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  1. #26
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Sara. I don't know what your expectations were, but Open Women's racing is a crap shoot. If the big guns show up, it's going to be a long day. Vanderkitten, Tibco, Exergy, development squad or not, those are big guns. You also cannot discount your age versus the kittens. You got a finish, that's actually step #2. So you did well considering this is your first criterium.

    Aggressiveness in criteriums is normal at all levels. You don't have to be an animal, but you will want to learn how to take a wheel at will in the field and defend it. It won't always work. I'm a little guy, so sometimes I'd rather let the big monsters have my wheel and find another. It is a skill you will want to work on, and it's best done in a practice race. Are there any weekly practice crits in your area?

    I think you found out what it means to start up front. You have to be able to at least dictate the pace if you start up there. If your intention is to sit in and let the race unfold, then start a few rows back in the middle next time, or at the back. The back can actually be safer and better as you can easily move your way to the middle around the riders who are slow to clip in. Make sure that you practice your clip-ins regularly so that you can take advantage of others.

    All in all you did just fine, better than I would have expected in your first criterium. Don't be discouraged, just keep at it. Try and find a Women's Cat 3/4 race next. The difference is significant. Once you get to the point where you're finishing in the field, then we can talk about the finer points like cornering, tactics, breaks, etc.

  2. #27
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMac View Post
    I'm Like, for instance, the omnium I did last night at the Encino velodrome. Which was super fun... and I won (the "B"s).
    Woohoo! Way to go!
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  3. #28
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    The short of it. I finished.

    In the end, I was lapped FOUR times. Four. It's tough to stay out in the wind on your own for an hour like that. I did realize on a couple of occasions that I had some wheel suckers with me, once for three whole laps. One said to me when she'd finally recovered and passed me "you have good lines through the corners". Gee. Thanks.

    I did 32 of 34 laps, only because the race ended for me there. I was given a finish. I don't think I was DFL, only because (I think, I'm not sure) two or three riders didn't finish.

    I came away WANTING MORE. Yes, I am outclassed, outgunned, and out skilled. So what. I'll come around.
    Great job, Sara. And kudos for sticking in there after getting lapped. My wife did a few crits this year. She's a complete beginner (far less experienced than you) and only did them to join her friends. She surprised herself with a pack finish in one, but the next one required a bit more cornering skills and she found herself yo-yo-ing at the back of the pack on the very first lap. As you know, that can't last long, and sure enough she was lapped 3-4 times. Similar fields, very different results. I say this only to echo what everyone else's sentiments -- that it can be very subtle improvements that mean the difference between hanging on to a strong pack and drifting off. And as Chasm said, with Cat 1s in there? Incredible job.

    I'm amazed that your results were posted so quickly to USAC. Here in socal, it usually takes at least a week, sometimes two. No idea why.

  4. #29
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    VanceMac, you need to stop beating up on those poor "B" racers on the track. You obviously have some affinity for the track.

    Sara, you did exactly what I tell anyone who is getting started in the sport. Stay out there as long as you can or as long as the officials will let you. I'm sure you've seen the logic before: DFL>DNF>DNS. At least that's the logic by which I live. The only way to get better at racing is to race. As VancMac mentioned, the quality of the field and the type of course will affect beginning racers a lot. I encourage you to find a weekly training series race and to go as much as you can. There probably won't be a women's race but race with the Masters men and you will learn a lot about racing and about yourself.

    The other thing about racing a lot is that you learn that not every race has to be an "A" race. Many of the races I do are more for training. I race them as hard as I can but I don't focus on the result. I focus on the efforts and the training benefits. Another old-time saying is, racing is the best training. That's not always true but it is generally hard to beat the training effect of a race.

    Can't remember where I wrote this before but I'll write it again. This guy in SoCal is about my age. A few years ago he started racing. He was pretty heavy and pretty slow. But he kept showing up for the weekday twilight races and weekend races. He would invariably get dropped within one or two laps but he stayed out there and at least one promoter arranged it so that the officials wouldn't pull him. He did this for 2-3 years. Last year he looked thinner -- not skinny mind you -- and he started hanging in longer but would still get dropped. This year he's been able to stay in the pack at several races. I think the morale of the story is clear. If you really want to race and get better, race as much as you can and persevere.

