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Help an idiot understand bike racing

Old 12-07-04, 07:04 PM
  #1  
MrCjolsen
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Help an idiot understand bike racing

I know there are different types of racing. I have some really dumb questions. I could look up the answers on Yahoo, but I'm banking on the fact that you are all really nice and will help me. So here are my questions.

As far as I know, there are criteriums and time trials. I've seen a criterium, that's where a bunch of bikes race around in a circle. It looks dangerous. Is it?

Did I spell criterium right?

How does a time trial work?

Is there some kind of race that falls between a time trial and a criterium called a "road race" or did I somehow imagine it?

Why do you need a special bike for a time trial? Why is it the same as a bike for a triathlon? Why don't you need a special bike for a criterium? Or do you?

If anyone has the time, please explain cyclocross. Specifically, why do you need still again another variety of bike when it seems an MTB would be first choice. Would cyclocross be a good sport for a rather large guy who is in really good shape from two years of swimming?

And did I spell cyclocross right?

Thank you
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Old 12-07-04, 07:27 PM
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A time trial is a race against the clock. Riders take off one by one, several minutes apart. The rider with the fastest time wins.

You need a special bike for a time trial to be aerodynamic.

A lot of big races like the Tour de France and the Giro 'd Italia are made up of stages. The Tour, for example is a 20 stage race. The stages of the Tour are all over 100 miles except for a few time trials. So, that would be a "road race". Also, there are mountain stages that involve painful climbing.
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Old 12-07-04, 07:31 PM
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So then, when the guy at the bike shop asked me if I was going to race when I was deciding how much to spend on a road bike, he basically meant criteriums? In other words, is that the most common type of race outside of time trials?
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Old 12-07-04, 07:34 PM
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i would say that criteriums are the most common road race(or at least at non-professional level), but not by a whole lot. i say this because they are easier to put on. the laps are small, so not a lot of roads need to be blocked off, and everyhting is right there in the same spot.
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Old 12-07-04, 09:52 PM
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I know there are different types of racing. I have some really dumb questions. I could look up the answers on Yahoo, but I'm banking on the fact that you are all really nice and will help me. So here are my questions.

O.K.

As far as I know, there are criteriums and time trials. I've seen a criterium, that's where a bunch of bikes race around in a circle. It looks dangerous. Is it?

Yes, there are usually quite a few crashes compared to other types of races.

Did I spell criterium right?

Yes.

"How does a time trial work?"

Riders are sent one at a time, either for a short circuit against the clock, or sometimes up a hill. They also have TTT's, which are Team Time Trials. There can be from like 4-9 people on a team, but they still race against the clock.

Is there some kind of race that falls between a time trial and a criterium called a "road race" or did I somehow imagine it?

Yes, a road race is usually from 60-100 miles, but depends a lot on the level and the terrain. When you combine many road races and and maybe some TTs over a period of days, you get a "Stage Race". The TdF is one of these. Road races can be several laps of a course over, say 10mi, or it can be A to B, or Out and Back, or just one huge loop (which I would consider different from out and back).

Why do you need a special bike for a time trial? Why is it the same as a bike for a triathlon? Why don't you need a special bike for a criterium? Or do you?

You don't need a special bike for a TT. It helps, because since there is nobody to draft and handling is less important you can concentrate on aerodynamics a lot more. Some companies have one bike for TT's an Tris, others have 2 or more. Some Tri bikes do not qualify to be UCI legal (UCI is Union Cycliste Internationale or something, its french for the International Union of Cyclists. It is the governing body and they set the rules for bike specs.) You don't need a special bike for a criterium, but as was previously mentioned - many people do not race their very light, expensive bikes due to the possibility of a crash, plus light weight is less important since there are no hills. On flat ground, aerodynamics are WAY, WAY more important than weight. On flats, the weight of the bike makes very little difference.

If anyone has the time, please explain cyclocross. Specifically, why do you need still again another variety of bike when it seems an MTB would be first choice. Would cyclocross be a good sport for a rather large guy who is in really good shape from two years of swimming?

Cyclocross is a type of off-road race with many man-made or natural obstacles. Many times the riders have to pick up their bikes and RUN with them, which is my best guess as to why many cyclocross bikes are very sturdy versions of road bikes. I know you CAN (at least you could a few years ago when i did it) use a mountain bike for cyclocross. You won't be as successful maybe, but you can use it. One note though, you have to take off any bar-ends that may protrude forward or they won't let you race (you could stab someone).

And did I spell cyclocross right?

Yes

Thank you

You're welcome, I hope I helped a little!
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Old 12-09-04, 08:16 AM
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Thank you all very, very much.
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Old 12-09-04, 08:44 AM
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More on cyclocross:

Don't worry about being a big guy this guy is and he is a champ:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/riders/20...=ryan_trebon04

I race cross and absolutly love it. I am 6'3'' 195lbs fwiw. I use an old touring bike which probably represents what the first cross bikes were like since in the old days all you did was put skinny knobies on your road bike. Today cross has gained in popularity and so bike makers have designed cross specific bikes. They typically have a higher BB, wide forks and chain stays for large tires, wider handlebars, longer wheel base, higher gear ratios like a 12x27 cassette and a 48x38 chainring, sometimes have bar top brake levers and are made to be as light as possible yet strong. A good source for cross news and other stuf is : http://www.cyclocrossworld.com/
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Old 12-09-04, 09:09 AM
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Does anyone know where you can find a list of UCI-legal bikes for a TT? I have a tri bike and I always assumed it would be legal to ride it in a TT. And believe me, it is not in any danger of violating the weight minimums.
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Old 12-09-04, 09:46 AM
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UCI's web site has all the regulations you need to answer this question.
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Old 12-09-04, 12:15 PM
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I have looked all over the UCI website and I can't find it anywhere. Does anyone know anywhere else to look? Is it operater error?
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Old 12-09-04, 12:25 PM
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It's under the tab that says rules. It's under "General Rules..."

The UCI has no list of bikes that are legal. Rather they list all the specs that your bike needs to conform to.

For example:

The distance between the vertical line passing through
the bottom bracket axle and the extremity of the handlebar may not exceed 75 cm, with the other
limits set in article 1.3.022 (B,C,D) remaining unchanged. A support for the elbows or forearms is
permitted (see diagram “Structure (1B)”).


http://www.uci.ch/modello.asp?1stLev...=0&idnews=2676

Last edited by Laggard; 12-09-04 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 12-09-04, 01:42 PM
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Thanks, I found the correct page. I think I need to try and go home with a tape measure, but at least I have the information.
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