Fifty Plus (50+) - First race advice
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03-18-10, 12:12 AM
This Saturday I will be doing my first bike race ever. Quite nervous about it. Any advice or suggestions are most welcome. One person told me to start at the back, less dangerous that way. Another said start at the front. This race is in the Novice category and is 31 kilometres.
I am particularly concerned about the turns as I am weak at that. Only been cycling for 18 months. I do have some experience in a pace line at a fast pace.
I suggest describing the race and the course. For example, is it a crit, road race or circuit race? Are there multiple laps with technical turns or one big loop? Is there any climbing?
03-18-10, 08:38 AM
03-18-10, 08:38 AM
Good luck on your first race. First of all don't be nervous if at all possible. Staying relaxed both mentally and physically will help much in race preperation. If you are nervous you may forget something to do for the bike, clothing, drinks etc.. What type of race is it? Road race, crit, TT? Who are you racing against? How large is the field? How you start depends a lot on the event.
Your race is short, so you will not have to eat while riding and probably don't need to drink. When I began racing three years ago I found that riding in the middle of the field worked best for me. When I was at the back and riders began to drop off I would have to race around them to get back in the field using more energy than I needed. Once I began to relax, look ahead and feel comfortable at race pace the races got easier. As for riding turns, try to follow someone's wheel, don't look at your front wheel, pull one gear so you are ready to accelerate as soon as you finish the turn. What you want to aviod is to panic every turn and overextend yourself by pushing too big of a gear while getting back up to speed. Being at the back of the field on turns will also take more energy as the first riders go through faster while the riders in the back usually have to hit the brakes only to push harder to catch back up after the turn.
I used to make a check list before each race. On the list I had items and tasks needed to get the bike ready such as: pump, tools, spare tubes etc..., and items such as: clothing, shoes, bottles, sunglasses and food needed, and finally mental tidbits that I wanted to remind myself of.
03-18-10, 09:29 AM
Its a road race. Rectangular route so 4 turns per lap. Apparently there is a rise somewhere on the route, don't know how long and how steep. Expect from 20-30 in the novice category.
Ride in the drops (prevent hooking handlebars with another rider) and protect your front wheel at all times since riders may suddenly move into you. It is okay to ride on the hoods if the field strings out.
Watch the wind direction and try to stay out of it. Stay on the less windy side of the peloton. On the climbs, try to be near the front so that you can drift back into the peloton, if necessary. Be prepared for a large acceleration on the small climbs and do not get caught behind slower riders. The pack will use these as a chance to drop riders.
You did not say how many laps. If there are 3 laps you may have to negotiate 12 high speed turns. Expect big accelerations out of the turns. Be in the drops on the turns and hold your line. Watch for riders who may decide to cut the corner into your front wheel. You are going to go fast through the turns. Lean the bike and stay relaxed. You may want to practice some high speed turns so that you get the feel of leaning into and accelerating out of turns. Conversely, on longer road races, racers go easier through the turns but still accelerate hard out of the turn. You will have to get the feel for your race once you are into it.
Stay relaxed on the bike and keep a light grip on the handlebar. If you get bumped just stay relaxed and nothing will happen. If you are rigid or panic, even a slight bump may cause you a problem.
Since most of the riders are going to be new racers and nervous, watch out for situations that bunch up and expect a crash. It will not take much for these guys to crash.
Have a great race.
03-19-10, 07:13 PM
Its so nerve wracking not to know what to expect for tomorrows race. I looked up the results from the previous races this year in the series. One guy (who won) set a record for the time it took him to cycle across Canada, and this guy was racing in the Novice category!!!!
03-19-10, 09:11 PM
Be prepared for alot of bumping you might not expect. My first novice race I thought was crazy. I was a young guy. First thing that happened, some guy didnt like me where I was, and reached back, and actually lifted the rear of my bike up by the seat and moved me over. I couldnt believe it (he was big guy, I was scrawny guy). There was lots of shoulder bumbing, especially by the lone woman who bounced off me every chance she could. I got a bit nervous and went to the back. Got out of optimum drafting position and was dropped, and unable to catch up. Oh ya, it was fun!
I would agree with stay from the middle to top third if you can, its easier riding. Enjoy the ride. My second race I got into the third position heading into the final sprint. I thought yee ha, victory time! I stood up and hammered down the straight, atleast ten riders rode by me like I was standing still!!
I agree with folks say about coming out of the corners. The corner speed often was different, but almost everyone accelerates hard out of the turns.
Good luck, keep the rubber side down.
03-20-10, 10:59 PM
So, kind of dissapointed in myself about the bike race. Then again, I was thinking about contending for the win.
Got out strong in first group, then with a long downhill, lots passed me. Combination of running out of gears on a compact and not being aggresive enough to stay with the group. Not knowing what lay ahead in the course and the strength of the riders I was with, I was overly cautious.
Once I lost that big group....
I did push hard the rest of the way and passed several people (ok, 2 of them were girls) and for a while hung with a group from a previous race, not knowing you're not supposed to do that. No one passed me.
Lack of riding on hard pacelines this winter hurt me. I took up triathlon training this year, so more emphasis on swimming, running, gym. Still...:(:(
Next time I'll know better. Don't know my time as my Garmin crapped out.
Looking at the results now, I would not have been in the Top 5 anyway :lol:
My quads hurt like hell.
03-21-10, 06:39 AM
Congrats on your first race! Was it fun? Are you going to race again?
03-21-10, 02:50 PM
Thanks. Oh, I will definitely do it again in a couple of weeks.
Just have to HTFU and practice cornering.
Met some nice people so yes, will go out and hurt again.
The Novice races are short, I wonder what it's like
to do the longer ones.
Sounds like you had a good race. BTW, you are not allowed to race with a different category UNLESS you start with them. Sometimes the promoters will start the masters 45 + and 55+ together and score them separately. Then it is okay to draft anyone in either category. You are also not allowed to draft in time trials. If you think about it, if you get dropped from the cat 5 men and the P/1/2 peloton goes by, you hop on and catch the cat 5 field, that is not fair. The penalty is that you are relegated to a worse position which is totally at the discretion of an official - if they catch you. What can also happen in a race is that the peloton is neutralized by an official to allow another peloton to pass. This may offer the dropped riders a chance to catch up. That is allowed and they may rejoin the group. This is also not fair per se but a reality in racing and necessary for safety.
IMO, longer races are much harder with more suffering and require much better preparation. Nothing much changes in that the peloton looks to drop riders early on the hills or by accelerations and the ones dropped early have farther to go to finish the race. No one thinks, well this is a long race let's start out in zone 2 and warmup for 10 miles. If the peloton slows, attacks go off the front. If the pace is high, racers sit in and wait.
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