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Which Cat to register for first race?

Old 03-18-21, 07:10 PM
  #26  
Koyote
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Masters are classed by age, not by experience or ability. They used to call us veterans, but they changed that about 20 years ago not long after I started racing as a "master"
I know how Masters are classed.

Not only is a newbie racer going to get dropped like a bad habit in a Master's cat, but he/she simply doesn't belong there. Slow, inexperienced racers are always a hazard, but even more so when trying to maneuver in a group of fast, skilled racers.
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Old 03-18-21, 08:47 PM
  #27  
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Thanks All. I'll register as cat 5 and hang off the back. I'm in pretty good shape, but will settle for just getting the vibe.

Chris
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Old 03-18-21, 08:58 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Chris O View Post
Thanks All. I'll register as cat 5 and hang off the back. I'm in pretty good shape, but will settle for just getting the vibe.

Chris
If you're in pretty good shape, try to at least start up nearer the front - not at the front, but near it. You'll have less chance of getting caught up in a crash, and there is less see-sawing as the pack accelerates out of corners and such. Then concentrate on holding your line, so that people can safely pass you if necessary.
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Old 03-18-21, 09:10 PM
  #29  
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When you get dropped don't chase too hard, slow down and wait for the pack to come around again. If you get lapped like this DO NOT involve yourself in any real racing, especially breakaways or the last lap. ALWAYS look out for your own front wheel...as in DO NOT overlap the rider in front of you...ever. NEVER dive bomb corners. ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS look before you move laterally in the pack. NEVER blindly jump on a wheel as it goes by you, there will pretty much always be someone else already on that wheel. NEVER swerve to avoid Bots dots if there are any on the course, just ride over them. If you have any questions don't be afraid to ask. You will most likely get dropped, you will almost assuredly get yelled at at least once. Pay attention and you'll do fine. In nearly every district you have to survive 10 races as a 5 and then you get an auto upgrade to 4. That's when you start thinking about racing Masters, hopefully there are enough racers in your area to have Masters 4/5 or even 3/4/5 races. The higher category races are faster but sitting in the pack is almost easier because the better racers are smoother. Of course there are also more attacks and chases so you have to be ready for those.
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Old 03-18-21, 09:13 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
When you get dropped don't chase too hard, slow down and wait for the pack to come around again.
But first find out if they’re pulling riders not in contention or letting lapped riders stay in.
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Old 03-18-21, 09:16 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
But first find out if they’re pulling riders not in contention or letting lapped riders stay in.
This should be covered pre-race by the official, and a lot of times in lower category races they don't pull riders until 5-10 laps from the end. Even USAC officials know that beginners have to learn somehow.
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Old 03-19-21, 07:36 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
If you're in pretty good shape, try to at least start up nearer the front - not at the front, but near it. You'll have less chance of getting caught up in a crash, and there is less see-sawing as the pack accelerates out of corners and such. Then concentrate on holding your line, so that people can safely pass you if necessary.
This. Hanging out in the back is a recipe for disaster. Like mentioned, stay close to the front to avoid crashes and to expend less energy trying to hang on from the yo-yo effect in the back. It's miserable back there.

Cat 5 is the place to start. USAC used to make everyone have a certain number of "mass start" races before moving up to Cat 4, then results and points determine moving up. It's been several years since I've raced, so I don't know if this still applies. Anyways, just go, have fun and try to stay close to the front.
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Old 03-19-21, 07:52 AM
  #33  
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OP, hanging out in the back of a Cat 5 race isn't a great plan. Do what you can to stay near the front. (Everyone will be trying to do that though.)
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Old 03-19-21, 09:37 AM
  #34  
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I will echo the advice of others...The plan to "hang off the back" is not good. First of all, you're going to get dropped if you can't take advantage of the draft of the pack. Staying in the mix among the last guys in the group is a reasonable approach, but you will be subject to significant accordion effect as the group slows and accelerates out of turns, and it will actually make the race harder than it needs to be. The safest place to be is among the top 10-15 at the front, but being able to surf that wave is a skill that takes practice. My suggestion is to do the best you you can to stay in the pack, and learn some race skills - cornering, how/when to move up, etc.

A few tips:
1. Always protect your front wheel. Don't let it overlap the rear wheel of the rider in front of you.
2. Be smooth on the brakes.
3. Protect your front wheel.
4. Don't take a pull on the front unless you have a tactical reason to do so.
5. Your front wheel - protect it.
6. Do as little work as possible until it's time to give it everything you have.
7. Rule #1.
8. Rubber side down.
9. Have fun!
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Old 03-19-21, 10:05 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Chris O View Post
Want to try my first race at age 46. The options for registering are Cat 5 or Masters (45+) with no cat options given for the masters. Which one do I sign up for?

Chris
Masters is chock full of people who have been racing for decades, former collegiate and pro riders, and cat 1-3 racers who've simply gotten older. The races are safer, but very fast.

As a new racer, you are a cat 5, regardless of age. Enter in cat 5, ride as safe as you can, and don't be too shocked or disappointed if you get dropped. We have ALL been there. Even Peter Sagan has off days.
If there are training crits in your area, try to find one. These are weekly races where the competition is stiff, but the focus is on learning technique and strategy. If you get dropped, you can hop off to the side, catch your breath, and hop back in. A summer of doing the C race, and you'll be in much better shape to make decisions about which race to enter.
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Old 03-19-21, 10:44 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I will echo the advice of others...The plan to "hang off the back" is not good. First of all, you're going to get dropped if you can't take advantage of the draft of the pack. Staying in the mix among the last guys in the group is a reasonable approach, but you will be subject to significant accordion effect as the group slows and accelerates out of turns, and it will actually make the race harder than it needs to be. The safest place to be is among the top 10-15 at the front, but being able to surf that wave is a skill that takes practice. My suggestion is to do the best you you can to stay in the pack, and learn some race skills - cornering, how/when to move up, etc.

