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  1. #1
    Senior Member Hapsmo911's Avatar
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    First Crit race today.

    I went to the Early Bird Crit. today in Fremont Ca. There was a race clinic before the race. They had us doing pacelines with mentors, hitting the little smurfs in the road at speed, tried to show us how to corner, that kind of thing. Its hard for me to make most of the group rides in my area so this was helpful.
    My friend crashed right in front of me during practice. The guy right in front of him locked his rear brake and my buddy touched his rear wheel, and went over the bars. I nearly creamed into him as I was on his wheel but managed to go to the right without too much contact, and stayed up. He broke his saddle and had to barrow another one. He ended up crossing the line second during the race so I guess it all worked out for him.
    It was kinda scary at times. Some people couldnt figure out how to rotate, and lots of people were hitting the brakes near corners.
    When the race was to start we lined up and since there was maybe 100 riders in the Cat 5 30-44 year olds, they split the field. I ended up starting in the front which was not part of my plan. Didnt seem to matter much though. I fell into mid pack after the first turn. One thing I learned I was doing wrong was not pedaling through the corners. I was doing way too much work after every corner. Next time I wont do this lol.
    During the race the mentors were mixed in the field yelling helpful tips. If someone got dropped they would pace them back in. They didn't score the finish but we got points for starting.
    All in all it was a great thing, and I liked it a lot. I will be out next week. The clinics last four weeks, and I am hoping to learn all I can before the races start in Feb.

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    The clinics sound great!


    But I don't really advise pedaling through the corners. If you bring speed into the corner, you need to lean you bike and if you pedal you risk striking your pedal onto the ground. Instead, don't break and take the straightest, fastest possible line - entering the corner from the outside going inside at the apex and existing wide. Also, gear down before you enter the corner so when you start pedaling again (the instant the bike is mostly upright) you are in the appropriate gear to accelerate.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BudFox's Avatar
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    I did the same clinic and race. The clinic started out as expected, very unorganized, but eventually smoothed out in our group. When we got up to over 20mph doing pace lines the mentor told us to slow down because we were at race speed. That turned out to be a bit of an understatement because the actual race averaged about 26mph. I got dropped on the first lap and ended up in a 3-5 person chase most of the race, only to be lapped by the pack 25 minutes in. That was about when a mentor pointed out I had a busted spoke. I looked back to see my rear wheel wobbling and when I stopped the rim was firmly lodged against the brake. I heard a ping somewhere in the first lap so I can only guess how long I was riding with a rubbing brake. I was very discouraged at my performance but now I have to wonder if I could have kept up with the pack with a good wheel. My fastest lap was only 25mph. Not a good experience for my first race.

  4. #4
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BudFox View Post
    I did the same clinic and race. The clinic started out as expected, very unorganized, but eventually smoothed out in our group. When we got up to over 20mph doing pace lines the mentor told us to slow down because we were at race speed. That turned out to be a bit of an understatement because the actual race averaged about 26mph. I got dropped on the first lap and ended up in a 3-5 person chase most of the race, only to be lapped by the pack 25 minutes in. That was about when a mentor pointed out I had a busted spoke. I looked back to see my rear wheel wobbling and when I stopped the rim was firmly lodged against the brake. I heard a ping somewhere in the first lap so I can only guess how long I was riding with a rubbing brake. I was very discouraged at my performance but now I have to wonder if I could have kept up with the pack with a good wheel. My fastest lap was only 25mph. Not a good experience for my first race.
    Forget about it - go try again.

  5. #5
    Senior Member agoodale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
    The clinics sound great!


    But I don't really advise pedaling through the corners. If you bring speed into the corner, you need to lean you bike and if you pedal you risk striking your pedal onto the ground. Instead, don't break and take the straightest, fastest possible line - entering the corner from the outside going inside at the apex and existing wide. Also, gear down before you enter the corner so when you start pedaling again (the instant the bike is mostly upright) you are in the appropriate gear to accelerate.
    ^wut? Although some corners are too sharp to pedal through most aren't. It's best to hold your line, follow the wheel in front of you, and pedal through to maintain speed. This will reduce the accordion effect of riding mid to back of the pack. Another option is to slow (or brake if necessary) early, let a small gap open, and then pedal through to maintain & increase speed as you re-attach to the group. +1 on gearing down on slower corners.

  6. #6
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    You didn't crash and you don't want to quit racing. It sounds like you "won" today. Welcome to the sport
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  7. #7
    Draught jwible's Avatar
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    Keep on sucking 'til you succeed. That's what kept me going last year!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hapsmo911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
    But I don't really advise pedaling through the corners.
    I thought the same thing thats why I wasnt pedaling, but the mentors were yelling to pedal through and I was getting shelled after every corner having to sprint to catchup as everyone else was pedaling through.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hapsmo911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
    You didn't crash and you don't want to quit racing. It sounds like you "won" today. Welcome to the sport
    Thanks, and yeah the not crashing, or causing a crash was top of the list of what not to do today.

  10. #10
    Senior Member milliron's Avatar
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    I was there too. First crit for me. Was in the first group of U30 5s. Didn't really learn anything from the clinic but it was a good refresher.

    During the race I just kept my head up and chilled out in the group. Was a nice ride once I got warm enough to feel my fingers and toes again.

