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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?

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Old 08-25-15, 11:58 AM
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Radish_legs
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Am I physically ready to attempt my first cat 5 crit?

41 years old, never raced. Been back on bike about 14 months after 5 years off, and never fast before that. Total mileage in 14 months about 2200 miles. I know I'm nothing to brag about, but I'm wondering if I'm both physically ready and/or psychologically ready. It's actually more likely that I will try my first race on the track at the C level. I keep looking up local crit results in the Cat 5/C races, and seeing guys who are way better/faster than me (sandbaggers?). I'm 5'10", 190lb, so I know that improvement will rely on losing weight.

5s - 13.11 w/kg
20s - 11.63 w/kg
30s - 8.94 w/kg
1 min - 6.95 w/kg
5 min - 3.31 w/kg
20 min - 2.48 w/kg
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Old 08-25-15, 12:04 PM
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You'll probably struggle, but just register and try it out. If you want to race crits the best way to train is to race.
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Old 08-25-15, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mikewaters View Post
41 years old, never raced. Been back on bike about 14 months after 5 years off, and never fast before that. Total mileage in 14 months about 2200 miles. I know I'm nothing to brag about, but I'm wondering if I'm both physically ready and/or psychologically ready. It's actually more likely that I will try my first race on the track at the C level. I keep looking up local crit results in the Cat 5/C races, and seeing guys who are way better/faster than me (sandbaggers?). I'm 5'10", 190lb, so I know that improvement will rely on losing weight.

5s - 13.11 w/kg
20s - 11.63 w/kg
30s - 8.94 w/kg
1 min - 6.95 w/kg
5 min - 3.31 w/kg
20 min - 2.48 w/kg
Fitness matters, but crits are more about strategy and pacing than ftp. There's also no shame in finishing a cat 5 crit DFL. Pin on a number and go into it with the attitude that you are there to learn. Spend your first crit staying out of the wind, on someone's wheel, and holding your line.

Then spend the winter doing longer base rides and intervals and get ready to apply what you learned next spring.
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Old 08-25-15, 12:10 PM
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I say give it a go. Stay out of the wind as much as possible.
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Old 08-25-15, 12:15 PM
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No need to worry about numbers, hop in and see what happens. I was lapped my first race, twice, in ~18 miles. A large part of that is being so close to everyone else scared the **** out of me and I wasn't really drafting. Expect an ass kicking and a learning experience, it will surely be fun regardless of what happens.
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Old 08-25-15, 12:15 PM
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Am I physically ready to attempt my first cat 5 crit?

Yes.
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Old 08-25-15, 12:25 PM
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Prepare to be humbled.
I got destroyed (-1) in my first crit a month ago.
Get out there. It was still a fun experience.
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Old 08-25-15, 12:29 PM
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You are ready. Don't expect to ride away from the field. Stay vertical. Have fun.

Cat 5 is about experience, not placing.
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Old 08-25-15, 12:31 PM
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Did my first one since college earlier this year... OTB was the name of the game. Held on for awhile then had brake hard from some crazy line a kid took.. Bam! Gap created .. And could not close it down. Tried to get the other 3/4 guys to work to get back on.. But no dice.

Just go for it
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Old 08-25-15, 12:56 PM
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Yes. Or no.

No amount of discussion or number analyzing will tell you. You really can't know until after the race has started.
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Old 08-25-15, 01:00 PM
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So with my numbers, I'd be doing above expectations to be able to stay in the pack? But with the right strategy and staying out of the wind, it might be possible?

I noticed a guy win a local time trial race. 9 miles at 390 watts avg. Looked him up, he races the crit I was looking at. Cat 5. Didn't even win, came in third place. Another guy I know of, won a Cat 5 crit just last week. He does training rides with the Cat 2s. He's way faster than me. I get the impression that many of the Cat 5 racers are more like Cat 3 or better on the e-wang.

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Old 08-25-15, 01:03 PM
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You don't know if you're ready until you do it. The worst that happens besides crashing is you pay like $40 and get dropped, and then you know you've got work to do. If you don't enter you'll never know.
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Old 08-25-15, 01:11 PM
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Analysis paralysis
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Old 08-25-15, 01:13 PM
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I ask myself this before a lot of the cat 4 crits I do.
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Old 08-25-15, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mikewaters View Post
So with my numbers, I'd be doing above expectations to be able to stay in the pack? But with the right strategy and staying out of the wind, it might be possible?

I noticed a guy win a local time trial race. 9 miles at 390 watts avg. Looked him up, he races the crit I was looking at. Cat 5. Didn't even win, came in third place. Another guy I know of, won a Cat 5 crit just last week. He does training rides with the Cat 2s. He's way faster than me. I get the impression that many of the Cat 5 racers are more like Cat 3 or better on the e-wang.
Uh, some of us Cat 3's aren't even on the Cat 3 e-wang. If it was just about e-wang, instead of races we'd all just ride computrainers in a basement. Go out and race. You'll find out 1) if you like it, and if so 2) what you need to work on for your next race.
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Old 08-25-15, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
You'll probably struggle
So true - at every level!
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Old 08-25-15, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mikewaters View Post
So with my numbers, I'd be doing above expectations to be able to stay in the pack? But with the right strategy and staying out of the wind, it might be possible?

