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Advice for the Ladies on their First Race

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Advice for the Ladies on their First Race

Old 02-18-10, 04:23 PM
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ri_us
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Advice for the Ladies on their First Race

I'm one of the organizers of a criterium in New York City called The Grant's Tomb Criterium. At our race next month we're going to have a special category for women who have never raced before. It will feature a 30 minute clinic, then a 15 minute race. At the clinic racers will be paired up with a coach or experienced racer who will help them with drills and pointers that will help them with stability, braking, turning. The 15 minute race will only be for women who have never raced before.

The goal is to give them the skills to lower the risk of competing. We chose this goal because the focus on fitness before the first race isn't attracting enough women to the sport.

So, ladies, what do you think I should tell the coaches and experienced riders to expect? What would you like to have known before your first race?
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Old 02-18-10, 05:07 PM
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There will be a HUGE difference in abilities. Expect riders all over the course. Try a neutral start with a ride leader in the group, and have him/her ride with them a lap or more, then let them loose. It would let some women ride with the group instead of being OTB at the start line.

Cornering will be a biggie. I had to yell at someone on Monday not to try to pass on the inside of a corner.

How to get lapped will be a biggie there too. A group lapping you will have the right of way, so to speak.
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Old 02-18-10, 06:11 PM
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DITTO.. do one neutral lap.. and then let 'em flly...
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Old 02-18-10, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by kuf View Post
There will be a HUGE difference in abilities. Expect riders all over the course. Try a neutral start with a ride leader in the group, and have him/her ride with them a lap or more, then let them loose. It would let some women ride with the group instead of being OTB at the start line.

Cornering will be a biggie. I had to yell at someone on Monday not to try to pass on the inside of a corner.

How to get lapped will be a biggie there too. A group lapping you will have the right of way, so to speak.
Why ? Was it a beginner race ?

OP, Great idea ! I hope you get a good turnout.
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Old 02-18-10, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Why ? Was it a beginner race ?
It was an all categories race.
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Old 02-18-10, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Why ? Was it a beginner race ?

OP, Great idea ! I hope you get a good turnout.
There is no Cat 5 Women. With my limited fitness, as a 4 I get to ride with scetchy beginners. And even if I were a 3, most women's races in SoCal are W 3 & 4 combined (Because of the Southern California Nevada Cycling Association (SCNCA) points series. I think it's stupid, personally.) So I wouldn't be away from beginners unless I made it to Cat 2.

Edit: Actually, there are 2 race groups in SoCal: 3&4 and P123, so I could be away from beginners if I were a 3. But then I'd have to race with the best. It's a lose-lose situation.

Last edited by kuf; 02-18-10 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 02-18-10, 09:14 PM
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Collegiate conferences have tried to do basically this as an "intro" category (one for men and one for women). In my conference (ACCC), it didn't go over so well and the races had pretty much no attendance, especially for women. In the ECCC, intro races are huge. Generally, they start out with a coach or someone and then when they get to a set point, the race is "on." During the hand-holding part, it's basically a moderate paced group ride.

Contact some ECCC schools up there to see how they do it.
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Old 02-19-10, 07:00 AM
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not to hijack, but: Any general tips for my GF who will be doing her first races this season? She's pretty good in a pack (better than some of the guys i ride with, actually) and is training hard this winter. I've been riding with her and it's clear to me that she's got the legs to hang in a flat race, but I'm looking for some drills, either on the bike or for the brain that will help her have a positive first experience racing.
Thanks
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Old 02-19-10, 10:39 AM
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As for advice, don't overlap wheels. be smooth, nothing sudden, stay off the brakes, if you need to brake, brake befor the turn. Ride loose, elbows flexed. Look ahead, and see what's developing before it happens, don't just look at the wheel immediately in front of you.

Relax, have fun.
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Old 02-19-10, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ldesfor1@ithaca View Post
not to hijack, but: Any general tips for my GF who will be doing her first races this season? She's pretty good in a pack (better than some of the guys i ride with, actually) and is training hard this winter. I've been riding with her and it's clear to me that she's got the legs to hang in a flat race, but I'm looking for some drills, either on the bike or for the brain that will help her have a positive first experience racing.
Thanks

Don't tell her about bf.
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Old 02-19-10, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
Don't tell her about bf.
I'm racing for the first time this year - and I'm on bf all the time.

I'm mostly racing MTB this year, but planning on a couple road races/crits for fun (it'll be my first time racing on the road). Due to the smaller women's fields here - they all race together, regardless of ability. Points get split between "Women A" and "Women B". I'm not looking forward to being off the back...
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Old 02-19-10, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ldesfor1@ithaca View Post
not to hijack, but: Any general tips for my GF who will be doing her first races this season? She's pretty good in a pack (better than some of the guys i ride with, actually) and is training hard this winter. I've been riding with her and it's clear to me that she's got the legs to hang in a flat race, but I'm looking for some drills, either on the bike or for the brain that will help her have a positive first experience racing.
Thanks
There's not really any difference for a woman starting out racing than a man. The only exception being maybe if the only race option is an open field. In that case, the odds greatly go up that she'll be OTB in her first races if she's got to hang with the big girls. Otherwise, it isn't that different. You don't really fully know what it's like to race until you do it. Will she start out with a crit or RR? Don't forget to tell her about all the "slowing" business that happens in RRs and not so much on group rides.
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Old 02-19-10, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by edbikebabe View Post
I'm racing for the first time this year - and I'm on bf all the time.

