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.