A few tips:
1. Always protect your front wheel. Don't let it overlap the rear wheel of the rider in front of you.
2. Be smooth on the brakes.
3. Protect your front wheel.
4. Don't take a pull on the front unless you have a tactical reason to do so.
5. Your front wheel - protect it.
6. Do as little work as possible until it's time to give it everything you have.
7. Rule #1.
8. Rubber side down.
9. Have fun!
So, do you think he should protect his front wheel?

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Old 03-19-21, 10:50 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
So, do you think he should protect his front wheel?

Only if #8 is important to him.
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Old 03-19-21, 11:50 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Masters is chock full of people who have been racing for decades, former collegiate and pro riders, and cat 1-3 racers who've simply gotten older. The races are safer, but very fast.
One thing to keep in mind, masters racers are more experienced and safer, but their idea of safe riding may be shocking to a beginner. Slight bumping is considered perfectly normal and of no concern. Also, they may move into gaps considered too small by someone not used to it. Finally, they may move around in the pack in what seems a very abrupt and unsafe manner to a novice, but is perfectly normal for them.
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Old 03-19-21, 12:15 PM
  #39  
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I stick to Cat 6.
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Old 03-19-21, 12:19 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I stick to Cat 6.
This forum is Cat 6.
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Old 03-19-21, 12:32 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
One thing to keep in mind, masters racers are more experienced and safer, but their idea of safe riding may be shocking to a beginner. Slight bumping is considered perfectly normal and of no concern. Also, they may move into gaps considered too small by someone not used to it. Finally, they may move around in the pack in what seems a very abrupt and unsafe manner to a novice, but is perfectly normal for them.
Very valid point. Rubbing shoulders, knees, and elbows at 30+ mph can be a little unnerving for the uninitiated.
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Old 03-19-21, 12:52 PM
  #42  
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I was on a sharp corner photographing the the criterion at the men's National Masters Road Championship, and heard a bike go down behind me. I just turned and kept shooting. This is what I saw, and those guys are the top riders. Talking to one of the riders that went down, he said that it was the previous year's winner who caused the crash.

Knowing how to fall is a good skill. Notice how the rider keeps his hands on the bars as he goes down..

Last edited by Doug64; 03-19-21 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 03-19-21, 06:33 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Knowing how to fall is a good skill.
Good point. We used to go to a park with a big grassy area and knock each other off our bikes to practice falling WITHOUT putting our hands down.
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Old 03-19-21, 08:23 PM
  #44  
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Same. When I was a 5 we did a clinic where we did stuff like that, leaned on each other, rubbed wheels, etc.
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Old 03-22-21, 10:29 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
I don't race in real life, just on Zwift. When I look at results on Zwift Power it's filled with old people (I'm 47) who are crazy strong. When I've had a good race or group ride I'll friend them and they're all in their 40s or 50s or even 60s when I check out their profile. One long Zwift group ride (Haute Route 2020 with a few thousand riders) when I bonked up a long hill I got caught by a woman who is in her 60s.

In other words, I'd sooner race against Cat 5 in real life than other people my own age.
Yeah, that Zwift power is a bunch of BS though. A lot of dumb trainers are just estimates which are subject to many things like tire pressure, tension adjustment etc. I could kick ass on Zwift reducing tension on the wheel and lying about my weight.
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Old 03-22-21, 10:38 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Chris O View Post
Yeah, that Zwift power is a bunch of BS though. A lot of dumb trainers are just estimates which are subject to many things like tire pressure, tension adjustment etc. I could kick ass on Zwift reducing tension on the wheel and lying about my weight.
If you take it zeriously (see what I did there?), results only count if you have a power meter and hrm and agree that you're not lying about weight and stuff. Check it: https://zwiftinsider.com/how-to-race/

(oh, and Zwift Power the site -- https://www.zwiftpower.com/ is different than the dumb trainer estimate zPower https://support.zwift.com/zpower-setup-r1XjaXbxr --@guachi is talking about the site )
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Old 03-22-21, 11:08 AM
  #47  
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Cat 5. You enter Masters you will be utterly destroyed. Those "old" guys are utterly amazing. And monsters.
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Old 03-22-21, 11:22 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by afm199 View Post
Cat 5. You enter Masters you will be utterly destroyed. Those "old" guys are utterly amazing. And monsters.
Often overlooked by newbies is the fact that many of the "old guys" have been racing continuously since they were young guys. Sometimes at a very high level.
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Old 03-23-21, 09:29 AM
  #49  
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Once a noob, always a noob?

If you shouldn't enter a race as a newbie because you might not be able to "hold your line" when and where would you learn how to "hold it"?

That's like telling somebody who wants to learn how to baseball that if you can't hit home runs you should maybe stick to monopoly.

Tolerance for entry level questions seems to decrease with the number of posts.
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Old 03-23-21, 09:48 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by CoachPerry19 View Post
If you shouldn't enter a race as a newbie because you might not be able to "hold your line" when and where would you learn how to "hold it"?
weekday/weekend group rides, informal race-like group rides (seems every metro area has a local "Worlds" ride that's competitive and you hold on as long as you can), look for training series, or other beginner races. One club in this area has a specific "never raced before" race. It's first thing at 8am which stinks, but it's there. The intention is that if one is going to enter a race it shouldn't be the first time riding in a group. Shrug.
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