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jump in with the 3/4's?

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jump in with the 3/4's?

Old 04-12-10, 04:03 PM
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jump in with the 3/4's?

Recently raced my first race in a 'novice' category, a short tuneup road race where I managed to get into a breakaway and do well. I've got a decent amount of group riding experience and good fitness from a few years in triathlon.

Our local area did away with cat 5 this year as there just wasn't enough participation in the lower cats. Instead they went with a 'novice' system which means that you get 'points' for taking learn to race clinics, joining cycling clubs, and racing in novice races. After 5 points you're given your cat 4 license (UCI).

Basically the situation right now is even though I have only participated in 1 'real' race, i'm technically eligible to race in the 3/4's in a stage race that's upcoming in a couple weeks.

I still plan on racing in the 4/5 (now called 4/novice) when available in the races further on in the season, but this particular one only has a 3/4.

Good idea? Terrible idea? I'm thinking I may as well give it a shot - I'm not a sketchy rider, I think I know what NOT to do in a race situation, so likely if I don't do well it'll just mean I'm OTB.
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Old 04-12-10, 04:36 PM
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If you're eligible, have you applied for the 4's upgrade yet?

I say go for the stage race, if they let you sign up.
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Old 04-12-10, 04:36 PM
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Go for it
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Old 04-12-10, 04:37 PM
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If you were local to me or a race that I may otherwise be in, I would say god no, please don't. But since I don't know what it's like where you are and won't be in the race with you, I guess it depends...
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Old 04-12-10, 04:40 PM
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If you can ride well in a group, you should be fine.

As long as you have the group riding experience, and know how to/or not to react when stuff gets a little sketchy, you should be fine. They are plenty of 4's and 3's and 2's and 1's that ride like idiots, but the numbers dwindle once you get past the 4's.
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Old 04-12-10, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
If you were local to me or a race that I may otherwise be in, I would say god no, please don't. But since I don't know what it's like where you are and won't be in the race with you, I guess it depends...
Seems like if he's really that outclassed, he'll be OTB anyway and you'll have a bigger field for the possibility of more upgrade points..
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Old 04-12-10, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm
Seems like if he's really that outclassed, he'll be OTB anyway and you'll have a bigger field for the possibility of more upgrade points..
I would be more concerned about a strong person who can't handle their bike in a tight race situation than a weak person that gets shelled right away. OP says he has group experience but who knows what that really means. And of course nobody thinks they are a sketchy rider...
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Old 04-12-10, 05:03 PM
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team leader got crashed out by some of those types saturday. I had one of them sweep me into another guy in a corner. fortunately the other guy had some experience and we pushed off eachother's arms until we got balance back.
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Old 04-12-10, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by umd
I would be more concerned about a strong person who can't handle their bike in a tight race situation than a weak person that gets shelled right away. OP says he has group experience but who knows what that really means. And of course nobody thinks they are a sketchy rider...
Absolutely true.

So given your stance, what would you say is worse about an inexperienced racer in a 3/4 group vs. an inexperienced racer in a 4/5 group?

I'm not looking to justify any decisions here, honestly looking for advice.
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Old 04-12-10, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by gbot
So given your stance, what would you say is worse about an inexperienced racer in a 3/4 group vs. an inexperienced racer in a 4/5 group?
It's worse for the 3s...

Edit: To clarify, there is nothing magical about the 3s by any means, but as you move up it's nice to not have to deal with as many sketchy/inexperienced riders. Part of experience isn't just not being sketchy though, it's how to handle yourself when others are being sketchy. How do you deal with getting bumped, pushed, clipping a pedal, flatting in the middle of a pack, etc. What do you do when someone dives on the inside of you in a turn or doesn't hold their line in front of you? Do you freak out and grab your brakes, etc.

Locally, crit practice started back up two weeks ago and it's eye-opening to be reminded of all of the skill levels on the course at the same time. Stuff that isn't an issue in a cat 3 race spooks the new guys and they panic. You can't really count on them holding their line into a turn and god help you if you or someone brushes against one.

Last edited by umd; 04-12-10 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 04-12-10, 05:24 PM
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So.. it's not really the inexperienced guy but the people around the inexperienced guy? The 3's are less likely to give space and more likely to brush elbows in the pack? Or is it just that you're a 3, so you care about 3's getting crashed out by squirelly noobs more than you care about 4's getting crashed out by squirelly noobs?
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Old 04-12-10, 05:29 PM
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All of the above...
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Old 04-12-10, 05:32 PM
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I don't want to be a wet blanket, I'm not telling you not to do it. Find some more experienced people locally to you, ride with them, and ask them what they think. I know plenty of people that have rarely raced that would tecnically be a 5 that I would be perfectly comfortable racing with, and plenty of 3s that I would rather avoid. But not knowing you, my generic advice would be to put your time in the lower ranks and move up as you gain experience.
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Old 04-12-10, 08:33 PM
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Do as many of the race clinics as you can. Take advantage of learning opportunities that come your way.

For 3/4 race, what kind of race is it? If it is a hilly road race where the pack breaks up pretty early, you are not going to be too much of a problem even if you are the world's worst squirrel. You'll be in a small group pretty soon. If it's a flat road race or crit, then pack handling skills are more important.
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Old 04-13-10, 09:20 AM
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Just go ahead and race and don't listen too much to those that say you don't have enough experience. Everyone has to start somewhere. Don't worry too much about crashing anybody. Even if you are really squirrely, any good rider in the group will see that and will be able to put themselves in a position that no matter what you do, you will not crash them.

That being said, don't overlap wheels and don't hit the brakes hard.
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Old 04-13-10, 09:23 AM
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The main reason I'm considering this one at all is that it's the only local race in the next month or so, and I want to race! There aren't really any other opportunities to learn between now and the next 4/5 race other than just getting out and riding with people.

I think it is a pretty hilly race, 3 long laps.

Thanks for the thoughts everyone, I'm going to keep considering it. Haven't made a decision either way but there's been some good info in this thread and I appreciate it.
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Old 04-13-10, 02:51 PM
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^ Do you know any guys that have done that race in the 3/4's? If so, I'd ask them about the race, get their thoughts.
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