested in racing, not bike mechanics.
In my limited experience this seems true - there was a guy the RR last weekend with what sounded like a baseball card in his spokes..

And as the sprint wound up, the clicking got faster.. scary stuff.

In regards to the OP, it seems like the last thing I'd want to do for a technical crit was change bike fit.
__________________
cat 1.

blog
mattm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 11:00 AM   #12
agoodale
Senior Member
 
agoodale's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Murrieta, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,035
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Turn 1 is the only "technical" part of the course. The rest of it is not much different than the other crits in SoCal. More important than stem height is your position in the pack. Get in the top 10-20 for turn 1! It is much, much easier to get around that turn & accelerate. If you sit mid-pack you're going to be doing a full on sprint every lap to latch back on.
agoodale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 11:36 AM   #13
carpediemracing
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tariffville, CT
Bikes: Tsunami Bikes
Posts: 14,622
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 84 Post(s)
I've experimented with position a lot. A few thoughts crossed my mind.

1. If you are considering adjusting your position, it means that this "new" position is within your realm of possibilities. I'd try it just because. Maybe not for Redlands, but I'd try it. Position evolves as BR points out.

2. I've tried rotating my position forward just before big crits. I've also put on shorter cranks, longer cranks, huge gears, smaller gears, wider bars, narrower bars, blah blah blah. I realize after the fact that I should have tried the position a little more than a day or two.

3. If your bars are too low you see double when you look up. Pinch nerve in neck or something.

4. If you slide saddle forward a lot you end up losing power but gaining speed. I tend to cramp my calves more easily too.

5. Lower bars aren't always better. Longer stem may be more productive. Weight up front is good.

6. Don't put too much pressure in the rear tire. A hairpin turn with a forward-oriented bike can result in some slippage in the back.

7. Know that you can shift from the drops and use your shifters to shift as you corner and as you accelerate.

8. It's virtually impossible to practice a race hairpin turn. Don't try. Just follow wheels on race day. You'll learn within a couple laps that it's not that bad.

hope this helps
cdr
carpediemracing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 11:40 AM   #14
umd
Banned
 
umd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Bikes: Specialized Tarmac SL2, Specialized Tarmac SL, Giant TCR Composite, Specialized StumpJumper Expert HT
Posts: 28,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Rob, good luck on Saturday. Watch for jmechy, he's on the war path. Find his wheel and stay on it.

Edit: he is the guy that won your first cat 4 crit.
umd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 05:13 PM   #15
robncircus 
Gunner.
Thread Starter
 
robncircus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,713
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
thanks for the replies. I know it's not the hardest course but note that the course is only .65 miles long. These turns come fast. I was told last year's 4 crit was about 27 or so laps.

Quote:
Rob, good luck on Saturday. Watch for jmechy, he's on the war path. Find his wheel and stay on it.
Will do. Obvioucly I've gotta work for the team too (we have a plan ) but I will watch for him.

Cheers

Rob
robncircus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 08:09 PM   #16
zzzwillzzz
shut up and ride
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: noho
Bikes: supersix hi-mod,burley duet tandem,woodrup track,cannondale cross,specialized road
Posts: 1,947
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
i'm confused, you are just a warm up ride away from the lax race and you are gonna race a hundred miles away?
zzzwillzzz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 08:13 PM   #17
robncircus 
Gunner.
Thread Starter
 
robncircus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Bikes:
Posts: 1,713
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by zzzwillzzz View Post
i'm confused, you are just a warm up ride away from the lax race and you are gonna race a hundred miles away?
I'm a wildcard like that. There are several of us driving out
robncircus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 09:37 PM   #18
ijunes
Last decade's model
 
ijunes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Culver City, CA
Bikes: Felt CA1, Cannondale Capo, Bridgestone 112
Posts: 153
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
im going to the lavra race, redlands in the morning and driving back for circuit.
ijunes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-10, 11:31 PM   #19
Crash716
i got nothing.
 
Crash716's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Cali Forn NI A (SoCal)
Bikes: 13 BH G6 with SRAM Red
Posts: 5,620
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
redlands is a tough course...Good luck...i won't be racing it!!
__________________
14 days...
Crash716 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-10, 02:35 AM   #20
carpediemracing
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tariffville, CT
Bikes: Tsunami Bikes
Posts: 14,622
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 84 Post(s)
Tip on hairpins, with a couple catches. First, you need to be able to corner. Second, you need to be able to move up extremely quickly - usually this implies you have a jump. Third, you need to be prepared for a world of hurt when you move up.

With that out of the way...

If you find yourself in trouble early on and you can't get into the first bit of the field, go all the way to the back. Use the hairpin as a recovery point. You should be able to coast a good 10-15 seconds before the corner, letting yourself get gapped off the back. Drink, stretch, etc. Then hit the turn at full speed. If you time it right you'll coast right back onto the tail of the field as they accelerate out of the turn. You shouldn't need to do more than a few hard pedal strokes. If you do this right you'll be amazed at how easy you can ride. I've watched my HR drop into the 130s in a highly competitive crit with hard turns, 120s even. Do this until your legs are better.

