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DrPete's Weekend of Crits, Chapter 2--2 crits, 2 days, 2 much

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DrPete's Weekend of Crits, Chapter 2--2 crits, 2 days, 2 much

Old 08-27-06, 03:31 PM
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DrPete's Weekend of Crits, Chapter 2--2 crits, 2 days, 2 much

Today's report is definitely going to be shorter and less eloquent than yesterday's.

I sucked. Badly.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty flat, despite using the same diet/foods as when I went to the Tour de Toona and raced an RR Saturday and a Crit Sunday. That worked pretty well. But still, I just felt a little off. Maybe I should have listened to myself and saved all that trouble...

I got to the race with plenty of time, and I get registered and start warming up at a pretty relaxed pace. The course itself was 0.7 miles, with a very gradual uphill through a 90-degree right, then another D-shaped course, with a descent leading into the second 90-degree right, and a short uphill in the straight before an essentially flat finish.

All through the warmup, I felt OK, but not great. Not like yesterday. The race start was delayed 20 minutes because the medical support showed up late, so I kept doing some low-key spinning during that time. After the ambulance arrived, we were off.

I took my usual spot in the front third of the pack, and immediately I notice that the pack is moving pretty damn fast. I mean, not since my first couple races have I been clinging to the back like this. I'm working really hard. At the end of lap 4, I'm falling off the back and hear a weird noise from my rear wheel. My rear brake is stuck. Great. I head for the pit and take my free lap to quickly fix the brake, but I don't get let out on course until the pack is zipping by, so I'm still OTB.

The accelerations just weren't coming. My legs felt heavy and unresponsive. My HR is shooting up to and above my LT as I struggle along. I watch the lead pack get smaller and smaller, and eventually I lose sight of them. Not much later, I'm lapped. *****. This time I just sit in till the end and just drop off to let the guys contest the win. I take my lap of shame with a couple other guys so I'm at least not a DNF. I came in 20th.

Whatever my current level of fitness and muscular endurance is, 2 crits in 24 hours and 3 races in a week is too much. Despite what I thought was an adequate recovery yesterday, I was totally out of gas. Not like I didn't know I needed to train hard over the winter, but this really brought it home. I tried to come up with something I did wrong/differently, but I really think my fitness just wasn't up to doing that many races in a week yet. Sure there was the brake issue, but it's not like my rear brake was locked and I was working that hard. It was rubbing. Were there no free lap option I probably could've just loosened the brake at the barrel adjuster and been fine. It's no excuse.

Also, my plan to stay in the 5's until I win a race might change. Today's race was quick, with some really hard accelerations. My failure to keep up was almost certainly me and my fitness, but after the finish I'm seeing a lot of guys who got lapped, and they're not rank newbies. These are guy's I've been seeing at races all season and sharing a spot in the lead pack with. One of them informs me (and I have no idea how true any of this is) that two local guys were pushing the pace--one guy a TT specialist who only does a couple mass start races a year, and as a result is still a 5, and another guy who doesnt' race regularly but is an extremely strong rider, so had no choice but to race the 5's. All that aside, there were lots of squirrels to avoid, and we were riding the slinky hard, even near the back.

So whether the "random local guys coming out of the hills twice a year to kill everyone" is true or not, I feel like my riding/racing TECHNIQUE has reached a Cat 4 level even if my fitness hasn't. So if I cat up over the winter, I'll be doing it with a total of 14 mass starts but no wins, and if I train hard all winter I feel like I can make a decent performance in the 4's. If I wait, then I'll be starting my 2nd season in the 5's and still have to deal with the squirrels, knowingly prolonging my stay in the 5's for no reason other than my desire to win a race.

So I don't know. Right now I'm just demoralized and discouraged. I had one good, strong ride this weekend that I wasted because I didn't pay attention to the lap cards, and today I put in my worst race performance since the 1st one I ever raced. I mean, it was a 36-minute race and I'm still exhausted from it 8 hours later. Maybe I'm sick or something, I don't know.

Any way you look at it, it's not the way I wanted to wrap up the season. Not at all. Oh well, one RR to go on September 16th. Maybe I'll suddenly get good at RR's or something.
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Old 08-27-06, 03:44 PM
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Pete this sucks. Its depressing but I think the letdown of yesterday was just too tought to overcome. Combine that with the fact you didnt even know about this race until after wednesday I think you just werent prepared for 3 races in one weekend.

I also agree with you about upgrading. I think you are ready. Cat 5 is for learning and proving you are decent enough to really start racing. Get out of there before you get hurt by someone else. The last thing you should want to do is risk riding in the 5s again next year when there are bound to be a lot more newbs in the beginning of the season.

