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How does a typical uphill category 5 road race unfold?

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How does a typical uphill category 5 road race unfold?

Old 12-28-15, 01:15 PM
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How does a typical uphill category 5 road race unfold?

I'm about to enter my first ever road race. My only goal is to finish it close to my PR and don't crash.
The course is 4 mi long, the average grade is 6% with short segments going over 10%. Can a category 5 group stay together for a climb like this or it will spread out almost instantly?
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Old 12-28-15, 01:23 PM
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it should break up pretty much immediately.
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Old 12-28-15, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf
it should break up pretty much immediately.
I did a race sort of like that as a cat 5. The difference is that the race was 12 miles - six miles flat, then six miles uphill. The group stayed together for about the first three miles - when we finally got out of town.
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Old 12-28-15, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by nemeseri
I'm about to enter my first ever road race. My only goal is to finish it close to my PR and don't crash.
The course is 4 mi long, the average grade is 6% with short segments going over 10%. Can a category 5 group stay together for a climb like this or it will spread out almost instantly?
No matter what has happened in the past, or what usually happens in an uphill cat 5 race, all that matters is what happens in your uphill cat 5 race.

This is where you learn how to read a race as it unfolds.

At any rate, I bet you'll beat your PR!
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Old 12-28-15, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm
No matter what has happened in the past, or what usually happens in an uphill cat 5 race, all that matters is what happens in your uphill cat 5 race.

This is where you learn how to read a race as it unfolds.

At any rate, I bet you'll beat your PR!
Word.
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Old 12-28-15, 03:11 PM
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I don't know how many you have start, or how wide the road it or where the incline starts, but position yourself not to get boxed in if there are slower riders in front.

I don't understand why USAC licenses a Cat 5 uphill race. Some Cat 5s are very strong and fit. The idea of a Cat 5 race is to learn to race with other riders - or that is the what USAC likes to say.
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Old 12-28-15, 03:20 PM
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Doge...a Cat 5 hill climb just does not count. There is nothing wrong with having a Cat 5 category in a hill climb. In fact, the first USAC race of the year is Mount San Bruno January 1st which has a Cat 5 category but will not count toward the upgrade to Cat 4 - too short.

And the racers will learn quite a bit doing the race.
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Old 12-28-15, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
Doge...a Cat 5 hill climb just does not count. There is nothing wrong with having a Cat 5 category in a hill climb. In fact, the first USAC race of the year is Mount San Bruno January 1st which has a Cat 5 category but will not count toward the upgrade to Cat 4 - too short.

And the racers will learn quite a bit doing the race.
Sorry - didn't understand the Cat part.
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Old 12-28-15, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm
No matter what has happened in the past, or what usually happens in an uphill cat 5 race, all that matters is what happens in your uphill cat 5 race.

This is where you learn how to read a race as it unfolds.

At any rate, I bet you'll beat your PR!
Kind words. Thanks.

Originally Posted by Doge
I don't know how many you have start, or how wide the road it or where the incline starts, but position yourself not to get boxed in if there are slower riders in front.

I don't understand why USAC licenses a Cat 5 uphill race. Some Cat 5s are very strong and fit. The idea of a Cat 5 race is to learn to race with other riders - or that is the what USAC likes to say.
Cat 5 has a limit of 30 riders. The incline starts immediately with an 8% grade. To be honest I'm quite happy that they organize an uphill race. I'd be more worried if it were a crit or course with technical descends.
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Old 12-29-15, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Doge
I don't understand why USAC licenses a Cat 5 uphill race. Some Cat 5s are very strong and fit.
Why have any race in any category then? Then will always some very strong and fit Cat (insert number here).
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Old 12-29-15, 07:14 AM
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I've never raced Cat5 but I've officiated plenty Cat5 fields. The way it will go down is like this. Part of the group will roll off at the gun at a reasonable pace, looking around at everyone else, trying to look pro. Some number will attack at the gun while the rest watch. It's possible that one of that group will win but most likely they will all blow up and puke. Once a few of the pukers get close to the field there will be solo attacks which will be short lived. You will see the same guys chasing them down. At some point one of those guys, or someone you never noticed, will attack and keep a gap. Whether they win or not depends on whether the field has enough guts to chase them down within a few km of the finish.