When it's time to move up (has to be earlier than later, because you're going to cram in 5 laps of efficient move up into 1-2 laps of inefficient move up, and you need the field to be less than totally strung out) you do the following:
1. Steel yourself for a hard couple laps. Mentally commit.
2. Wait for the field to ease up. Maybe 5 laps to go? 7 laps? Just before everyone turns on the gas again.
3. Hit the hairpin a bit closer to the field. Go superwide into the hairpin and carry what speed you can.
4. Sprint out of the turn instead of just coasting out. You should be able to pass 20 guys doing this because you're taking a better line, you're accelerating when they're still trying to stay off the outside curb, and you've lined up a nice arc free of any constraints before the turn.
5. Go crazy for the next lap, try to get into that "inside the top 20" bit of the field. I'd even say 10th-15th. You need to get there before the hairpin. You should be making your last huge move to get up there on the straight before the hairpin. Skip subtlety, you need to get the eff up there.
6. If you don't make it to the front, follow wheels into the hairpin, jump hard, and keep up the effort. I can only do this for two laps.

Staying in the top 10-15 is great but requires a huge engine. You have to fight lap after lap to maintain position, and the main reason is to be able to control acceleration out of the turn - at the front you accelerate less since you slow for less time. But after a few laps it's quite hard to hold a strong position like that.

If I was targeting the race I'd go hard at the gun, try to gain that top 10-15 spot, and then see how it goes. If guys are just drilling it every lap and I can surf relatively worry free inside the top 20, that's great, I'd keep doing it. If there are huge pauses and surges elsewhere on the course and holding that forward position pushes me over the edge I'd revert to plan B above.

Hope this helps
cdr
carpediemracing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-10, 02:50 AM   #21
botto 
.
 
botto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 40,364
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by robncircus View Post
thanks for the replies. I know it's not the hardest course but note that the course is only .65 miles long. These turns come fast. I was told last year's 4 crit was about 27 or so laps.

Will do. Obvioucly I've gotta work for the team too (we have a plan ) but I will watch for him.

Cheers

Rob
a cat 4 team with a plan? what would that be: not to all crash out?
botto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-10, 05:13 AM   #22
Apus^2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Looking for my right leg muscles.
Bikes: 2000 Cannondale CAAD3 Triple 105/Ultegra
Posts: 1,202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I loved our cat 4 team plans. They crumbled before the race even started.
Apus^2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-10, 05:56 AM   #23
Bobby Lex
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 1,616
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Random thoughts:

1. What will lowering your stem do that bending your elbows a few degrees can't accomplish as well?

2. 3 laps into your race you will realize that you don't even need to be in your drops (much less worry about lowering your stem) during that hairpin turn. Even the lead guy in the pack (who has the luxury of picking the "perfect line") will still only be doing about 18 mph through that hairpin. And everybody behind him will be going slower than that.

3. Some corners you can pedal through without losing any speed at all. Most corners you can at least carve at full speed with minimal coasting. But some corners require braking no matter how skilled you are at cornering. 180 degree hairpin turns on a narrow course at the end of a long straightaway is a corner where you will have to brake. Lowering your stem won't change that.

4. I'd be more concerned about clipping a pedal in that turn rather than being able to carve it at full speed. Without a doubt that is a slow-speed corner. You might be better served by considering shorter crankarms or slimmer pedals for that corner instead of messing with your stem.

5. IMO the key to getting through that corner is going to be your position in the pack. Not your position on the bike. The accordian effect that everyone dreads will be amplified by that turn. If you are not in the first 5 guys every lap that corner is going to take its toll. And if you are one of the lead guys, make sure that you accelerate sharply coming out of that corner each lap. That will kill everybody in back of you. (Imagine being one of the guys forced to scrub speed as you approach that corner, while watching the lead guys already coming out of that turn out of the saddle sprinting past you in the opposite direction! They're doing 20 mph on their way to 28 mph. You're doing 20 mph on your way to 14 mph. Bummer).

6. The other reason to be near the front at that turn in every lap is because there WILL be crashes there. Maybe not high speed broken bones type crashes. But nevertheless there will be crashes. And if you get caught behind one of them, there's a good chance that you'll never be able to get back to the lead group. Especially if they attack when they hear the crash (which is pretty routine).

7. I'm all for tweaking your position on your bike from time to time for fit/comfort/efficiency/power reasons. So in that sense BR makes a good point as a general rule of thumb. But that doesn't mean that it makes any sense to do so solely on the basis of one turn in one race.

Bob

Last edited by Bobby Lex; 03-26-10 at 06:01 AM.
Bobby Lex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-10, 07:22 AM   #24
waterrockets 
Making a kilometer blurry
 
waterrockets's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Austin (near TX)
Bikes: rkwaki's porn collection
Posts: 26,130
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by botto View Post
a cat 4 team with a plan? what would that be: not to all crash out?
I remember my first win (Cat 4), we had these great plans to support our climber. I sat in the top 5 to keep things together up there until he made his move. It was a circuit race with a 2-minute 7% climb every 1.5 miles. My idiot climber teammate spends two laps at the front duking it out with another guy while they both kill each other's legs... without any sort of gap. I'm sitting 3 wheels behind him telling him to knock it off, but his ego was too big.

Well, a couple other guys who also had their upgrade points started drilling it at the front and dropped all my teammates. Coming into the climb at the end I was 5th wheel. At 1' to go, everyone in front of me had died, and I did my first ever WRI (from the front of the field) to try to not be the next guy to die, and I won.

Too bad I didn't make the connection back then to the kilo attack. I thought I won because everyone else screwed up.

The team tactics were a joke, but they did keep me up front that day, when I was planning to just get in a good training ride with a pack finish and apply for the upgrade that week.
waterrockets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-10, 10:56 AM   #25
EventServices
Announcer
 
EventServices's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Detroit's North Side.
Bikes: Many
Posts: 5,075
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Changing the geometry of the bike at the last minute is a great idea. (<----note sarcasm)
A better idea is to spend some time working on your cornering skills on your current set-up which is capable of negotiating ANY turn you'll ever see.
EventServices is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:38 AM.