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Old 03-13-05, 07:56 PM   #1
my58vw
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My first circuit (road) race...

Alright here we go... I just got back from the Los Angeles Circuit race where I raced CAT 5...

It is also of note that this way my first road / circuit race... am I am beat...

The race was in LA at LAX. There was a total of 85 CAT5 riders registered so we got split into two groups. I got there about 1 1/2 hours early and stated warming up. I was a little worried about my wrist but it started feeling real good so I went and paid my 20.00 and got a number. Back on the trainer for 30 minutes of mixed intensity warmup. After a nice warmup I was feeling real strong and ready to go. After the typical talk on the line we were off, about 15 minutes behind schedule.

The course was a 3.8 mile loop with two 180 degrees corners at either end. The course labeled rolling hills was misleading, it was really climb for 2 miles with a few flat sections (less than 1/8 mile) then go down the other side. The peloton slowed down to about 12 MPH in the very sharp corners but it was a sprint fest out of each one. It seemed like someone had to attack off the second corner each time...

Right in the first lap I got to the front and decided to try an attack with 2 other unattached riders. We got off the front and gained a 15 second lead which we held for almost the whole first lap until the petolon caught us at the starting point. Going down the hill we were hitting speeds of 27 - 28 MPH and going up with a nasty headwind holding 18 - 20 MPH while everyone reached for food and water.

The race continued lap after lap, I was sitting in the middle of the pace line in about 12 place the whole time. Then the anouncer anounced a prime. I thought oh great a pack sprint. I made way to the front to give the prime a shot. We sprinted from the turn but my lack of power let me down. I hit 32 MPH in the sprint but lost all my posistion as the field sprinted to over 34+ MPH. The pack then fragmented with 2 laps to go (about 22 miles in). I was right off the back by about 2 seconds with riders fragmented behind me.

I kept my sprint speed up but someone attacked in the front and the whole pack accelrated. At the bottom of the next climb I lost another 10 seconds on the pack and was barly hanging on. By the last lap I was off by about 20 seconds with people fragmented for almost half a lap behind me. I remeber hitting the bell lap and the announcer saying, and leading the second pack, number 691, Michael Swager, of course that just made me go faster. Unfortunitly I pushed way to hard trying to catch the group and I lost another 10 seconds on the climb again. I finished 21 out of 30 or so that finished, we lost about 10 or so somewhere. Unfortunitly I did not make the top 18 but that was ok.

What did I learn?

Power is a limiting factor in all out sprints. This seems to go with my need to gain climbing ability. Well for my second race I was very happy with the results. I can say that it was my hardest 80 minutes I have done on a bike... suffer is right. Every race I am getting stronger, soon I will be right there...

Until then... enjoy!
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Old 03-13-05, 08:15 PM   #2
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Considering the week you've had you should consider today a success. The important thing is that you learn something from every race and it certainly seems like you're doing that. Good luck with your next race.
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Old 03-13-05, 08:31 PM   #3
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Good story, good result
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Old 03-13-05, 08:51 PM   #4
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Yes you are getting stronger...and soon you will be there. It is amazing how this is going to happen. You may continue to struggle for a few more races...then one day you are just going to show up and suddenly something is going to be different. You will ride near the front with ease. You'll suddenly be right up there for the primes. You'll be sprinting out of the corners and gaps will open behind you rather than in front of you. Mark my words....it will come rather suddenly...like majic. That's how it was for me. It took me about 3 months of very hard training and racing weekend after weekend.....but then one day I was suddenly flying and even winning cat 5 crits. Right now your weight is coming down..your power is going up....your cardio is getting stronger day by day. Your leg speed is improving. Your accelerations are getting more snap!

Soon my friend!
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Old 03-13-05, 08:54 PM   #5
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Sounds like you did pretty good considering you were not even sure if you were in shape (injured) to do it. You can't peform at your best at every race! So it was a total of 28 miles, right? How long was your last criterium? You're a big guy, right? You've got the potential (muscle mass, or at least area to put it) foor a lot of power. Sprinting is about fast-twitch muscles though, and if you don't have it (not saying you don't, just saying something to consider once you feel you've upped your power.) - you are going to be a good sprinter, but you can still use those big muscles to make some high watts and makes some insane breakaways on the flat, or even become a pretty good climber.
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Old 03-13-05, 09:06 PM   #6
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It was actually around 26 miles with the loss of about 1/4 mile on each lap. The pace was not as fast as my last crit but it was significatly longer (over 80 minutes) compared to 30 minutes.

