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Talk Me Down!

Old 05-16-13, 06:11 PM
  #1  
DerHoggz
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Talk Me Down!

Tell me that I shouldn't do a race without prior group experience. Really though, is this a big no-no? I think I should be good for at least not skewering someone else. I just want to get in, summer is short.
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Old 05-16-13, 06:21 PM
  #2  
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best case scenario: you'll get dropped in the first 100 meters.

bad case scenario: you'll hurt yourself.

worst case scenario: you'll hurt other people.

Don't be an asshat. Don't do it.

Last edited by botto; 05-16-13 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 05-16-13, 06:42 PM
  #3  
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Old 05-16-13, 07:06 PM
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Ok, disappointing but for the best undoubtedly. I think best case scenario could be like 200m though.
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Old 05-16-13, 07:25 PM
  #5  
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Find a local fast group and start from there...
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Old 05-16-13, 08:30 PM
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I did it. But I'd say it depends on how much solo experience you have and where you ride. If you ride in a city and around other people, you might have some developed handling skills (emphasis: might). If you're fit, you might not be so gassed that you're handling dwindles. Of the 3 races and 1 group ride I've done, I've made sure to start in the back so if I eff up, it's lower stakes- I make mistakes, and I get dropped by the mixed Cat group's power and accordion, but in my category, I can move up when I have the guts to get close and close gaps. It's this latter part that takes a lot of attention and healthy caution. If you go with the goal of hanging on and maybe making a move or two, you might be able to do it. If you go with the goal of winning, you might be dangerous. Just don't cause a crash.

Last edited by UMassAm; 05-16-13 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 05-16-13, 08:33 PM
  #7  
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I think it is worth a shot especially if its a RR. Just keep your objectives. If you really haven't ridden in a group than try something OTF or hang out in the back but don't push yourself to place well going "bumper to bumper". Be smart, be safe and go in with the right attitude and I think you will be fine and learn alot.
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Old 05-16-13, 08:45 PM
  #8  
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I jumped right in to the Tuesday night practice crit without ever going on a group ride first. The largest group I rode in prior was like 4 people. Just don't make any crazy movements and hang towards the back to see how things work at first.
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Old 05-16-13, 10:20 PM
  #9  
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I just read this the other day, thought it was timely. It has to do with the fact that "strong and fit" cyclist doesn't mean "safe and fluent" cyclist.

https://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/a...ngerous-37356/

I just watched this too, a clip of a race I did. P123 race so allegedly good bike handlers. There's one guy who definitely does not belong in that field.

It's possible to jump into a training race with no experience. It's not as serious, you can drop out, it's cheap, etc. But to really learn how to ride in a group (i.e. to draft) you need to practice with at least a few people.

To give a really bad example, when I went to the track for the first time I had NEVER ridden a fixed gear bike. Well technically I got on my track bike the day before but I jumped off of it after about 20 feet when I realized that the pedals kept going. So... here I am at a race, on a bike I never rode before, with a fixed gear that I didn't understand. I'd been racing for something like 9 years at that point, was doing 45-55 races a year, but never on the track. A club mentor (and my leadout man in the crits), who brought us all to the track, understood that the fixed gear was the biggest danger to me and the others. He told me to get on the bike as soon as they allowed us to warm up (on rollers). Ride the fixed gear for the 2-2.5 hours before the racing started. Get on the track as soon as they open it. Do as many laps as possible while staying up away from the fast guys. And never coast. Never coast. Never coast. I got shelled in every race that first week but the next week I placed 3rd in one (I'm a 4 on the track, then and now) and placed 4th in the bonus finale (includes all Cat 3s and 4s that placed that night so a lot of riders).

So, to apply it to you, try and pick a training race or even a big group ride. Get to the course (if it's a race) and warm up. Find someone that will let you draft them (ask if you can trail along behind them). They'll eventually do a jump or something and go away. Find someone else. Get used to not braking hard. Coast, feather, but don't brake hard (that's the biggest mistake that new racers make).

Your biggest disadvantage will be that your "sphere", the area surrounding your bars/front-wheel, will be huge compared to the other riders. The sphere determines if you can fight for a wheel or not. With an inordinately large sphere you'll be at a huge disadvantage. Thoughts on the sphere:
https://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...scenarios.html

Finally the below will give you an idea of some of the things that you can work on for the future. I wrote the notes sparsely but the intro is important. The drills are designed to make the racers draft without thinking about it (I only told them at the end of the Series) but the drills are pertinent too. The bonus stuff is extra stuff that I didn't think I would have time to cover in the regular clinics.
https://bethelspringseries.com/clinic/2013-clinic-info

hope this helps
cdr
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Old 05-16-13, 10:29 PM
  #10  
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I raced my first RR without serious group experience and got dropped. Would I suggest it? Hrmmm, No.

Why??
Without fast group experience you will find yourself yo-yo'ing off a wheel in the middle of the pack, braking stiffly, crossing wheels.
You will probably get dropped, the worst case scenario is you push your limits and cause an accident which hurts someone else, never mind yourself.

I've learned more group riding with the local race group rides then in my two RR's.

I would at the bare minimum, do a race-pace ride with a strong group.

* I got dropped both times. Why? Maybe I am totting my own ego, but I think I am strong enough and fit enough, what I am not is smart and skillful enough to stay on a wheel, stay out of the wind, and properly rotate through the pack without over-working. A great accomplishment for me on today's group ride was not getting dropped in the first few miles while pushing 37 mph with a strong tail wind. I protected myself as long as I could.

