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Advice for climber-type junior in a crit

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Advice for climber-type junior in a crit

Old 05-14-17, 07:17 PM
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Rishav
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Advice for climber-type junior in a crit

Hey guys,

I am 15 years old and weigh 104lbs. I do very well in road races with allot of climbing, and climbing is definitely my strength. I have been going to a Tuesday night practice crit every week, but I get dropped really quickly because of my low power output on the completely flat loop. I have been trying to find a big & strong rider and hang onto their wheel, but I always struggle to stay on. At times I am doing 400w+ (8.5w/kg!!) just to stay on their wheel, and I can't sustain that power for very long at all. I am used to pacing myself on long climbs, but in a crit, I find looking at my power doesn't help much at all. Do you guys have any tips for staying with the pack with my climber build...?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-14-17, 08:22 PM
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Keep some specitivity, take all the climbs easy and really attack the top of the downhills hard. Jump at high cadence and keep winding it out. Once you get a feel for it start taking that skill to lower angle descents. Remember how a big a part cornering and getting back on the power plays in crits when picking your training grounds.

Second, ride into the wind focusing on steady efforts. The better you get at horsing your bike back into shape while getting kicked around the more physical and upper body strong crit efforts will start to make sense.

Lastly, on junior gears your only real source of output at higher speeds is cadence and more cadence followed by really attacking your upper limits of capability to sustain a yet higher cadence, repeatedly. Good luck.
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Old 05-15-17, 11:01 AM
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1) lots of short intervals on short rest. stuff like 20 seconds on 20 seconds off.

2) work on your cornering and positioning. The smoother you can roll through corners, the less power you have to put out. So if you can let small gaps develop going into corners that you roll up into in the corner, you get through much smoother, without having to slow down then accelerate out of the corner.
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Old 05-15-17, 11:07 AM
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honestly, stop climbing so much and start doing your workouts in the flat. If you're needing 400w on the flat to hold wheels your positioning behind people is not good and your position on the bike might need work. If you are needing 400w the bigger people in front of you are doing much more than that into the wind, which isn't very common.

Small guys can do fine on the flats. Out here Saltzman, Markelz, Phipps - all very small guys who climb amazingly who also do great in TTs. The commonality is that they work on power in the flats and they have refined their drag to the point that when I am behind them at speed I might as well just be straight in the wind.
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Old 05-15-17, 11:19 AM
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All good points. I would also add when you're looking for a wheel, don't just look for a big rider, look for a smooth rider.
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Old 05-15-17, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
honestly, stop climbing so much and start doing your workouts in the flat. If you're needing 400w on the flat to hold wheels your positioning behind people is not good and your position on the bike might need work. If you are needing 400w the bigger people in front of you are doing much more than that into the wind, which isn't very common.

Small guys can do fine on the flats. Out here Saltzman, Markelz, Phipps - all very small guys who climb amazingly who also do great in TTs. The commonality is that they work on power in the flats and they have refined their drag to the point that when I am behind them at speed I might as well just be straight in the wind.
This was interesting to read. I'm pretty small as well, (5'7, 125lbs), and do all of my interval work on Mt. Tam/on grades.

I should probably start doing more work on the flats.
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Old 05-15-17, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackdays View Post
This was interesting to read. I'm pretty small as well, (5'7, 125lbs), and do all of my interval work on Mt. Tam/on grades.

I should probably start doing more work on the flats.
if I lived up there I would hit the polo fields. tuesday night smackdown or whatever it is.
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Old 05-15-17, 04:06 PM
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are you doing the A or the B race at the rent? the A race is LEGIT, especially for a 15 year old.
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Old 05-15-17, 05:48 PM
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Mid age 14 my kid started lifting weights under supervision of a good trainer. That improved his power immensely. Other things were done from increasing sleep, increasing mileage, diet and just growing older. He was about 120lbs about average for juniors his age.
There is a lot of difference purely based on age and growth / development cycle, but sleep and weights I think made the biggest difference.

I am not a racer, just a racer dad, while the others here are racers. But...I'm been to a few hundred races.
As you know, if you have raced juniors and adults they are different. Your ability to change speed if likely much better than most adults and you could get away with tail gunning/hiding in the pack. That 400W to stay in is a big number.
I only have a few power profiles on my kid at that age as he doesn't normally race with a PM, but @ 120lb kid was not needing that power to hang in Cat 3 crit races. Junior crits are different (need more power). Do you have those available?
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Old 05-15-17, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Rishav View Post
\At times I am doing 400w+ (8.5w/kg!!) just to stay on their wheel, and I can't sustain that power for very long at all.
I imagine that this is coming out of a corner? Accelerations can be tough when you're not used to them. Working (and I mean, every single corner of the race thinking to yourself) on setting up a line, not braking in the turn, getting your weight back and to the outside, leaning the bike, looking through the turn, flicking the bike out of the lean and immediately pedaling again, etc., will help immensely in this department. The difference between someone that corners well and someone that doesn't over the course of a race is absolutely tremendous.

