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I did my first crit today.

Old 08-26-06, 07:34 PM
  #1  
craigery
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I did my first crit today.

I arrived about 45 minutes early and it took 15 minutes to register even though I preregistered on active.com. That was pretty frustrating since I was being rushed. I quickly changed in the bathroom and rushed out to the car to get the bike ready. I set up my trainer and used it to warm up for about 5-10 minutes. Some guys were next to me gettign ready to. I asked them where the start/finish was because you couldnt see it from the parking lot. They suggested that I rode the course before the race. So I put the trainer away and headed that way. I did about 4 laps of the course and then lined up to start the race. A couple hundred feet after the start there is a 90 degree left. I couple hundred more feel there is a right and an imidiate left. So you kind of just go on an angle through it. Then its up a pretty steep hill. I would say the hill is a little shorter than a half kilometer. At the top of the hill its a 90 degree left. Then its all down-hill to the start/finish. A left, quick right, a block and then left and another left to the finish. I started pretty close to the front which was a good idea. I stuck with the front of the group for the first two laps or so. then I started getting dropped. By the 4th lap there was only a few people behind me. I hang in there for a few more laps and I am just dying! After the going up the hill I was standing and just in lots of pain. I had cramps in my side and I was creeping up the hill. I felt like I was going to puke and pass out So I ended up dropping out of the race. I would have been lapped in another lap or so and wouldnt been called out by the race official. I was/am really disappointed that I couldnt even finish. Its a bummer but I had to remind myself that most of those people have probably been racing all season and this is one of the last ones. Plus that course has the biggest hill of any other crit around here. After I dropped out, it took a good 20 minutes before I felt like I wasnt going to puke or pass-out. I limped back to the car and had a bunch of water and a banana. I also felt like I probably wasnt cut out for this race thing. I kind of got over that feeling and I had a LOT of work to do this winter. I REALLY need to build my aerobic system. I've got some speed. I can hit 34mph on a flat. I just need my heart and lungs to keep up. What should I do to build a good base. I have a gym membership at the school I'm going to. Any encouragement would be nice too.
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Old 08-26-06, 07:41 PM
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Well, congrats on taking the first step. A couple thoughts--

1. If there's a choice, warm up on the course. Always ask if you can as soon as you get there.

2. Plan on getting there 60-90 min before your race time. That way you're not rushed, even if there's a delay.

3. Lots of intervals are the key. You don't need a huge sprint in a crit, you just need to be able to do it over and over.

4. If you're serious about training for racing, pick up a book about training, i.e. The Cyclist's Training Bible.

5. I'm guessing your nutrition/hydration wasn't the greatest either. Chris Carmichael has a decent book, "Food for fitness," that covers the main stuff and gets a little detailed. If you were having cramps in your side and feeling like puking, you were probably a little dehydrated.

6. Don't be discouraged--it gets better!
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Old 08-26-06, 07:58 PM
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you already did the most important thing. You raced. For me that was the hardest part. Actually going out and doing it. Once you have your first race out of the way you know what to work on for next time. Congrats.
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Old 08-26-06, 08:05 PM
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Thanks for the tips, Pete. I was planning on getting there way early but I got held up in construction. I wasn't too happy about that. I actually have Food for fitness, the Ultimate Ride and the Cyclist's Training Bible. I havent went through the training bible yet. I need to get a really good base. I also need to lose a little bit of weight. I about 6' even and weigh 195. Everytime I tell people I weight that much, they are really surprised. I've got a thick chest and thick thighs and a little belly that is easily covered by a shirt. I would love to lose 10lbs. So would it be better for me to do intervals now and all through the winter on the trainer or spinning bike or should I get a good base by putting in a lot of time on the trainer/spinning bike then work on intervals in the spring/late winter?
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Old 08-26-06, 08:09 PM
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Thanks riskus. I wasnt really that nervous about it. I was pretty excited about it. Just disappointed that I didnt finish.
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Old 08-26-06, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
4. If you're serious about training for racing, pick up a book about training, i.e. The Cyclist's Training Bible.
Bingo.
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Old 08-26-06, 10:53 PM
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I got dropped from a few of my first crits. It took me about 12 weeks to get to the front and finally win one. My secret...what I did monday thru friday. Train hard. The races aren't won on race day. That said...actual race experience is priceless. Build a solid foundation....lots of base miles, long slow distances, and intervals. Get in some fast group rides too if you live near a club. Always keep your traing in a progressive mode...where you are always challenging yourself and trying to get stronger and faster. Mix in some rest and good nutrition. Keep the hard and easy days balanced. Don't go hard all the time. Back off and give the physiology some room to adapt to the stresses you are placing upon it. Keep your eye on the big picture. Your training and racing should never revolve around one race. When you climb stairs..you go up one step at a time. You are climbing a ladder one rung at a time. Think about progress month to month...rather than week to week. A watched pot never boils. Adaptations come slowly it seems. But if you keep working hard..ther is a compounding effect that goes on beneath the surface, even while you sleep. One day, before you know it, you are strong and fit....riding at the front.
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Old 08-26-06, 11:44 PM
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Sounds like you are comfortable in the corners and the pack. More racing + training means bettter results. Your 1st time results sound very promising.
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Old 08-27-06, 11:38 AM
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Thanks guys for the encouragement. It definitely helps. I am very comfortable in the corners. Before I got into cycling, I used to road race cars. So I understand how to take corners fast and how to trust the rubber your riding on. Also, on sundays I do a group training ride. We do a 25 mile ride with 5 sprint zones that are 1km. So we practice strategy in sprinting. The rest of the time, we practice paceline riding. Its a lot of fun and I've learned a lot from it.

I think what I need to do is build a really good base and eat a little healthier. Later today, after the training ride, I'm going to take a look at the training bible. I have a copy, I just havent gotten a chance to read it yet. I've been really busy this summer. I got married and I quit my job and I'm going back to school. Thank goodness for sugar-mommas. Again, thanks guys.
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Old 08-27-06, 12:47 PM
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Losing some weight would help, especially if there is a decent hill on the course. I'm also 6' but weigh 210 lbs. I also have heavy legs and a fairly thick chest. I find when there is a ride with a lot of hills I spend my time towards the rear of the pack always trying to catch up after a hill. On a flat ride I am usually one of the faster riders and spend most of the time near the front. I would bet if your first race were on a flat course you would of had better results compared to the other racers. You probably exhausted yourself keeping pace on the hilly part of the course and it accumulated into total exhaustion by the time you had to quit.
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Old 08-27-06, 06:41 PM
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At least you know what you need to work on. Covering gaps or chasing breaks is all about intervals.
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