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Old 07-28-11, 11:01 PM   #1
mindaugas
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Another first crit post/report

I raced CSP Table Mountain, which is a training crit, so not sure if this counts. It was as expected fast slow, fast slow. I held on until the second to last lap, which I thought was the last lap. There was a massive acceleration on that last lap though, so I doubt I could have hung on anyway. Finished about half a lap behind the big group. Course is great, wide, easy corners. Everyone was extremely friendly, I got tons of advice, learned a lot, and didn't cause any crashes. I was very careful and stuck to the back 1/3rd of the group and on the outside. I made sure to stay behind wheels, not next to them (that's overlapping right?). A much more detailed account can be found here.

And that's the one thing I wished I learned better, what exactly is overlapping?
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Old 07-29-11, 06:18 AM   #2
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Thanks for the report. I hope to be able to post about my own first training crit soonish
This recent thread has some good stuff on overlapping wheels: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...lapping-wheels
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Old 07-29-11, 07:56 AM   #3
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Thanks, that's a great thread. It helps to see it in action as well. Sadly, this happened to my rear wheel in the CO Bike MS last year, some guy on a very nice Felt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sH2KLFjH5Q (minute 39:50 is the crash)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg5IgQVfwO4 (another shorter one)

Can't wait to hear about your first crit. Don't read too much about and scare yourself like I did.

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Old 07-29-11, 08:09 AM   #4
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You can't avoid overlapping wheels in a race, and in some cases, you will do it on purpose. The important thing is to not have your front wheel so closely overlapped to the rear wheel of the guy in front of you, that if he makes a small move sideways, he clips your front wheel and causes you to crash.
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Old 07-29-11, 08:10 AM   #5
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Great first report, the detailed one.

I love:
"After spending all day reading and watching videos, basically scaring the **** out of myself, I headed off for the race"

Also, when you start a race, unless you're at the base of a steep hill, always start in the big ring. You know that now. Big ring, one of the bigger cogs. And get rid of the habit of back-pedaling to "reset" your pedal. In the big-big or big-second-biggest, back pedaling will derail the chain in the back. Not a big deal, just rotate the pedals forward (if you're daring you can just lift the rear wheel with one foot clipped in and pedal, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is already nervous at the line).

You made a great and realistic start to your racing. I'm sure you'll have a great time racing in the years and decades to come.

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Old 07-29-11, 08:19 AM   #6
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Also, when you start a race, unless you're at the base of a steep hill, always start in the big ring.
I looked around at what ring everyone else was in felt even more like a noob. Exactly, next time big ring. Once you get in the groove as well, you barely shift.
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Old 07-29-11, 08:21 AM   #7
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As far as overlapping wheels, it's a matter of learning fine speed control, i.e. knowing when to coast and when to pedal. I learned that I tend to coast or soft pedal a lot, then when the gap starts to grow a touch (like out to a foot) I do a quick downstroke to close it up. I do this subconsciously now and only learned I do this when I rode a tandem (and the pedals suddenly pushed back as I had 350+ lbs of bike/riders I needed to accelerate across 4-5" of gap).

Overlapping wheels is a subset of drafting. When you draft you follow a rider. If you pedal a bit too enthusiastically or the rider in front slows down or it's a downhill (and you gain automatically), you need to avoid hitting the rider in front. You can do one of a few things:
1. Touch your brakes. Usually this is the first reaction, and going into turns, down hills, at the end of moving up hard, or on fast straights, it's okay to touch brakes lightly. You should brake lightly if you brake at all unless everyone else is braking hard (like before diving into a turn).

If you're braking and no one else is, you're doing something wrong. Look around, observe, and try and figure it out. It's probably pedaling too long as you close a small gap, causing you to close it too quickly, forcing you to brake. Which then opens the gap. Which you close too quickly. Etc.

2. Move into the wind a bit. I learned the hard way that if you move into the wind too much someone will take your wheel. This slows you down but you'll be overlapped for a few seconds. Try it on group rides or rides with one or two other people (ideally when you're in second spot, and overlap to the side the rider will NOT move to when they pull off). In other words if everyone pulls off to the left on the training ride, overlap to the right. Coast a bit, and move in gently when you've cleared the rear wheel.

3. Something else. Hit brakes hard (if folks are crashing or it's an emergency), hand out to push rider away, hit the rear wheel with your front, etc. These are not normal reactions and should be saved for extreme emergencies. You should also practice these things in a safer/controlled environment. Touching wheels on grass while wearing full length protective clothing. Touching other riders on training rides. Brakes... well, you should practice braking hard every time you ride. My default time to practice is when I roll up to the garage when I get home (or the car if I drove to a ride). I try and get as close to the house/car as I can with the rear wheel as unweighted as possible (ideally in the air). Teaches fine brake control while making hard braking maneuvers, teaches balance, and it's fun.
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Old 07-29-11, 08:39 AM   #8
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I always start in the small ring, middle-ish of the cassette... I get lots of hole-shots because I can accelerate off the line faster.
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Old 07-29-11, 11:17 AM   #9
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Good job. When I first raced a crit, last year at CSP, I was OTB in lap 4. So congrats.
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Old 07-29-11, 11:48 AM   #10
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Don't feel bad about the bib issue. We all screw up every now and then.

I had just started off on a ride with our elite team (P/1/2, I am a 3). A few minutes later I hear a comment behind me.

