Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Some questions - starting racing

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Some questions - starting racing

Old 06-01-06, 06:40 AM
  #1  
c4s6
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
c4s6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Some questions - starting racing

I've got the bug and entered my first race. Some questions I'd appreciate help on please:

1. I'm 45 and fairly fit but obviously inexperienced racing. Would I be better off in cat 5 or masters 45+? What are the pros and cons? I (and my wife more so) are nervous about crashes and carnage, so I'm avoiding crits at this point.

2. Support for the first race is wheel in/wheel out. How do you identify or mark your wheels in?

3. My assumption is that in a road race a good strategy is simply to get to the front of the pack and try to hang there and see what happens.

This is a 35 mile road race without (according to the entry material) any real climbing. Any other advice?
c4s6 is offline  
Old 06-01-06, 09:25 AM
  #2  
Tommyp
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Boulder
Posts: 83

Bikes: 2004 Felt f70

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
1) You'd probably be happier with the 45+ riders. I'm told by some Masters that it is less squirrley. That being said, I've seen some Masters that ride harder and faster than some Cat 5 races.

2) Are you really planning on getting a flat in a 35 mile race? Well, it can happen. I'd put a little label, tape or something near the valve stem, so you know where on the wheel to look, wasting less time.

3) That should work. Try to stay out of the wind...

As for the crashes, yeah, they are more common in Crits, but I wouldn't be too afraid. Sooner or later everyone crashes, whether you're a Cat 5 or a Pro. Just ride.
Tommyp is offline  
Old 06-01-06, 09:35 AM
  #3  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,778

Bikes: Willier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Calfee Dragonfly tandem, Calfee Adventure tandem; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Motebecanne Phantom Cross; Schwinn Paramount Track bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1135 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 143 Posts
1) do the cat 5 race. Cat 5 races are for beginners. You are a beginner. The Masters 45 field will consist of many higher category riders and it will be much tougher. Ideally find a 35+ Cat 5 race, although they are few and far between at least in my area. There is absolutely no doubt that the average Masters 45 field will decimate the average Cat 5 field. Also, when you get dropped in the Masters 45 race, you're likely to be alone. In a Cat 5 race, there are often a few groups of differing ability, so even if you can't hang with the lead pack, you may well at least fall into agroup you can hang with , and get some experience riding there.

2) Tape a tag to your wheels with your name and race number on them. skewering a piece of paper with your QR skewer works in a pinch.

3) everybody says get to the front. However, this may not be realistic in your first race, and there's something to be said for hanging toward the back of the pack to get a feel of things at first. If you're going to get quickly shelled (which happens to the vast majority of people) Having the whole pack dodge around you isn't the best scenario).
merlinextraligh is offline  
Old 06-01-06, 09:49 AM
  #4  
waterrockets 
Making a kilometer blurry
 
waterrockets's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Austin (near TX)
Posts: 26,170

Bikes: rkwaki's porn collection

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Liked 85 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
1) do the cat 5 race. Cat 5 races are for beginners. You are a beginner. The Masters 45 field will consist of many higher category riders and it will be much tougher. Ideally find a 35+ Cat 5 race, although they are few and far between at least in my area. There is absolutely no doubt that the average Masters 45 field will decimate the average Cat 5 field. Also, when you get dropped in the Masters 45 race, you're likely to be alone. In a Cat 5 race, there are often a few groups of differing ability, so even if you can't hang with the lead pack, you may well at least fall into agroup you can hang with , and get some experience riding there.
+1 on Cat 5. The 45+ field will tear you a new one. They're probably faster than the Cat 3s depending on where you live.

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
3) everybody says get to the front. However, this may not be realistic in your first race, and there's something to be said for hanging toward the back of the pack to get a feel of things at first. If you're going to get quickly shelled (which happens to the vast majority of people) Having the whole pack dodge around you isn't the best scenario).
I see your point, but I think I would still try to stay near the front. It's tough to get the experience when the back of the pack gets gapped early in the race. Maybe go for the middle of pack and keep your head up. If it starts to get hard, you need to move up.

It's also really important for corners. Since you're avoiding crits, this will be mitigated somewhat since you won't have so many corners. The accordian effect on corners will kill you if you're at the back. The guy at the front gets to hold 24mph through the turn, while the last guy goes through at 12mph, then sprints up to 32mph as the pack recompresses.

You can also float back a bit on the climbs if the hills are getting to you. Work to the front on the flats, then just maintain yourself on the hills. When the pace picks up, you can get passed by 20-30 guys before you have to react. That will save your legs since the effort spikes on short climbs. Everyone will be recovering somewhat on the descent and flats following a hill, so you can get back up there.
waterrockets is offline  
Old 06-02-06, 05:34 AM
  #5  
Bobby Lex
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,616
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Road Race = good choice for a first race.

Spare Wheels = probably a waste of time. If the pack is moving at 25 mph and has a 1/2 mile lead on you by the time you change wheels, you would have to solo at 27 mph for 15 minutes to close the gap. Are you that fit?

Wheel exchanges work when you have longer races (therefore slower pace) and/or teammates who will wait for you and tow you back to the group. Or they work in crits where you get a free lap if you flat, so there is no chasing to do.

Bottom line is, don't waste your time, and risk getting a pair of wheels stolen (which happens all too often) by bringing an extra pair of wheels to the race.

As to which Cat. to race, I agree with Merlin. Race the Cat. 5 and pay your dues. Locally, our 45+ Masters races typically include former pros, as well as Cat. 1's and 2's and 3's. You will get your head handed to you in most Masters races.

As to race "strategy", getting to the front (near the front, not at the front) is always the strategy. The fact is, though, that the pack in a bicycle race is this flowing, ever-changing creature. Getting to the front is pretty easy. Staying there is the tough part because riders will pass you on the right, pass you on the left, steal your wheel, cut you off in turns, and do a dozen other things that cause you to lose 15 places in the blink of an eye.

So pack handling skills become critical, and mostly that just comes with racing experience.

Lastly, there are different types of fitness. "Race fitness" means being able to match an acceleration, recover, then do it again.....and again.....and again.....and again......endlessly throughout the race. One moment you'll be loping along at 22 mph and the next moment there will be an acceleration and you have to hit 29 mph to close a gap. Then the process repeats itself throughout the race. It's worse in crits, but it still happens in road races, too. You have to be able to match every acceleration, plus have something left in the tank to contest the sprint at the end. So, when training do lots of intervals, and during the race you must conserve energy (by drafting closely, staying out of the wind, getting others to bridge gaps and chase breakaways, and by staying off the brakes).

Good Luck. Hope you enjoy the experience. I wanna read your "Race Report" when it's over.

Bob
Bobby Lex is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.