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Cornering Help

Old 08-28-06, 02:46 PM
  #1  
SaddleBags
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Cornering Help

Over this past weekend's crit I identified a weakness in my ability to keep it strong thru the corners. For example, I was in the lead pack for the majority of the race but would consistently lose 1 or 2 spots on a turn when the pace kicked up - especially around the corners. Eventually, after not being able to keep my speed thru the turns and having to bridge the gap on the following straights, I finally got shot out the back and TT the remaining race. I did, when I was solo, work on my cornering but I know I need some work.

BTW, these were some nasty 45 and 90 turns that were tight and with some sand (since this course was literally by the water but it was swept prior to the 1st Jrs race). There were 4 crashes in the CAT 5 and I heard 12 crashes overall in the day - mostly all on the corners. After I saw the first guy go down in my race, my confidence in cornering was lowered (read hesitant) but didn't seem to slow the other racers down.

I know some about cornering from just common sense (start wide, use front brake, lean, etc) but I need some advice/tips/drills that I can work on this next race and in the off season.
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Old 08-28-06, 03:05 PM
  #2  
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Thats a crap load of crashes for any one day of racing. Sand in the corners? WTF, the course is dangerous.

Tips. learn by doing on some other strip of pavement without sand.
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Old 08-28-06, 03:34 PM
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If you are at or near the front, try to stay off the brakes. The problem is all the other riders will still brake even if its not necessary, thats the beauty of getting out of the 4/5's

If you are yo yo ing at the back, and getting tired from all the sprinting there is a little trick you can do.

It involves letting a bit of a gap open before the corner, then maintaining your speed while the others in front of you slow. If you time it right, as they are exiting the corner and accelerating again, you will be closing up the gap and catching on the back. Same position yes, but you didnt have to go from 17 to 26 like the rest of them.. you just went from 26 to 23 to a draft aided 26 again.

If you watch the back of the pro race you can see some guys who are very skilled at this. When the pack comes out of the corner, look for the guy or guys at the very end of the line who seem to be coasting while the racers in front of them are standing up and working hard.
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Old 08-28-06, 07:37 PM
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+1
If you aren't keen on riding elbow to elbow through the turns, you can use Smoothie's tactic until you ARE ready to mix it up in the turns.

Best tips for learning corners:
1. Look THROUGH THE TURN. Like FAR through the turn. Don't look at the ground. It's too late for that.
2. Have faith in your tires. Even the cheap ones grip better than a scared cat. Get over it.
3. Learn your maximum lean angle. How far can you lean that bike over while pedaling? DON'T scrape your pedals, but don't panic if you do.
4. Turn once through the turn. Don't make 4 small turns. Pick the right arc, and stick to it.
5. Ah, but learn how to adjust your arc at any point. (That sounds contradictory to #4, but it really isn't.)

The best way to practice is to follow-the-leader with someone who is better than you.

Last edited by EventServices; 08-28-06 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Smoothie104
If you are at or near the front, try to stay off the brakes. The problem is all the other riders will still brake even if its not necessary, thats the beauty of getting out of the 4/5's

If you are yo yo ing at the back, and getting tired from all the sprinting there is a little trick you can do.

It involves letting a bit of a gap open before the corner, then maintaining your speed while the others in front of you slow. If you time it right, as they are exiting the corner and accelerating again, you will be closing up the gap and catching on the back. Same position yes, but you didnt have to go from 17 to 26 like the rest of them.. you just went from 26 to 23 to a draft aided 26 again.

If you watch the back of the pro race you can see some guys who are very skilled at this. When the pack comes out of the corner, look for the guy or guys at the very end of the line who seem to be coasting while the racers in front of them are standing up and working hard.
I'm not great at it yet, but this totally works. It comes in quite handy when you're sitting in and lets you wear down the guys who want to use their brakes and sprint harder than you. I kind of discovered it accidentally after a couple cat 5 crits.

