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Newie racer question about communicating...

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Newie racer question about communicating...

Old 04-12-05, 04:03 PM
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Hipcycler
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Newie racer question about communicating...

April 23rd is calling....my first road race ever.
I am starting at the back and just playing it safe for this first one.

However, my question is this...should I be able to pass some people eventually in this 24-mile ride, do you say anything prior to passing? I mean...a little 'on your left' or anything like that.

I respect the hell out of all racers and I don't want to do anything to piss anyone off in this deal...I just want to blend in and challenge myself to finish.

Thanks.
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Old 04-12-05, 04:09 PM
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nope - little verbal communication is necessary. because of the excitment and relative danger involved, if someone is doing something stupid they'll probably get yelled at. but believe me, everyone will be working too hard for pleasantries.
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Old 04-12-05, 04:12 PM
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From what I've learned if you are coming in close to someone on the inside of their turn say "Inside" or something. Read smoothie's post about being broken because someone T-boned him while turning, althought that wasn't a road race that was a criterium, right everybody?
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Old 04-12-05, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Hipcycler
April 23rd is calling....my first road race ever.
I am starting at the back and just playing it safe for this first one.

However, my question is this...should I be able to pass some people eventually in this 24-mile ride, do you say anything prior to passing? I mean...a little 'on your left' or anything like that.

I respect the hell out of all racers and I don't want to do anything to piss anyone off in this deal...I just want to blend in and challenge myself to finish.

Thanks.
don't say anything... if there is room to pass then pass, if there isn't then don't. probably the worst place you can be in a pack is at the back. if you are on someone's wheel who is going to get dropped you will likely get dropped too. try to stay in the top 1/3 of the pack, just don't go right to the front (keep your nose out of the wind), that is the safest, easiest place to ride in a pack, that's where you want to be.
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Old 04-12-05, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by doctorSpoc
don't say anything... if there is room to pass then pass, if there isn't then don't. probably the worst place you can be in a pack is at the back. if you are on someone's wheel who is going to get dropped you will likely get dropped too. try to stay in the top 1/3 of the pack, just don't go right to the front (keep your nose out of the wind), that is the safest, easiest place to ride in a pack, that's where you want to be.
The first part of your answer makes a lot of sense to me...
The part I am not sure about is starting anywhere but the back, because I don't know how I will stack up since this is my first time.

I figure from my training (most solo and some pace line and drafting work) that I should be able to maintain 20 mph....and with the adrenaline of race day and perhaps riding with people in front of me I should be able to hold low 20's.

Field is open...not a Cat. 5 event. So where does that kind of speed put me? Not knowing that, I figured just start at the back and see if I can pick people off along the way.

About 130 riders were in the event last year.
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Old 04-12-05, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Hipcycler
I figured just start at the back and see if I can pick people off along the way.
i'd highly recommend staying off the back... i've learned the hard way and have been dropped many of times for riding the wheel of a guy who failed to react as fast as the rest of the peloton when the group takes off. and once you're off the back, it's very hard (not impossible) to get back on.

stay as far front as you think you can manage... hold your line... stay off your brakes... and don't lose that wheel in front of you that should keep you in the good graces of most racers. 'bout the only thing that pisses me off (other than that whole not holding your line through a turn thing) is when guys up front refuse to take a pull on the front. it's one thing if they are throwing down some blocking techniques to protect a teammate of theirs in the break, but when we are the break, you better take that pull (sorry for the rant )


oh yeah... and HAVE FUN!!!
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Old 04-12-05, 05:11 PM
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So where are you racing? Whitewater?
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Old 04-12-05, 05:47 PM
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it's one thing if they are throwing down some blocking techniques to protect a teammate of theirs in the break, but when we are the break, you better take that pull (sorry for the rant )
Sometimes it is wise not to do much work in a breakaway. Thats racing. There is no rule that says you have to work. If I get in a break with guys who will 1) let me NOT work and 2) have me beat in numbers (more than one guy from a team in the group. Why should you work. "A break should not live or die by your effort."
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Old 04-12-05, 05:56 PM
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[QUOTE=skydive69]
Originally Posted by Hipcycler
I figure from my training (most solo and some pace line and drafting work) that I should be able to maintain 20 mph....and with the adrenaline of race day and perhaps riding with people in front of me I should be able to hold low 20's.

QUOTE]
Candidly, what you need is more training - not racing. If you can hold only low 20's, you are not ready to race. Apparently, that is not a consideration however. You would be dropped in the Florida Senior Games in the 70-75 age group!
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Old 04-12-05, 06:48 PM
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try if u can to stay in the top 1/3. an open cat. could have some really high speed or it could be really slow so just do your best to stay with the group and have fun.
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Old 04-12-05, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Hipcycler
The first part of your answer makes a lot of sense to me...
The part I am not sure about is starting anywhere but the back, because I don't know how I will stack up since this is my first time.