    BTW, I get dropped as a matter of course at road races with big hills. This is especially grating for me since I used to be a good (not great) hill climber. Anyway, I still do road races and I get dropped and I stay out there and finish. Sometimes people are still around when I get to the finish.

    BTW, Amy Russo used to live in SoCal and she was in my club for a number of years. She didn't start racing until she was almost 40 and now she does pretty well in NorCal. If you know her or get to meet her, tell her I say, "Hi."
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  5. #30
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    VanceMac, you need to stop beating up on those poor "B" racers on the track. You obviously have some affinity for the track. "
    Ha. I would be pack fodder in the Bs at Carson. I will race the As next time at Encino, where I will be pack fodder as well.

  6. #31
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Congrats Sara for the start and finish. A question... did you try to rejoin the pack when the lapped you? The Exergy 2012 is a pro team lead by Kristen Armstrong. It was formerly Peanut Butter and Company 2012. The 2012 derived from the next Olympic year with several of the women trying for the Olympics. The other women were the usual suspects in a P/1/2 field. The promoter opened it up for all categories but did not do the Cat 3/4 any favors - technical challenging course, pro field, fast pace. Beginners will not learn much in a race like this.

    In this type of field the racers know and mark each other. If you were on a wheel, that one of the stronger women thought was hers, you were going to get shoved off. You have no track record racing with this group. So this would compound your problems of holding wheels and position. There was no way they would allow you at the front.

    Learning and strength increases occur when you mix it up in the pack for long periods of time. Since you like crit racing, you need to find races for cat4 women only with mentors on a simple four cornered course with no grades or local practice crits. In this type of race, the women are going to play nice and you can learn to corner and get exposed to the accelerations which will improve your fitness. Riding a course by yourself even motivated by a field lapping you is not great for fitness per se. I have done it. Sometimes I thought I should be on my TT bike so at least I can get a good TT workout in.

    I am glad you are not discouraged. You were in a cat fight with a bunch of cougars and you were a kitten.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  7. #32
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanceMac View Post
    Ha. I would be pack fodder in the Bs at Carson. I will race the As next time at Encino, where I will be pack fodder as well.
    That may be true but never sell yourself short when getting results. Good results are too hard to get no matter where you race. You cannot control who shows up to race.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  8. #33
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    50+ Misc Race Report Thread

    Fellas, I am overwhelmed, really I am, by the kind words and encouragement! Truthfully, I had no idea who I was racing against. To me, at the moment, it didn't matter. I had goals for the race, and by golly, I hit most of them. To find out afterwards that I was a "kitten among cougars" lends a glow of satisfaction to that race that makes it even more special. But, then again, it was a race, and if you guys have taught me anything, it's focus. This year is the learning year, and I could go out there and race a field populated by the likes of Evie Stevens and Sarah Hammer, and it would still be a race to me. I'd come away from it happy that I finished and that much wiser.

    Hermes, I now understand why I got the "who do you think you are???" looks from some of those riders when I was at the front. Ride and learn, oops.

    Seriously, my appetite is now whetted. I do want more. I feel a little different about myself, too, funny to say. But, I do. Training races? I don't know who what or where, but I know who to talk to about them. We have an active club locally, MBRT, and I will join them. There is some real talent in that group, along with structure and a training program. I need that and want it.

    I'm up at Clear Lake at the moment writing this on my iPhone. I know I've misspelled, left out words, whatever - still, I want to thank all of you fellas and ladies for getting me to this point - yes you did.

    Oh - I survived a recovery ride up here today in 95 degree heat! Tomorrow - who knows!

    ~~Sara!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  9. #34
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world of crit racing Sara. You did well for your first attempt.

    State crit today. Rode the 45 and 50+ races.

    No break was going to stay out, and I proved that several times. We had a really good lead out train going in the 50+ race, but inexperience showed and we got swamped on the last lap; our guys learned that you don't wait for the guy on the front to pull off if he starts to slow, you gotta take charge.

    I had to come from way back in the field to try to launch our sprinter, got to third wheel in the train and dropped in front of him but just didn't have the gas to go and pulled out early, probably did more harm than good. He did get a close 2nd though.

    45+ I launched him really well into the last corner only to find he had been knocked off my wheel and was nowhere to be seen. I tried to gather thing back up and sprint but at that point I was pedaling squares.

    Pretty sore and cooked tonight. Recovery day tomorrow and then I start my countdown to salvage something out of Road Nats.