In Cat 5 land I've also found some value in not taking the "fast" line, i.e. just take the corner all the way on the outside so you can do your own thing while the hit-the-brakes crowd takes the inside. You can get around a corner pretty effortlessly and let everyone else hit the brakes and sprint...
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Old 08-28-06, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Smoothie104
It involves letting a bit of a gap open before the corner, then maintaining your speed while the others in front of you slow. If you time it right, as they are exiting the corner and accelerating again, you will be closing up the gap and catching on the back. Same position yes, but you didnt have to go from 17 to 26 like the rest of them.. you just went from 26 to 23 to a draft aided 26 again.
I call this the reverse-yo-yo move. You let the guys ahead slow down in the corners while you go around it full-speed to preserve your momentum. Then right as you're about to rear-end them, the pack exits the corner and you hold a slightly tighter line. Start pedalling as early as you can, 5-10ft before the guys in front. Your higher cornering-speed along with earlier pedaling will have you pass up 2-4 guys on the inside easily coming out of the corner. You move up the pack without working at all.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 08-30-06 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 08-29-06, 06:39 AM
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Hey, wait a minute! Why are we giving away all of our secrets????
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Old 08-29-06, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by EventServices
Hey, wait a minute! Why are we giving away all of our secrets????
Aw, hell, the OP's in my racing region!

Never mind, SaddleBags--it's all a load of crap. You want to brake hard into the turn so you can concentrate. Slow down enough so you don't have to lean into the turn--all leaning does is wear the sides of your tires, and they weren't designed for that. Then, carve an irregular line because you can keep guys from passing you that way. Then, mash the hardest gear you can coming out of the corner so you can showcase your mad sprint skills and intimidate your opponents.
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Old 08-29-06, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
You want to brake hard into the turn so you can concentrate. Slow down enough so you don't have to lean into the turn--all leaning does is wear the sides of your tires, and they weren't designed for that. Then, carve an irregular line because you can keep guys from passing you that way. Then, mash the hardest gear you can coming out of the corner so you can showcase your mad sprint skills and intimidate your opponents.
HEY! Did you watch me race this weekend? That describes my cornering to a T - except the intimidation part and irregular line.

Thanks for the Tips - especially the "Have faith in your tires. Even the cheap ones grip better than a scared cat. Get over it."

I'll be training with on of the local club/race team this winter/spring and cornering will be one of the skills I'll work on before next season.

And Dr. Pete - while your upgrading to 4 next season, I'll still be getting my experience in the 5. However, I may come up to the DC area to check out some races next year.
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Old 08-29-06, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by SaddleBags
And Dr. Pete - while your upgrading to 4 next season, I'll still be getting my experience in the 5. However, I may come up to the DC area to check out some races next year.
The new Cat 4 guy riding a Flyte and decked out in Route 1 Velo/Capitol Hill Bikes kit puking on the side of the road will be me.

This has been mentioned before, but go to a wide open parking lot with nice smooth pavement and just practice throwing your bike into corners. Once you can do it at a certain speed, try it a little faster. You'll be amazed how well you can corner without skidding--I sure was...
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Old 08-29-06, 09:46 AM
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Brakes? Turns? Wtf are you guys talking about?
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Old 08-29-06, 10:04 AM
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Ah, 55, spoken like a true trackie.

I only use the brakes once per ride: to avoid running into my garage door.
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Old 08-29-06, 10:15 AM
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Chuck Norris power slides into his garage, jumping off the bike at 20mph.
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Old 08-29-06, 12:07 PM
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some great pointers so far!

now my stuff generally only works in 5 ( and sometimes with the olde pharts, but usually they just wanna take a picture with you...)
but you wanna clear a 'lane' for yourself, makes the cornering a snap and momentum, no problemos!

1) helmutt with a visor
2) tiedye t-shirt - big enough so it flaps when you ride, black scuff marks around the shoulders are a plus
3) keep the legs hairy, use black hairdye if you have to...
4) keep the seatpack on the bike, make sure its a bit loose and flappin also
5) take a rasp file to the sides of your bars/grips, rough enough so you have a few loose ends visible
6) ride something 'steel'
7) always take an inside line
8) X-large size bandaids placed around the elbows
9) an occassional 'WOAH" (hold the 'OH' so it lingers over the crickets) is a nice touch

that should do it...
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Old 08-29-06, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
4) keep the seatpack on the bike, make sure its a bit loose and flappin also
..
Had to laugh at this one. One of the biggest "Hammers" I ever rode with would show up for spring training rides with the ol rack over the back tire. Those that didn't know him were in for quite a surprise.
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Old 08-29-06, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo76
Chuck Norris power slides into his garage, jumping off the bike at 20mph.
While doing a roundhouse kick to trigger the garage door to close, shielding him from the grenades he just dropped to eliminate his pursuers.

