"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - crit ?
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OK, I have been riding for a while now and I think I am ready to start riding in some races. Can someone explain the "crit" races to me and how to get involved?
07-13-01, 10:58 AM
Welcome to BikeForums!
Although I have not raced yet, I hope to some time and have been doing some studying. Ba-Dg-Er has given excellent description and advice on criterium racing. I'll just add a couple of observations I have picked up.
There are three types of races in road cycling.
Criterium - Already described above. This is more a test of bike handling skills than anything else, emphasizing lots of turns. Because they are lap races around a block or several blocks these are popular in the U.S. because they don't tie up traffic too much and, goodness me, we don't want to inconvenience drivers for a bunch or pain in the neck cyclists, now do we? (Sorry, couldn't help myself) You sometimes see crit elements in the big stage races where the end of a stage might consist of several laps around an area. There were a couple of these in the Giro.
Road race - a longer race over the road in a group. These usually range from 20-30 miles or so in Category 5 up to 70-100 miles in Cat 1/2. In my area these are usually run over a 5-10 mile loop but can be one big loop or just about any configuration. The emphasis here is speed and endurance.
Time Trial - a fairly short race of as little as 3 or so miles up to 20 or so, sometimes longer. Each racer rides by himself against the clock with a racer starting every minute or two, depending on distance. Time trial offers no assistance from drafting. It is you against the clock going as fast as you can maintain for the given distance. Actually a good way to break into racing since the potential hazards of fast group riding is eliminated.
As Ba-Dg-Er said, the hardest part of criterium and road races is the group dynamic. You MUST get in a club or group and learn group riding skills before attempting either type, but certainly a crit. To do otherwise is to endanger yourself and others. Bicycle racing is not just about riding fast; you have to be able to ride fast in a group. I am sure there are plenty of racing clubs in your area.
Good luck. Let us know how things go.
Thanks guys, those were awesome responses. Sounds like my next step is to get with the bike shop and find out where these races are taking place. I currently live just next to the olympic training center on the south end of san diego. Theres got to be a race somewhere around here.
However, in a few weeks I will be driving across country and moving back to Florida, another great place to ride. I will keep you guys informed on how it all goes.
Thanks again for the explanations.
ps...do you guys know of any great workouts that are printed up somewhere on the web or maybe even a book you recommend on training?
07-23-01, 11:49 AM
see a copy of velonews ther are always articles about training if the author is good enough for them see if you can find a bookby him/her.
Anything by Ed Burke, Chris Carmichael, Andy Pruitt, Bernard Hinault , LeMond or anyone that has had good results and training. Go to the LIbrary and look at the profile of the author, the biliography, introduction.
Go on some group (training) rides and enter a road face first to sharpen your pack riding skills before you enter a Crit, you might keep some more skin on your body.
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