What you need to do is get a clean start and keep your eyes open. Don't chase stuff down. Look for the guys that are chasing stuff down then sitting back in. That's the group you want to stay near to. When the road tips up its every man for himself so you have to climb within your capabilities. If the lead group starts to ride away and you think you can bridge and still hang then go for it. If you think you can bridge but will blow up then don't. Ride within yourself. If you find yourself around the chase down guys give it all you've got to stay near them. Remember everyone is hurting as much as you. If you end up off the back, congratulations, you are like 90% of the first time racers. It's quite an exclusive club.

Good luck, ride safe and hard, and have fun.
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Old 12-29-15, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
And the racers will learn quite a bit doing the race.
Just lining up and doing a "real" mass race Start is a great learning experience for Cat5 regardless of what terrain lines beyond the line.

-Bandera
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Old 12-29-15, 11:44 AM
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I missed that you were in SF area so the HC race must be Mount San Bruno. The climb is 3.5 miles long and I have done it many times as a Cat 5, 55+ open, 55+ 4/5 and 65+open. And I have watched the race from the start at the bottom of Guadaloupe Canyon Rd. All the categories look the same climbing watching from the start. The group hits the 8% grade and within 30 seconds forms a core group with stragglers and maybe a couple off the front. However, that holds for the bulk of what I can see from the start until they are out of site.

The cat 5s are not goofy, crazy, chasing everything down and etc. They are just slower than the P/1/2s who may be more tactical and strategic, although, they may not.

This is a short climb with the fastest time somewhere in the 15 minute mark and the start is somewhat critical so a good warmup is required. Expect to go really hard if you want to be in the pack. And I mean harder than you think is possible.

So here is where the strategy comes into play. You will have a lot of adrenaline at the start so going really hard will seem easy. However, the real work is on Radio Road where the grade is steeper and there can be a headwind. So do you try to stay with the pack and take advantage of some draft and save some energy with the possibility of overcooking the start and fading on Radio Road or do you ride your own pace and do it more like a time trial and put in the real work and max effort on radio road and pass racers who went out too hard? Or are you strong enough to stay in the pack, conserve energy and then hand out the pain on Radio Road? You can check your PR on the climb against past race results and see where you would fall and use that as a basis for a strategy.

It is hard to know the right strategy going in which is why racing is great experience and a lot of fun. We learn who we are as racers and what our strengths and weaknesses are relative to competitors.

My advice is get a good warmup and no matter how the race plays out, try to be on a good wheel and then just enjoy the race. I am sure you will do well.
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Old 12-29-15, 12:22 PM
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for San Bruno it's hard to win until after the underpass part. Wait for those final 7 minutes and then just give it all you have.
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Old 12-29-15, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
I've never raced Cat5 but I've officiated plenty Cat5 fields. The way it will go down is like this. Part of the group will roll off at the gun at a reasonable pace, looking around at everyone else, trying to look pro. Some number will attack at the gun while the rest watch. It's possible that one of that group will win but most likely they will all blow up and puke. Once a few of the pukers get close to the field there will be solo attacks which will be short lived. You will see the same guys chasing them down. At some point one of those guys, or someone you never noticed, will attack and keep a gap. Whether they win or not depends on whether the field has enough guts to chase them down within a few km of the finish.
#crystalball
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Old 12-29-15, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
I missed that you were in SF area so the HC race must be Mount San Bruno. The climb is 3.5 miles long and I have done it many times as a Cat 5, 55+ open, 55+ 4/5 and 65+open. And I have watched the race from the start at the bottom of Guadaloupe Canyon Rd. All the categories look the same climbing watching from the start. The group hits the 8% grade and within 30 seconds forms a core group with stragglers and maybe a couple off the front. However, that holds for the bulk of what I can see from the start until they are out of site.

The cat 5s are not goofy, crazy, chasing everything down and etc. They are just slower than the P/1/2s who may be more tactical and strategic, although, they may not.

This is a short climb with the fastest time somewhere in the 15 minute mark and the start is somewhat critical so a good warmup is required. Expect to go really hard if you want to be in the pack. And I mean harder than you think is possible.

