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Are 2 group rides enough experience for a short Cat 5 race?

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Are 2 group rides enough experience for a short Cat 5 race?

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Old 06-09-10, 01:30 PM
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DirtRoadRunner
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Are 2 group rides enough experience for a short Cat 5 race?

I just found out about this race this weekend: http://www.tourdegrove.com/

I'm thinking of doing the Cat 5 race on Sunday morning. It is only 3 loops of 5 miles each. I'm not worried about my fitness level over such a short race, but I'm concerned with my experience level.

Within the past few months I've done plenty of solo riding, but only two fast group rides (20-25 mph on the flats). I can ride in a group OK but I'm not exactly at ease with group riding yet. Would a Cat 5 race be a bit too much for me to chew? I'm thinking of just hanging near the back of the pack and making an attack if I have enough power to do so...

FWIW, I'm 25, in decent (but not great shape), and have a CAAD9...
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Old 06-09-10, 01:36 PM
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no.


before my first 5 race I did lots of group rides and one half season of club races. that didn't stop me from getting involved in a crash anyway.

I don't think the gentleman that locked up his brakes causing me to slam into him had much group riding experience.
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Old 06-09-10, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by DirtRoadRunner View Post
I just found out about this race this weekend: http://www.tourdegrove.com/

I'm thinking of doing the Cat 5 race on Sunday morning. It is only 3 loops of 5 miles each. I'm not worried about my fitness level over such a short race, but I'm concerned with my experience level.

Within the past few months I've done plenty of solo riding, but only two fast group rides (20-25 mph on the flats). I can ride in a group OK but I'm not exactly at ease with group riding yet. Would a Cat 5 race be a bit too much for me to chew? I'm thinking of just hanging near the back of the pack and making an attack if I have enough power to do so...

FWIW, I'm 25, in decent (but not great shape), and have a CAAD9...
I don't think so. At ease with group riding is the minimum buy-in. Much more important than age, fitness, or what bike you have.
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Old 06-09-10, 01:40 PM
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Also, see Botto's progression in the New To Racing sticky.
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Old 06-09-10, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DirtRoadRunner View Post
I can ride in a group OK but I'm not exactly at ease with group riding yet.
IMHO you have your answer here. Even for people that are comfortable riding in groups, riding in a competitive group ride is a step up, and actual racing is a whole nother step up from there.

You'll be better off if you get pretty comfortable riding in groups, and do some competitive, race like, group rides, before you pin a number on the first time.
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Old 06-09-10, 01:44 PM
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Go for it - worst that can happen is you'll crash out, but you'll get that start credit and know what you're up against.

(I was never a fan of the 'group ride' thing, I just trained hard and jumped in, though honestly I was comfortable in groups already)

Cat 5 is for beginners, right?
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Old 06-09-10, 01:50 PM
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if you arent comfortable in groups then probably not. also, dont assume that your fitness is OK for "such a short race". it'll be faster than you're used to.
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Old 06-09-10, 01:54 PM
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The group rides I've done are comptetitive....as I said 20-25+ sustained on the flats, 45+ on the downhills over 25 miles with 50+ cyclists. I'm not uncomfortable in a group ride but not exactly at ease either.
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Old 06-09-10, 01:56 PM
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Old 06-09-10, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Go for it - worst that can happen is you'll crash out, but you'll get that start credit and know what you're up against.

(I was never a fan of the 'group ride' thing, I just trained hard and jumped in, though honestly I was comfortable in groups already)

Cat 5 is for beginners, right?
Seriously? This type of attitude is scary, you may not care about crashing but you can also cause others to crash as well. You have a responsibility to the other racers that you should be comfortable racing very close to them. You can cause serious injury to others due to your lack of experience.

There was a young racer who would pull d bag moves at the weekly training crit, his response when others cautioned him about making such idiotic moves was "I don't care if I crash." But he didn't realize he could very well cause the people behind him to go down as well. Then one race he smashed his face on the pavement, lost teeth and broke his jaw. His attitude about crashing has since changed.

OP - you are not ready, keep up the group rides until you are comfortable, then by all means go race.
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Old 06-09-10, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Go for it - worst that can happen is you'll crash out, but you'll get that start credit and know what you're up against.
No, the worst thing that can happen is that he'll crash out a good portion of the field and kill someone in the process.

Worst likely thing to happen is he crashes out a good portion of the field, inflicts a fair amount of pain and bike damage, and is labled as that guy.

