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    Senior Member sebo2000's Avatar
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    Racing crits tips anyone?

    I started to race crits, it seems to be completely different beast from road bike racers. I feel I'm loosing too much energy on sudden out of corners accelerations then I breaking because the pack slows down....

    What am I doing wrong, here is video from last week:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3VBzSbOO-k

    Where is the best place to be and how when to attack? Sometimes Iím finding myself super exhausted and at the very en and sometimes still plenty of power left and still in the middle. It is tons of fun, but I canít figure out when to make the move.

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    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Have you looked through the thread in the sticky 2 posts up?

    Here.
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

  3. #3
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Yeah, read the sticky, and ask questions based on that info.

    In the video:
    -stop it with the feathering of brakes all the time
    -shrink your sphere of comfort and get closer -- you're barely drafting most of the time
    -if the acceleration out of corners is too much, stay towards the front. It's much easier up there. Otherwise, give the people in front of you some room into the corner so you don't have to slow as you go through it, then you can move up since you'll be going faster coming out of the corner.

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jandro View Post
    Have you looked through the thread in the sticky 2 posts up?

    Here.
    Ahhhh aren't you the nice forum citizen.....



    Ah **** another Canadian...
    "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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    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Ahhhh aren't you the passive-aggressive forum citizen.....



    Ah **** another Canadian...
    ftfy
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

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    Senior Member sebo2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    Yeah, read the sticky, and ask questions based on that info.

    In the video:
    -stop it with the feathering of brakes all the time
    -shrink your sphere of comfort and get closer -- you're barely drafting most of the time
    -if the acceleration out of corners is too much, stay towards the front. It's much easier up there. Otherwise, give the people in front of you some room into the corner so you don't have to slow as you go through it, then you can move up since you'll be going faster coming out of the corner.
    Thanks a lot those are comments I was looking for, I didn't realize I'm feathering of breaks, I found myself few times towards the front and indeed it was easier but I guess I got scared I will not last and slowed down making the situation even worst because that is where I get killed by sudden accelerations and slowdowns.
    I’m doing a lot of trainer 3x4x3min at VO2 is that the best set on the trainer to prepare myself best for crits, besides crits itself?

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    Senior Member sebo2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jandro View Post
    Have you looked through the thread in the sticky 2 posts up?

    Here.
    Thanks, yeah I clicked on every single one of those 7 links and none of them is about crits...I found crits to be completly different from raod racing, if it is not I will go over them.

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    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebo2000 View Post
    Thanks a lot those are comments I was looking for, I didn't realize I'm feathering of breaks, I found myself few times towards the front and indeed it was easier but I guess I got scared I will not last and slowed down making the situation even worst because that is where I get killed by sudden accelerations and slowdowns.
    I’m doing a lot of trainer 3x4x3min at VO2 is that the best set on the trainer to prepare myself best for crits, besides crits itself?
    simple training week plan:

    Monday: 1 hour z1
    tuesday: sprint intervals w/ z2 (tabatas, dirty thirties, etc).
    Wednesday: VO2max or race wining intervals (8x3, 6x4, 5x5, 5x3 (30 second all out sprint, 2.25 minutes z5, 15 second all out sprint)
    thursday: z2 spinning (2-4 hours depending upon time)
    Friday: 1 hour z1
    Sat/sun: Long rides/races
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  9. #9
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Number one reason repeated accelerations kills someone is threshold, in my experience. Any one of those accelerations would not be enough for you to care about in isolation. String them together so you don't get recovery, and it's a problem.

    Don't let that be an excuse though -- you need to race much more efficiently. I'll guarantee that there were folks in the top 10 with lower avg W/kg than yours during that race.

    Which workouts you should be doing are beyond the scope of this thread, but go read Friel's book, Racing and Training with a Power Meter, and take a look at the workout recipes sticky. The books are dated, but the principals generally apply. There has been much more of a trend towards valuing high tempo workouts (google sweet spot training). Learn about peaking your training, and recovering.

    Or hire a coach.