I feel like my sprinting is getting strong each time, I was amazed to look down and see 32 MPH by myself in the wind, what a feeling. You can say I am a big guy and the weight is coming off (I am 224 lbs now). I feel like I have lots of strength to build. I was able to hang in even with some nasty attacks out of the corners.

It may take some time but I will get there... my next 45 minute crit should look easy compared to the 80 minute rr today...

Thanks all...
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Old 03-13-05, 09:15 PM   #7
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124 POUNDS?! DAMN!! How tall are you!?! I had thought you were about my height (6'2"). I lost 990% of the fat around my midsection (just shy of a six pack). My arms are skinny as hell (as in, they barely get smaller from my shoulder to my wrist - they used to have a good deal of muscle when I played hockey), I don't have a wide build at all. I wear size 31 pants and could use a belt at times yet I weight between 160-165! Damn. Although I do notice my legs have been getting bigger as I lost fat - visually I lost like 30 lbs from my upper body and some from my legs (fat). But in reality I only lost about 20...
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Old 03-13-05, 09:30 PM   #8
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Sorry wrong weight... I meant 224

EDITED

I have known some people who were 145 at 6-4 but were extremely skinny...
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Old 03-13-05, 10:41 PM   #9
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OH. I was gonna say. No wonder you feel like you need more power, at 124 I would say its doubtful you could have very big legs... Unless maybe you cut off your arms, and maybe head...
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Old 03-13-05, 10:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
and maybe head...


Sometimes I feel like that is the case

Is this unusual? I do not feel tired in my legs at all right now, I keep on having this thought that I should be really sore after a race. Last race I was a little more sore at this point.
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Old 03-14-05, 07:36 AM   #11
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why are guys eating in the middle of a 26 mile race? It seems it would be over before you digest anything. plus you risk puking all over your top tube?



Anyone else do this?
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Old 03-14-05, 07:43 AM   #12
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I think 26 was the average pace. If it was the distance...and it took them 80 minutes to finish... they must have been real slowwwwwww.
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Old 03-14-05, 08:09 AM   #13
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7x 3.8mi laps = about 26mi. Yes.... If thats right it must have been a pretty slow pace it seems!
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Old 03-14-05, 09:06 AM   #14
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The average pace was around 21 MPH. It was more like 19 MPH up the hill and 26+ MPH down the hill. This race was not so much about the speed on the flats but not getting dropped with all the attacks and serges. The actual time was about 78 minutes. I can say it was not as fast as a criterium but not that slow either. It was very easy to get dropped if you could not sprint out of the corners... With a very nasty headwind climbing over half the total distance. There were points over 5 - 6 percent climbing going up and against the headwind.

The speed profile was something like this...

start 28 MPH, at the turn, slow to 14 MPH (sharp 180 deg), sprint out of the corner and up the first hill, 21 MPH, recover up the second hill (18 MPH), sprint right at the start line up a 4 percent hill (24 - 26 MPH), slow down to about 20 MPH, slow to 14 MPH for the 180 turn, sprint and attack at the corner 28+ MPH, attack the next hill on the other side 30 MPH, cross the startline, do it again... The cat 3 group was averaging about 24 MPH to show perspective.

As to eating I do not know, it was Cat5, I certainly did not eat anything.
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Old 03-14-05, 09:17 AM   #15
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We have training rides faster than that - with stop signs....
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Old 03-14-05, 09:22 AM   #16
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We do too, but to put it is perspective a simular route that we ride as a training ride at race speeds averages about twenty MPH, with the same amount of climbing, with stop signs. With the 180 degree corners it was almost as there was stop sign after stop sign. One of the reason that the speeds were a little slow was that unlike a criterium which the pack makes a huge wind break we were riding in a more traditional pace line, that slows things down considerable. Around here cat 5 criteriums tend to be 26 MPH average.

Of course I could have easily gone faster, one of the reasons I was able to break off the front early in the race. The average could have easily been about 23 - 24 MPH if people would have pushed up the hill faster... and more people would have been dropped. I have done 24 MPH solo on slightly less steep terien, but then it was the first major circuit race of the year...

EDIT : Just remembered something else, after the start line at the end I did not stop the computer so I probably added at least 3 minutes and .8 miles or so on the computer at the end. It seems like the pace was then around 22 MPH, but we are just spliting hairs at that point...
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Old 03-14-05, 10:21 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothie104
why are guys eating in the middle of a 26 mile race? It seems it would be over before you digest anything. plus you risk puking all over your top tube?
I was wondering the same thing. You don't need to eat in the middle of a 26 mile race. I can't imagine eating anything in a race that's less than 50.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:25 AM   #18
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Dude, not to rain on your parade, but there''s nothing close to a 4 percent hill. This is as close to a flat circut race as you're generally gonna find. I raced the 45+, we raced 8 laps and came in a bit over an hour and change.

and since you've now done a total of two races you seem to know quite a bit, like what the average of a CATV race is and the "typical start line chatter". You're still a noob in the learning curve, not a bad thing, just pay attention to your rhetoric I guess.

