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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 08-20-13, 01:34 AM   #1
789
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Advice for my first road bike race.

Hello guys just want to seek out some advice for my first road bike race on this coming sunday.
The race total distance is 40km (13-16y.o cat) and the route is straight with about 5km laps.
Any advice for a race newbie like me? Thank you
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Old 08-20-13, 01:53 AM   #2
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Hi, and welcome to the forums!

There are a lot of previous threads about this topic already. Doing a search first yields a lot of useful answers.

Anyways, here are some of my tips:

The night before the race:
- Get enough sleep
- Hydrate
- Eat well

Pre-race (morning of the race):
- Warm up. Do about 10-15 min of spinning
- Hydrate
- Don't eat a lot

Race proper:
- Don't go all out on the first few laps. Conserve your energy.
- Keep within 3 to 4 bikes from the front. Use drafting to your advantage.
- Keep an eye out for the possible sprinters, observe when they're making a move.
- The pace is going to pick up in the last lap(s) - try not to get dropped.
- About 300m from the finish, start to open up from the pack to prepare for the sprint.
- Wait for someone to attack first then chase him down.

Many times I've been too early in my attacks, making me lose steam near the end.

Good luck.
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Old 08-20-13, 02:01 AM   #3
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Eat properly the day before the race. My magic formula was eating one quart of pork fried rice over the second half of the day before the race. Hydrate properly before the race, simple cola was what I drank.

During the race keep an eye on the other riders. Look for who is riding strongly, usually the stronger riders will find themselves somewhere in the first quarter of the group after the halfway point in the race. Once you identify who is riding well, stick to them. Eventually they will find their way to the front, work with them (if you can keep up), but don't overdo it, you don't want to be wound out before the sprint.

Don't expect to win (or even do well) in your first race, you should spend your time paying attention to how the race works out, and the strategy used to get to the front at the right time. Figure out how long you can take a pull at the front without blowing out, and try to figure out where your limits are.

Most of all, have fun! I didn't race for prizes or money (what money?), but just for the fun of it. I seldom won a race, but I have often placed on the podium (2nd or 3rd is not bad out of 50 or more riders). I found tactics and strategy often more useful than simple strength.

Good luck, post again about what happened in the race.
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Old 08-20-13, 06:08 AM   #4
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Thanks alot guys I'll surely update about what happened in the race.
So stoked.
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Old 08-20-13, 06:23 AM   #5
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Look in the racing forum, particularly the sticky thread at the top.


Other than that, ride smoothly, predictably. Protect your front wheel. Stay out of the wind, unless there's a reason to be in the wind.
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Old 08-20-13, 07:57 AM   #6
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If you find yourself crashing, take someone out with you so you have a partner to chase down the pack. Good hunting
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Old 08-20-13, 08:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Look in the racing forum, particularly the sticky thread at the top.


Other than that, ride smoothly, predictably. Protect your front wheel. Stay out of the wind, unless there's a reason to be in the wind.
+1 and have fun! Good luck.
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Old 08-20-13, 08:44 AM   #8
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A classic first race error is to look at your cycle computer and tell yourself that you can rider at least as fast as what is registering for the remaining distance and then move to the front or try to break away and then burn out.

Anothr classic first race error is getting to the front of the pack and not knowing what to do and being scared to peel off while the riders directly behind you encourage you to stay put and keep pulling, then when you are no longer moving fast enough for them they pull around you and you get squirted out the back of the pack.

Finishing your first race with the pack should be considered a good accomplishment, anything more should be considered icing on the cake.

Stay to the front of the group (first 10 to 15 riders) and just try to relax and sit-in as much as possible. As the group of riders around you flows try to maintain your position in that first 10-15 riders without actually being the front rider.

-j
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Old 08-20-13, 08:50 AM   #9
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IF you have never raced, and never ridden at race speeds for any length of time, you will be in for a bit of a shock. In other words, many people get dropped and pulled their first few races until they get used to the speed.

My point is, do not be discouraged if that happens. Keep coming back. And if you have not done so, try to join a team. Because if you ar going to train by yourself, it is near impossible to simulate what you get in a race.

Have fun...and don't forget to buy that license.
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Old 08-20-13, 08:59 AM   #10
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Don't kill anyone.
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Old 08-20-13, 09:05 AM   #11
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The night before your race make sure that your bike is in perfect mechanical condition. Also check to see that you comply with the junior gearing rules.

Also make sure to go in with an open mind about how you are going to do. It is harder that you think it will be.

Last edited by biCYCLOTRON; 08-20-13 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 08-20-13, 09:06 AM   #12
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+1 to Roadwarrior

Here is the racing reality that you may not be aware of...you get your license and see it is marked "Juniors" because you are under 18, and it is also marked "Cat V" or whatever system the USCF is using these days. Then you start talking to your competition and find that many of them are Cat III, Cat II, and some have experience racing at the Junior national team level.

