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Old 03-20-05, 04:54 PM   #1
my58vw
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Humbling is about all I can say...

I thought about not sharing this race but I think it has to be shared.

0.9 mile criterium, 1/8 mile hill at the start, a few very nasty corners... 45 minutes, cat 4 and 5

I lasted 3 minutes...

The field was 93 cat 4 and 5 racers, more cat 4 than 5. This was said to be the "can you handle it criterium" and that was the case for sure. I knew I was in trouble on the warmup lap, everyone took off and was pushing for posistion, I was actually having a hard time even it the warmup lap, that is how fast it was. The gun went off and into the first corner we were already at 23 MPH going up the hill. I held on around the back for the first hill, then it happened. The next corner was extremly sharp, the peloton slowed to about 10 MPH then accelerated. About 200 feet later I was off the back by about 30 feet, the speed on the backstretch was over 32 MPH (remember 32 is my top speed right now). It was the little hill that was my downfall, going 100 percent I hit the hill and slowed to about 25 MPH. The pack hit the hill at a very high speed and I was off the back, 3 minutes into the race. Once I was off the back it was over. About 5 people were spit off the back in the first 2 laps. Quite a few people tried to recover by taking a free lap but had a hard time getting off.

We had 4 riders in the group, two 4's and two 5's, I was one and another guy was 2, he took the free lap but got dropped trying to get back on. The two 4's which actually we the ones who were pushing the top 5 at a few others local crits came in 17 and 20. A few guys that I ride with that kick my butt did not place. I was pulled at 32 minutes after being laped twice.

The average speed of the crit was only around 25 MPH but on the back stretch averages were about 32 MPH. I averaged 19.2 MPH the whole time, I had no chance. What was amazing was that some of the guys did not look like they were working hard. All I know is that I was going so hard that about minute 28 I could not push anymore. I stood up and pushed up the hill but once I sat down I could only push 14 - 15 MPH.

What happened... well I need to build some serious power in my legs to compete with this. Paul and Albert from our team were real encouraging. They are going to start having night practice crits in a few weeks and I am going to start going... I have a long way to go...

Please say something nice... I am feeling really crappy right now
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Old 03-20-05, 05:20 PM   #2
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Hang in there big guy. I had a pretty crappy race of my own on Saturday. I'll post it in a separate thread.
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Old 03-20-05, 05:26 PM   #3
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That sucks dude, keep at it, not many people do very well at all when they start to race (expecially crits becuase its easy to understimate the intensity of them) so don't be disheartened. If you want to race, train hard, eat well, and don't forget to warm up WELL. Sounds like you are keen, so you will be just fine. Good luck - make sure you keep us posted on your progress!!
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Old 03-20-05, 05:35 PM   #4
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You can't expect to win 'em all. Look how Lance got his ass handed to him in P-R! All i can say is what you've already said: work on muscle power and top speed (I assume you mean 32 is your fastest on the flats sitting in the drops, and not your sprint).
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Old 03-20-05, 06:02 PM   #5
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32 is top sprinting speed. My top speed in the drops is something around 28 MPH... like I said my limiter is power.
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Old 03-20-05, 06:13 PM   #6
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Go from the gun.

Now you know what to train for. No lecture, diagram, essay, article, war-story could prepare you better than what you went through today. Now you know. Don't beat yourself up over it.
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Old 03-20-05, 06:21 PM   #7
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You didn't crash and you didn't flat and you learned ALOT today. Don't be hard on yourself you've only been on a bike a few months. Your day will come.
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Old 03-20-05, 06:25 PM   #8
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The season is young. And... is 32 your top speed in the draft, or with your nose in the wind? Big difference.
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Old 03-20-05, 06:27 PM   #9
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Everyone has one of these races. Don't fret they'll get easier as you get some experience. Crit racing is 90% strategy and position, 5% luck and 5% power. The worse place to be is the tailend of a large field on a tight course. The best place, from captain obvious, is in the top 10 but you need to learn how to get there and keep it. It's going to take some aggressive riding and sprinting to the front when the pace slacks a bit. If you ended up with big gaps between you and the next rider you're losing too much speed in the corners. Hold the wheel in front of you and on the next straight try to work up a couple of spots. Keep doing this and before you know it the pace gets pretty easy. The front 2 or 3 are doing all the work. Hang in there and enjoy the ride. BTW, everyone else is trying to do the same thing.
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Old 03-20-05, 06:39 PM   #10
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32 is a solo sprint in the drops in a 53-12 at about 90 RPMs no drafting in the wind. I am sure if I could get in the pack at that speed it would be doable. At that speed I am literally mashing the pedals as hard as I can, literially screaming in pain for only 30 seconds to a minute about 4 times before you can literially scrape me off the floor. I have seen 30 MPH in a pack before and it was subsantially easier but not easy. My problem is once I get on any grade and the pack keeps pushing I can not keep pace and get dropped.

I need the speed to stay up with the accelerations, once I can accelate with the pack I can stay with them. Right now I do not have the power to go from 13 MPH to 25 MPH nearly fast enough... I feel like I need to be able to hold 25+ MPH by myself for more than a few miutes before I can even think about sticking with the pack. Right now that number is about 22 - 23 MPH constant over the course.