  10. #35
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Sounds pretty good, Ex, even if it didn't all go to plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    We had a really good lead out train going in the 50+ race, but inexperience showed and we got swamped on the last lap; our guys learned that you don't wait for the guy on the front to pull off if he starts to slow, you gotta take charge.
    Quoted for emphasis. Doesn't just apply in a finish, either. I've lost a lot of ground, and cost myself a lot of energy, by failing to jump past the wheel ahead as soon as it started to drop off the pace...
    Last edited by chasm54; 07-16-12 at 04:38 AM.

  11. #36
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Ex, nice work.

  12. #37
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Ex, Good luck prepping for road nationals!
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  13. #38
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Sounds pretty good, Ex, even if it didn't all go to plan.

    Quoted for emphasis. Doesn't just apply in a finish, either. I've lost a lot of ground, and cost myself a lot of energy, by failing to jump past the wheel ahead as soon as it started to drop off the pace...
    This is where knowing the competition going into a race is important. Do not get on a bad wheel in the first place. This is easier said than done and why certain wheels are hotly contested by other racers.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  14. #39
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    50+ Misc Race Report Thread

    Ex, great work!!!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  15. #40
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    This is where knowing the competition going into a race is important. Do not get on a bad wheel in the first place. This is easier said than done and why certain wheels are hotly contested by other racers.
    Amen, Brother Hermes!
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  16. #41
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Ex, nice work.
    +1 Your team is lucky to have you working for them.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  17. #42
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    +1 Your team is lucky to have you working for them.
    I am happy he is not in my age group. Yet.

  18. #43
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    I am happy he is not in my age group. Yet.
    I hear you. We need to collect all the medals and jerseys we can as that clock ticks.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  19. #44
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    I never got close enough to the front of the 50+ district crit championships to see this display of power:


    I'd recognize the Catlike helmet and Fuji SST bike anywhere.

    My miscellaneous report:

    I wanted to and thought I could do well in 55+ race. I was a bit surprised at the large turnout as the 55+ fields have been getting smaller as the season has progressed. Two favorites went from the *** and after a bit of chasing and bridging and dropping, three guys including the overwhelming favorite were gone for the day. My problem is that since my crash, my pack and physical confidence have taken a dive.

    The race was relatively fast for 55+ but no faster than the dozens of crits that I've done so far this year. I just couldn't muster up the courage to get to and stay at the front like I wanted. I screwed up my courage between turns 3 and 4 as we were going to get the bell. I actually got on the wheel on the Manhattan Beach GP winner and he was on a teammates wheel. Just before we got to turn 4 there was a surge on the right and as we went through the corner I started getting swamped. Next thing I knew I was fighting for a mid-pack position and I lost my enthusiasm for getting a result.

    The 50+ race was faster (thank you Racer Ex, among others) and the pack was bigger. Most of the year I've been able to get myself where I wanted in the pack. On Sunday I kept finding myself at the back and it was a struggle to move up. I couldn't get near either of my teammates to do anything. Sat up halfway around the last lap and rolled across the line. Sad.

    Hopefully a couple of weekends away from racing will help. Will be doing some fun riding in Vegas (baby) this weekend. Next week starts the pre-nationals training block.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  20. #45
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    I'd recognize the Catlike helmet and Fuji SST bike anywhere.
    Not to mention the sleeve and the ever-present IAB position.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  21. #46
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Cleave, Nice work in two tough races. I am sure you will be ready for nationals.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  22. #47
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    I Hopefully a couple of weekends away from racing will help. Will be doing some fun riding in Vegas (baby) this weekend. Next week starts the pre-nationals training block.
    I'm sure you'll get your crit-mojo back, Cleave.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  23. #48
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Now that's some dishin' out the lactic.

  24. #49
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Sara - Just in case you need more evidence that your first crit experience is normal:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...0#post14496730
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  25. #50
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I do not think that Watsonville was a good test for Sara. There was only one women's race offered and it had the Exergy (UCI pro team) and Vanderkitten women as well as other Cat 1 women. It would be similar if I raced in an elite 1,2 race and a couple of UCI domestique pros showed up and lit up the pace and there was a small climb. I would get spit out the back in a similar manner. If she enters a Cat 4 women's flat crit, she will do much better.

    Also, we have the early bird series of practice races with mentors that his held in the early part of the season. They offer skills and racing where the goal is learning to race.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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