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebo2000 View Post
    Thanks, yeah I clicked on every single one of those 7 links and none of them is about crits...I found crits to be completly different from raod racing, if it is not I will go over them.
    Crits aren't completely different from road racing, the major difference is the duration and generally more technical courses. So the intensity at any given time will be higher, and there will likely be more frequent and sharper attacks (though maybe not in cat 5). But the fundamentals of racing are the same. Crits are just more compressed, 10 lbs of racing squeezed into a 5lb box.

    For example, the oft-cited accordion effect out of corners really depends on where you are in the pack, how you race them and the overall skill level of your race. Being closer to the front, knowing how to conserve energy through a corner when you aren't and racing in a higher level field that comes into corners with more speed all contribute to a smoother race. At this point, I don't really consider accelerating out of corners to be the most significant challenge in a crit. What's hard is using your matches intelligently.

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    For any kind of mass start racing you should always be working on drafting. The "sphere" refers to the area around your bars and front wheel that you consider "personal" space, i.e. you're not comfortable if someone is in your sphere. Your sphere looks to be relatively large - 5-8 feet around your front wheel. There's a few times where you're closer but the clip shows that you're not comfortable drafting. This is the first thing I'd think about and focus on.

    If you could finish that race while riding out in the wind that much you're plenty strong enough. I would bet you're much stronger than me, for example, because I would be struggling if I was in the wind that much. Although I haven't been racing well this year I'm normally a Cat 3 crit kind of rider.

    You can reduce your sphere by doing bumping drills - ride next to someone and bump them, with their permission and knowledge. Try doing this slowly, like 5-10 mph. You'll have to ride the brakes as everyone seems to accelerate when doing these drills. You'll also want to practice touching your front wheel to someone's rear wheel. This is more involved since you're guaranteed to fall over so you'll want long sleeve clothing, ride on grass, and go slow at first.

    Barring the drills the other thing you can do is do group rides. Not sure if that's possible etc but it's super beneficial to ride with a group. Hopefully you'll have at least one rider in the group that's pretty steady. Focus on following that person, closer than you feel comfortable, and see how that goes. Don't worry about training and intensity and all that when working on drafting - you'll be mentally very intense and you'll find it extremely tiring. I know that I blink less, my eyes are wide open, and I get super tired when I'm focused on the race around me.

    I skipped around your clip but I noticed that you seem to be on the hoods a lot. This reduces control over your bike, especially if something weird happens (crash etc). If you're nervous you should be on the drops. If you don't train on the drops you need to make it more of a habit. All corners, except climbing ones, all descents, and any fast efforts should be done on the drops. Later you'll use other positions in certain fast situations but any time you are even a bit nervous you should be on the drops, and you should train in the drops so that the drops aren't foreign to you when you race. Remember that everything works together - if you're on the hoods and less secure in a corner then you won't draft as closely. Minor things add up.

    Once you get the drafting a bit tighter you'll find that your fitness is probably sufficient. It doesn't hurt to train, of course, but the reality is that if you're drafting a lot you're not going to break about 200w until you're going real fast. 200w solo is maybe 20-22 mph, 200w in a race - that's 27+ mph average for me. I prefer to be in the 170-180w avg range, which is still a 26 mph type of race but with a sprint at the end.

    Work on improving your drafting. That's my first recommendation. You're strong enough, you just need to use your strength more efficiently.

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    One more thought - if everyone is coasting and there's room to move up, move up. You might lose a bunch of those spots quickly but moving up for free is rarely a bad thing.

    There's a time early on, 3 min in or so, where everyone is coasting, you're on the left, and there's a good 6-8 feet to your left before the little cones. I think it was coming up on a left turn. If you pedaled a bit you'd have moved up a bunch. Just get around to the front part of the field, where you're leading your "row", let the field engulf you, and now you're sitting pretty near the front.