I figure from my training (most solo and some pace line and drafting work) that I should be able to maintain 20 mph....and with the adrenaline of race day and perhaps riding with people in front of me I should be able to hold low 20's.

Field is open...not a Cat. 5 event. So where does that kind of speed put me? Not knowing that, I figured just start at the back and see if I can pick people off along the way.

About 130 riders were in the event last year.
i'm not sure how much you know so i will explain a little more. drafting and the fact that we are limited by our lactic acid thresholds is the basis for almost all tactics in road racing.

if you are riding behind a fairly big person you are doing 30% less work than if you were out there alone. if you are in a group your savings of energy is even greater. your LT (lactic acid threshold) is the HR at which you can ride for an extened period of time go faster than that and the pain associated gets so great that you can only stand it for a short time. the pain of lactic acid gets exponentialy greater the faster you go. the people with their nose in the wind are doing way more work than the ones behind and are likely riding above their LT , but with lots of people in the group riders only have to be above their LT for a short amount of time. when it get too painful they can go back and let someone else enjoy the burn. that's why a group can go way faster than an individual. each person in that group can ride above their LT for a short period of time but the cumulative effect is that of a rider riding above their LT for the duration of a race. so you should be able to keep up with that group no problem. being it's your first race you want to keep your nose out of the wind at all times to make your job easier for yourself.

REASON 1 to stay off the back - another way you can put yourself above your LT is to do hard accelerations. in a group you will get people of all levels of fitness. some will not be able to keep up with the pace (even while drafting) and will inevitably make their way to the back as they fall off the back of the group. if you are at the back of the group you will inevitably be on these peoples wheels as they are falling off the back. a gap will form between the two of you and the rest of the group. in order for you to stay with the rest of the group you will need to accelerate faster than the group and you will need to do it by yourself (i.e. no draft) since there is a gap between the two of you and the group. as i said, with drafting you can probably roll around at 26 mph in a group comforably, but you said you can only do 20 mph by yourself... to do that acceleration around the dropped rider to the group you will need to ride at 28-30 mph by yourself!! and you will need to do it over and over again as more and more dropped riders make their way to the back. you have to be a really strong rider to make those kind of accelerations

REASON 2 to stay off the back - another characteristic of a group of riders is the 'acordian effect'. riders tend to bunch up while going down a straight road, but 20 riders can't get around a corner at the same time side by side (at least at speed they can't). the riders at the right and left extremes of the group will need to slow down and file in behind the riders in the middle to get around the corner. the riders that were in behind the middle riders will need to slow down as the riders from left and right squish in and the riders at the back of the group will be pushed back even farther. so everone except the ones in the middle-front will have to slow down. so middle-front people fly through the corner at full speed and everyone else needs to accelerate out of the corner to catch up to these people. the farther you are back the worse this affect is i.e. the more you will slow down and the more you have to speed up to get back on and the further you get pushed back. so you can do 26 mph comforably in a pack but can you do 30? and not 30 steady, but a hard acceleration from 20 to 30 at every corner. you can imagine that in a criterium with lots of corners the worst place to be is at the back

REASON 3 to stay off the back - most novice riders think this is where they belong so the go there by instinct. so if you start on the back these are the wheels you will have right off the bat... the most inexperienced probably least fit riders in the pack (see REASON 1)

sorry for the book but i wasn't sure just how much of a Newbie you were... there is even more, but take my word for it... stay off the back. stay in the top 1/4 to 1/3 and fight to stay there you will be better off making your stand there than at the back.

Last edited by doctorSpoc; 04-12-05 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 04-13-05, 06:47 AM
  #12  
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agree 100% with previous post.
The front 1/4 to 1/3 is going to be alot safer.
Most crashes are going to occur towards the back of the group.
you've got decreased abiltity to see
obstatcles in addition to the less experienced riders
(who may or may not be able to negotiate around said obstacles).


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Old 04-13-05, 07:19 AM
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As far as communication goes:

If you hit the brakes yell, "Slowing!"
If some one is cutting in on you yell, "On your Right/Left!" or "Inside!"
If there is a car comming in yellow line rule type races yell, "Car Up!"
If you see a hole in the road point to it and yell, "Hole!"
If you see a cow in the road slow down and yell, "Slowing! Cow!"

You don't need to say anything if you are going to pass some one in that situation unless you want to ask them to join in on the chase or otherwise have a nice conversation. If you notice the guy weaving in a blacked out daze you may want to say something so you get his attention.
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Old 04-13-05, 07:23 AM
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Folks, let's not forget Hipcycler's goal for this race - he wants to race so that he can say that he has raced in a road race and get through it safely. Once he gets through this one and is hooked then he'll be up front fighting for a fast wheel
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Old 04-13-05, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ZackJones
Folks, let's not forget Hipcycler's goal for this race - he wants to race so that he can say that he has raced in a road race and get through it safely. Once he gets through this one and is hooked then he'll be up front fighting for a fast wheel
ZACK....you hit the nail on the head here.