Right now I do not have the power to be able to use the stratagies... Once I am in the wind it is over...
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Old 03-20-05, 07:44 PM   #11
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just ride a lot and your speed will come up. The more times you go out there and get your butt handed to you, the stronger you become.

I was pretty pissed off in my race this weekend. the biggest and probably one of the strongest teams in the field rode a totally inactive race. at one point one of their riders rode off the front and i bridged up to him with a few other people. we had a bit of a gap and i pointed out that the guy should do some work he was like "its not that big of a gap" and i was like "thats a pretty negative way to look at it" I think he told me to **** off, didnt quite hear him though. then later on in the race
a break went away with like 20 miles left and they didnt have a rider in it. and they still didnt chase it down. they claimed that sitting on the front was "fun".
whatever. i got the last laugh when I took the field sprint for 4th about a min down on the break.
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Old 03-20-05, 08:01 PM   #12
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So some guys are better at sprinting around a circle. I think those are called track bikers? Not that I know sh**. I don't race, but I'd rather be on a nice long stretch of road if I got dropped, than stuck a little 1-mile track.

I think these guys are right though. Sounds like it is all position. If you're still on your brakes when the guys in front hit 32 mph, you're toast. Or so it would seem.
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Old 03-20-05, 08:08 PM   #13
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It is posistion true, but it takes strength to get that posistion, it is not that I am on the brakes while they are sprinting at 32 MPH it is that I can not yet accelarate at the same rate to stay with the group. Kind of like drag racing, the person that can accerate faster is going to win assuming the one who is accelarting does not slow down.
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Old 03-20-05, 08:19 PM   #14
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sounds rough, but you learned a lot, and with the training and experience you are getting, your day will come. A little tip: most people can achieve their top sprinting speed at a high cadence(110+), so you might wanna try bumping it down one cog and spinning faster. After hearing thsi from my coach, i was skeptical, but then i tried it and i got 2 mph faster on the same stretch. obviously don't just try this in a race, but play around with it in training. like i said, it works for a lot of people, but not everyone. just a thought. i understand the whole position thing. we had a race around a local stock car track, and i was one of the top 5 sprinters in the 50-60 person field, but because i'm an idiot, i got blocked in and had the legs to sprint, but no where to go. keep up the good work and keep up the race stories, it's defidently inspiring to hear about your progress. good luck
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Old 03-20-05, 08:28 PM   #15
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Yep, in my last crit my cadence was never below 95, and that was only when I knew i was going to wind it up on a long straight. I was averaging about 105-110 rpms.
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Old 03-20-05, 08:28 PM   #16
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It takes a while to get up to speed, especially for the intensity of criterium racing. The stop/go style of racing is very taxing on the legs, especially if you are near the back of the peleton where the concertina effect is exaggerated.

Ask around your club to see if there are any coaches who can give you a basic coaching program that will prepare you a little bit better. There are no miracle cures though, it can take a year and a lot of effort an dedication to get up to the head of your current grade and challenging for placings.
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Old 03-20-05, 08:29 PM   #17
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in a tight crit where you know it's going to be fast always be in the top 1/3 of the group. the back of the race yo-yos and stretches like an acordian and you have to actually work harder and make more explosive accelarations there. if you're have trouble with accelerations the very worst place you can be is at the back. at the race start, try to get a good spot close to the front, or do you're best to move up on that first lap. that's why everone was fighting for postition on that warm up lap, because they knew that the easiest place to ride is at the front... sometimes it's a chore to get there and also to stay there. in your practice crits practice moving around the group (from the middle of the group to the front).

do intervals of 45 seconds to 1min as fast as you can do them, with full recovery (5-10min at a comfortable speed), the rest of the ride do a tempo or endurance pace (1-1.5hrs) once a week.

keep going it will come... everyone goes though this.
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Old 03-20-05, 08:50 PM   #18
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I have been doing something simular to that in my training this year, I will do a LT interval and then about 7 minutes in upshift a few gears and go all out for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

I am going to start training with a USCF coach in a few weeks after I get a nice baseline. I need that type of structure in my schedule to feel like I am doing what I need to do. I am starting from absolutly nothing and have been riding for only 4 months fast (about 7 months total, 3 months of learning effectivly how to ride in a group etc). I am having trouble accerating because I am relativly weak compared to most my age, mainly from being a book worm all these years and not being outside doing sports. I can only leg press about 200 pounds, which is less than my body weight. When the power comes I should be substantially faster, I have seen substantial improvements in the last 3 months.

For spinning that is something that I need to work on, but I feel most comfortable at about 90 RPMs. I have tried sprinting both ways and I find the speed about that same.

I have finally found something that I can say I throughly enjoy which is few and far between. I have high goals in this sport but it will come slowly and I understand that. I am motiviated and that is half the challenge and when I get motivated I got 110%.

It is frusterating when you come so far and then get demolished... like the other thread said... that is racing. I have very few actual goals for the season but it is demoralizing when they will not even let you finish the race. Hopefully this season I will atleast finish with the pack... that is the goal. Next year I can worry about other goals...
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Old 03-20-05, 09:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my58vw
I am going to start training with a USCF coach in a few weeks after I get a nice baseline.