I like to stay in the center of the pack and try to pass people in turns to avoid using my brakes to slow for the people braking who don't need to be braking. In tight crits this isn't always possible but works really well in other ones. Most people slow down for corners out of habit, not need.

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Old 08-29-06, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
some great pointers so far!

now my stuff generally only works in 5 ( and sometimes with the olde pharts, but usually they just wanna take a picture with you...)
but you wanna clear a 'lane' for yourself, makes the cornering a snap and momentum, no problemos!

1) helmutt with a visor
2) tiedye t-shirt - big enough so it flaps when you ride, black scuff marks around the shoulders are a plus
3) keep the legs hairy, use black hairdye if you have to...
4) keep the seatpack on the bike, make sure its a bit loose and flappin also
5) take a rasp file to the sides of your bars/grips, rough enough so you have a few loose ends visible
6) ride something 'steel'
7) always take an inside line
8) X-large size bandaids placed around the elbows
9) an occassional 'WOAH" (hold the 'OH' so it lingers over the crickets) is a nice touch

that should do it...
So it's true. There is no life east of I-5.
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Old 08-29-06, 05:30 PM
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Another technique that works is to stay in the saddle and start pedalling as soon as you can in the corner exit. This means getting a very good sense of how leaned over you are. If you can get in 5-10 pedal strokes while the rest of the guys are coasting you have a great advantage.

If you watch, many riders coast throught the corner, straighten the bike up and then immediately stand up when they start to pedal. You can get on the power much earlier if you stay in the saddle.
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Old 08-29-06, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
Another technique that works is to stay in the saddle and start pedalling as soon as you can in the corner exit. This means getting a very good sense of how leaned over you are. If you can get in 5-10 pedal strokes while the rest of the guys are coasting you have a great advantage.
If you watch, many riders coast throught the corner, straighten the bike up and then immediately stand up when they start to pedal. You can get on the power much earlier if you stay in the saddle.
Yeah, being able to stay in the saddle smoothes the corners out quite a bit. Quite a bit like riding in the front where all riders can stay in the saddle. Grabing some early strokes goes a long way to making a smoother transition with less slowing and spurting.
A big issue in this, in the lower/newer classes, is that a consequence of riders getting out of the saddle to catch up after a deccerating corner is that they rarely pay attention to (or even realize or know) the deccel their standing causes. Most 'stand' whenever, few know to get out of the saddle on the top of the downstroke. So their standing stalls the bike enough for you to run up their wheel, if you're directly inline.
To get around this its really okay to plan your exit to one side (inside is much preferrable) of the rider in front. At turn exit the pack widens, so pulling slightly offline is quite okay in these groups. Inline in the corner (for safety, predictability and speed) slighly off the line by the time you're back upright.
Allows you to keep a smooth even power stroke. You can either gain a place or 2 or just moderate the needed power and slide back behind into your earlier position, having conserved much more energy that those riders who know only how to stand and mash.
In the upper classes much more of a field corners smooth and seated, to the point where fully the 1st half will slide thru a corner still seated. Watch a cat 1,2,3 field corner with an eye to how eficiently they come thru a corner. You'll see a big diff between that field and the newer classes.
The standing deccel is also markedly obvious on climbs when an unlearned rider stands, untrained and unaccustomed to a smooth transition.
Consciously paying attention to rising and standing on the start of the downstroke will soon make every transition to standing pedaling a smooth and powerful process.
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Old 08-31-06, 02:41 PM
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follow the rider in front of you's wheel through the turns, if you find yourself in the middle with no wheel directly in front, play it safe, dont panic and just try to follow through the turn as everyone else turns, but be careful because your squeezed in the middle without a direct line to follow. The fast lines for turning would be outside inside outside. Approach the turn wide, arc it in close to the curb and then flow out of the turn wide again. Once you can do that at high speeds, countersteering can be used for even faster turns.
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Old 08-31-06, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
The new Cat 4 guy riding a Flyte and decked out in Route 1 Velo/Capitol Hill Bikes kit puking on the side of the road will be me.

This has been mentioned before, but go to a wide open parking lot with nice smooth pavement and just practice throwing your bike into corners. Once you can do it at a certain speed, try it a little faster. You'll be amazed how well you can corner without skidding--I sure was...
You will also be amazed when you go in too far with no recourse and hit the pavement at say 23 MPH... happened to me the hardway!
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