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  1. #1
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    How do I get the most out of Cat 5 racing?

    I'm a triathlete, but due to a non-sport related injury I can't swim for a while and I've decided to skip my late summer A race and give bike racing a try instead (the bike is my weak link, so this'll be good base for next year). I do group rides every now and then and am comfortable in a pack, but I'm curious how I can best learn in the Cat 5 races. I'm a fairly strong rider (4.3w/kg and a 57 minute 40k), but I'm more of a solid effort rider.

    So basically I want to know what I should be doing to best take advantage of Cat 5 races. I'm not concerned with placing, I just want to learn enough that once I get my 10 races done I can be comfortable and safe in the 4s and hopefully successful. Any good posts to show me what I want to learn or how to learn it?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    Just go race, hold your line, watch your front front wheel and have fun. You might do some interval work to help with keeping up with surges and sprints, and maybe find someone to do some bump drills with so you are comfortable with a little contact. I would suggest seeking out crits since they will be better at building the kinds of skills you don't get from training for triathlons.
    Last edited by Debusama; 07-10-12 at 05:05 AM.
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  3. #3
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Race lots. Don't die.

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Try different stuff out. Go for a flyer, let them chase you. Sit in and try a group sprint, learn what racing is all about. It is the surges and d-bags that will hurt you. Don't be in a rush to cat up.
    "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

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    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Field sprints!
    Cat 1 o-meter: 24/35 points

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  7. #7
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Try different stuff out. Go for a flyer, let them chase you. Sit in and try a group sprint, learn what racing is all about. It is the surges and d-bags that will hurt you. Don't be in a rush to cat up.
    +1

    Cat 5 was intended to improve rider safety. It matters not one ounce whether you finish first or last, so if safe, you can do so much more with it. Find your strengths & weaknesses. Find other riders'. Learn some tactics.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  8. #8
    Underwhelming MrTuner1970's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    +1

    Cat 5 was intended to improve rider safety. It matters not one ounce whether you finish first or last, so if safe, you can do so much more with it. Find your strengths & weaknesses. Find other riders'. Learn some tactics.
    This is my first year racing. Some of the Crash 5 races I've been in definitely were lacking in the safety department. It has improved as the racing season has progressed.

    I enjoy the racing, but fear the crashes. So far haven't gotten hurt. I'm 41 with two kids, so safety is actually my first objective. Stay away from the folks who don't shave their legs. Some of them can actually ride, but others are total doofuses.

    Be ready for constant shouts of "Slowing!" and then a sudden surge as some idiot at the front prepares to blow up. Repeat that about 30-40 times in the first 5 miles.

    I mostly ride in the back of the peloton. Some of it is fitness, but you can watch for crashes better. That, or ride near the very front. I find moving up in the peloton one of my least favorite things.

    Pick good bike handlers to ride behind. Learn to spot those who are gonna get dropped and move up past them so you won't get dropped with them.

    Be ultra-alert. You'll pick up what you need the more you race.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DropDeadFred's Avatar
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    I've only been in one race so far but I learned a ton very quickly. I stayed up front, and away from the middle/back. The 2 times I was consumed into that group things got hairy, and it was because of a few guys that just weren't comfortable in the group and on their bike. If you're going to be up front, you should be working with the people that are up there, you might be safer, but you'll use more energy being up there.
    There weren't any significant moves being made that I couldn't shut down but you want to watch for them just in case, it really all came down to good positioning in the end and making your move at the right time. There was a serious crash in the last km towards the finish because people started jockeying for position for the sprint. Again, it doesn't matter where you finish, it just matters that you finish.

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    Senior Member topflightpro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Try different stuff out. Go for a flyer, let them chase you. Sit in and try a group sprint, learn what racing is all about. It is the surges and d-bags that will hurt you. Don't be in a rush to cat up.
    I'll second (or third?) this.

  11. #11
    Mr. Dopolina Bob Dopolina's Avatar
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    Stay upright.
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  12. #12
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
    Stay upright.
    Rule 1: Don't cause a crash.

    Rule 2: DON'T CAUSE A CRASH.

    Rule 3: Don't crash.

    Also find the local hammerfest and ride it. There you will be riding with folks with lots of experience in a fast group setting.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  13. #13
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Join a club. Do the club rides, especially training rides, with upper category racers. Listen and learn from them.

    If there is a racing clinic in your area, do it, even if it comes down to a 4 hour round trip drive for a 15 lap race. You will learn a lot, in a very safe environment. Ask questions. I see riders I've mentored every week at the races. I help them with strategy. It's fun to watch it play out.