    The only time it's bad is if you're in a weird place just before a corner. At last week's White Plains NY race there were a few guys that insisted on moving up on the inside when there were no more "lanes" left. They'd get cut off as the field apexed the turn, slam on their brakes, accelerate, and do it all over again. They were significantly stronger than me, like waaaaaaay stronger than me, because I'd have been shelled in about 3 laps if I did that. As it was I got shelled and those guys finished the race. However that doesn't make their move up the inside right or safe. I hope to illustrate this in the clip from this year, which I have yet to start.

  13. #13
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebo2000 View Post
    I’m doing a lot of trainer 3x4x3min at VO2 is that the best set on the trainer to prepare myself best for crits, besides crits itself?
    Crit power files look like caves full of stalactites. That workout doesn't.

  14. #14
    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebo2000 View Post
    Thanks, yeah I clicked on every single one of those 7 links and none of them is about crits...I found crits to be completly different from raod racing, if it is not I will go over them.
    The tips in those threads span all disciplines, but you're right crits can be different than longer road races. As others have said, you should work on surges, recovery, and as CDR is fond of saying "wind management": shrink your sphere and learn good drafting/positioning so that you can recover from those surges. Whether it was from responding to an attack or an accordion effect.
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

  15. #15
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    http://blog.trainingpeaks.com/posts/...intervals.html

    Easy peasy. You spend half your time coasting.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  16. #16
    Senior Member sebo2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    For any kind of mass start racing you should always be working on drafting. The "sphere" refers to the area around your bars and front wheel that you consider "personal" space, i.e. you're not comfortable if someone is in your sphere. Your sphere looks to be relatively large - 5-8 feet around your front wheel. There's a few times where you're closer but the clip shows that you're not comfortable drafting. This is the first thing I'd think about and focus on.

    Work on improving your drafting. That's my first recommendation. You're strong enough, you just need to use your strength more efficiently.
    Thanks for your response carpediemracing; this is something I have to agree with 100%.
    It is hard to admit (psychologically), but you are right my sphere is way too big.

    I noticed in regular races, I can get very close when drafting, but it always takes me some time to adjust, then I can go for miles, not many people can get away from me once I lock in. In Ontario we can have 100km race with 10 turns, each turn I’m chasing, but I can easily take 10 turns. During 25km crit I have 75 turns which makes me dead at the end after just 25 minutes. I will stay closer tonight and make the sphere tighter. Tonight it will be about drafting and staying close.
    Now when I think about it, 98% of my riding is by myself only, I never have time when group rides happen, those are the consequences of riding alone.

    Final stupid question, how close should I be when drafting, will 1ft give me enough of a draft?

  17. #17
    Senior Member sebo2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    http://blog.trainingpeaks.com/posts/...intervals.html

    Easy peasy. You spend half your time coasting.

    Great article thanks a bunch, it is not that easy for me, that is why I’m asking for help. 25min crits makes me more tired than 100km fast ride…I know something is wrong with my technique…

    I’m just starting; this is my first year, but I love it, I’m quite competitive and do not give up easily; it makes me mad when girl passes me by and I got my heart maxed out.

  18. #18
    Senior Member sebo2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    Crits aren't completely different from road racing, the major difference is the duration and generally more technical courses. So the intensity at any given time will be higher, and there will likely be more frequent and sharper attacks (though maybe not in cat 5). But the fundamentals of racing are the same. Crits are just more compressed, 10 lbs of racing squeezed into a 5lb box.

    For example, the oft-cited accordion effect out of corners really depends on where you are in the pack, how you race them and the overall skill level of your race. Being closer to the front, knowing how to conserve energy through a corner when you aren't and racing in a higher level field that comes into corners with more speed all contribute to a smoother race. At this point, I don't really consider accelerating out of corners to be the most significant challenge in a crit. What's hard is using your matches intelligently.

    You are right, same principles but super condensed. As I said earlier, regular race 10-12 turns, short crits 75 turns, I guess it shows peaty clearly where my weaknesses are, but it is still hard to register the obvious....

