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First (training) crit experience: Wells Ave (Newton, MA)... bit of a crashfest?

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First (training) crit experience: Wells Ave (Newton, MA)... bit of a crashfest?

Old 05-12-10, 09:09 AM
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Mose
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First (training) crit experience: Wells Ave (Newton, MA)... bit of a crashfest?

I had my first crit experience in the form of the Wells Ave. training crit put on every Sunday by the Boston Road Club in Newton, MA... this was the week before Mother's Day. Unfortunately too busy to race on Mother's Day (actually not unfortunately, I enjoy Mother's Day bbq's too).

I was very nervous going into it... I've been cycling for a while, have done some endurance events... 4 Pan Mass Challenges, a whole bunch of centuries, a 10k' century once, a 13k' double century once, and handful of XC MTB races... So I'm not a new cyclist, but new to road racing.

We got started a little late so my warm up efforts were sort of wasted. I was very nervous and almost resigned to going OTB. My goal was not to cause any crashes.

Once we got rolling, I relaxed a lot. Other people were way worse bike handlers than me. Some people were riding with squeaky chains (really??). The race is only 12 miles. The course has only on 90 deg sweeping corner, the others are all long radius deals, some rough pavement. I found I could sit in around the middle of the pack without too much exertion. I also found to stay in the same place, you have to continually pass people. That was a wierd feeling.

So there was a crash on the prime lap but only took down 2 people, and there was a crash on the last lap, only one involved. I was in the front 1/3rd of the pack when the last crash happened, and happened close to me so I stopped my sprint.

I definitely need to work on my sprint. And I think I can sit in a lot closer to the front. After I figured out I could hang with the pack, I decided riding in the middle was a good way to test my handling and feel things out. I was surprised how much people wanted to stay to the outside (to avoid getting boxed in I guess?) I found times the pack was riding centered on the yellow line because no one wanted to go inside. Those were pretty good opportunities to move up with little effort.
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Old 05-12-10, 09:51 AM
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Nice! I miss Wells Ave. I wish we had a local training race on the weekends here in the DC area.

While living in Boston, I must have raced Wells 20 or so times - mostly B and maybe a half-dozen combined A/B, and I never thought it was a crashfest. There were only a handful of crashes as I recall. It's a pretty mellow course, but if the pace is not fast and people start bunching up after the one corner, then I can see how things can get sketchy. The course had some pot holes in the inside on that sweeper before the start/finish, so that's why people tended to stay in the middle or outside. This was all a couple of years ago.
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Old 05-12-10, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bitterken View Post
Nice! I miss Wells Ave. I wish we had a local training race on the weekends here in the DC area.

While living in Boston, I must have raced Wells 20 or so times - mostly B and maybe a half-dozen combined A/B, and I never thought it was a crashfest. There were only a handful of crashes as I recall. It's a pretty mellow course, but if the pace is not fast and people start bunching up after the one corner, then I can see how things can get sketchy. The course had some pot holes in the inside on that sweeper before the start/finish, so that's why people tended to stay in the middle or outside. This was all a couple of years ago.
Yeah, I rode 2 laps before the race and more or less memorized the bad spots. There are only a few. This was the C group, obviously. We averaged 23.4 mph. Not sure where that falls on fast or slow for cat 5's... The pack fluctuated between bunched and strung out quite a few times during the race.
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Old 05-12-10, 10:07 AM
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Congrats on the first race - but it doesn't sound like much of a crashfest, sounds like a decent race to me!

For me, a "crash fest" would have to involve 10+ people in each crash, say more than three big ones.
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Old 05-12-10, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Congrats on the first race - but it doesn't sound like much of a crashfest, sounds like a decent race to me!

For me, a "crash fest" would have to involve 10+ people in each crash, say more than three big ones.
Thanks.

I guess I just wasn't really expecting any crashes, being a training race and relatively short. So maybe seeing two, even though they were small, surprised me a fair bit. One rider from each crash had to be transported too. I guess that left an impression.

Not enough of one to scare me off though. Can't wait to race again.
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Old 05-12-10, 10:28 AM
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Wells Ave is a great training race and the people running it are awesome!!! Like any other crit though, there will be crashes. The A/B race is significantly less sketchy than the 5 race, but I was involved in a nasty pile-up when someone yelled "WATER BOTTLE!" and decided to swerve across the front of the pack right before cresting the rise (about halfway through the lap). I did a superman into the pavement and snapped my handlebars, but got out mostly unscathed (just some nasty road rash). Some were not as lucky though. Of the 10 or so guys who went down, one guy broke some bones in his face and one or two others totaled their bikes--scary stuff.

That said, always be vigilant, upgrade to 4 as soon as you're comfortable, and even if you do drop your water bottle in the middle of the race, don't freak out--you can just ride over it.
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Old 05-12-10, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ronsalicious View Post
Wells Ave is a great training race and the people running it are awesome!!!
That's the truth. Well organized, and the C group gets cool stuff like muffins or donuts for wining primes since they can't give out cash


Originally Posted by ronsalicious View Post
That said, always be vigilant, upgrade to 4 as soon as you're comfortable, and even if you do drop your water bottle in the middle of the race, don't freak out--you can just ride over it.
Yeah, that's gospel. I feel like starting off in MTB as I did twelve or so years ago I've programmed myself to ride over things rather than around them. Hopefully one day that practice won't land me with a tacoed rim or broken fork or something.
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Old 05-12-10, 05:16 PM
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Ronz, I'd say any race, not just crits.

The race you did yesterday had 0 crashes in both the A and the B race. So...
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Old 05-13-10, 05:10 AM
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Well's Ave has always been known as a "crash fest" race. It starts the earliest of the local training crits and its location attracts people from all over with a very wide variety of "skills".
I've done them for years and ran them a few times when they needed the help.
Won my very first prime there...$2.00 and a loaf of bread...a sponsor to the club.
Had many friends in the Boston Road Club.
It is generally very well supported by local police but in one race I was in some old man...it is held in an industrial park...who was in one of the business's parking lots pulled out onto the course driving the opposite way the race was going...the panic was crazy for a minute or two...for both the riders and driver lol...fortunately their were no crashes and the police got the guy off the course safely.

I also totaled my Colnago super corsa there when I got caught up in a big crash.
I too miss the race and drama.
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Old 05-13-10, 08:08 AM
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There was a car going the wrong way on the course when I watched the crit a few weeks before I raced. I was surprised actually about how good all the racers were about slowing up with the organizer called a temporary neutral.

I feel like I was able to pick out the sketchier riders and stay away from them though. Ironically, the first corner is where I felt the least safe, being the sharpest, downhill and limited visibility, but none of the crashes happened there. Perhaps because everyone was on their toes.
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