SMC: "Looks like someone had a wardrobe malfunction today".
Me: "I can't see what you're looking at so please tell me what's wrong".
SMC: "You forgot to put on your bib straps".

Doh. We all pulled over while I fixed the issue, feeling like a total dork. It happens.

I liked your report. I had a lot of those same feelings in my first race this year, although I did not get dropped. The jitters, though, were in high gear, and I've done hundreds of races.

Keep up the great work. Learn as much as you can about yourself and racing. Good luck with your season.
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Old 07-29-11, 11:49 AM   #11
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Further to CDR's post...The wife and I have taken to rubbing elbows as we are doing our cool down riding home...Nothing too crazy, since we are on the open road, but enough to get you use to the sensation of someone being that close...
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Old 07-29-11, 11:58 AM   #12
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Further to CDR's post...The wife and I have taken to rubbing elbows as we are doing our cool down riding home...Nothing too crazy, since we are on the open road, but enough to get you use to the sensation of someone being that close...
I'm going to bite my tongue on this one.
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Old 07-29-11, 12:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
SMC: "Looks like someone had a wardrobe malfunction today".
Me: "I can't see what you're looking at so please tell me what's wrong".
SMC: "You forgot to put on your bib straps".
That's awesome. I've nearly done the same on a few occasions.

My first race...I didn't even own a pair of bibs yet and I decided to wear an under armor shirt rather than a jersey (wanted something plain w/o markings). The guys behind me saw a lot of crack that day.

Nice report mindaugus.

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Old 07-29-11, 12:05 PM   #14
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I'm going to bite my tongue on this one.
We are married you know
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Old 07-29-11, 12:16 PM   #15
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Number pinning - even now, in the P123 races, there are inevitably those that pin their number upside down.

I try and use the side seam as the base of my number. Pretty good safe bet for cameras, as long as you have it on the correct side:



btw I won the team award for "weirdest pre-race ritual" based on my more-than-4-pins pin jobs. This year the Missus pointed out some people when I was getting ready for a race. They were all sporting 9-12-15 pins each.

"Hm, they must have read your blog."
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Old 07-29-11, 12:53 PM   #16
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CDR, your number pinning influence has spread like wildfire through the NE Master's ranks.
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Old 07-29-11, 01:34 PM   #17
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I always use at least 6 pins.

Don't crumple the number. That makes it a lot more difficult for the scorers to read. Make it easy for them.

If you pin it flat and with enough pins it won't flap. I put the jersey over the steering wheel, or on the bed at the motel the night before.
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Old 07-29-11, 01:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
Don't feel bad about the bib issue. We all screw up every now and then.

I had just started off on a ride with our elite team (P/1/2, I am a 3). A few minutes later I hear a comment behind me.

SMC: "Looks like someone had a wardrobe malfunction today".
Me: "I can't see what you're looking at so please tell me what's wrong".
SMC: "You forgot to put on your bib straps".
If you tuck them in right, no one will know ....and it makes those last minute bathroom breaks a lot easier.
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Old 07-29-11, 01:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
btw I won the team award for "weirdest pre-race ritual" based on my more-than-4-pins pin jobs. This year the Missus pointed out some people when I was getting ready for a race. They were all sporting 9-12-15 pins each.

"Hm, they must have read your blog."
ROFL.

Making an impact on society, one step at a time.
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Old 07-29-11, 01:53 PM   #20
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I always use at least 6 pins.

Don't crumple the number. That makes it a lot more difficult for the scorers to read. Make it easy for them.

If you pin it flat and with enough pins it won't flap. I put the jersey over the steering wheel, or on the bed at the motel the night before.
You're right. All my number pictures are post race, usually after the jersey gets jammed in the bag of stuff for the laundry for the trip home. My numbers, except for the Rent numbers, are usually not crumpled when I race. I may have folded the number to put it in my pocket, but never intentionally crumpled. Easier to pin a straight number.
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Old 07-29-11, 02:25 PM   #21
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There ought to be a proper pinning video.

I'm at least a 6 pin guy plus glue if it's a TT or I plan on being off the front for long periods.
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Old 07-29-11, 02:27 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
Number pinning - even now, in the P123 races, there are inevitably those that pin their number upside down.
If your number is "13" you are expected to pin it on upside-down.
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Old 07-29-11, 04:00 PM   #23
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Thanks guys for all the advice.

Quote:
I try and get as close to the house/car as I can with the rear wheel as unweighted as possible (ideally in the air). Teaches fine brake control while making hard braking maneuvers, teaches balance, and it's fun.
Riding fast in downtown traffic at rush hour helps with bike handling But I also try and practice hard braking, and maneuvering slowly as much as possible. While I was racing though, I felt more comfortable than ever on my bike. Everything just felt natural for lack of a better description.

I used six pins, still flapped around. Now that I have a number, I can pin it on pre-race and fold it's smaller and easier to pin.
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Old 07-29-11, 04:02 PM   #24
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Good job. When I first raced a crit, last year at CSP, I was OTB in lap 4. So congrats.
I heard the race varies each week. I think I got an easier one, I heard the accelerations were still hard, but they just didn't go as long. Until the last lap, quite a few people comments on that big surge.
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Old 07-29-11, 04:11 PM   #25
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I can pin it on pre-race and fold it's smaller and easier to pin.
Might want to check with the officials...some of them get a bit bent when you fold the number smaller in part because it doesn't show up well for the camera.
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