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Am I physically ready to attempt my first cat 5 crit?

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Am I physically ready to attempt my first cat 5 crit?

Old 09-14-16, 09:19 PM
  #201  
Radish_legs
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this happens no so infrequently, from what I have observed. Guy with 350+w FTP starts racing and wins most of the C races. Now that's not me of course.
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Old 09-14-16, 09:55 PM
  #202  
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I disagree. It happens all the time. What you need to do is forget about the numbers and start focusing on racing. Period.
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Old 09-14-16, 11:10 PM
  #203  
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Cross racing--huge, fast start (whole shot), after that, kind of hard to pass. Very little drafting, very little freewheeling. Accelerations to pass. That's the impression I have gotten from watching.

It's funny, there's a guy here in town that is a really great Cx racer. Man he just never stops motoring. But I've noticed his crit racing is average at best, probably low average. I figure either his power profile favors Cx, or maybe Cx is just a little less competitive. Or perhaps both.
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Old 09-15-16, 09:38 AM
  #204  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
Cross racing--huge, fast start (whole shot), after that, kind of hard to pass. Very little drafting, very little freewheeling. Accelerations to pass. That's the impression I have gotten from watching.

It's funny, there's a guy here in town that is a really great Cx racer. Man he just never stops motoring. But I've noticed his crit racing is average at best, probably low average. I figure either his power profile favors Cx, or maybe Cx is just a little less competitive. Or perhaps both.
Hard to pass after the hole shot. FFS. Please stop. Just stop. You don't know the first thing about 'cross racing, anymore than you know the first thing about road racing. Just stop. Stop assuming anything. Stop thinking you know anything cause you've watched some video or even an actual race. Stop wasting electrons. Go enter a 'cross race, THEN tell us what you think about it. You'll still be wrong, cause this takes time to figure out, but at least you'll have some basis in experience.
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Old 09-15-16, 04:13 PM
  #205  
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Where did that mic go?
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Old 09-15-16, 04:15 PM
  #206  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
Cross racing--huge, fast start (whole shot), after that, kind of hard to pass. Very little drafting, very little freewheeling. Accelerations to pass. That's the impression I have gotten from watching.
Yup. Basically interval practice with 5-10 seconds threshhold+ followed by 20 seconds tempo - repeat for an hour + lots of CX specific skills.

Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
It's funny, there's a guy here in town that is a really great Cx racer. Man he just never stops motoring. But I've noticed his crit racing is average at best, probably low average. I figure either his power profile favors Cx, or maybe Cx is just a little less competitive. Or perhaps both.
Power has little to do with it. You have to be fit to excel at either, but both disciplines have their own unique skill set. Crits are all about making other people do your work for you and timing your moves. CX is all about skills and endurance.

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Old 09-16-16, 02:49 PM
  #207  
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I thought about starting a new thread about my experience, but figured it might serve better in this thread.

Background: I'm a 53 year old guy that started "serious" cycling last year - "serious" meaning that I'm not just knocking around the neighborhood for a few minutes. Then again, not as serious as some of you that put on thousands of miles per year. I have a job and wife and...well, you know.
Anyway, I figured that I still had some competitive juices - and since I wasn't playing hardball anymore, cycling/racing might be a good endeavor. At the very least I would get in better shape, right?
It's convenient - we have a velodrome that I can walk to, a park that has a nice 1 mile track, and cycling clubs all around the area.
It was a no-brainer to start cycling for health reasons at the very least.

Although my ultimate goal was to race in the Thursday night Crits, I have discovered that I really enjoy the group rides I've participated in. They were very helpful in my getting in better shape and losing a few pounds.

It's getting late in the Crit season here, and I figured I might as well enter a Cat 3/4/5 race now rather than wait until next year.

So on Monday, my knee is bothering me (which it does from time to time) as is my ankle (not sure what that was about).
My thought was, "well, I really enjoy my Wednesday group ride. But if I do that, I'll be spent for the crit the next day, and with a bum knee & ankle? Hmmm....
The thing is, I wasn't even thinking about "competing". I was more interested in trying it to see where my fitness level was in comparison, and also get a feel for what goes on - how does the group move, what are the lines, what's the dynamic? Basically, just learning.

But I came out of the group ride on Wednesday feeling pretty good. On Thursday I was also feeling pretty good.
I figured, "what the heck - do it and learn something".

Usually there is a Cat 3/4/5 race - 15 mile/15 laps, followed by a Cat 1 & 2 race - 30 mile/30 laps.
But with daylight diminishing earlier at this time, they now put EVERYONE together in one 30 lap race.

I had no plans on winning...no plans on even competing...no plans on even finishing the 30 miles.
I just wanted to try it and learn and stay out of everybody's way.

And that's what I did. I hung around with the group for about 6 laps. I was in the middle for a while...then fell back. I originally fell back not because I couldn't keep up, but because I just didn't want to get in anyone's way.
But once I was off the back, it was over. And that's ok. I put in a lot of miles (for me) the day before. I just wanted a taste...to see what it was like.