    Finally, I've seen dozens of triathletes enter bike racing do the same thing. They ride off the front in their first race and win, so they do that the following week, and win again. Then they think they know all there is to know. Winning in Cat5 means nothing. Cat5 is for learning, about racing, about yourself, about your strengths and weaknesses. As a triathelete, you know you are strong and have good endurance, so put that to good use in a break. Do a kilo effort in the last laps of a race. Figure out where your sprint stacks up, and then get to work on improving it. Take a flyer at a good feature point on a course and try and start a break. Attack after a break has been caught. Whatever you do, just don't ride off the front solo every time.

  14. #14
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Join a club. Do the club rides, especially training rides, with upper category racers. Listen and learn from them.

    If there is a racing clinic in your area, do it, even if it comes down to a 4 hour round trip drive for a 15 lap race. You will learn a lot, in a very safe environment. Ask questions. I see riders I've mentored every week at the races. I help them with strategy. It's fun to watch it play out.

    Finally, I've seen dozens of triathletes enter bike racing do the same thing. They ride off the front in their first race and win, so they do that the following week, and win again. Then they think they know all there is to know. Winning in Cat5 means nothing. Cat5 is for learning, about racing, about yourself, about your strengths and weaknesses. As a triathelete, you know you are strong and have good endurance, so put that to good use in a break. Do a kilo effort in the last laps of a race. Figure out where your sprint stacks up, and then get to work on improving it. Take a flyer at a good feature point on a course and try and start a break. Attack after a break has been caught. Whatever you do, just don't ride off the front solo every time.
    Our upgrade official won't allow you to upgrade if this is how you spend your time.
    "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
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Our upgrade official won't allow you to upgrade if this is how you spend your time.
    That is stupid on your local upgrade officials' part. So a new Greg Lemond/Floyd Landis would be stuck in Cat 5 forever where you live?

    The only difference between a "4" and a "5" is that the "4" paid for enough races to upgrade and actually did them. Doing them and wanting to do more is the real barrier to overcome.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  16. #16
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    It makes sense to me - the point of cat 5 is to learn pack riding skills, not winning. (hence forcing riders to do some pack riding, not just ride off the front)
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
    That is stupid on your local upgrade officials' part. So a new Greg Lemond/Floyd Landis would be stuck in Cat 5 forever where you live?

    The only difference between a "4" and a "5" is that the "4" paid for enough races to upgrade and actually did them. Doing them and wanting to do more is the real barrier to overcome.
    Maybe he meant the guy can't upgrade to 4 early based on solo wins ?
    Still needs to do 10 races.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  18. #18
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    Maybe he meant the guy can't upgrade to 4 early based on solo wins ?
    Still needs to do 10 races.
    Sorry incomplete post on my part. They won't upgrade riders if all the rider is doing is soloing off the front. They want to see you spending time in the pack. I have a friend who started racing this year (was a tri guy before) and is a beast but they wouldn't let him upgrade until he hit 20 races. He has won several races.
    "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

  19. #19
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    So basically just do everything I can possibly think of (short of headbutting people at races) and save trying to win until I can comfortably cat up.

  20. #20
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Did you actually read what I wrote?

  21. #21
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    Yup, and joining a club and such fits in with doing everything I can think of.

  22. #22
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Great. Yet another cocky Cat5 who can't read, and knows everything they need to know already. Good luck with your career.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Blossom's Avatar
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    There are two things you want to learn:

    First is how to act safely in a big group. You want to be safe and consistent and learn how to move around. Do a couple of crits with the idea of sitting at the back at watching the surges and people doing stupid stuff. Watching somebody dive into the corner and screw it up teaches you not to do that.

    Second is the mental game. You should try to figure out when attacks happen and why. Being a strong rider means you can recover from missing something and not be out of the race. So per race you get to see and experience more.

    Go race and learn what works and what doesn't for yourself and for other people.

  24. #24
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    I am a new racer this year and my method is
    1. Research
    2. Ask questions
    3. Race as often as I can with an emphasis on not crashing or causing a crash
    4. Try to hang with the fast guys in my club (pretty much the entire club).
    5. Look at my race afterward to see where I went wrong and how to improve.

  25. #25
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Great. Yet another cocky Cat5 who can't read, and knows everything they need to know already. Good luck with your career.
    but doooooode, his ewang is huge! How could you not take it into consideration?

    he's just throbbing to explode onto the scene, though it's likely that he will find his efforts turn flaccid prematurely while impotently watching others stream past him.

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