When I started racing I was competing against George Hincapie among others. I was based out of Connecticut and he was living in Long Island NY, so there were a handful of races in the region each season that we were in together. I was first year Cat IV Junior (cat v didnt exist then) and I think he was a Cat II, the decked seemed stacked against new racers because the tendancy was that all the Juniors raced together.

I think I finished (did not get pulled) 3 races the first season I was licensed. My second season I raced more Cat IV races than juniors as the playing field was a bit more level in that group. The experience from my first season carried over and started my second season much stronger and more prepared.


Good luck.
-j

Last edited by Greenfieldja; 08-20-13 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 08-20-13, 11:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biCYCLOTRON View Post
The week before your race make sure that your bike is in perfect mechanical condition.
There, fixed it.
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Old 08-20-13, 12:07 PM   #14
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Make sure you get a good night's sleep the night before and don't get frustrated. What will happen will happen. Stick with it.
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Old 08-20-13, 12:17 PM   #15
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Nothing else to say. Good luck.
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Old 08-20-13, 06:05 PM   #16
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Get on someones wheel and ride like bloody hell.
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Old 08-20-13, 06:13 PM   #17
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Get there early, get your number pinned on properly (seriously, if you don't know how, ask someone), get warmed up, stay out of the wind.
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Old 08-21-13, 05:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenfieldja View Post
+1 to Roadwarrior

Here is the racing reality that you may not be aware of...you get your license and see it is marked "Juniors" because you are under 18, and it is also marked "Cat V" or whatever system the USCF is using these days. Then you start talking to your competition and find that many of them are Cat III, Cat II, and some have experience racing at the Junior national team level.

When I started racing I was competing against George Hincapie among others. I was based out of Connecticut and he was living in Long Island NY, so there were a handful of races in the region each season that we were in together. I was first year Cat IV Junior (cat v didnt exist then) and I think he was a Cat II, the decked seemed stacked against new racers because the tendancy was that all the Juniors raced together.

I think I finished (did not get pulled) 3 races the first season I was licensed. My second season I raced more Cat IV races than juniors as the playing field was a bit more level in that group. The experience from my first season carried over and started my second season much stronger and more prepared.


Good luck.
-j

Where do you live, in Belgium? I was in Waterloo when i lived and raced there.

To the OP, this is great advice. When I started as a kid we only raced within our own club. Once you got experience and speed, you raced as this poster described.

I tell older guys the same thing...they think a masters race is a bunch of old guys out for a bit of fun. And that is anything but the truth. Same for juniors, depending on where you are racing. If it is a smaller event you probably are ok, a bigger one will attract national level racers.

When i was a kid and there were only four categories, in some races they'd put the fours with the juniors. Felt sorry for the fours.

Last edited by roadwarrior; 08-21-13 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 08-21-13, 07:11 AM   #19
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As far as food and drink goes, don't try anything new the day before (or the day of) the race.

Have fun!
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Old 08-24-13, 09:08 PM   #20
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Hello guys I've officially completed my first road bike race and as expected, I got myself the third last place among 18 riders.
But even so I'm still glad that I join this race for the experience gained and breaking my self limit. I definitely will go back next year with aggression.
The night before the race I had everything sorted out but not myself... I only totalled up about 3 hours of sleep due to anxiety. \
The first lap (10km) was the killer because I attacked when the first rider did and ended up being the top 3 rider of the peleton.
After the turn I slowed down because I wanted to be in the middle but lost them instead. I slowly went into a more aerodynamic position and catch up with them.
After the third lap turning I hunt them down again with my aerodynamic position but lost them after 3 1/2 lap and I then eventually gave up reaching the 4th.
Still I don't feel disappointed or anything because this is my first race and I'm not even racing with my own bike! It was my friends who lend me on this week wednesday(I don't have a road bike, I'm a fixed gear cyclist (soon selling it away to get a road bike)) And also being the biggest size rider in the group it's quite surprising to kept up 30km with them.
Next year I'll get my own bike, lose some weight and race for the first!
Thanks everyone for the advice!
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Old 08-25-13, 11:50 AM   #21
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Sounds familiar - go out too hard, get dropped.

You learned some things. Good. You'll be better next time.
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Old 08-25-13, 12:48 PM   #22
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Don't wait for next year, race next week. It takes experience, and training that you only get racing. One race a year and you'll never make much progress.
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Old 08-26-13, 08:26 AM   #23
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Sounds familiar - go out too hard, get dropped.

You learned some things. Good. You'll be better next time.
Yeap I guess that's what happened to most cyclist.
This lost really motivates me and I swear I'll go back strong next year. (Started training since today already)
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Old 08-26-13, 08:28 AM   #24
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Quote:
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Don't wait for next year, race next week. It takes experience, and training that you only get racing. One race a year and you'll never make much progress.
How I wish man but it's for the national selections which comes by once a year. For this week I actually have a dualthon race but it's for fixed gear (signed up but now having second thoughts because I'm crazy over road bike)
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