Youve got 14 starts already and at least one more race comming up this year. Upgrade. Who cares if you dont get a win in the 5s? What is that really accomplishing anyway? My friend won the giro de coppi last year as either a 2 or 3 and that was his first win i believe.
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Old 08-27-06, 04:11 PM
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+1 on the sucking. I reviewed my HRM data and the speed wasn't that crazy. Maybe if I were really feeling 100% I coulda hung on, but it was strange to see who got lapped. Something was odd.

But yeah, I guess the whole upgrade issue just comes up because this race was hard enough without squirrely riders making it harder, and I was particulary annoyed by one of the racers talking about these two supposed local guys. And I feel like if I really work over the winter on a solid training program, I'd be sandbagging in the 5's.

Oh well, one more race this year. I'll brush myself off and move on.
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Old 08-27-06, 04:26 PM
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Well good luck in the 16th. You can't do well in every event, and with 3 in a week, and 2 in 24 hours that's going to be tough.

Keep us posted on your off-season work.
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Old 08-27-06, 06:15 PM
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Two crits in two days at the 5 level shouldn't take that much out of you, unless you're on solo flyers in both. Sounds like you know what to work on over the winter.

What did you do for recovery (if you don't mind my asking)?
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Old 08-27-06, 06:26 PM
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Everyone has good days, and bad days.

Just think, fitness-wise, you probably would've won that other crit, had they not added an extra lap.
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Old 08-27-06, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
Two crits in two days at the 5 level shouldn't take that much out of you, unless you're on solo flyers in both. Sounds like you know what to work on over the winter.

What did you do for recovery (if you don't mind my asking)?
My recovery was pretty simple, really. I drank some endurox at the race on Saturday, then came home and took a nap after some stretching. Lunch was a little light. I took it easy the rest of the day, working on a paper I'm writing and kicking back on the couch with my legs up. I drank lots of water throughout the day, and drank an extra Endurox in the afternoon when my legs felt tired. Spent a couple hours relaxing in the pool with my sister/bro-in-law/baby nephew. No real swimming, just relaxing in the water. We went and grabbed dinner and I had a steak, bread, mashed potatoes, and baked beans--maybe a little heavy on the protein, but I kept pushing the bread... Went to bed early and got about 7 1/2 hours of sleep.
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Old 08-27-06, 07:01 PM
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We've all got shiddy days brother, just upgrade.

Getting a win in the 5s isn't a huge deal...if you feel like you can win in the 5s, you should be able to win in the 4s anywho. You get faster in part by riding and racing faster anyway.
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Old 08-27-06, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
Two crits in two days at the 5 level shouldn't take that much out of you, unless you're on solo flyers in both. Sounds like you know what to work on over the winter.

What did you do for recovery (if you don't mind my asking)?
i don't race crits so i'm not an expert, but i don't agree with this. i don't know your age, but as we get older, recovery becomes more and more important. studies have shown that probably the biggest difference between older and younger people is that older people don't recover as fast. therefore, you need a longer amount of time. i learned this from experience. i did two hard, high interval training rides two days in a row, then the next two days were easy recovery rides. both the intervals days, i was producing my biggest power numbers of the year. then two recovery rides and i felt pretty good. the next day, i got 35 minutes into a time trial and damn near ground to a halt. just an absolute collapse. i talked to three people, and they all agreed i didn't have nearly enough recovery. i'm 52, so i'm sure i'm a lot older than you, but you simply may not have been up to two days of crits in a row.
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Old 08-27-06, 07:48 PM
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DrPete...

First off...you are letting a bad day impress you way too much.

Secondly...do the upgrade. Apprenticeship complete!


Good luck at the road race! Train hard!
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Old 08-27-06, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by smoke
i don't race crits so i'm not an expert, but i don't agree with this. i don't know your age, but as we get older, recovery becomes more and more important. studies have shown that probably the biggest difference between older and younger people is that older people don't recover as fast. therefore, you need a longer amount of time. i learned this from experience. i did two hard, high interval training rides two days in a row, then the next two days were easy recovery rides. both the intervals days, i was producing my biggest power numbers of the year. then two recovery rides and i felt pretty good. the next day, i got 35 minutes into a time trial and damn near ground to a halt. just an absolute collapse. i talked to three people, and they all agreed i didn't have nearly enough recovery. i'm 52, so i'm sure i'm a lot older than you, but you simply may not have been up to two days of crits in a row.
Smoke, I'm reminded of the words of Bugs Bunny:

"He don't know me too well, do he?"

