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Old 08-07-13, 04:09 PM   #1
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Starting out tips

I did my first race this past weekend. It was a small cat 5 group with 15 guys, I believe. The breakaway group was 7 or 8 people. I hung on, and tried to get into a good position with 5 laps to go, but didn't have enough to compete for the sprint, and ended up with 5th (2 crashed in front of me). I want to step up my training, and start commuting to work (about 22 miles each way) at 2-3 days/week. And do some group riding the other days. Right now, I'm just getting used to my route home, and will incorporate intervals when I'm more familiar with the terrain and weather conditions. But aside from putting in the training hours, what are other main things I should be focusing on? (eg. Diet, day before preparation, day of preparation, etc)

Also, the other question is how can I find a team to ride with? As far as I know, there are no cycling teams around here. There's one in Houston, but that's pretty far away. I plan on doing my second race there next Wednesday after I get off early from work. But anyway, what are disadvantages of not having teammates? And what's the best way to find a team if there are none around you?
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Old 08-07-13, 06:04 PM   #2
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SIGH.

Good job on your first race, but:

*****Read. The. Sticky.*******

And use the SEARCH button. But seriously, you don't even need to do that. There is a Nutrition, Team/Club, and many other threads that will answer most of your questions on the front page.
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Old 08-07-13, 06:09 PM   #3
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I did my first race this past weekend. It was a small cat 5 group with 15 guys, I believe. The breakaway group was 7 or 8 people. I hung on, and tried to get into a good position with 5 laps to go, but didn't have enough to compete for the sprint, and ended up with 5th (2 crashed in front of me). I want to step up my training, and start commuting to work (about 22 miles each way) at 2-3 days/week. And do some group riding the other days. Right now, I'm just getting used to my route home, and will incorporate intervals when I'm more familiar with the terrain and weather conditions. But aside from putting in the training hours, what are other main things I should be focusing on? (eg. Diet, day before preparation, day of preparation, etc)

Also, the other question is how can I find a team to ride with? As far as I know, there are no cycling teams around here. There's one in Houston, but that's pretty far away. I plan on doing my second race there next Wednesday after I get off early from work. But anyway, what are disadvantages of not having teammates? And what's the best way to find a team if there are none around you?
As for training, just keep racing as much as possible and riding as much as possible. Structure isn't as important as volume in your first few seasons, in my opinion.

As for teams - talk to the guys you're racing with. No reason in joining a cool team that doesn't do the same races you do. And especially when starting out, I think it's good to have a team, but not necessary. I started out unattached and many if not most do.

Good luck!
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Old 08-07-13, 08:08 PM   #4
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Yep, just ride lots and do your 10 races. Fast group rides as much as you can. Check back with us in a year with your observations questions. At this point you'll be able to teach yourself more than we can teach you through the interwebs.

To reiterate: RIDE LOTS.
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Old 08-08-13, 03:25 PM   #5
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I read most of the relevant stuff on those stickies. But I'm still fuzzy on a few pointers.

I know it's important to get good sleep and show up early, but How early should you aim for? 30 minutes? Shorter races need longer warm ups. How long do you really need? I know it probably varies by individual. But are there things I should be aiming for before I line up?

Another question is about eating, especially before the race. good idea to eat plenty of carbs? How do I make sure I get that morning turd out of system before the race? What should I eat for breakfast? In my first race, I was almost puking by the last turn, and all I had was two bananas and water during the race.
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Old 08-08-13, 03:28 PM   #6
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in my opinion, 30 minutes early is not enough. an hour is almost enough.

the feeding thing is personal. you will learn yourself.
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Old 08-08-13, 03:32 PM   #7
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Like I have said to many.
Plan your day backwards from showing up on the starting line to packing your car the night before. The better you plan out your time the easier it will be.
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Old 08-08-13, 03:52 PM   #8
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just like the other guy, when you get to SF come ride with me and I will tell you all the secrets.

Hint: they're all personal and there are no real secrets.
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Old 08-08-13, 03:59 PM   #9
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I read most of the relevant stuff on those stickies. But I'm still fuzzy on a few pointers.

I know it's important to get good sleep and show up early, but How early should you aim for? 30 minutes? Shorter races need longer warm ups. How long do you really need? I know it probably varies by individual. But are there things I should be aiming for before I line up?

Another question is about eating, especially before the race. good idea to eat plenty of carbs? How do I make sure I get that morning turd out of system before the race? What should I eat for breakfast? In my first race, I was almost puking by the last turn, and all I had was two bananas and water during the race.
How long was the race? Often I don't eat at all during a race unless it's more than 90 minutes. However, I find that the more in shape I am the longer I can ride without eating. More glycogen storage, better ability to break down fats? I dunno. Either way, if this was an intense 30 minute crit I'd say cramming down two bananas during the race is asking a lot of the old digestive system. Might also try staying away from solids on the shorter races. I find gels disgusting but during more intense efforts they're all I seem to be able to get down and keep down.
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Old 08-08-13, 04:00 PM   #10
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Make sure you view this time as a long road, not a jump start. You're asking good questions, and there won't be right answers for many of them. You need to not try to add up how you're going to win your next race -- don't hang your potential on performance at this point. You need to improve and learn, and you'll either start winning or you won't.