Race for a season and see if your perceptions change a bit.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:34 AM   #19
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I'll pop a gel during an hour crit, but that stuff blurs the line between food and crap, and I'm not a fan of energy drinks so it usually covers me pretty well.
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Old 03-14-05, 10:49 AM   #20
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Quote:
and since you've now done a total of two races you seem to know quite a bit, like what the average of a CATV race is and the "typical start line chatter". You're still a noob in the learning curve, not a bad thing, just pay attention to your rhetoric I guess.

Race for a season and see if your perceptions change a bit.
Fine, true I guess, that is part of the learning curve for sure. What rhetoric are you talking about, the speed of CatV? That is fine. As to the hills, I do not know what the exact grade they were but maybe my perception of grade was a little scewed, that is fine too, just like the hill thread, some people say overpasses are 4 - 6 percent when they are only three percent. I never said I knew what I was completly talking about, I have said I am learning still. If you want to hold that against me fine, I never said I was an expert. How steep were the hills then?

How much was the change for the hour?

Quote:
I was in the first Cat V group. We finished just over 1:07, max speed 36, avg speed 23. I think the pace was pretty slow because of the headwind and the incline. I though I was standing still couple of times in the pack.

I didn't eat any food during the race, but some were...I had a PowerBar wrapper thrown at me going downhill

58, as long as you're having fun, that is all that matters. See you at the races.
The 22 MPH figure was not that far off then, and I was not dreaming about that pace either. For the larger CAT 5 group I could imagine a 23 MPH average, looking at your group as they went by it seemed like it was more of a pack compared to a pace line, correct me if I am wrong about that one. I really wish they would have let both CatV groups go together, it would have been a little faster.

Where did you see 36MPH? In a sprint? I saw 32 MPH in ours but it got me dropped

Did you experience the same thing in the corners that I did, they were actually quite crazy... For my first circuit race, flat or not, I feel I did reasonably well... that is all that matters.
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Old 03-14-05, 11:05 AM   #21
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I will not talk about any of my retoric until after I have atleast half my season in then. Please tell me then, which races would you considered "hilly" in so cal this year then so I know them when I see them. All that is important to me right now is that I improve. When I am winning races I will let you know, until then...

If you may remember I have only been on a bike for 8 months, that is from literally a couch potato to racing Cat5. If some of these courses seem hilly to me it is because I do not have years of riding under me to think that climbs are minimal. Next year I may seriously think different, expecially with much more power behind me. I am still learning, I still can not believe that I am riding as fast as I am now, but 35 MPH still seems like a long way away. I have been struggling with power ever since I stated training, more likely due to a lack of time on the bike compared to some things.

Tak962, look forward to seeing you at the next race, which will it be? I am doing Home Depot next week, Ontario, then Redlands, than maybe the CBR race...

Sorry if I have been confortational today, my parents are very very unsupportive about my racing and training and I just got done with a major screaming match (to minimalize it) before coming to work this morning. They think that cycling is a waste of time and money is the bottom of it... oh well
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Old 03-14-05, 11:32 AM   #22
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Easy on my man 58. Sound to me like speed is the real limiting factor, examples; loosing so much position during a prime, inability to close small gaps quickly. That may be something to emphasize while training but most likely will just come thru race exposure.
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Old 03-14-05, 01:02 PM   #23
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I just learned something today. The owner of my LBS said that when we started racing almost 26 years ago that he actually got dropped in his first 10 races his first year (he in retired Cat 1 Pro). He stated not to worry so much about it this time and that the speed will come with time... and to not set my expectations so high...
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Old 03-14-05, 04:32 PM   #24
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I will see you there...
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Old 03-16-05, 03:54 PM   #25
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That race (LAX Circuit) is as close to flat as possible. While it is not "pancake" flat, the grades are easily rideable in a 53x15 probably even a 53x14. As far as hilly races in SoCal, Boulevard has already passed but San Dimas is this weekend. If you have not registered already, it is too late except for Women 3/4's. I'm not trying to rain on your parade about the course this past weekend. I glance at your posts from time to time and was happy to see that you finally sacked up and raced. I used to race against the owner of your LBS, while he was sometimes different, Scott was strong in his day. I actually saw him at the Como St. ride in January and he is still going pretty well considering the amount he rides now.
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