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  1. #1
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    Cherry Pie Crit in Napa?

    So i've been riding for a about 5 years and decided to finally take the plunge and commit to doing quite a bit of racing this year.

    I've been doing the Early Bird Crits in Fremont and doing pretty well considering i'm still in off-season/winter 'condition' and training through the off season has been cut short by weather, lack of sun light and traveling.

    So beyond the Early Birds, i've been looking at doing the Cherry Pie Crit up in Napa. Has anyone done it in the last few years and have strong feelings for or against it? It'd be a hell of a lot easier to pack up the car, convince my girlfriend to give up most of a Sunday and drive two hours to a race if the destination is Napa and i promise to through in a trip to Taylor's Automatic Refresher on the way home.

    However, if it is known for being a pretty fast race, or has any significant hills (i can handle small ones this time of year), and i'm likely to get dropped, it may not be worth all of the effort.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    I've done it the last 3 years.
    The course has 1 small hill (usually into a headwind), with a U-turn at the top of the hill where everyone bunches up and nearly comes to a stop unless you're in the front few, so if you're hanging off the back it's easy to catch up here. The rest of the course is very fast, but then when isn't a crit fast?

    Most races seem to come down to a pack sprint.

  3. #3
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    Try to stay near the front as much as possible. Be careful on turn on the downhill. If you are in cat 5 people are taking the corner really wide. I saw a couple of guys go into the curb. On the last lap, if you are not at the front for some reason try to position yourself on the outside. There will be a surge right near the bottom of the hill and if you end up on the inside you'll be boxed in if people are slower ahead of you.

    At the U-Turn I found it was better to be at the front or positioned going around along the outside of the U-Turn. This way you don't get pinched if you are on the inside. There will be a few people who will eat the curb with their front wheel or clip a pedal because people don't make room.

    You shouldn't have much problems keeping with the pack. Always try to stay near the front as much as possible. If you are not moving up you are moving back. Don't feel like okay I can just sit here and wait. Because eventually you'll find yourself at the back again as others move up.

    After the crit, you can go riding on Silverado Trail which is close by. Last year I did the crit, had lunch afterwards, parked our car near the start of Silverado Trail and then went riding with my wife. Its pretty nice and there are lots of wineries along the road. There is a generous bike lane but can be kind of windy out there. So even if the crit doesn't go the way you want you can get in some miles afterwards.

  4. #4
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    Sweet. Thanks guys. Registered this afternoon and looking forward to it.

  5. #5
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    I did it last year for the first time (CAT4 Women) and will do it again and hope for a better finish. I haven't looked at registration but would like to sign up as 35+ or 45+ CAT 4. No matter, I'm in.

    That hill and u-turn are very interesting, how the front of the pack slows down and before you know it you're braking to keep from rear-ending someone who was a couple bike lengths ahead of you mere seconds ago.

    It was my first official crit and I remember it being very fast.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

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  6. #6
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Garmin-Slipstream has about 9 guys in my race including Zabriskie, Vande Velde, Cozza, Danielson, etc., so I think it will be fast.

  7. #7
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pizza Man View Post
    Garmin-Slipstream has about 9 guys in my race including Zabriskie, Vande Velde, Cozza, Danielson, etc., so I think it will be fast.
    Fast? Is that a euphemism for "crazy-fast-I'm-gonna-suck-wind-to-stay-on-the-back-kill-me-now" fast?

    Yeee-oww!
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

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  8. #8
    Race to train jrennie's Avatar
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    I'll be hanging on for dear life at the back. Don't forget Fast Freddy. If he is doing the early birds I imagine he will also be at cherry pie.

  9. #9
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    I'm considering registering for some Cherry Pie action but have a couple of questions.

    So supposedly after the Early Birds we can upgrade to Cat 4.... which would be better to do, 4 or 5?

    Also, not Cherry Pie related, how does the upgrade process work? You just click the "request upgrade" on the USACycling website?

  10. #10
    Senior Member kster's Avatar
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    BR, it looks like the cat 1-4 35+ is full:

    http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=7543

    How does the Elite 4 and Elite 5 compare to the 35+ category?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
    I'm considering registering for some Cherry Pie action but have a couple of questions.

    So supposedly after the Early Birds we can upgrade to Cat 4.... which would be better to do, 4 or 5?

    Also, not Cherry Pie related, how does the upgrade process work? You just click the "request upgrade" on the USACycling website?
    I had the same question as well.

  12. #12
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kster View Post
    BR, it looks like the cat 1-4 35+ is full:

    http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=7543

    How does the Elite 4 and Elite 5 compare to the 35+ category?
    In the Masters, your racing with guys like Pizza Man. The Masters 35+ are usually FAST, especially when you have the 1-2s mixed in with the 3-4s.

