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CAT 5 Racing Question

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Old 06-30-10, 08:49 AM
  #1  
akonikoff
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CAT 5 Racing Question

I've never raced, but the guys at the LBS have been trying to get me to start racing with the shop team. I don't consider myself very fast, but my question is what to expect speed wise at the CAT 5 level both for Crit races and stage races.


I'll preface this by saying that I'm in the NYC area and most crit races take place at Prospect Park or Central Park.
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Old 06-30-10, 08:52 AM
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It depends.

Show up and race. That's the best way to find out.
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Old 06-30-10, 08:53 AM
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See the sticky thread on new to racing.

As for your specific question, it's difficult to really give you much perspective on paper. Assuming you've done some group rides, and feel ok about your bike handling, riding in a pack, jsut go out and find out for yourself.
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Old 06-30-10, 08:54 AM
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As a beginner myself, I had the same questions. They were answered only when I decided to give it a go.

You'll probably surprise yourself...
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Old 06-30-10, 08:55 AM
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23.7859 mph
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Old 06-30-10, 09:02 AM
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The reason its difficult to give a substantive answer is that race speeds vary, depending on terrain, field size, and most importantly the dynamics of the particular race.

And the average speed doesn't tell you much. Typical race, you might not find the average speed to be all that impressive, but there will likely be times where it is very fast, and very hard, i.e. 30mph plus. And other times were it is downright easy, even below 20 mph.

It is the surges that get most everyone that hasn't done it before. You do need to just go try it for yourself to see what we're talking about.
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Old 06-30-10, 09:19 AM
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expect to do worse than you're thinking right now.
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Old 06-30-10, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
expect to do worse than you're thinking right now.
Amen!

Also, if you're near the back, expect the riders around you not to know what it means to hold their line in the turns.
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Old 06-30-10, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by djohannsen View Post
Amen!

Also, if you're near the back, expect the riders around you not to know what it means to hold their line in the turns.
Agreed, although the NYC Park races aren't crits and don't have any corners.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
The reason its difficult to give a substantive answer is that race speeds vary, depending on terrain, field size, and most importantly the dynamics of the particular race.

And the average speed doesn't tell you much. Typical race, you might not find the average speed to be all that impressive, but there will likely be times where it is very fast, and very hard, i.e. 30mph plus. And other times were it is downright easy, even below 20 mph.

It is the surges that get most everyone that hasn't done it before. You do need to just go try it for yourself to see what we're talking about.
+1 - and the average speed of a race bears no comparison to what I am capable of or ride at outside of a race. If I went by those numbers I never would have raced. Some say I still don't.

You will never push yourself hard enough outside of a racing situation to adequately simulate a race enough to know whether or not "you are ready".

I will defer to my previous quote which umd has had in his signature for a while now: "Being afraid of entering a race because you don't want to get shot out of the back is like being afraid of kissing your prom date because you forgot a condom.".....don't get ahead of yourself.

If you want to know if you're ready then have your buddy kick you in the junk as hard as he can. If when you can see again you actually have the thought that it may not have been so bad or that you would even be willing to have it done to you again if necessary then you are ready to race.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
23.7859 mph
+/- .0003
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Old 06-30-10, 10:20 AM
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Your question is absolutely understandable!! Like others, I suggest you just go out and do it and give it everything you've got. Don't worry about anything but having fun and keeping your focus (and bike upright). You'll learn quickly after that first race. Also, be sure to post about your first race!!

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Old 06-30-10, 10:24 AM
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I thought I was pretty damn fast. Then I raced. Dropped in 2 laps. Lapped in 6. It's humbling. Just go do it.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by bostongarden View Post
+/- .0003
With a standard deviation of e.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bostongarden View Post
+/- .0003
haha. ever the scientist

Originally Posted by GirlAnachronism View Post
Agreed, although the NYC Park races aren't crits and don't have any corners.
+1, though you do have to navigate through horse s!ht valley

OP, i hope you've been on fast group rides. not to be an ass, but the last thing we need is a strong but inexperienced cat 5 racer crashing everyone out or doing other shady stuff on the road. crca does race clinics, maybe you should wait for one of those before starting.

as for speed, two answers.

standard answer: it doesn't matter as you'll be drafting. sit in the pack, avoid the sketchy characters, and you'll be fine (assuming you've got the engine to do it)

long answer: do a 30 min time trial in CP. if you can do 17min laps, you'll be fine aerobically. but you can still get gapped & dropped on the descents if you don't know how to handle your bike. if you feel queasy going down the S-bend by the harlem meer at 30mph, or if you need to brake while descending, or if you can't hold your line while going 30mph, practice those first.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:51 AM
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Fwiw not everyone gets dropped their first time out, just go for it, and have fun.
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Old 06-30-10, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
You will never push yourself hard enough outside of a racing situation to adequately simulate a race enough to know whether or not "you are ready".

If you want to know if you're ready then have your buddy kick you in the junk as hard as he can. If when you can see again you actually have the thought that it may not have been so bad or that you would even be willing to have it done to you again if necessary then you are ready to race.
As a cat 5 noob myself (so I know of what I speak), I need to give another hearty "Amen!" This one might be "sig material..."
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Old 06-30-10, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
I will defer to my previous quote which umd has had in his signature for a while now: "Being afraid of entering a race because you don't want to get shot out of the back is like being afraid of kissing your prom date because you forgot a condom.".....don't get ahead of yourself.


That's a classic
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Old 06-30-10, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mcjimbosandwich View Post
OP, i hope you've been on fast group rides. not to be an ass, but the last thing we need is a strong but inexperienced cat 5 racer crashing everyone out or doing other shady stuff on the road. crca does race clinics, maybe you should wait for one of those before starting.
bf member "Copperhed51" just did his first race and put some videos in the ride video thread. Watch the guy in white in this video to see what happens when you get inexperienced people in a race:

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Old 06-30-10, 12:48 PM
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this is why I prefer to race Masters
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Old 06-30-10, 01:13 PM
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Now imagine if that race wasn't split in pieces but you had a pack of 50 guys going through those turns 3-4 ppl wide, that guy in white would have wrecked havoc.
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Old 06-30-10, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by WCroadie View Post
Now imagine if that race wasn't split in pieces but you had a pack of 50 guys going through those turns 3-4 ppl wide, that guy in white would have wrecked havoc.
meh.....maybe just due to the differences in the type of racing people do in different places, but that guy in white didn't really seem too out of the norm for me. Sucking as much as I do I see a plethora of riders that will pull the same kind of crap on courses where we do have 75 riders (4/5 fields) that go 3-4 wide into every turn. We would have yelled at him and I probably would have ridden up next to him and said something like, "just relax. you're on the limit and it's easy to become twitchy. relax and be smooth".
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Old 06-30-10, 01:54 PM
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If you want to race give it a shot. If you're not ready, there's no penalty for waiting. Do you currently ride with the shop team? Can you keep up with them?
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Old 06-30-10, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
this is why I prefer to race Masters
Fwiw I found Masters C/D fields to be some of the worst in terms of sketchiness..

I'm sure A/B fields are different (duh), but I wonder if it's the "masters" part or the "A/B" part.

Or are you racing Open Masters?
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Old 06-30-10, 02:16 PM
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around here masters is always 1-4
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