So here is where the strategy comes into play. You will have a lot of adrenaline at the start so going really hard will seem easy. However, the real work is on Radio Road where the grade is steeper and there can be a headwind. So do you try to stay with the pack and take advantage of some draft and save some energy with the possibility of overcooking the start and fading on Radio Road or do you ride your own pace and do it more like a time trial and put in the real work and max effort on radio road and pass racers who went out too hard? Or are you strong enough to stay in the pack, conserve energy and then hand out the pain on Radio Road? You can check your PR on the climb against past race results and see where you would fall and use that as a basis for a strategy.

It is hard to know the right strategy going in which is why racing is great experience and a lot of fun. We learn who we are as racers and what our strengths and weaknesses are relative to competitors.

My advice is get a good warmup and no matter how the race plays out, try to be on a good wheel and then just enjoy the race. I am sure you will do well.
You are right, that's the race I asked about. Thank you for the insights, it's actually very helpful.
I know that climb very well, but I didn't do a proper PR attempt on that side for at least a year now (although I have an idea of what I might be capable of).
I'm kind of surprised that there were multiple groups finishing with very close times, I thought it would spread out much better. Also surprised that in previous years the time of the cat 5/4/3 were very close, especially in the top ten.
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Old 12-29-15, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm
Just a Cat5 road race #crystalball . Now that you guys know the race it's not a #crystalball anymore.
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Old 12-29-15, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
The climb is 3.5 miles long and I have done it many times as a Cat 5
Man you must really suck.
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Old 12-30-15, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
Man you must really suck.
You would make a great main stream media commie reporter with your ability to cherry pick quotes to make people look silly.
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Old 12-30-15, 06:12 AM
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Old 12-30-15, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd
I've never raced Cat5 but I've officiated plenty Cat5 fields. The way it will go down is like this. Part of the group will roll off at the gun at a reasonable pace, looking around at everyone else, trying to look pro. Some number will attack at the gun while the rest watch. It's possible that one of that group will win but most likely they will all blow up and puke. Once a few of the pukers get close to the field there will be solo attacks which will be short lived. You will see the same guys chasing them down. At some point one of those guys, or someone you never noticed, will attack and keep a gap. Whether they win or not depends on whether the field has enough guts to chase them down within a few km of the finish.

What you need to do is get a clean start and keep your eyes open. Don't chase stuff down. Look for the guys that are chasing stuff down then sitting back in. That's the group you want to stay near to. When the road tips up its every man for himself so you have to climb within your capabilities. If the lead group starts to ride away and you think you can bridge and still hang then go for it. If you think you can bridge but will blow up then don't. Ride within yourself. If you find yourself around the chase down guys give it all you've got to stay near them. Remember everyone is hurting as much as you. If you end up off the back, congratulations, you are like 90% of the first time racers. It's quite an exclusive club.

Good luck, ride safe and hard, and have fun.
...yeah....this.

I was just going to say it'll go "boom".

Around here (yes - engage eye rolling) that kind of race...well would be impossible because we don't have the terrain, but the closest thing would be my Fox River Grove crit which is ...I should know this... like a .8 mile course that is like 1/3-1/2 of it being a climb up the back of a ski jump hill and the rest of the course is a descent. The grades are steeper than what you're listing here - want to say 12-15% in a few spots but averaging like 9%-10%. Climbing that every lap for 20 minutes to a half hour kills most fields....

It makes the cat 5 field look like a cheap ebay frame though. Ka-BOOM!!

Video from Omar when he raced it in 2010 as a 5. He's a solid 3 in cyclocross which is his main discipline.
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Old 12-30-15, 11:46 AM
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That's a classic Cat5 video. Hold your line yelling, numbers upside down, guys attacking from the back. A good lesson for the OP in there as well. Watch how he handles the Mack rider.

Nice to to see you back in here.
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Old 12-30-15, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by nemeseri
Kind words. Thanks.
what's your san bruno time?
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Old 12-30-15, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf
what's your san bruno time?
I do not have a proper PR attempt on that side. Let's say that I think I can do alone something under 20 mins (and that's my goal), but I will be shocked if I can go under 19 mins. That's the main reason I will try it, to have the motivation to push myself to the limit.

On the west side I have a 18:57 time, but that's again, a year old.
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Old 12-30-15, 01:54 PM
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no judgement - but that time is unlikely to win. you're best bet in a hillclimb you aren't going to win is to hold wheels as best you can and hope to jump around a person or two near the top. regardless of what's happening at the very front.
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