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Can anyone give me tips on my first CRIT?

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

Can anyone give me tips on my first CRIT?

Old 07-22-10, 06:04 PM
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lewisracing
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Can anyone give me tips on my first CRIT?

My first crit is this Sunday... I am doing a cat5 (beginner). Anyone have tips or suggestions for a 32yo athletic male 5'10" 165lbs.?

What do you think the average speed for a cat5 crit is? I heard on another forum that the pros typically run a 31mph average, but what about cat5?

Anything I need to know about etiquitte, or does anything go (within reason)?

Do you suggest I start off in the lead, or stay with the peloton, or sit back for a while at a slower pace and sprint at the end?

I have a female biker friend who rides about the same as me and she is also in this group... should we team-up and have a strategy? Or is it hard to do that?

Any help to a newbie is appreciated.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:11 PM
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It's not about the average speed, it's about surging and recovering. I'll you the same advice I was given before my first crit: Stay near the front, but not on the front. And have fun.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:13 PM
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Have you ever been on a group ride before? If not, I highly suggest you stop and rethink this. You have a very high chance of crashing, and taking others down with you.

If you have group riding experience, then I would suggest you go into your first race with an open mind. Set realistic goals, and accomplish them. A realistic goal for your first race is to learn as much as possible. An unrealistic goal would be to time trial to the finish after lapping the field.

Cat5 races around here avg 23-25 mph. 90% of cat 5 racers would shell your average cyclist, so don't think it will be a cake walk.

Most of all, have fun and STAY ALERT!

Last edited by Blackdays; 07-22-10 at 09:16 PM. Reason: Edited for OP's thin skin
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Old 07-22-10, 06:22 PM
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No you WILL not crash. You may but i highly doubt it. I went into my first crit and first bike race ever with only solo mile training under my belt. I didn't crash, in fact i didn't crash that whole season. My first crash came after being more experienced.

As for tips, watch out for the quick accelerations. They kill the beginners all the time(and sometimes the more experienced rider). Try not to brake in the corners. This depends where in the peloton you are, generally at the back you will have to brake. Always hold your line, so ride straight and don't change lines without checking. Most importantly HAVE FUN.

Also stay positive and don't get discouraged if you didn't finish where you wished to place. Racing is tough but fun.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mitty2328 View Post
No you WILL not crash. You may but i highly doubt it. I went into my first crit and first bike race ever with only solo mile training under my belt. I didn't crash, in fact i didn't crash that whole season. My first crash came after being more experienced.

As for tips, watch out for the quick accelerations. They kill the beginners all the time(and sometimes the more experienced rider). Try not to brake in the corners. This depends where in the peloton you are, generally at the back you will have to brake. Always hold your line, so ride straight and don't change lines without checking. Most importantly HAVE FUN.
Him crashing might not be a certainty, but it's highly likely.

I think it's absolutely selfish to go into a race without ever having ridden in a group. Not only are you risking injury to yourself and your bike, but you're risking injuring others and their bikes.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:28 PM
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BLACKDAYS, I dont like your advice of pulling out of a BEGINNER race because how else will I learn to ride with others? A casual ride with 4 people through the contryside sure won't help! That would be dumb. Better advice would be to start in the back and stay away from the pack, then only ride with people when the pack is spread out. If that is your recommendation, then I think you might be right and will consider that advice.

I should have said this race is limited to only 50 riders on a 1.7 mile WIDE street course. Yes, there will be a few packs, but plenty of stragglers too. I don't agree that I "WILL crash", but I appreciate your warning and candid advice.

I can ride 23-25, so it should be OK. And, I do plan to learn as much before and after the race to be sure it is safe and fun, otherwise it would be pointless.

CALOSO, your advice is great too and will incorporate that into my strategy, thanks!
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Old 07-22-10, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by lewisracing View Post
BLACKDAYS, I dont like your advice of pulling out of a BEGINNER race because how else will I learn to ride with others? A casual ride with 4 people through the contryside sure won't help! That would be dumb. Better advice would be to start in the back and stay away from the pack, then only ride with people when the pack is spread out. If that is your recommendation, then I think you might be right and will consider that advice.

I should have said this race is limited to only 50 riders on a 1.7 mile WIDE street course. Yes, there will be a few packs, but plenty of stragglers too. I don't agree that I "WILL crash", but I appreciate your warning and candid advice.

I can ride 23-25, so it should be OK. And, I do plan to learn as much before and after the race to be sure it is safe and fun, otherwise it would be pointless.