Last edited by Diegomayra; 05-16-13 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 05-17-13, 09:00 AM
  #11  
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everyone who is talking about whether the op will be dropped or not is missing the point.

racing without group ride experience endangers the other racers.
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Old 05-17-13, 09:20 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
everyone who is talking about whether the op will be dropped or not is missing the point.

racing without group ride experience endangers the other racers.
/thread
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Old 05-17-13, 09:24 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
everyone who is talking about whether the op will be dropped or not is missing the point.

racing without group ride experience endangers the other racers.
Some people have trouble grasping that....
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Old 05-17-13, 09:55 AM
  #14  
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**** it, just do it and let us know how it goes.

If group ride experience meant that much, we wouldn't have so many crashes in all levels of racing..
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Old 05-17-13, 10:10 AM
  #15  
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normally i'd agree with botto on this, but there are exceptions.

what race are you considering?

if it's one of those West VA/SW PA races put on by jr petsko (such as mountain massacre/tucker county races that are coming up over memorial day), just go do them. those are usually small fields and wont have anything resembling a pack after you turn out of the parking lot.
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Old 05-17-13, 10:51 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
normally i'd agree with botto on this, but there are exceptions.

what race are you considering?

if it's one of those West VA/SW PA races put on by jr petsko (such as mountain massacre/tucker county races that are coming up over memorial day), just go do them. those are usually small fields and wont have anything resembling a pack after you turn out of the parking lot.
Those races are awesome though. Well, the couple I've done are.
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Old 05-17-13, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
**** it, just do it and let us know how it goes.

If group ride experience meant that much, we wouldn't have so many crashes in all levels of racing..
https://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/a...ngerous-37356/
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Old 05-17-13, 11:12 AM
  #18  
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I'm siding with Botto. If you go out and wreck yourself that's one thing, if you wreck others that is not cool.
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Old 05-17-13, 11:16 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
I'm siding with Botto. If you go out and wreck yourself that's one thing, if you wreck others that is not cool.
Me too.
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Old 05-17-13, 11:38 AM
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Ditto. Group riding skills are vastly different than solo.
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Old 05-17-13, 07:59 PM
  #21  
DerHoggz
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In which I try to demonstrate I am not an asshat

I'm not worried about fitness or getting dropped, either I am there or I am not. My question was entirely centered on not causing **** to go down. What I would expect to be most important from group experience is the psychological part as well as the experience of being in a pack close to others. I definitely understand the seriousness of what is involved.

Anyways, the race I was thinking of is a weekday crit on a concrete oval, no banking AFAIK. It is kind of a training crit for a series that starts up next month with series points and all that. A crit is not the best for starting for sure, but with no corners I figured it might possibly be acceptable. If i did go I was thinking just stay near the back and see how that went, I wouldn't be mixing it up in the middle, maybe a few pulls or something. Final placing would not be a priority. There is some required newbz class prior to the race, but that wouldn't be comprehensive in the slightest.

I think I might go just to check it out, see if I can't meet some groups around the area and get connected into the scene. Might check to see the general feel towards me doing a race.
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Old 05-18-13, 12:30 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by DerHoggz View Post
I just want to get in, summer is short.
Get in trouble? Cause you are talking about a good way to do it.
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Old 05-18-13, 01:37 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by DerHoggz View Post
I'm not worried about fitness or getting dropped, either I am there or I am not. My question was entirely centered on not causing **** to go down. What I would expect to be most important from group experience is the psychological part as well as the experience of being in a pack close to others. I definitely understand the seriousness of what is involved.

Anyways, the race I was thinking of is a weekday crit on a concrete oval, no banking AFAIK. It is kind of a training crit for a series that starts up next month with series points and all that. A crit is not the best for starting for sure, but with no corners I figured it might possibly be acceptable. If i did go I was thinking just stay near the back and see how that went, I wouldn't be mixing it up in the middle, maybe a few pulls or something. Final placing would not be a priority. There is some required newbz class prior to the race, but that wouldn't be comprehensive in the slightest.

I think I might go just to check it out, see if I can't meet some groups around the area and get connected into the scene. Might check to see the general feel towards me doing a race.
this is exactly the kind of thing you should attend.
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Old 05-18-13, 02:26 PM
  #24  
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For what it's worth, I had no group riding experience before my first race, a crit. I had read so many "first race" threads on here that I was sure I was going to cause a major crash just as I was about to get dropped, three minutes into the race.

I hung out in the back for the first few laps, watched how other racers interacted and cornered, and then dove in. By the last third of the race, I was riding knuckle to knuckle in the pack, taking pulls, and sprinting for primes, feeling safe and relaxed.

The point is that if you are aware of the common mistakes (poor cornering, poor speed maintenance, skittish reactions) you can avoid them without much practice. I'll get flamed for it, but I think there is less to bike handling than people claim.

Summary: race​!
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Old 05-18-13, 03:02 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by flats View Post
For what it's worth, I had no group riding experience before my first race, a crit. I had read so many "first race" threads on here that I was sure I was going to cause a major crash just as I was about to get dropped, three minutes into the race.

I hung out in the back for the first few laps, watched how other racers interacted and cornered, and then dove in. By the last third of the race, I was riding knuckle to knuckle in the pack, taking pulls, and sprinting for primes, feeling safe and relaxed.

The point is that if you are aware of the common mistakes (poor cornering, poor speed maintenance, skittish reactions) you can avoid them without much practice. I'll get flamed for it, but I think there is less to bike handling than people claim.

Summary: race​!
This is really bad advice...all of it.
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