I'm just 46, so I can only speak for the young folks, plus I've done more than a few back to backer's this year, with some pretty good finishes in 3 races in the same weekend (roadraces and crits that both had climbing in them). And that's racing against kids and the 1/2's.

And I've dome pretty well in 3 of the 4 stage races I've done (we won't talk about the beating I got in the other).

60 minutes of crit riding, unless you're in full TT mode from the gun, or going for every prime, isn't a lot of effort per se, especially at the 4/5 level. If you're seeing a big drop the next day it's an indicator of a lack of racing fitness, which is to be expected when you're just starting out.

My comment wasn't meant at all derogatory, but it was meant to give an idea on where the bar should be. Moving up to a faster class without improving overall fitness is going to expose this even more, especially if you start doing road races.
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Old 08-28-06, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
60 minutes of crit riding, unless you're in full TT mode from the gun, or going for every prime, isn't a lot of effort per se, especially at the 4/5 level. If you're seeing a big drop the next day it's an indicator of a lack of racing fitness, which is to be expected when you're just starting out.

My comment wasn't meant at all derogatory, but it was meant to give an idea on where the bar should be. Moving up to a faster class without improving overall fitness is going to expose this even more, especially if you start doing road races.
+1. There is much work to be done this off-season... I'm joining a club, got myself a nice, structured off-season program from TrainingPeaks, and this season has given me a lot of determination to get stronger. I mean, I started racing with pretty much no structured training besides riding a lot this past winter/spring, and it worked OK for Cat 5, so I'm excited to see what some focus and determination will do.
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Old 08-28-06, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
If you're seeing a big drop the next day it's an indicator of a lack of racing fitness, which is to be expected when you're just starting out.
I was in the same boat as Dr Pete over the weekend. Rather than having a moderate ride on Saturday prior to my crit on Sunday, I got caught up in a hammer fest during our Saturday morning group ride - 35 miles of fast pacelines and sprints. Come Sunday, I felt good for the first 20 mins (of the 30 mins + 3 race) and held with the lead pack. When the pack turned it up to the upper 20s, I had problems holding their wheel. Something that I didn't have an issue with on Saturday where we exceeded 30 on several back to back interval sprints. Mentally, I knew I could keep up with the lead pack but my legs said No. Finished 15 seconds off the pack and 12th out of 25. Overall, I'm happy with my 2nd crit results.
I too will be following a more structured training this offseason.
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Old 08-28-06, 07:56 AM
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sometimes it just isn't your day. Stuff happens, and sometimes next outing you're suprisingly strong. Consider Landis from stage 16 to stage 17, oh sorry bad example.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't put much weight into one bad day.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:09 AM
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Yeah, I've settled down a bit. It probably is just an issue of my fitness not being where it needs to be to be able to pull off 3 races in a week (wed, sat, sun), and that problem won't fix itself in the next 2 weeks. It just shows me what I need to work on for the winter.

I've adjusted my perspective on the whole thing, and I still feel like I'm ready to cat up. It'll motivate me to work harder, I'm joining a club with some cool/strong 4's, and I feel like my riding/racing skills are at a point where I should upgrade, and the fitness/muscular endurance will come with some good, hard training.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
Yeah, I've settled down a bit. It probably is just an issue of my fitness not being where it needs to be to be able to pull off 3 races in a week (wed, sat, sun), and that problem won't fix itself in the next 2 weeks. It just shows me what I need to work on for the winter.

I've adjusted my perspective on the whole thing, and I still feel like I'm ready to cat up. It'll motivate me to work harder, I'm joining a club with some cool/strong 4's, and I feel like my riding/racing skills are at a point where I should upgrade, and the fitness/muscular endurance will come with some good, hard training.
Like a lot of people on this forum, you are overanalyzing everything. Regimented programs do not work for any racer in their first 5 years. Find every race and group ride, then rest a lot. Forget the Peaks software. It only becomes a distraction to a racer trying to learn the sport.

Technique, tactics and teamwork. Those are your goals for learning how to race. Fitness will come from showing up. Remember, keep it simple and pressure free. You'll be surprised how much better you get when the thinking stops.

BTW- I am a cat 1 with 16 years experience. I upgraded quickly because the fire in my belly kept me stupid aggressive. I read books and asked lots of questions, but the main reason I excelled within a few years other than a bit of talent, was mostly naivety. Trying and retrying, week after week, with no goal other than to prove I was worthy. If I had sat around figuring out how to win a cat4 race, I might have never kept moving forward. The ones that learn quickest are the ones who'll try anything and at all times.