I just want a taste, and to be safe and not do anything stupid to any of the other racers. This isn't about trying to stay with a peleton in the top 1/4.

All kinds of good advice/food for thought in this thread from you guys and I appreciate that. Although I'm a bit confused now as to where I should go as they start to line up. Back? A little bit up from the back? Hmmmm.

And yes, UW Whitewater race is what I am entering.
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Old 04-13-05, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ZackJones
Folks, let's not forget Hipcycler's goal for this race - he wants to race so that he can say that he has raced in a road race and get through it safely. Once he gets through this one and is hooked then he'll be up front fighting for a fast wheel
it's not about going to the front and fighting for anything.. Hipcycler does not want to be on the front at any time (like is said above keep your nose out of the wind at all times) but the safest, most protected from the wind, easiest place to ride in a peleton is 1/4 to 1/3 the way back. if you stay there your race will be an enjoyable experience... at that back, get used to being dropped or crashing... it's just advice... take it or leave it... i think you can see that the vast majority of your responces say to not stay at the back from direct experience, they have learned better and you'll learn this lesson too... it may seem counter intuitive, even a bit intimitating to stay in the top half of the group, but it is just the way things are in a group.. it's easier and safer the ride up there than at the back.

i want you to like bike racing too, but staying at the back might turn you off to racing because your chances of getting dropped or crashed go up greatly there. no one likes to get dropped or crashed. if you feel more comfortable at the back then that is up to you, just know that it when you get comfortable riding in a group things can get much better. maybe what you really need to do is do more practice crits and group rides before you go in to a real race.

Last edited by doctorSpoc; 04-13-05 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 04-13-05, 08:53 AM
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this has to be the single most talked about event on these forums . . . how many threads about this?
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Old 04-13-05, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by sat_cycle
this has to be the single most talked about event on these forums . . . how many threads about this?
it's april i guess...
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Old 04-13-05, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by sat_cycle
this has to be the single most talked about event on these forums . . . how many threads about this?
I get paid to gab on the radio, so maybe by habit I'm hogging things here or something? Sorry..I'm just excited about this, that's all.

Spoc...respecting your perspective on this then, where do you think I should line up at the start?
I mean, there will be a group of people ready to go and it is not staged at the start, so about mid-pack instead of at the back?

Thanks again for all your help.
It's April indeed!
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Old 04-13-05, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Hipcycler
do you say anything prior to passing? I mean...a little 'on your left' or anything like that
It's an invitation for them to block you. Pass when it's clear, "LEFT" if they start to come over on you.
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Old 04-13-05, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Hipcycler
I get paid to gab on the radio, so maybe by habit I'm hogging things here or something? Sorry..I'm just excited about this, that's all.

Spoc...respecting your perspective on this then, where do you think I should line up at the start?
I mean, there will be a group of people ready to go and it is not staged at the start, so about mid-pack instead of at the back?

Thanks again for all your help.
It's April indeed!
i'd line up in the second row of riders... as you said about half way back will be fine as long as you start off well an keep your place in the group. it will likely be fast right off the line, you want to be calm and collected as possible and just do what you have to do and maintain your position. this will actually mean periodically moving up a few spaces as other will be moving up as well. so for you to maintain your position you will need to move up every once in a while. if you notice you are drifting towards that back just take your time and move up a few spots.
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Old 04-13-05, 05:40 PM
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i thought of some communication that you will hopefully not have to use (non-verbal though) but in the case of a flat put one of your hands up in the air and other riders will know to go around you... kind of like a hazard signal
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Old 04-14-05, 07:04 AM
  #23  
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Thanks dr. spoc...helpful stuff. A newbie has to learn somehow and this has been helpful.
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Old 04-14-05, 11:56 AM
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Spock,

thanks for the info. I am not a racer, just a recreational cyclist and racing "spectator". I have some DVDs like "PRO: the movie" and some TDF stuff and others. There is a lot about racing tactics that I don't understand (ie "Bring back the break" etc).


Is there a book you can recommend that would discuss race tactics. It can be a book aimed at racers, but something I can understand that isn't 500 pages long.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-14-05, 08:24 PM
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This race will attract a lot of WISPORT riders. The guys that will win this race will average 28 MPH. not many hills but enough hills and corner sprints they will drop you like a pregnant girlfriend. This group of racers go hard from the start and never let up. A lot of USCF racers think they are nuts, not much stratagy. I have ridden a simular race in Minn and it is a different deal altogether. A lot of sprinting but a lot of 18-20 mph stuff as stratagies play out.
I still say you would be better off, especially your first race, to start in the back. Work with small groups and advance as your training allows. You don't want to be in the middle of the pac with you level of conditioning, your hip situation and lack of experience. You are a long way from having the ability to stay with the lead pac, trust me. You need to look at these races as "personal best" oppertunities, oppertunities to see the best riders in the state and have fun.
As a newbie you are best to keep your mouth shut and ears open. I can't think of anything you should say or shout that would help. Don't mean to be mean with these comments, been there, done that and you asked.
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