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  1. #1
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    Track crit preparation 4 weeks; endurance training and weightlifting

    I will be riding in my first (track) crit race in 4 weeks and I'm looking for some preparation advice. I figure I primarily need to get my endurance up. I will be riding qualification laps (1.25km) and hopefully afterwards the second chance race (14laps). The course is flat with a few corners.

    My background: I have ridden fixed gear exclusively for about 14 months now. I commute daily, at least once a week I ride for distance. But over the past 5 months I've started riding more often and also fell in love with the velodrome. When I'm riding solo I can do 20mph avg if it's not too hilly (8% hills I take slow). I prefer lower cadence, high cadence over an extended time kills me.

    I've been going to the gym for 3+ years and I'm making good progress lately (switched gym, eating more). My legs are strong but endurance is tough. This is my passion #1 . Cycling comes second. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week.

    I have a few ideas how to prepare but would prefer not to invest too much energy and time in things that won't work. Here is a list of things I thought about:

    A
    Interval training for endurance [track laps].

    B
    Short interval training for sprints, after coming out of corners [on trainer at the gym]

    C
    Losing weight by cutting. 3-4lbs [eat less]

    D
    Riding on rollers for higher cadence [1h after gym at home]

    E
    Optimize nutrition. I really need to read a book about sport nutrition

    F
    Get miles in. Ride as much as possible

    Should I focus on anything in general? Anything I can skip? What about recovery? Reduce gym time? Only ride on off-gym days? I'm a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities and would love some hints or links..
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rndstr

  2. #2
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    To be clear, are you riding a criterium on a closed road course with a geared bike or are you racing on the velodrome fixed gear no brakes?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  3. #3
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    It sounds like you're going to race on a dedicated bike racing circuit? I know they have them in Holland but not sure about Switzerland.

    I don't see anything about group riding in the list and that concerns me. A mass start race is 10% fitness, 90% experience, at least for someone that's fit (meaning not someone that just kicked a 20 year smoking habit, is 30+ on the BMI scale - a US thing, etc). You never see anyone that can't finish the distance. It's finishing it with the field that's the challenge.

    B, C, D, and E will be a waste of time. There's nothing to be gained there that will make a difference if you're asking about your first race (later it may be different but not now). If you don't have any top speed then A will help. F helps if you take into account "G" below.

    The unmentioned "G" is to go do rides with other racers and learn a bit about drafting and tactics. If you're already doing that then just focus on A for solo stuff.

    Another unmentioned H would be to make sure your fit is pretty good. I imagine it is but you can give away a lot if it's not.

    I bet, right now, in terms of fitness, you can do fine in a variety of Cat 5, 4, and 3 races (beginner to "working class racer", i.e where most people end up if they work, have a family, and train minimal hours). When I say "right now" I mean this moment, not even tomorrow morning. If you're sitting at the dinner table right now you could get up, change, get on a bike, and do fine in a normal (not super prestigious) Cat 5 or 4 or even 3 field, and your power/fitness will be fine to get you to the finish. The difference will be if you can utilize your fitness in a productive way.

    To put things in perspective a really hard training solo ride on flat terrain for me nets me 18 mph; most are 14-16 mph. I have a hard time not being the first dropped on a hill. I typically place in the last couple riders in a 125 rider field. On the BMI scale I score a solid 27.6. You certainly wouldn't say about me, "Oh, watch out for that guy". But I know how to race in a group and therefore I'm competitive in Cat 3 and M45 crits.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    To be clear, are you riding a criterium on a closed road course with a geared bike or are you racing on the velodrome fixed gear no brakes?
    Sorry for being unclear, it's a criterium on a closed road course with a track bike (http://redhookcrit.com/ in Barcelona). There will be qualifier heats that ride 5 laps together but the fastest lap will be used for a ranking over all the 200 riders. 1-65 go directly to final, 65-150 ride a second chance mass start race of 14 laps.

    It's one of the most prestigious track crit and I'm fully aware I won't have a chance at qualifying for the final. I just happen to be in Barcelona at that time and thought why not. I'm aiming for top 150 and then have some fun and get experience in the second chance.
    Last edited by rndstr; 08-05-14 at 01:00 AM. Reason: clickable link
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rndstr

  5. #5
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Fixed gear crit. Pretty much a track mass start race only with a lot more pedal strikes and slower corners.

    You need two things do be decent at this. One is leg speed because you'll get killed running a big gear coming out of the corners and off the starting line in qualifying. The other is recovery from anaerobic effort because this will be a ton of surges in this race.

    You can get some progress on this in 4 weeks. Put a low gear on your street bike fixed gear and spin like a hamster. Add in a lot of 1m and 30s full on/somewhat off intervals (if you have a flat piece of road think 28MPH then 22MPH as a percentage of effort). Specific endurance and long ride work is a waste of time right now.

    Finally, when your legs are cooked and you think you're done go do 3-4 full on sprints to failure. That's what the end of the race will be like and the people who realize they won't die from the pain will be the people who will be winning.

  6. #6
    Senior Member HOWSER's Avatar
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    Very interesting. I've never heard of a track crit before. Love to see one in action.

  7. #7
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Red Hook in NYC sort of started the trend. It is in Brooklyn at night. There is good prize money that attracts European and Canadian riders.

  8. #8
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    I have no recommendations on how to train for something like this. It's kind of crazy from my roadie, parochial perspective.

    During this year's Long Beach Bike Fest, Wolfpack Hustle promoted the Shortline Crit. I watched some of the qualifying runs. It didn't change my perspective on crazy and it scared me.

    Biggest crowd ever for the 5th(?) annual festival and a lot of that was due to the Shortline Crit.
    Thanks.
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  9. #9
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    It's been a while but thanks Racer Ex for the advice. I did do regular intervals at the track as well as (albeit to lesser extent) on the street and gym. I geared my commuter down to 48/17 and the track bike to 49/16 then started going back to 49/15 last week (my qualifying and race gear). I also did a flat 170km ride on 51/15 not as preparation but I've been planning to do that for a while

    Quote Originally Posted by HOWSER View Post
    Very interesting. I've never heard of a track crit before. Love to see one in action.
    Just search for `red hook crit' on vimeo or youtube. There is also raw gopro footage of the full qualifying or race by certain riders
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rndstr

  10. #10
    Senior Member HOWSER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rndstr View Post

    Just search for `red hook crit' on vimeo or youtube. There is also raw gopro footage of the full qualifying or race by certain riders
    Just watched it. I like it.

    Thanks!

  11. #11
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    Alright, here is the follow-up. I did pretty bad but it was to be expected. My biggest issue was hairpins and riding curves fast in general, though. Also, the chosen gear (49/15) was too big for me, especially since this course was quite technical with lots of turns where I lost a lot of momentum and speed and then required too much energy to get fast again.

    Other than that, the event was awesome, my buddies killed it and I had a good few days sightseeing in beautiful and sunny Barcelona, can't complain
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rndstr

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