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Crit Etiquette Question

Old 07-06-11, 12:32 PM
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Crit Etiquette Question

Thinking about doing my 1st crit this weekend - 35 minutes in a Cat 5 field of course. Would it be bad etiquette or dumb if I just basically sat in the back the entire race?

Goal is not to win but to stay upright and get some experience?
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Old 07-06-11, 12:43 PM
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Nobody will care. Except for you, because the yo-yo effect will make you work harder than most people in the pack, if you're glued to the back. Also you risk being caught behind each and every crash that happened.

I suggest sitting in, but perhaps closer to the middle of the field if possible, the race will be smoother there.

Btw is this Derby Days? Good luck!!
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Old 07-06-11, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Nobody will care. Except for you, because the yo-yo effect will make you work harder than most people in the pack, if you're glued to the back. Also you risk being caught behind each and every crash that happened.

I suggest sitting in, but perhaps closer to the middle of the field if possible, the race will be smoother there.

Btw is this Derby Days? Good luck!!
+1, I'd suggest staying in the first 15 riders if possible without taking much wind. And no one will care and doing work on the front (unless it is getting yourself up the road ahead of the peloton at a time that matters) is a sure way to waste a bunch of energy and ensure you don't win
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Old 07-06-11, 12:55 PM
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A wise coach once told me "first 10 positions in the first 10 minutes". Or, maybe I made that up. Either way, the point is its safer (if not slightly easier) to be on the front of a cat 5 (and so far even up to a cat 2) crit than the back. Have fun!

Edit: On the front means in the top 20, not literally on the front.
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Old 07-06-11, 01:01 PM
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In your first crit odds are that you will end up off the back anyway...like I do in most crits.
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Old 07-06-11, 01:06 PM
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I was off the back in my first crit due to problems clipping in. I didn't crash but I got stuck behind two and was eventually pulled for being too far back. Get up front and stay there if possible. Take the inside of turns if possible. Have fun!
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Old 07-06-11, 01:07 PM
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Position... position... position. Start towards the front and hopefully you will end towards the front. I learned that the yo-yo effect is a bad one... the hard way. Dont make the mistake of staying in the back.
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Old 07-06-11, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
In your first crit odds are that you will end up off the back anyway...like I do in most crits.
+1...aside from a training crit which was more of a circuit race, I was OTB in probably my first 4 crits.
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Old 07-06-11, 01:30 PM
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Sitting in the back will be fine. As others said, almost everyone falls off the back during their first crit. I probably fell off my first five crits.

If you are dropped and the don't pull you, proper etiquette dictates you stay to the outside of the course.
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Old 07-06-11, 01:51 PM
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Most of this advice is why the races turn to carnage. Everybody is trying to jam their way to the front but nobody wants to take a pull so they slow up when they do get to the front and try to cut in. The guy on the front is told he shouldn't be there so he sits up. Half the field is staring at the tire in front of them rather than up the road like they should be so they either hit the wheel in front of them or hit the brakes.

Let the yelling and crashing begin.

My advice: Keep your eyes way up the road, look where you want to go, be smooth, don't overlap wheels, keep off the brakes as much as you can, and DON'T YELL.

Where you end up in the pack is where you end up. Unless there's only 8 guys in your race most people aren't going to give a rats if you tail gun.
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Old 07-06-11, 01:57 PM
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I'd recommend just above the 1/2 way line of the field...
If this is Derby Days (?) then the crit is fast & reasonably safe... but the high-speed corners & turtle-reflectors cause crashes from time to time.
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Old 07-06-11, 01:59 PM
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It's not a bad idea to spend at least the first few laps in the back just to get the feel for the speed and lines taken through the corners.

To minimize the yo-yo effect and the need for big accelerations after the corner, back off before the corner and let a gap form. As you near the corner start pedaling and begin closing the gap. If you time it properly you'll be able to carry more speed through the corner than the back markers and you'll close the gap as they accelerate and come up to speed.
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Old 07-06-11, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Most of this advice is why the races turn to carnage. Everybody is trying to jam their way to the front but nobody wants to take a pull so they slow up when they do get to the front and try to cut in. The guy on the front is told he shouldn't be there so he sits up. Half the field is staring at the tire in front of them rather than up the road like they should be so they either hit the wheel in front of them or hit the brakes.

Let the yelling and crashing begin.

My advice: Keep your eyes way up the road, look where you want to go, be smooth, don't overlap wheels, keep off the brakes as much as you can, and DON'T YELL.