It is an out-and-out skill and to be a good crit/anything rider you will eventually have to learn this, whether in the 4s or the pros, at some point every one has to figure it out.

Plus, the sooner you're tucked back in, the sooner you're recovering for the next effort.

Also take into consideration your spot in the pack. There's generally a mushroom type effect where the front of the group is the head and then it tails off. Sitting right behind that "head" nets you the maximum amount of draft and recovery. Any further back and you're spending longer than the guys further up getting back into the draft and recovering. Again, over the course of a race, it makes a huge difference.

Finally, be patient with it. Every single person at some point in their career get their doors blown off in a race. Usually multiple times (usually every time they upgrade!). Stick with it, think about ways to make it better, and try those ways the next race. There's always another race!
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Old 05-17-17, 07:51 PM
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You must be doing the Rent, seeing as you're basically across the street from it. I only know a few specific riders and I'm not sure if you're one of them.

In races don't bother with the powermeter, except to make sure it's on. Think of it as a recording device that will tell you what you did, not a limiter that intimidates you into not doing things.

It took me 3 seasons of racing to gain enough weight to hit 103 lbs. Even at that weight I couldn't climb to save my life and I won my first field sprint 5 races into my racing life. Although you may be strong on the climbs and such, don't classify yourself as a particular kind of rider just yet. Don't think of weight as a limiter, at least not yet.

Specific to the Rent there are a few things:

1. There is ALWAYS wind coming off the stadium. Check that, there is always wind there. The absolute most important thing is to shelter from the wind. Lift your head a bit, turn your head left and right, and when you feel the wind hitting your ear square (sound changes) then you know where the wind is hitting you. You need to put a rider there, meaning between you and the wind. At the Rent that often means riding with your bars by their elbow, not riding behind them. Remember, riding behind someone is not always drafting, and at the Rent riding behind someone else is almost never drafting. I see a lot of strong, experienced riders wither in the wind, expending huge amounts of energy needlessly. I mean, okay, maybe they want to do that, but then I hear them commenting that the race was a bit hard. Of course it was, you were wasting massive amounts of energy in the wind, maybe 200-300 more watts than necessary.

2. Drafting properly will lead to you move from one side of a rider to another in a pretty short distance. Be careful you aren't taking out someone moving over. Move over after checking and do it smoothly and gradually, in steps. If you move sideways 6", then wait a bit, then 6", then wait a bit, pretty much everyone will be clear (most people don't overlap wheels within 6"). It's when you move over an inch a second for 2 feet, or you move over 2 feet at once, that's when bad things happen.

3. The first B race I did had a headwind s/f, tailwind on backstretch. This was how I did each lap:
Start/finish: headwind from front and a bit from the right, you should be on the back-left.
Approaching first (left) turn: headwind from front, you should be back-left.
Just after first (left) turn: massive crosswind from right, you should be to the left of whatever rider is near you.
Entering second (left) turn: crosswind turns to tailwind, just stay with people. Toughest straight of the race due to zero shelter.
Just before last (left) turn: tailwind, you should be to the right.
Just after last (left) turn: crosswind from the left, you should be to the right.
Halfway around finish bend: crosswind from front-left, you should be to the back-right.

I got shelled 5 laps into the race, on the backstretch in the tailwind. Now I'm admittedly seriously out of shape, but still, if it weren't for the crazy tailwind, I think I'd have been okay. If the tailwind straight was short I'd have been okay, but it was just long enough to blow me up. The rest of the course made it very easy to find significant shelter, even with just 1-2 riders around me.

4. Depending on your race there are some pretty serious riders out there. The Bs are basically Cat 3s and strong 4s now. The As are ridiculous.

I hope to make next week's B race. If you're there I'd be glad to give some pointers, if I haven't already. If you're in the As then good luck, I can't hang with them.
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Old 05-26-17, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
are you doing the A or the B race at the rent? the A race is LEGIT, especially for a 15 year old.
I'm doing the B race, but will try the A race in the near future.

Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Mid age 14 my kid started lifting weights under supervision of a good trainer. That improved his power immensely. Other things were done from increasing sleep, increasing mileage, diet and just growing older. He was about 120lbs about average for juniors his age.
There is a lot of difference purely based on age and growth / development cycle, but sleep and weights I think made the biggest difference.

I am not a racer, just a racer dad, while the others here are racers. But...I'm been to a few hundred races.
As you know, if you have raced juniors and adults they are different. Your ability to change speed if likely much better than most adults and you could get away with tail gunning/hiding in the pack. That 400W to stay in is a big number.
I only have a few power profiles on my kid at that age as he doesn't normally race with a PM, but @ 120lb kid was not needing that power to hang in Cat 3 crit races. Junior crits are different (need more power). Do you have those available?
I am doing a B race practice crit which is 5/4/3. I do currently do some weight work in the gym, but I am going to double if not triple my time in the gym. Thanks for the advice!

Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I imagine that this is coming out of a corner? Accelerations can be tough when you're not used to them. Working (and I mean, every single corner of the race thinking to yourself) on setting up a line, not braking in the turn, getting your weight back and to the outside, leaning the bike, looking through the turn, flicking the bike out of the lean and immediately pedaling again, etc., will help immensely in this department. The difference between someone that corners well and someone that doesn't over the course of a race is absolutely tremendous.

It is an out-and-out skill and to be a good crit/anything rider you will eventually have to learn this, whether in the 4s or the pros, at some point every one has to figure it out.

Plus, the sooner you're tucked back in, the sooner you're recovering for the next effort.

Also take into consideration your spot in the pack. There's generally a mushroom type effect where the front of the group is the head and then it tails off. Sitting right behind that "head" nets you the maximum amount of draft and recovery. Any further back and you're spending longer than the guys further up getting back into the draft and recovering. Again, over the course of a race, it makes a huge difference.

Finally, be patient with it. Every single person at some point in their career get their doors blown off in a race. Usually multiple times (usually every time they upgrade!). Stick with it, think about ways to make it better, and try those ways the next race. There's always another race!
Yes, hanging on during the flat streches side is not too difficult. The sudden accelerations out of corners are where I tend to lose the wheel infront of me. I have done 2 more practice crits since creating this post, and have gotten progressivly better each time. Thanks so much for the great advice.

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
You must be doing the Rent, seeing as you're basically across the street from it. I only know a few specific riders and I'm not sure if you're one of them.

In races don't bother with the powermeter, except to make sure it's on. Think of it as a recording device that will tell you what you did, not a limiter that intimidates you into not doing things.

It took me 3 seasons of racing to gain enough weight to hit 103 lbs. Even at that weight I couldn't climb to save my life and I won my first field sprint 5 races into my racing life. Although you may be strong on the climbs and such, don't classify yourself as a particular kind of rider just yet. Don't think of weight as a limiter, at least not yet.

Specific to the Rent there are a few things:

1. There is ALWAYS wind coming off the stadium. Check that, there is always wind there. The absolute most important thing is to shelter from the wind. Lift your head a bit, turn your head left and right, and when you feel the wind hitting your ear square (sound changes) then you know where the wind is hitting you. You need to put a rider there, meaning between you and the wind. At the Rent that often means riding with your bars by their elbow, not riding behind them. Remember, riding behind someone is not always drafting, and at the Rent riding behind someone else is almost never drafting. I see a lot of strong, experienced riders wither in the wind, expending huge amounts of energy needlessly. I mean, okay, maybe they want to do that, but then I hear them commenting that the race was a bit hard. Of course it was, you were wasting massive amounts of energy in the wind, maybe 200-300 more watts than necessary.

2. Drafting properly will lead to you move from one side of a rider to another in a pretty short distance. Be careful you aren't taking out someone moving over. Move over after checking and do it smoothly and gradually, in steps. If you move sideways 6", then wait a bit, then 6", then wait a bit, pretty much everyone will be clear (most people don't overlap wheels within 6"). It's when you move over an inch a second for 2 feet, or you move over 2 feet at once, that's when bad things happen.

3. The first B race I did had a headwind s/f, tailwind on backstretch. This was how I did each lap:
Start/finish: headwind from front and a bit from the right, you should be on the back-left.
Approaching first (left) turn: headwind from front, you should be back-left.
Just after first (left) turn: massive crosswind from right, you should be to the left of whatever rider is near you.
Entering second (left) turn: crosswind turns to tailwind, just stay with people. Toughest straight of the race due to zero shelter.
Just before last (left) turn: tailwind, you should be to the right.
Just after last (left) turn: crosswind from the left, you should be to the right.
Halfway around finish bend: crosswind from front-left, you should be to the back-right.

I got shelled 5 laps into the race, on the backstretch in the tailwind. Now I'm admittedly seriously out of shape, but still, if it weren't for the crazy tailwind, I think I'd have been okay. If the tailwind straight was short I'd have been okay, but it was just long enough to blow me up. The rest of the course made it very easy to find significant shelter, even with just 1-2 riders around me.

4. Depending on your race there are some pretty serious riders out there. The Bs are basically Cat 3s and strong 4s now. The As are ridiculous.

I hope to make next week's B race. If you're there I'd be glad to give some pointers, if I haven't already. If you're in the As then good luck, I can't hang with them.
That was extremely helpful. I have found I am starting to get the hang of how to handle the corners/sudden accelerations. I am racing the B race in the rent, but I will probably try out the A race when I get a little more confident with the accelerations out of the corners. Thanks for the great advice, hope to see you at the rent soon!
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Old 05-26-17, 09:57 PM
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This past Rent was unusual in that there was zero wind. It made it much easier to hold onto a wheel, and it didn't punish anyone in the tailwind bits because there was no tailwind. That's in the Bs. I'm sure the A race was difficult.

I'm pretty sure I'll be there Tues after Memorial Day, not sure of the following week.
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