Originally Posted by mattm View Post
(I was never a fan of the 'group ride' thing, I just trained hard and jumped in, though honestly I was comfortable in groups already)

Cat 5 is for beginners, right?
Cat 5 is for beginning racers. Cat 5 is not for beginning riders.

How unreasonable is it to expect people to develop some pack riding skills before they put themselve in a heated competitive environment?
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Old 06-09-10, 02:20 PM
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you must learn and be comfortable with group riding or you will be putting everybody else in the race at danger for no good reason. learn the skills in practice, us them in competition.
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Old 06-09-10, 02:38 PM
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just go and do it. and tell us about it.
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Old 06-09-10, 02:38 PM
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Old 06-09-10, 02:42 PM
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Just take into account that its not only your safety and property you're risking when you go in unprepared.
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Old 06-09-10, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by WCroadie View Post
Seriously? This type of attitude is scary, you may not care about crashing but you can also cause others to crash as well. You have a responsibility to the other racers that you should be comfortable racing very close to them. You can cause serious injury to others due to your lack of experience.

There was a young racer who would pull d bag moves at the weekly training crit, his response when others cautioned him about making such idiotic moves was "I don't care if I crash." But he didn't realize he could very well cause the people behind him to go down as well. Then one race he smashed his face on the pavement, lost teeth and broke his jaw. His attitude about crashing has since changed.

OP - you are not ready, keep up the group rides until you are comfortable, then by all means go race.
Uh, if you read OP's second post he says he's comfortable in fast group rides, just not "at ease"...

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
No, the worst thing that can happen is that he'll crash out a good portion of the field and kill someone in the process.

Worst likely thing to happen is he crashes out a good portion of the field, inflicts a fair amount of pain and bike damage, and is labled as that guy.
It's not like he said he just bought a bike...

Cat 5 is for beginning racers. Cat 5 is not for beginning riders.

How unreasonable is it to expect people to develop some pack riding skills before they put themselve in a heated competitive environment?
That's a great catch-22 you've got set up there. How does one become a "beginning racer" without doing a friggin' race?

My advice is still to just go out there and race. Just start in the back if you think you'll crash... (which will make the race harder, but still)

If I asked BF if I should race or not, I would have started racing a year later than I should have, that's all I know.
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Old 06-09-10, 03:00 PM
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If you are comfortable with the concepts of never overlapping someones wheel, never braking, and riding a reasonably straight line, then I would say go for it.
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Old 06-09-10, 03:07 PM
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I would say it depends on how technical the course is.
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Old 06-09-10, 03:09 PM
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It's not a crit so he's got that going for him. I'm guessing there's a high probability of being OTB in the first .5 miles and then trying to hang on. I say go for it. Gotta start somewhere.
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Old 06-09-10, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
If you are comfortable with the concepts of never overlapping someones wheel, never braking, and riding a reasonably straight line, then I would say go for it.
never overlapping = OK
straight line = OK
never braking = still working on that

The race may be full by now (can't check using crappy IE6 at work) so that would make my decision easy. It does appear to be the last actual road race in this area for quite some time, which I suppose would mean a couple months to train more in group rides but also a couple more months without a race...
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Old 06-09-10, 03:27 PM
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you could try cyclocross in the fall - it's a pretty good environment to get comfortable with shoulder to shoulder riding. Not the same as being some idiot who uses his brakes on an easy descent, but it'll get you some competitive experience.
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Old 06-09-10, 03:29 PM
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Going from 2 group rides at 20-25MPH to a 12 corner 3 mile loop with 75 other riders at likely 25-30+MPH sounds like a big jump to me. I wouldn't want to be on your wheel...

Find a local training crit and get some more practice first. Also it's not clear to me the difference between being comfortable and 'at ease'.
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Old 06-09-10, 03:39 PM
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You said you are confident of your fitness. But, you didn't say if you were dropped or not during your 2 races.
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Old 06-09-10, 03:53 PM
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Start at the back. Ride at the back. Try to stay with the main group, not a specific rider or two. Watch a lot, if you can. When you can get your focus out of trying to hang on, you will have advanced a bit. But there is nothing wrong with trying the race. You aren't going to kill anyone but yourself in the back.
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Old 06-09-10, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jgg3 View Post
Start at the back. Ride at the back. Try to stay with the main group, not a specific rider or two. Watch a lot, if you can. When you can get your focus out of trying to hang on, you will have advanced a bit. But there is nothing wrong with trying the race. You aren't going to kill anyone but yourself in the back.
outstanding advice.

this way s/he will be dropped quickly, and hopefully won't cause any crashes.
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