Where you end up in the pack is where you end up. Unless there's only 8 guys in your race most people aren't going to give a rats if you tail gun.
Replace my post with this one. Sage advice.
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Old 07-06-11, 02:12 PM
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what's your experience with riding in packs in a crit like situation? If it is a lot, move up, if not, stay in the back and then watch and learn.
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Old 07-06-11, 03:07 PM
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It is Derby Days in Redmond. Pretty rare from what I have seen that they split the Cat 5 from the Cat 4s, at least in this area.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll probably start in the back for the 1st few laps and then see how comfortable I get. If I'm feeling good, I'll try to move up.

What kind of speeds are we talking about in this crit?
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Old 07-06-11, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JC 911 View Post
I'll probably start in the back for the 1st few laps and then see how comfortable I get. If I'm feeling good, I'll try to move up.

What kind of speeds are we talking about in this crit?
You're gonna get your ass handed to you.

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Old 07-06-11, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JC 911 View Post
What kind of speeds are we talking about in this crit?
Don't worry about the speeds. Just go out and do it.

That being said, speeds will be between 7 and 40 mph
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Old 07-06-11, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JC 911 View Post
It is Derby Days in Redmond. Pretty rare from what I have seen that they split the Cat 5 from the Cat 4s, at least in this area.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll probably start in the back for the 1st few laps and then see how comfortable I get. If I'm feeling good, I'll try to move up.

What kind of speeds are we talking about in this crit?
Excellent - Hit Mattm & I up, I'll be racing the 4/5s race and working the event - Mattm will be around, both will probably be in various bits of Recycled Cycles Racing gear.
yep - Road races, Circuit races, etc are run separately, but crits are run as combined 4/5s
Starting at the back is a great way to get gapped, dropped, & lapped in short order... If you haven't done a crit before, I strongly advise against this strategy. If you know what you are doing, it's a good strategy, but the pace will be hot from the get-go.... my Garmin files from last year say... oh yeah - Doh! my garmin died after the second lap last year - but for the first two laps our speeds were 24-32mph... with the low 20s being braking and going around corners. I was spiking power in the 700W & 800W range after every corner to stay in the field. It eased a bit after the first few laps (if memory serves), but it was hard, hard racing.

My thoughts would be - if I was doing 30-32 on the straight-aways, and 750w-840w peaks coming out of the corners (drafting mind you), starting at the back of the field is going to sting terribly as you try to move up & get around the guys who can't hang on.
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Old 07-06-11, 03:38 PM
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Average of about 25 MPH most likely for Cat 5. They are the slowest category of racers, but still racers. Stay in the top 10. Don't slow down through the corners and accelerate again and again and again. Keep pedaling and ride the same speed through the corners.
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Old 07-06-11, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by OutgunRacing View Post
They are the slowest category of racers
Not true. CAT 5 simply means the least experienced category of racer. It does not mean slowest.

Originally Posted by OutgunRacing View Post
Stay in the top 10. Don't slow down through the corners and accelerate again and again and again. Keep pedaling and ride the same speed through the corners.
...and keep in mind that when you do this you will be fighting with 50 others who are trying to do the same thing but have less experience doing it....so when they don't just be sure you know how to react.
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Old 07-06-11, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Hida Yanra View Post
My thoughts would be - if I was doing 30-32 on the straight-aways, and 750w-840w peaks coming out of the corners (drafting mind you), starting at the back of the field is going to sting terribly as you try to move up & get around the guys who can't hang on.

For me, anyway.
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Old 07-06-11, 04:20 PM
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It is a Cat 5 crit. The most important thing is to not cause a crash and the next most important thing is to not crash yourself. I personally have seen guys go from Cat 5 to Cat 1 and they never even stepped on the podium in Cat 5. Treat these races as "feeling it out" rather than "I must win at all costs".

And like others have said, in a Cat 5 crit the "yo-yo" at the back of the group at each corner will be unbelievably bad. If you can survive that and contend at the end you are more than fit enough, but still not smart enough.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by JC 911 View Post
It is Derby Days in Redmond. Pretty rare from what I have seen that they split the Cat 5 from the Cat 4s, at least in this area.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll probably start in the back for the 1st few laps and then see how comfortable I get. If I'm feeling good, I'll try to move up.

What kind of speeds are we talking about in this crit?
The average will be around 25, possibly close to 26 mph, at least when it was a 4/5 race a few years ago. But don't let that scare you, none of us are averaging that solo (for very long anyway).

Just hope they don't let a guy on a mtn bike in the race like they did when I was a 5 there... oh the carnage!!

Best of luck. Check out the Seward Park races on Thursday for more training. You can never race too much when learning, I think.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:20 PM
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Cool - I figure if I stay upright, learn a few things that will be good enough for me. I want to gauge my fitness and abilities in a real life race not the team rides that I do every weekend.
I will probably get dropped and get pulled off but I can live with that.
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Old 07-06-11, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JC 911 View Post
I will probably get dropped and get pulled off but I can live with that.
Good attitude, but ride like hell (but not dangerously) to avoid it.
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