    Quote Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
    But I don't really advise pedaling through the corners.
    Negative. Easy corners. I had no problem soft pedaling through them at the speed we were going.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hapsmo911 View Post
    I thought the same thing thats why I wasnt pedaling, but the mentors were yelling to pedal through and I was getting shelled after every corner having to sprint to catchup as everyone else was pedaling through.
    Yeah, only corner I think I sprinted out of was the last.

  11. #11
    B+ roadie I guess? acaurora's Avatar
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    I was also there in the U30 cat5s. Having never raced in my life, I definitely did like how helpful the mentors were, and came to realize that I need to change my bars out as riding in the drops the whole time, I was noticing my wrists hitting the hoods pretty often. During the crits it was definitely cool to see how the entire peloton seemed to move as one unit, especially towards the final laps as we took the final turn. I think the coolest part though was how organized it was. I was expecting craziness for all laps, but it ended up being quite mellow and in my mind I was just like "oh, this isn't so bad".

    I definitely plan on trying harder to move up in the race next week, as this week I stayed primarily in the back just to watch and see how everyone behaved.

    Am sorry to hear about the crash in the 30+ I wish you all the best of luck in the coming weeks for the clinics, and I hope to see you all out there (I'll be in a Folsom Bike kit )
    2013 BMC GranFondo GF01 Stealth w/Ultegra 10spd Di2 | 2010 Specialized Tarmac Expert SL Double SOLD | 2010 Specialized Allez Sport Compact SOLD | 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport SOLD

  12. #12
    Yep
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    Forget about it - go try again.
    +1. I was a complete disaster in most of the races in my first season. My first race was a rainy NorCal 4/5 crit in which I was dropped within two laps. I'm certainly no natural and I could have quit that first day and never looked back.

    Now a couple years later I've got the points to be a 3.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryanf
    its a start: 1. measure thighs 2. get on bike 3. win
    cat 2 - 1/30

  13. #13
    B+ roadie I guess? acaurora's Avatar
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    Did anyone see the guy that came all the way from >>SALT LAKE CITY<< for the U30 CAT5?! I was floored when I heard where he came from. That is dedication right there.
    2013 BMC GranFondo GF01 Stealth w/Ultegra 10spd Di2 | 2010 Specialized Tarmac Expert SL Double SOLD | 2010 Specialized Allez Sport Compact SOLD | 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport SOLD

  14. #14
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    I will be your mentor
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  15. #15
    Senior Member obiwan kenobi's Avatar
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    I went too, did the 45+ men's cat 5, haven't raced in years and back then it was mostly mountain.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
    But I don't really advise pedaling through the corners.
    You shouldn't advise on what you don't know.

  17. #17
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    I was there. Anybody in the U30 cat5 saw me pedaling easy off to the left of the road.

    Got dropped after two laps and didn't have it in me any longer. So I decided to just wait for you guys to come around and pick me up so I could have some time in the group.

    Did better in juniors.

  18. #18
    slow up hills kudude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
    The clinics sound great!


    But I don't really advise pedaling through the corners. If you bring speed into the corner, you need to lean you bike and if you pedal you risk striking your pedal onto the ground. Instead, don't break and take the straightest, fastest possible line - entering the corner from the outside going inside at the apex and existing wide. Also, gear down before you enter the corner so when you start pedaling again (the instant the bike is mostly upright) you are in the appropriate gear to accelerate.
    you don't race, huh? Not a whole lot of crits where you get to pick your line (especially THAT one) through corners.
    Quote Originally Posted by mr_tom View Post
    Cycling isn't a sport. It's more like a really, really expensive eating disorder.

  19. #19
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Not all corners are created equal. The Fremont Early Birds are in a corporate park with big easy corners. You definitely want to pedal through those. Davis, on the other hand....
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  20. #20
    B+ roadie I guess? acaurora's Avatar
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    Yes the corners were easy. All the gravel, tree leaves, and broken pavement was a whole other thing. But then again I've never raced before, so I don't know if that is to be expected.
    2013 BMC GranFondo GF01 Stealth w/Ultegra 10spd Di2 | 2010 Specialized Tarmac Expert SL Double SOLD | 2010 Specialized Allez Sport Compact SOLD | 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport SOLD

  21. #21
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Oh, and congrats and welcome!
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  22. #22
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Congrats to all the NorCal participants and welcome.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  23. #23
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Not all corners are created equal. The Fremont Early Birds are in a corporate park with big easy corners. You definitely want to pedal through those. Davis, on the other hand....
    What you can pedal through them. I have a scrapped pedal to prove it.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  24. #24
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    What you can pedal through them. I have a scrapped pedal to prove it.
    You can pedal through anything - you just might not be able to finish the corner
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kudude View Post
    you don't race, huh? Not a whole lot of crits where you get to pick your line (especially THAT one) through corners.
    I do race, actually. And you are right that the best line is often not available. But if riders takes care to position themselves well (ie, near the front), a pretty decent line is often available - I realize that this isn't always possible, and have taken a good deal of suboptimal lines in my life. However, I hate to advise new racers to pedals through corners (but granted, I didn't see the corners in discussion, and it sounds like they were pretty wide open and not too sharp) because in a fast race with skilled riders, even tight corners will be taken really fast, and pedaling through could be dangerous. I like new racers, and even experienced racers, to practice cornering at speed, and to practice taking different lines, and to safely get a feel for what corners can be pedaled through and/or the earliest possible point in the exit from a corner when one can start pedaling.

    . . . but I do confess to being extra conservative in this regard, and have a teammate who is always pushing me in practice to start pedaling a couple of seconds earlier when exiting corners :-)

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