It was fun. I liken it to driving to work on I-78 in NJ...except it's on a bike rather than in a car.
I found myself going at a speed that I don't do very often while riding by myself. There's drafting and acceleration and cornering and sprinting.

I'm not sure I'll enter next Thursday's race (it's the last one I'll be able to do this year due to my work schedule). I guess it sort of depends on how far our Wednesday group ride is.
It's obvious I'm not in good enough shape to even hang with many of the Cat 4/5 racers. But so what? I plan on increasing my fitness, strength and power. So it's really a matter of training getting used to racing.
I don't do power meters or any of that stuff. I don't want to get caught up in stats, and I actually want to enjoy the rides and the process. I imagine some will scoff at that and tell me that power stats can be helpful. I'm sure. But it's just not my thing.

Anyway, my suggestion is to just try it with no expectations other than learning about racing. Enjoy the learning. Enjoy the process.
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Old 09-16-16, 03:11 PM
  #208  
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Good read @Stratocaster. A few thoughts/items.


You are most likely fit enough to hang with the 4/5s, but more time in the group rides or races will increase your comfort and "drafting skill".


Power meters are great for getting the stats, but not necessary to ride, race, or enjoy your time on the bike.


I'd say do the race again next week and see if you can hang around longer. Every time you get in there is an opportunity to learn and improve.
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Old 09-16-16, 03:29 PM
  #209  
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My experience on the faster group rides with more of an attacking kind of style....if you aren't moving up, then you're moving down. If you just hold wheels and stay out of the wind, you're most likely going to eventually end up on slow wheels and find yourself on the very back as everyone else is moving up around you. And if the guy in front of you gets gapped, then for sure you have to move up. So knowing when to get into the wind for position's sake is something I am working on. As well as preparing for changes in wind direction. Cross-wind I don't want to be in the back.

Anyway, I suspect my first racing experience would be like yours, in that I would find myself on the very back. I've already had that happen. The large rally that is treated like a race. I was working just hard enough to stay in the group. People were moving up, but I was staying out of the wind. And I was working hard just to stay in the group. I finally looked back, and to my shock, there was no one. I was the last guy. The group had shrunk and I was the last person to be able to hold on.

So much for my "race-like" stories!
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Old 09-16-16, 04:14 PM
  #210  
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Some things need to be lived.

We are getting beyond overthinking.
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Old 09-16-16, 04:21 PM
  #211  
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Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
Some things need to be lived.

We are getting beyond overthinking.
agree! lock the thread. the entire premise is silly.
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Old 09-16-16, 04:27 PM
  #212  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
My experience on the faster group rides with more of an attacking kind of style....if you aren't moving up, then you're moving down.



Anyway, I suspect my first racing experience would be like yours, in that I would find myself on the very back. I've already had that happen. The large rally that is treated like a race. I was working just hard enough to stay in the group. People were moving up, but I was staying out of the wind. And I was working hard just to stay in the group. I finally looked back, and to my shock, there was no one. I was the last guy. The group had shrunk and I was the last person to be able to hold on.

So much for my "race-like" stories!

That may seem true, but you just have to watch and try to keep with the faster guys.

And yes, my experience was like that - I looked back and finally I was the only one. But I was looking back a lot just to see if anyone was coming up that I should get out of the way of. Nevertheless, it was "uh oh...I'm the last guy!"


From what I've read, you seem to be in much better form than me. So I think you'll be fine and even enjoy it.
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Old 09-16-16, 04:59 PM
  #213  
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How has the OP STILL not raced? I did my first 4 races this year. 1st Cat 5 race, hung with the pack, finished with the Pack (bunch sprint finish)
2nd race, attacked on 2nd lap, led the race for 2 laps, got caught, finished with the pack. 3rd race found myself on the front too much, lost the sprint finish, finished just outside the top 10. 4th race, attacked on 2nd to last lap, lost the lead in the last 3min, finished with the pack. I had ZERO FAST GROUP RIDE EXPERIENCE. I caused no crashes, raced cautiously, and had a ton of fun. I had no power meter, and not even a bike computer for the first race. Just go have some damn fun or stop talking about it. Racing is fun, talking about racing is not.
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Old 09-16-16, 07:26 PM
  #214  
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Talking about racing is why this forum exists.

Guitar guy, if I had a track that I could walk to, and wanted to get better at racing, I would be a fixture at that place. You have been given a gift that few cyclists ever get to have. Use it.
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Old 09-16-16, 07:44 PM
  #215  
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It took me a few years before I finally raced. Once I moved to a cycling city that had a transition of group rides it wasn't that big a deal. Prior to that I did like 2 group rides and both did not go well for me, so I stuck with solo riding and tri's.