  13. #13
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kster View Post
    BR, it looks like the cat 1-4 35+ is full:

    http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=7543

    How does the Elite 4 and Elite 5 compare to the 35+ category?
    Most of the guys in the front of the 35+ race are Cat 1 & Cat 2 and also race in the Pro/1/2 race, so it's quite noticeably faster than the Elite 4 and Elite 5 races. (I did both the Elite 4 and 35+ races as a 4 several years ago)

    Quote Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
    I'm considering registering for some Cherry Pie action but have a couple of questions.

    So supposedly after the Early Birds we can upgrade to Cat 4.... which would be better to do, 4 or 5?

    Also, not Cherry Pie related, how does the upgrade process work? You just click the "request upgrade" on the USACycling website?
    The 5's race will probably be very similar to the EB races. The 4's may be a little faster with a larger field and probably some team tactics.

    Here are the upgrade FAQ's
    http://www.ncnca.org/docs/upgrade/
    Basically, when you're ready to upgrade just send Casey an e-mail.
    casey@caseykerrigan.com and he'll usually reply within a day or 2 and mail you your upgrade sticker.

  14. #14
    Senior Member kster's Avatar
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    Thanks PizzaMan, that helps a lot.

    Do the results/participation from the EB crits show up when we log into the usacycling.org web site? Or do the folks doing the upgrading just take your word that you did the series?

  15. #15
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    +1, it's great having someone that's been through it all in our midst.

  16. #16
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kster View Post
    Thanks PizzaMan, that helps a lot.

    Do the results/participation from the EB crits show up when we log into the usacycling.org web site? Or do the folks doing the upgrading just take your word that you did the series?
    As far as I know the results don't show up anywhere and they do just take your word for it for the Cat 5 to Cat 4 upgrade.

  17. #17
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    I just checked the registration on Bikereg and it looks like Garmin is bringing in the heavy hitters. Steve Cozza, Tom Danielson, Tyler Farrar, Danny Pate, Svein Tuft, Christian Vande Velde, and Dave Zabriskie are all signed up for the pro/1/2 race. It's gonna be a fast one. I imagine that Fast Freddie will probably show up too, since he's been doing the Early Birds and seems to be in decent form.

    Should be fun.

  18. #18
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    Cozza, Danielson, Farrar, Pate, Tuft, Vende Velde, and Zabriski are all registered. That's obviously Garmin's TOC team. Wonder where they'll be staying and riding up until the day TOC starts. Honestly i'm kind of surpsrised there aren't more pro teams doing Cherry Pie in an effort to get the first race back jitters out before TOC starts. Although there are still 100 spots left, maybe some more teams will show up.

    Work in a trip to Taylors Refresher in the 3 hours between the Cat5 and Pro/1/2 race and its looking like a damn fine day.

  19. #19
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdubose View Post
    Cozza, Danielson, Farrar, Pate, Tuft, Vende Velde, and Zabriski are all registered. That's obviously Garmin's TOC team. Wonder where they'll be staying and riding up until the day TOC starts. Honestly i'm kind of surpsrised there aren't more pro teams doing Cherry Pie in an effort to get the first race back jitters out before TOC starts. Although there are still 100 spots left, maybe some more teams will show up.
    BMC usually shows up and I'm guessing that with Garmin already signed up a few more pro teams might as well. I think the 2nd race fee of $15 is well worth it to see if I can hang on for the whole 60 min.

  20. #20
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    I signed up (cat 5).

    I am trying to do the Early Bird this weekend first, but can't find the sign up.... Is it full???

  21. #21
    Senior Member kster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
    I signed up (cat 5).

    I am trying to do the Early Bird this weekend first, but can't find the sign up.... Is it full???
    The EB is on-site registration only; might want to get there by 11:30am to do the (free) noon clinic as well.

  22. #22
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
    I signed up (cat 5).

    I am trying to do the Early Bird this weekend first, but can't find the sign up.... Is it full???
    Not full. There is no on-line reg for the Early Birds, you can only sign up at the event.

    See you at Cherry Pie!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kster View Post
    The EB is on-site registration only; might want to get there by 11:30am to do the (free) noon clinic as well.
    Thanks guys.

    Definitely doing the clinic.

    The EB will be my first crit. The Cherry Pie will be my 2nd

    Should I be scared?

  24. #24
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    Hey Marco, I don't know about Cherry Pie, but you'll have no problems in the EB. You probably need to be more mindful of protecting your front wheel than you're used to when riding with folks you know. It's a big group of new racers in a constantly moving pack, and somebody's bound to do something really unexpected. (But you might just be off the front the whole time anyway!)

  25. #25
    Direct Hit Not Required BlastRadius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
    Thanks guys.

    Definitely doing the clinic.

    The EB will be my first crit. The Cherry Pie will be my 2nd

    Should I be scared?
    How comfortable are you riding shoulder-to-shoulder? If you can hold
    your line in situations like that, you'll be fine. Just remember, protect
    your front wheel and don't make big sudden movements.

    I'll be doing both so let me know if you want to carpool.

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