CALOSO, your advice is great too and will incorporate that into my strategy, thanks!
Do as you wish. Just be safe.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:36 PM
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Blackdays: I am respectfully disagreeing(sp?) with you. If you have enough training time under your belt you will more than likely be fine in the race. I had about two and a half years of solo riding and can handle my bike great, granted its also due to mountain biking, but still. I'm not saying in anyway that it's advised but i'm not going to tell him not to race. Like lewis said the best way to experience the race atmosphere is by racing, not group rides. After becoming a more experienced rider i do agree that it was somewhat(not very, but somewhat) dumb to race with no group riding experience.

Lewis: Just race and have fun. FYI the back of the race is more dangerous. Its much easier to get tangled up in a crash or what not. Take that into consideration and be confident. Have fun.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:38 PM
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sounds like you've got it all figured out. WTF did you come here for exactly?
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Old 07-22-10, 06:41 PM
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Thanks MITTY! That is what I needed... looks like I should just stay in the back out of everyone's way and follow the lead of the others, but not too closely, and keep my line and momentum. I'll be happy with that no matter where I place.

BD, I dont see how I am being selfish in trying to enter a beginner race and asking for advice from experienced riders ahead of time. You are only teaching me that I should stick to real sports that I already play like ice hockey and lacrosse because some bikers can't handle a little risk during competition. I thought this was going to be fun, but now I am thinking that these racers are going to turn out to be a bunch of wussies... guess I will find out.

I'll let you guys know if I crash since it seems to be about a 90% chance I will. If I crash, I will go back to being unselfish and playing team sports again instead of trying to have fun with the cycling crowd.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:45 PM
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And by the way, I called the event organizer the other day and explained my situation to him and he was more than welcoming me to join the race... not to back out.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by lewisracing View Post
I should have said this race is limited to only 50 riders on a 1.7 mile WIDE street course.
Is this the course you are talking about?
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Old 07-22-10, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Erzulis Boat View Post
Is this the course you are talking about?
No, it's at least 2x wider. Good one EB!
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Old 07-22-10, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by lewisracing View Post
Thanks MITTY! That is what I needed... looks like I should just stay in the back out of everyone's way and follow the lead of the others, but not too closely, and keep my line and momentum. I'll be happy with that no matter where I place.

BD, I dont see how I am being selfish in trying to enter a beginner race and asking for advice from experienced riders ahead of time. You are only teaching me that I should stick to real sports that I already play like ice hockey and lacrosse because some bikers can't handle a little risk during competition. I thought this was going to be fun, but now I am thinking that these racers are going to turn out to be a bunch of wussies... guess I will find out.

I'll let you guys know if I crash since it seems to be about a 90% chance I will. If I crash, I will go back to being unselfish and playing team sports again instead of trying to have fun with the cycling crowd.
Listen, you came here for advice, and I gave you an absolutely honest answer. I'm not going to sugar coat this **** for you and tell you that what you're doing sounds like a good idea.

Like Flatballer said, you seem to have it all figured out. Good luck, bro.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by lewisracing View Post
BLACKDAYS, I dont like your advice of pulling out of a BEGINNER race because how else will I learn to ride with others?
somebody summed it up perfectly on here, don't know who...Cat5 is for beginner racers not beginner riders. You should really go on some group rides to get a feel for riding so close to other people. Being in the middle of a pack of 50+ riders when everyone is within inches of each other is a weird feeling at first.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:54 PM
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Old 07-22-10, 07:00 PM
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I never said I was a beginner rider, they just assumed (but I am, so good assumption)... I am ALSO a beginner racer, so this race is for me. I have been in group rides, but nothing competetive like this. Everyone's advice is good, I will take it to heart and try my best while staying out of other people's ways. Thanks guys.
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Old 07-22-10, 07:04 PM
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33
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Old 07-22-10, 07:06 PM
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Go fast. Follow your line. Attack if you get bored.

That's what I did in my first crit and it worked out.
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Are they talking about spectators feeding the cyclists? You know, like don't feed the bears?
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Old 07-22-10, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by under18cyclists View Post
33

He will get yelled at if he posts this in the 33. Just sayin.
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Old 07-22-10, 07:26 PM
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Advice: Please take the outside line in all the corners. When your sketchy no handling ass runs wide in the corners, the other racers will greatly appreciate you not taking out half the peloton. Thank you and have a nice race.
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Old 07-22-10, 07:26 PM
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Hi

If you don't have a lot of group riding experience, then make sure you are aware of some of the basic safety points of group rides:

http://www.roadbikerider.com/article...ide in a Group

and

http://www.roadbikerider.com/article... in a Paceline

Being aware of what you should and shouldn't do will help.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:05 PM
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Hey I race Pro/1/2 and we crash too. You will never get away from crashing
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Old 07-22-10, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by under18cyclists View Post
33
Why so many elitist?
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Old 07-22-10, 08:11 PM
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Be sure to pull off the course when you puke.
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