The 41 acting like crits are like scenes out of Mad Max didn't help either. TBH, some of the group rides are sketchier.
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Old 09-17-16, 05:43 AM
  #216  
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There's a guy in my club who races all the time. He almost always gets dropped and almost always finishes in last place. He doesn't care. He says he just loves racing. He never races the C race, only the B race. In a weird way I kind of admire him. He just wants to be in the scene.
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Old 09-17-16, 06:23 AM
  #217  
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Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
Talking about racing is why this forum exists.

Guitar guy, if I had a track that I could walk to, and wanted to get better at racing, I would be a fixture at that place. You have been given a gift that few cyclists ever get to have. Use it.
I hear ya. But I should have started years ago. At this stage in my life, there are too many other things I have to be responsible for.
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Old 09-17-16, 06:28 AM
  #218  
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post

The 41 acting like crits are like scenes out of Mad Max didn't help either. TBH, some of the group rides are sketchier.
Yes, there is that sort of impression given. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at how orderly and well behaved the racers were. I mean, I imagine it gets a bit testier as the race gets near the end.
But as far as my participation goes - it was very smooth and orderly...sort of like a school of fish moving left and right in concert, with subtle movement (some racers moving up, some back) within.
It was really a cool experience.
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Old 09-17-16, 07:16 AM
  #219  
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Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
Where did that mic go?
I think it was dropped.
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Old 09-17-16, 07:18 AM
  #220  
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
My experience on the faster group rides with more of an attacking kind of style....if you aren't moving up, then you're moving down. If you just hold wheels and stay out of the wind, you're most likely going to eventually end up on slow wheels and find yourself on the very back as everyone else is moving up around you. And if the guy in front of you gets gapped, then for sure you have to move up. So knowing when to get into the wind for position's sake is something I am working on. As well as preparing for changes in wind direction. Cross-wind I don't want to be in the back.

Anyway, I suspect my first racing experience would be like yours, in that I would find myself on the very back. I've already had that happen. The large rally that is treated like a race. I was working just hard enough to stay in the group. People were moving up, but I was staying out of the wind. And I was working hard just to stay in the group. I finally looked back, and to my shock, there was no one. I was the last guy. The group had shrunk and I was the last person to be able to hold on.

So much for my "race-like" stories!
Honestly, after reading through this thread off and on, you're now coming across as nothing but a troll, absolutely desperate for attention.
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Old 09-17-16, 07:19 AM
  #221  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
agree! lock the thread. the entire premise is silly.
This.
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Old 09-17-16, 09:12 AM
  #222  
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Originally Posted by Stratocaster View Post
I hear ya. But I should have started years ago. At this stage in my life, there are too many other things I have to be responsible for.
Age is not a factor. The rest is up to you.
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Old 09-19-16, 07:37 AM
  #223  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
agree! lock the thread. the entire premise is silly.
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I think it was dropped.
Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Honestly, after reading through this thread off and on, you're now coming across as nothing but a troll, absolutely desperate for attention.
I agree with all of this.
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Old 09-26-16, 08:25 AM
  #224  
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Epilogue:
I decided to enter another Crit (training race) - same Thursday night track as the week prior.
I did worse...that is, I'm tending to focus on the "training" and not so much on the "race" part.

Anyway, this time I decided to be well rested. No group rides the day before. I did bring my bike to work on the prior Sunday and on my lunch break went out and did some intervals/sprints.

But on Thursday - even during the practice laps before the race - I could tell it wasn't going to end well.
I felt like I didn't have the energy. I was having trouble breathing. Not trouble like I was having a heart attack or anything. But "trouble" in that I could tell I was getting a little winded with not so much effort.

And I didn't disappoint. After the 1st bell lap and regroup, I couldn't even "regroup". I couldn't catch the pack. I was cooked...done...matches burned. I continued on for another 10 laps (miles) or so for workout purposes (which was part of the plan anyway).
But I'm really wondering now about my body, training, nutrition, etc. The "well rested" plan certainly didn't help.
So it seems I have to find a good balance between work on the bike and rest.

Yes, running with the Cat 1&2's didn't help. If it was strictly cat 3-5 (like is normal for Thursday nights) it likely would have been a slower starting pace. Nevertheless, in the end it likely wouldn't have mattered. I need to be in better shape.
Yes, there is certainly strategy to bike racing. But being in RACE shape certainly doesn't hurt.
I'm please with my progress for my group rides. But racing is a totally different animal, as some of you have mentioned.
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Old 09-26-16, 09:07 AM
  #225  
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A new racer having to race with higher category racers is going to be hard..


I regularly get beat to the ground during the season on Tuesdays by 2s and 3s. The great thing about these kinds of training races...is that when you go do an actual race with ONLY cat 5's or a 4/5, you will realize that getting beat up by the stronger guys makes you stronger. I had some of my best races this year, which I contribute to racing with (and getting dropped by) the stronger guys in the training races.
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