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Racer Ex 07-10-12 09:55 AM

New to Racing? Here's a tip or two.
To keep from duplicating threads between the 50+ and "33" racing forums, we're making this a sticky and directing people HERE for newbie racer tips and discussion.

Specific questions not covered in the linked thread? Feel free to post them in the 50+ racing sub forum.

Allegheny Jet 11-13-12 05:25 PM

You trackies may already know this. The iPhone app GearCalc is a good resource to determine gears and inches, then compute speeds in that specific gear at different rpms. I used the app from the opening of our velodrome last Aug.

sarals 03-04-13 02:18 PM

Here's another one. Not from me, but from one of my team mates. Good stuff!

I'm going to try not to add insult to injury to this email, but after 2 race reports about finish lines coming to early I have to say something. This is more about the art of winning than the science of fitness. Dean Knudsen is a master at this. The man has no cyclocomputer and rides a bike I'd be embarrassed to be seen on...and does not own a watt meter....but always seems to find himself in the right break or on the right side of a sprint. When Dean recounts a race that went wrong it's more along the lines of where was that one critical moment where he slipped up tactically, rather than discuss how the race happened to him. Remember, no matter how hard the course is, there is always someone who still managed to win..and most of the time it's not the strongest guy! Learn from the winner.

As far as mileage being wrong in races, it happens all the time, especially in velo promo promoted well as timed criteriums being wildly shorter than advertised. I've been caught out more often by the 5 lap card coming out too early than not finding the finish banner.

In a criterium, I always use the first couple laps to study the course. You've obviously got to pay attention to the dynamics of the race, but I study every corner & crack in the road. If you're in a break, it could be critical to know the course as the line through a corner is different at full flight solo then in the main bunch. I've ruined a couple break attempts in the past by over-baking a turn and having to hit the brakes. If you're at race site early enough, watch the previous race and take note of where the sprint happens. Where is the wind-up? Do the banners narrow causing a rider to get squeezed out on the left or right side? Is the course technical enough to support a solo break away? Is there a nasty crack in the road in the last corner that typically causes a last lap crash (cats hill)?

My general rule of thumb is most breakaways in the first half of a criterium won't last. Don't chase everything down unless you have enough teammates in the race and are well organized. Let the break slip away and pay close attention to the time gap. Bridge to it if looks good, but for chrisakes don't drag the bunch with you. Bridge attempts must always be a slight surprise...never in the top 5 riders where everyone can see you. In the last half of a crit, this is when break attempts matter. Pay very close attention, as the field is often caught sleeping as they begin to think about a bunch sprint.

This one seems obvious...but always take note of how many riders are up the road. A lot of races have been won when the field chases down 2 riders, not realizing one guy slipped away from the break while it was out of sight. If you don't know, ask someone...

In a road race, use that first lap to find the finish banner....I know watching all the moves is critical, but use part of your consciousness to take a mental video of the course. As soon a you see the banner, recall some significant landmarks with a few miles to go. Almost all NorCal races pass under the banner if not once but multiple times. Just the same as a criterium, use the previous laps to either figure out where the sprint may start or a sneaky place to make a late attack. Madera stage race is coming to this weekend...I can't tell you how many attacks I've seen on the last lap on the first roller that were caught right at the finish line, timed to perfection..including mine.

Red Rider 04-25-13 11:03 PM

If you have exercise-induced asthma, keep your rescue inhaler with you at all times, on all rides, even in conditions that don't usually warrant it. You never know when you might need it.

sarals 08-04-13 10:03 AM

Read the Road Rash thread. Just do it!

Moyene Corniche 04-17-14 02:10 PM

Arrive at the race venue early ..... Early enough to... if a Crit..... Ride the course before everyone gets there, by everyone I mean the fields, course set up should have been completed the night before... If it's a road course, then hopefully you have the option to arrive ( optimally ) the night before, if not, figuring out what the roadway is like with time to spare is critical... Getting to know the road course during the 1st couple of laps is a recipe for disaster... You will waste energy figuring things out when you should be relaxing and going with the flow....

Know your competition... Know who the Guy's / Girl's are that will dictate the race... they are the one's to watch and follow when appropriate..
Knowing your competition is key to not committing senseless moves...
Every bit of energy you save for race time will be needed... Don't think about wether or not you are ready. It's race day and there is nothing you can do today or in the past 2 weeks to up your performance levels so relax, breathe and prepare to have fun....

If you are racing a hilly road course or something like the Killington Stage Race or the Green Mountain Stage Race, pay extreme attention to the needed gearing.... Yeah the race bible / flyer may have a suggestion, but what someone can climb in a 39-21 may mean a 39-23 for you...
Trying to race uphill in an inefficient gearing will drain your reserves quickly ....

Speaking of equipment.... That race bike should be ready day's before the race, especially if something was changed, you will need time to adjust to anything different... Especially your position.... Dial that in weeks in advance, at the beginning of the season ( by that I mean early when you are working on base fitness, long before training races begin )... Race day or weekend or week should be only about concentrating on race strategy, not equipment or perceived lack of fitness....

Good luck to Noobies and have fun .....

sarals 03-30-15 12:30 PM

Bike racing is a hard, hard sport. Keep yourself ahead of the mental game by learning to measure success in ways other than a podium finish. You're a winner just by pinning on a number and lining up. Over all, have fun. It is fun!

Thunder Horse 05-28-17 07:37 PM

Still thinking whether to race or not?

I was in this situation once, and I expressed this to a friend of mine.
He said, "You have to make a decision whether you want to pretend or contend"! "Which is it"?
Naturally I said "Contend".

That is how racing started for me.
It is a completely different mind set to pretending.
All of a sudden you will have racing goals.
Non-racing rides will have a more specific goal in mind (training to contend the unknown and win).
Cycling becomes more purposeful and personal.
You will no longer be a person riding a bike, but a racer.
Racers race. That is what they do.
If you are thinking about racing, then the racer in you wants to race.

How about it? Want to think like a racer? Then join a racing club.

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