"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Cat 5 Racing
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I just thought I would mention something about my race this last weekend. Anyone that is new to racing needs to make sure they follow their line through the corners and do not jump off a wheel without looking first. There were also a bunch of tri guys in my race which did not help, but overall, I am happy to have stayed upright. After an unsuccessful attack early on, I got back into the main pack to relax and ended up not liking what was going on around me so I went to the very back. I was kind of tired to be at the front pulling, so I stayed off the back. People were going down like crazy during prime laps.
I am Cat 5 guy, but I try to be careful and watch out for others during my races. Anyone else racing in my area, please pay attention during the race and follow your line.
That is all I have to say.
06-02-03, 06:14 PM
A bit of advise that I learned is that it takes more energy being at the back of a race then at the front. When I say front I don't mean pulling, but sitting at 5th or 6th wheel. Also the guys at the front are going to be the more experienced ones, and therefore better at holding their lines. Finally racing in a 4/5 race is always going to be sketchy so the best thing you can do is upgrade as soon as possible.
06-02-03, 07:19 PM
Dumb question, but I don't want to be the guy that caused a crash. What, exactly, does it mean to hold your line? Is it just taking the same arc through the curve as the people around you, i.e. don't pass, and don't crowd the person to your outside? Does it still apply if you aren't in a tight pack?
My next race is in 1.5 weeks.
06-02-03, 07:25 PM
I am also a cat 5 guy and was involved in a nasty crash last week resulting in two others' broken collar bones. Fortunately I sustained only a sprained ankle and some minor road rash. The reason for the crash went like this: get on a big chainring hill, some guy two in front of me decides he can't go anymore. Just stops pedaling. Guy in front of me says WTF, crashes into him, turns sideways in front of me, before I can say WTF, I am over my handlebars coming down on my but and head simultaneously. Bell is graciously replacing my helmet for $35. Had I not been wearing that helmet, I would have most likely been killed. I kid you not.
Before that in the same race, I was near the front and some guy cut a corner and nearly killed us both. We were going about 30 at the time, so that would have been ugly. On my race last weekend I hung off the back because there were too many whackos. At least from there I could see what was going on. It was a .8 mile crit loop with 6 turns and very narrow.
Having trained with mostly cat 1-4 riders from my club, I'm amazed at the dangerous bike handling skills of cat 5.
I second your motion for holding lines on corners! My motiviation to move to cat 4 is now one of survival.
06-02-03, 07:35 PM
Flyefisher, glad you came through okay.
The cat 5 class is only about 10 years old. I ***** thee not. Prior to that, riders entered as cat 4, and the upgrade requirement was participation in 10 pack start events (same as upgrading from 5 to 4 now), or 1 year as a cat 4. I suppose technically, you didn't even have to race your cat 4 year.
06-02-03, 09:35 PM
You pretty much hit the nail on the head about holding your line. It means that you pick an "arch", like you said and hold it. In a 4/5 race it is not uncommon for someone to start on an inside "arch", but then drift to an outside one. This is very dangerous and causes the people around them to have to swerve to avoid them. My best advice to you is to stay toward the front (top 10) as much as humanily possible, not necessarly working, but in the front none the less.
06-02-03, 10:31 PM
You guys are all right. Cat 5 racing is veruy dangerous. Not only do you have riders with poor handling skills, but the lack of experience seems to make them think they are the only ones on the course. My best advice is to gain experience this season, get your 10 races in safely and move up to CAT 4.
They don't call them "bloody 5's" for nothing
be safe- ride hard,
Being up at the front there is a lot of commotion that goes on in the races I have been in. People come barrelling up on the inside trying to get to the front and you are still in the pack. The guys in the front cannot get organized to save there life.
My next couple races are road races and I have never done one, but I will be near the front watching what is going on. One of my friends that is a 2 says the pace for a RR is a lot easier than a crit.
You should be able to just follow the wheel in front of you through a turn. Hopefully you will have someone kind like me try and help you out if you do something wrong. Some people like to yell, and that is not right, we are all 5s and learning still.
Three more races and I am up to a 4. Finally I will be racing with teammates and will be able to have someone go with me on a break :)
Road Races are a little easier than Criteriums, they seem to be less wild speed and bike handling wise. However, it is still a tight pack with people moving around trying to get in the right spot. However, in a road race you can hang in the middle till you get closer to the end(unless you see a break that looks strong). In crits it's best to stay up front, where you have to work.
My season isn't going as well as I planned, and I haven't been able to race lately . Hopefully I'll be able to pick up speed in St. Louis. Moving is a real dog.
06-08-03, 08:58 PM
Well...I tried my first crit this morning..got dropped after about 15 mins. I have a lot of work to do on my fitness level and interval work. Coming from a triathlon background, my strengths seem to be in the time trial format. fast slow fast slow is something I'll have to work on to get used to. OH well. a new challenge is always good. I'll take another crack at it in a few weeks.
06-09-03, 05:20 AM
southportgym: Congrats for hanging in there for 15 minutes - that's better than getting dropped on the first lap :)
06-09-03, 06:17 AM
Very true! I made it for awhile. Can't wait till next time! That which doesn't kill you, can only make you stronger... or somethin like that :)
I'm excited to get back out there again in a couple weeks.
06-20-03, 10:23 PM
Well...I tried my first crit this morning..got dropped after about 15 mins.
don't sweat it. i tried racing last year in the juniors category (i'm 17), both a crit and a road race. well, team mercury decided they would enter their CAT 1 18 year old into our crit.... he held a 30 mph pace the whole time. and then he passed the pace car in the sprint. i got dropped after just a few laps, and was then lapped twice. at least there were some other guys with me, though.
as for the bike handling, i haven't had any problems racing in juniors. sure, we get the occasional newbie to the sport, but for the most part we're all pretty experienced despite our age.
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