For spinning that is something that I need to work on, but I feel most comfortable at about 90 RPMs. I have tried sprinting both ways and I find the speed about that same.

I have finally found something that I can say I throughly enjoy which is few and far between. I have high goals in this sport but it will come slowly and I understand that. I am motiviated and that is half the challenge and when I get motivated I got 110%.

It is frusterating when you come so far and then get demolished...
It's good to know you will be working with a coach, even if it's just to get a structured program that suits your goals, abilities, and available time.

Keep working on your spinning, and try to raise your comfortable RPM range little by little. There is a power for effort sweetspot that you will need to find. It is directly related to cadence (well, more to your body's ability to burn fuel efficiently, but that happens within a specific cadence range).

Whatever happens, make sure you enjoy every ride. Even the cold, wet, and windy ones that you would rather not do. Find little things to help you stay motivated in the tough times.

And if you are frustrated and demoralized by being crushed because you aren't yet capabale of racing at the appropriate level then stop racing and start doing more enjoyable rides. The racing can wait until you are ready to come back and compete. I sat on the sideline for 8 months after being dropped three races in a row. When I did come back it was for two wins and a fifth straight up, and in a higher grade!! You've gotta enjoy that!
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Old 03-20-05, 09:25 PM   #20
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I will be reevaluating my schedule after the next couple races. I keep thinking that I could do so much better in races but yet my body says no way, not yet. If I am not going to race then it is pointless to go. Nothing is better than actually getting out there and competing. It is worse getting pulled out of a race more than getting killed in the race. I wish they would at least let you finish the race. For me the failure is getting kicked out and having the watch the race from the sidelines... oh well that is how it goes. I have a good support backing from the team and that is what I need right now...

It is a long off season after this, I bet when I come back I will be much stronger. It is a little early for me to be here with this little time on the saddle but if I just give up this year and say I will train alone then that is the ultimate defeat... and something I am not ready to do... so I go out week after week...

I will be working with a coach on an ongoing basis, talking with him about every 2 weeks and performance testing once per month. That should give me the structure that I need to see continued improvement.
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Old 03-20-05, 10:05 PM   #21
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I'm NOT being harsh here ... but why say something nice? No need to stroke your ego ...because we've all been there. There is NOTHING wrong with what happend to you. You're obviously very keen to race and do well. You're racing. You'll do well. Sounds like you need to give yourself a break. Nothing prepares you for racing like racing. Don't be too hard on yourself or you'll have a harder time getting better - you're doing well and you didn't give up. My first race this season I got caught in a crappy position (warm-up laps in a big field are not worth it - stay on the trainer to warm up and then snag pole position) and was off the pack after lap 3. I refused to get pulled and raced not to knowing I would never get back on. Not getting pulled was my victory. I raced like a madman solo for about 45 minutes at an average of just under 23 mph. I had a great race! Thems are the breaks! Temper your expectations on yourself a little and you'll start to move up the standings - you're racing against guys who have been doing this for a few years in the 4s.
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Old 03-20-05, 10:09 PM   #22
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It is a little early for me to be here with this little time on the saddle but if I just give up this year and say I will train alone then that is the ultimate defeat... and something I am not ready to do...
Is competing today important to your long term goals? Will missing a couple of races now seriously impact on what you will be able to do later? Does competing now provide any benefit?


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I will be working with a coach on an ongoing basis, talking with him about every 2 weeks and performance testing once per month. That should give me the structure that I need to see continued improvement.
Absolutely spot on.

You will have a million questions for your coach, especially when you receive each new program. WRITE THEM ALL DOWN, or you'll forget to ask them. You could end up lost for a couple of weeks.

And if you are required to keep a training diary then make sure that you are honest in your self assessment, otherwise you are just wasting their time (and they will probably know anyway!). If you miss the odd training ride here or there it's no big deal, write it down as missed. Training is like a game of golf: sure you can write down any score you want, but your pen can't do the miles for you!
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Old 03-20-05, 10:46 PM   #23
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Is competing today important to your long term goals? Will missing a couple of races now seriously impact on what you will be able to do later? Does competing now provide any benefit?
You are exactly right, racing this year does not have any major benefit long term at all. I will probably look back on this an laugh in a year. The closest analogy is looking back at school. General physics was one of the toughest classes I ever took but now I look on it like how easy is that stuff now that I teach the class.

Only time will tell...
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Old 03-20-05, 10:48 PM   #24
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You are exactly right, racing this year does not have any major benefit long term at all. I will probably look back on this an laugh in a year. The closest analogy is looking back at school. General physics was one of the toughest classes I ever took but now I look on it like how easy is that stuff now that I teach the class.

Only time will tell...
huh?
Well, whenever you start you will always have a first year. How can getting racing miles and lessons be anything but beneficial in the long run.
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Old 03-20-05, 10:58 PM   #25
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Racing is some damn good training in all aspects. Your strength and fitness will be pushed to the max, but you also gain skills you won't even touch on in a group ride.
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