I'm mostly racing MTB this year, but planning on a couple road races/crits for fun (it'll be my first time racing on the road). Due to the smaller women's fields here - they all race together, regardless of ability. Points get split between "Women A" and "Women B". I'm not looking forward to being off the back...
Have a power meter? Wanna post your e-wang chart so we can tell you what to expect?
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Old 02-19-10, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kuf View Post
Have a power meter? Wanna post your e-wang chart so we can tell you what to expect?
No power meter - it's probably a good thing. Although I'd inflate my numbers anyways, this IS the internet after all.
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Old 02-19-10, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by aicabsolut View Post
Collegiate conferences have tried to do basically this as an "intro" category (one for men and one for women). In my conference (ACCC), it didn't go over so well and the races had pretty much no attendance, especially for women. In the ECCC, intro races are huge. Generally, they start out with a coach or someone and then when they get to a set point, the race is "on." During the hand-holding part, it's basically a moderate paced group ride.

Contact some ECCC schools up there to see how they do it.
The intro races here in the ECCC are hit or miss. Some of them will see maybe 6 people, others will have 20 or so. To be honest, it's usually the women's intro that has the higher number of riders. They usually pair up a coach or a cat 1/2 rider with each intro rider, and they just lead them through the steps for one lap. After that it's a free for all.

I have noticed beyond the intro races that at a few races in the ECCC there will be a rider or two in the pack with black X's instead of numbers in the regular races (C and D). They usually chill out near the back and give pointers to the riders. It's pretty cool idea IMO.
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Old 02-19-10, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by aicabsolut View Post
There's not really any difference for a woman starting out racing than a man. The only exception being maybe if the only race option is an open field. In that case, the odds greatly go up that she'll be OTB in her first races if she's got to hang with the big girls.
I guess it depends on the area and the race, but from what I've observed the women's races seem completely different than the men's races. Smaller fields, wider spread of abilities (strength and skill), less agressiveness, etc. Combined/open fields are even worse. But that's from an outside looking in perspective, obviously I have no firsthand experience...

Edit: The women that I know that train and ride with men tend to race more like men. More agressive, attacks, etc. The others chit-chat.

Last edited by umd; 02-19-10 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 02-19-10, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I guess it depends on the area and the race, but from what I've observed the women's races seem completely different than the men's races. Smaller fields, wider spread of abilities (strength and skill), less agressiveness, etc. Combined/open fields are even worse. But that's from an outside looking in perspective, obviously I have no firsthand experience...

Edit: The women that I know that train and ride with men tend to race more like men. More agressive, attacks, etc. The others chit-chat.
Yeah, a lot of the time the field can be much smaller (depends on where in the country). But I think that the range of skills and strengths for a women's cat 4 race isn't that different than most cat 5 races. The only difference in skills might be for the veteran cat 4 women.

I have found that beginner women who don't train with men are less likely to try racing.
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Old 02-21-10, 02:00 PM
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I just signed up for this race the other day and am looking forward to it--will be my first one ever!

I think it's a great idea, and sounds like it will be a good way to get started, so thanks!
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Old 02-21-10, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ri_us View Post
I'm one of the organizers of a criterium in New York City called The Grant's Tomb Criterium. At our race next month we're going to have a special category for women who have never raced before. It will feature a 30 minute clinic, then a 15 minute race. At the clinic racers will be paired up with a coach or experienced racer who will help them with drills and pointers that will help them with stability, braking, turning. The 15 minute race will only be for women who have never raced before.

The goal is to give them the skills to lower the risk of competing. We chose this goal because the focus on fitness before the first race isn't attracting enough women to the sport.

So, ladies, what do you think I should tell the coaches and experienced riders to expect? What would you like to have known before your first race?
why not hold a clinic instead?
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Old 02-21-10, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by aicabsolut View Post
Yeah, a lot of the time the field can be much smaller (depends on where in the country). But I think that the range of skills and strengths for a women's cat 4 race isn't that different than most cat 5 races. The only difference in skills might be for the veteran cat 4 women.

I have found that beginner women who don't train with men are less likely to try racing.
I should clarify I meant train with men who race...
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Old 02-21-10, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
The others chit-chat.
These are my peeps.
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Old 02-22-10, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
The women that I know that train and ride with men tend to race more like men. More agressive, attacks, etc. The others chit-chat.
I think they train with the men because they are more agressive to begin with. Women who aren't very agressive wouldn't be inclined to train with male racers.
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Old 02-22-10, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by kuf View Post
I think they train with the men because they are more agressive to begin with. Women who aren't very agressive wouldn't be inclined to train with male racers.
I totally agree with this.
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Old 02-22-10, 10:18 AM
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Laura Van Gilder occasionally shows up to races near here. She usually races with the P123 men.
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Old 02-22-10, 03:27 PM
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Why limit it to women who have never raced before? This excludes women who may have done a race or two but would love to attend your training session.
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