I'd say good luck, but you make your own luck, so get out there and attack until you drop.
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Old 08-28-06, 09:00 AM
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Good luck Pete, sorry you couldn't employ my strategy...

I'm looking forward to a tt down in Hampton and then MABRA RR and then Turkey Day.

I'm still on the fence about going to the track this weekend. Would be fun but 7 hours in the car away from my family and my form isn't great. Also some very heavy hitters signed up. I won a bunch of medals there last year but so what...

Best of luck.
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Old 08-28-06, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by YMCA
Like a lot of people on this forum, you are overanalyzing everything. Regimented programs do not work for any racer in their first 5 years. Find every race and group ride, then rest a lot. Forget the Peaks software. It only becomes a distraction to a racer trying to learn the sport.
That's ridiculous. Regimented programs help people know what their weaknesses are, how to improve them, and when it's time to rest. I'm impressed by your credentials but the "naivety" approach that worked for you isn't necessarily the best for everyone.

--Steve
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Old 08-28-06, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by YMCA
Like a lot of people on this forum, you are overanalyzing everything. Regimented programs do not work for any racer in their first 5 years.
I agree with the learning aspect, but I'd disagree with the regimented training, especially for Master's racers, certainly in my case. If you're sub 35 you can get away with flogging yourself, and in some cases getting away from regimentation is probably a good burn out preventative.

But past that age, depending on the individual, you're pretty much asking to go backwards as much as forwards, that's certainly what I've seen from some of my peers. Started this year as a 5 and am now a 3 with points towards a 2, having got points in both Elite and 35+ races, at 46 there's no way I could have done this without a coach and a training plan, especially in an area that's as competitve as this.

And with all that you still can have lousy days
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Old 08-28-06, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by zimbo
That's ridiculous. Regimented programs help people know what their weaknesses are, how to improve them, and when it's time to rest. I'm impressed by your credentials but the "naivety" approach that worked for you isn't necessarily the best for everyone.

--Steve
I feel regimented programs have the new racer following specific advice too much, which in turn hinders their ability to learn through trial and error. You can't teach experience. If the new racer wants to follow some general guidelines set forth by those with the wisdom, that is smart, but to learn the science before learning to feel, just seems wrong. Cheers.
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Old 08-28-06, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by YMCA
I feel regimented programs have the new racer following specific advice too much, which in turn hinders their ability to learn through trial and error. You can't teach experience. If the new racer wants to follow some general guidelines set forth by those with the wisdom, that is smart, but to learn the science before learning to feel, just seems wrong. Cheers.
FWIW, I'm using TrainingPeaks to make my training program, which is basically an online adaptation of Friel's book. All of that being said, I totally agree that experience and trying things at races is a huge factor, so I've included the local weekly training race series to my schedule, and scheduled some smaller races as B and C priority races to use as training events.

I do think that following a regimented program has helped me this season in terms of helping me focus efforts to my weaknesses and to maximize my training time. If I had 20hrs/wk I could devote 100% to cycling I'd go out and try new things, but because I'm not paid for my cycling ability I need to maximize the time I spend training, and I feel like the TrainingPeaks program does that pretty well.

So I guess what I'm saying is, can't you have both a regimented program and use races as training sessions?
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Old 08-28-06, 11:42 AM
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YMCA it sounds like you are talking about two different things. Actual racing and training. I dont understand how a regimented training plan affects what you are actually going to do in a race.
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Old 08-28-06, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
So I guess what I'm saying is, can't you have both a regimented program and use races as training sessions?
Worked for me...
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Old 08-28-06, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete

So I guess what I'm saying is, can't you have both a regimented program and use races as training sessions?
Sure, but the learning process in racing is accelerated if you take the 10,000 pieces of advice you get that first few years and formulate your own plan, no matter the outcome. Eventually, you will figure out what works for you, and yes, that "may" be a regimented program, but most likely it will be a mix of training theories.

BTW- 99.99% of the people on this forum do not race enough to show up to races just to train. If everyone shows up to the local championship and expects to do well because it is their "A" race, there will be quite a few disappointments afterwards. I hear too many excuses after races about riders being in base training or keying on a race 6 weeks from then. Aaaargh, what a waste. Lance's regimented training has just about ruined the amateur scene and the bellyfire riders once had to race everything they entered. Which is normally only 10-50 races per year. Why sacrifice any of your chances of success?
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Old 08-28-06, 12:37 PM
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Lithuania
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i plan on following a regimented plan but i also plan on trying to win every race i enter.
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