  19. #19
    In the Pain Cave thechemist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    http://blog.trainingpeaks.com/posts/...intervals.html

    Easy peasy. You spend half your time coasting.
    thats a good read caloso!
    "whenever I see someone biking faster than me, I assume they aren't going as far"-proscloset

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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Crit power files look like caves full of stalactites. That workout doesn't.
    i think they look like stalagmites

  21. #21
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    i think they look like stalagmites
    There's one in every group......
    "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

  22. #22
    Super Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebo2000 View Post
    how close should I be when drafting, will 1ft give me enough of a draft?
    Depends. 1-2 ft for every 10 mph is reasonable, assuming 20-40 mph speeds on a flat course, with the gaps getting smaller as you go faster. If you're towards the back of 50+ riders it might be 2-3 feet for every 10 mph because you get a collective draft from the group as the air sweeps over the group. This is why tailgunning is so useful for a weaker rider like me - there's so much protection that I end up coasting a lot (i.e. no power output at all). To be fair when I can coast I usually soft pedal to help circulation etc.

    If you're second wheel it's more like 1-2 inches for every 10 mph because you only have one rider to draft. This is very hard on a weaker rider like me - put me in the first few riders at speed (meaning single file) and I have maybe a mile before I'm done. I've lost my leadout train multiple times due to their superior strength at slightly-lower-than-sprint speeds. I prefer a short leadout so I've told guys to wait until the last second before they go. Cue the only real leadout I caught on helmet cam:


    To experiment with drafting distances you can move over to the side a few feet to see if you need to pedal harder. Obviously you'd check to see if it's clear, etc, but that's one way of checking. You can also move up closer, if you can, or drop back a bit. It's best to try this stuff out when you're not racing, i.e. group ride, maybe warming up following a few riders who are also warming up, etc.

    Another way is to listen to the wind. It's more obvious when driving - get into the draft of a big truck and the wind noticeably changes noise - but in cycling it's still there, just not so much. In heavy wind it's most obvious - you get this muted wind noise instead of the full on blast noise.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sebo2000's Avatar
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    Hey Everyone,

    Big thanks to all that gave me great tips about drafting, breaks, saving energy, waiting till very end, not letting someone take your spot etc.


    In the last few races each time I was really very hard thinking and concentrating about all of those things.
    First race; I managed to stay and drag nicely maybe for only 5 laps then again; out open, wasting energy, being scared of people to close.

    Second race I stay in cover for maybe 6 laps then people managed to push me around, and I could not do anything about just move. I just didn’t have the balls to stay in my line. Someone was getting closer and I was moving, letting them take very good wheel up front.

    Again after watching the videos analyzing, mentally brainwashing myself, I managed to improve.

    On June 18th first time I stayed to the end and preserved enough energy for quite big sprint at the end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhNG-u--PHg yes I was not position correctly since I was attacking from very end, instead of at list middle, but I still had problems with people stealing my wheel. I ended up in the middle, which I was happy with comparing to last place

    On July 2nd I said to myself: I will not let anyone steal wheel in front of me, few people tried but I was staying in the line without even blinking, I got chills few times because people were getting close, but I managed not to give up. At few laps to go, I positioned myself in the middle and did sprint (to late this time) making top 10. I do not know exactly, but considering this was fastest average race this year and I was not even tired, all the tips I got here worked like a charm, I was super happy with improvement.

    Here is last race video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PVkWEnamrA

    I still have to work on being more comfortable very close in the pack, I have huge shoot at winning one of those, I saw few guys in front of me tired way more then me, I will try to out sprint them next time. It is all about technique.

    S.

  24. #24
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Nice work sebo! one tip I'd add is to look ahead "through the pack" - meaning, don't just focus on keeping 1 foot to the wheel in front of you, that's dangerous. Instead, keep eyes front / head up, looking several riders ahead, even all the way to the front of the pack - because what happens up there makes it's way back to you and you can either coast or be ready to move in anticipation.

    Also, instead of touching breaks, practice drifting (slowly) slightly to one side, so you catch a bit more wind as you coast, then anticipate when it's time to pedal again. Very much less stressful than hitting brakes then re-accelerating.
    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

  25. #25
    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Way to keep at it. Good attitude and your head is in the right place.
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

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