I noticed a guy win a local time trial race. 9 miles at 390 watts avg. Looked him up, he races the crit I was looking at. Cat 5. Didn't even win, came in third place. Another guy I know of, won a Cat 5 crit just last week. He does training rides with the Cat 2s. He's way faster than me. I get the impression that many of the Cat 5 racers are more like Cat 3 or better on the e-wang.
You can't compare TT stuff to crits, it's totally different stuff.

Anyway, do it and report back.

If you get dropped you won't be the first, or the last. Just keep trying.
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Old 08-25-15, 01:43 PM
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Yeah...just get out there. Expect to be humbled. Stay upright. Just try to finish your first couple. Figure out where gaps in your fitness are. Then work on them over the fall/winter for next season.
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Old 08-25-15, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mikewaters View Post
So with my numbers, I'd be doing above expectations to be able to stay in the pack? But with the right strategy and staying out of the wind, it might be possible?

I noticed a guy win a local time trial race. 9 miles at 390 watts avg. Looked him up, he races the crit I was looking at. Cat 5. Didn't even win, came in third place. Another guy I know of, won a Cat 5 crit just last week. He does training rides with the Cat 2s. He's way faster than me. I get the impression that many of the Cat 5 racers are more like Cat 3 or better on the e-wang.
Ignore the e-wang!! Also, if the crit is flat, then w/kg doesn't matter much: *watts* matter. 360w and 90kg vs 250w and 55kg? I'll bet on the 90kg rider every time, even though they have a lower w/kg. Also, strategy and effort management matter so much in crits (e.g., staying out of the wind, using your efforts wisely, knowing your strengths vs weaknesses). Also, crits aren't steady state efforts like a TT: there are periods of 150%+ FTP followed by freewheeling or 90w light pedaling. Then a 4x FTP surge out of a corner, back to 90% FTP. Those efforts kill legs that aren't used to over/under style intervals.

And seriously: my FTP is lower than most everyone I'm racing against, but I'm the won winning nearly everything. I'm also heavier. E-wang be damned. Tactics!
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Old 08-25-15, 02:56 PM
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those are powertap hub numbers btw, so low-balled. Yeah I get it, need to try it. I'm just one of those guys who's always going to try it "when I get in better shape." And I'm never in good enough shape.
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Old 08-25-15, 03:18 PM
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Don't worry about numbers and just go race to see what you're made of. One of the guys on here barely has an FTP of 200w and he's pretty wicked in a sprint. I used to have a 4.5w/kg FTP and the only way I could win a race is if I started my sprint from 10 miles out.

Given my lack of sprint, I had to attack and try to get away from everything. Cat 5's and 4's were frustrating for me because they chased every attack down like a pack of rabid beavers. The 3's was where I started having some success and fun.

Go find what works for you.
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Old 08-25-15, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mikewaters View Post
So with my numbers, I'd be doing above expectations to be able to stay in the pack? But with the right strategy and staying out of the wind, it might be possible?

I noticed a guy win a local time trial race. 9 miles at 390 watts avg. Looked him up, he races the crit I was looking at. Cat 5. Didn't even win, came in third place. Another guy I know of, won a Cat 5 crit just last week. He does training rides with the Cat 2s. He's way faster than me. I get the impression that many of the Cat 5 racers are more like Cat 3 or better on the e-wang.
Don't get hung up on numbers. First race, you'll be doing great to finish with the pack. If you're really asking "Can I win my first cat 5 crit with a 2.48 w/kg ftp?", the answer is that the odds are against you, but primarily because its your first crit. There is much more to racing than power.
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Old 08-25-15, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
. I used to have a 4.5w/kg FTP and the only way I could win a race is if I started my sprint from 10 miles out.

i'm pretty close to those #s and i have one 4th place finish all year...in a 35+3/4 race (its apparently not even a real category). i hate this sport!
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Old 08-25-15, 06:40 PM
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I imagine that you'll see massive improvements in your power after you start racing. You should try it, ideally a midweek training series (cheaper, typically less intense, typically more relaxed about getting shelled/etc).

I'm the poster boy for low FTP and reasonable results, mainly because I can sprint and I've been doing it long enough that I can hide from the wind pretty well.

As you've noticed weight is pretty significant in that w/kg thing. I would typically say that weight isn't as critical in flatter races but, having been 155-210 lbs in the last 8? years, I'd say that being lighter is better than being heavier. I raced much of this year at 160-ish lbs (5'7") and did much better than when I weighed in the 180s. I basically do the same courses all the time, basically approach my races the same way (sit in and sprint), and when I'm lighter it's easier. FTP seems to be pretty steady, 210w or so.
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Old 08-25-15, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Don't get hung up on numbers.
This. Crits are about knowing how to race. You can win on puny numbers.
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