A supremely talented beginner may win their 2nd race in spite of all the mistakes, coming across the line dehydrated, wearing sandals and cargo shorts, on a borrowed front wheel, after starting half a lap late and then sprinting for the bell a lap before the finish. Everyone else just needs to fix what they can and pay attention to what's next to fix.
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Old 08-08-13, 09:08 PM   #11
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A supremely talented beginner may win their 2nd race in spite of all the mistakes, coming across the line dehydrated, wearing sandals and cargo shorts, on a borrowed front wheel, after starting half a lap late and then sprinting for the bell a lap before the finish.
I would have enjoyed watching kwakerson in his early days.

An hour before a race where I know the course is on the tight side for me. I could hit traffic, registration could be fubared. Too many variables. I prefer 90 minutes. If I do not know the course, or I haven't seen it in a while, or it is an A race, I prefer 2 hours. This gives me time to walk the course, and maybe get a few laps in between races. My warmup routine takes 25 minutes by itself.
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Old 08-08-13, 09:28 PM   #12
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I shoot for 2 hours before start time, but that's a buffer and it's more like 90 minutes. Time register, poop, drink, ride, pin on number, poop, swap wheels, ride, pee, drink, poop
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Old 08-09-13, 06:28 AM   #13
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I shoot for a minimum of 90 minutes before a race. I've been to races where it took more than 30 min. to get through registration - and that was for pre-registered riders. I like to have plenty of time to register, chat with fellow racers - at this point, I know half the people at about every race, hit the bathroom, go over the bike one more time, get kitted up, warm up, hit the bathroom again, chat some more, warm up some more (I find I do best when I've had at least 30-45 min of easy spinning to get myself warmed up)....

But that is just me.

And Rkwaki's suggestion of counting backward is what I do: Race starts at 2. Need to be there by 12:30. Takes about an hour to get there, means, I need to leave my house by 11. And I usually have a check list written out several days before of everything I need to bring. I like to be thorough.
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Old 08-09-13, 07:15 AM   #14
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I don't have anything to add about pre-race prep, but I do advise you to try to get on a team for logistical reasons if nothing else. It sounds like you live in the Beaumont-Orange area; if so, we're relatively close. If you check out the TXBRA schedule, you'll notice that the farthest-east races they list are in Katy, and the preponderance of doable ones are in the Austin and San Antonio areas. Being on a Houston-based team would enable you to carpool and share hotel expenses, and have some support once at the race. This is my first year racing; I decided to do it unattached and found that having to budget ~$300/weekend for a race put a serious crimp in my style. Being on a team would take a big chunk out of that expense. Note that a lot of folks on this forum live on the West Coast, and their problem is apparently figuring out which race within easy driving distance to do each weekend.
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Old 08-09-13, 07:25 AM   #15
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I shoot for 2 hours before start time, but that's a buffer and it's more like 90 minutes. Time register, poop, drink, ride, pin on number, poop, swap wheels, ride, pee, drink, poop
I think you need to change up your diet.
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Old 08-09-13, 07:49 AM   #16
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I shoot for 90 minutes befor the race also. Although, I usually get there earlier than that, escpecially if its a long drive because I build in a liberal allowance for the driving time.

I like to have at least 30 minutes to warm up. So time to park, find registration, get registered, get dressed, pump tires, pin number, etc. and a 45 minute warm up, scout course, I'd be rushed with less than 90 minutes.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:01 AM   #17
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Another pro tip. Porta potties at bike races get progressively nasty as the day goes on. McDonalds. America's toilet.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:02 AM   #18
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in my opinion, 30 minutes early is not enough. an hour is almost enough.

the feeding thing is personal. you will learn yourself.
I'm at a crit two hours prior. RRs I play a bit closer. Track is minimum several hours.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:03 AM   #19
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Another pro tip. Porta potties at bike races get progressively nasty as the day goes on. McDonalds. America's toilet.
pee bottle. for serious
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Old 08-09-13, 08:04 AM   #20
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Four door pickup truck with tinted windows.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:26 AM   #21
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pee bottle. for serious
+1
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Old 08-09-13, 08:30 AM   #22
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When you guys start talking about a poop bucket I'll be impressed.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:35 AM   #23
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When you guys start talking about a poop bucket I'll be impressed.
I used a grocery bag once.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:41 AM   #24
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actually I didn't eat anything during the race. What I meant to say was I ate two bananas at the hotel room, about 45 minutes before the race, in my hotel room. So during your warmups, do you just spin and do a couple of sprints for 45 minutes, and show up fresh to the race?
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Old 08-09-13, 08:44 AM   #25
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I used a grocery bag once.
paper or plastic?
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