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How do I know when I'm ready to start racing and do a CAT 5?

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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

How do I know when I'm ready to start racing and do a CAT 5?

Old 02-02-14, 03:00 PM
  #26  
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Group riding skills are paramount; I've ridden enough recreational group rides with "Mr. Squirrely" and "Mr. Yo-yo" and "Ms. will instantly slow to a crawl no matter how small the hill" to realize the importance of good riding skills.

Guys that line up for a race should be able to expect their fellow racers to have decent group skills; riding handlebar to handlebar at 20+mph is hard enough; throw some tight corners and rollers in there and it could get ugly real fast.

Check this bad move out by Ferrari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnGi2KTVFRM
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Old 02-02-14, 04:09 PM
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When to race is like when to start betting on darts or billiards.

Racing is knowing how to hustle a group. You fake giving your best effort in order to get all of your opponents to use their energy.

Really good darts/billiards/racers always encourage unprepared suckers to put their money on the table and compete.

In all cases someone walks away with the new-kid's money.

--

5k/10k runs and charity rides are a better starting point. Just joining a large group will increase your natural sense to compete; your heart will be 10-20 beats per minute faster just due to the environment. If you normally cruise at 130-140 bpm... the event will push that to 150-160 bpm.

The elevated heart rate may cause you to become agitated and twitchy or more aggressive. In charity events... this is bad.


In racing, expect everyone to be as agitated and aggressive as you. Except instead of giving you plenty of comfort space to be safe... they are pressing their shoulder against you if you don't yield the draft. Or worse, they aren't in full control at 32mph and take you out.
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Old 02-02-14, 04:19 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Gramercy View Post
I average about 17mph on solo rides and will be doing cat 5 Crits in a month. Going to try a few group rides in the coming month. So try racing and see if you can keep up. I'm scared of crashing so I'll probably be too passive but I'm looking forward to it. If you are averaging about 20mph I'd say that is pretty damn fast to keep up in a cat 5 race. Just don't make sudden movements in a pack.
Do some Tabata intervals (20 sec all out sprints) and see that 17mphr go up within weeks.
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Old 02-03-14, 08:50 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by bigjeff


In racing, expect everyone to be as agitated and aggressive as you. Except instead of giving you plenty of comfort space to be safe... they are pressing their shoulder against you if you don't yield the draft. Or worse, they aren't in full control at 32mph and take you out.
Cat 5 races typically are not. Like that. Most people are pretty deferential, and there's not elbowing and shoving.

That said there is a fair amount of unintentionally squirrelly riding
And I whole heartily agree with following the progression set forth in the Botto thread
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Old 02-03-14, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by j814wong View Post
A year ago, I caught the cycling bike and got a cheapo road bike after having used a crappy Toys R Us mountain bike. I've been cycling comparatively frequently since but I don't consider myself too great a cyclist. The longest ride I've ever done was 39 miles with an average speed of 19.6 mph on a very flat route with 17 minutes of stopped time and 1:16 hours of moving time. I've also never ridden with a group but I think that my bike handling skills are decent.
39 miles at 19.6 mph should take 1:59. Did you encounter a wormhole along the way or some other disturbance in the space time continuum?
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Old 02-03-14, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
39 miles at 19.6 mph should take 1:59. Did you encounter a wormhole along the way or some other disturbance in the space time continuum?
RideWithGPS and the Garmin Edge 800 does not accurately take into account wormholes. I should probably drop my review of the Garmin Edge to 3 stars but then again, it helped me navigate to a wormhole in the first place so...

But in all seriousness, I failed to notice that inconsistency an have no clue why it is like that. ~2 hours is the appropriate time.
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Old 02-03-14, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Silvercivic27 View Post
Exactly. He should make sure he uses exactly 4 pins right through the holes so we all know he's ready too.
Nah. I'll glue the numbers to my jersey so I'll be super-aero.
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Old 02-03-14, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
A good way for the OP to accomplish this would be to investigate whether any clubs near him have "rocket rides" or something similar. Lots of clubs in the NY area have something like this, which are essentially group rides that draw a lot of hard-core cyclists who get a kick out of the competition. Some in NJ, like the Rocket Ride, have gotten so big the cops have busted participants for disobeying traffic signals, etc.

OP, what the other folks are trying to say, some nicer than others, is that handling a bike in a group is entirely different from riding on your own. Handling a bike in a group that's racing is another level up still. You need to get to grow your skills to the point where you can anticipate others' actions, how to avoid situations caused by others when you can, etc.
Thanks. I think that I will start out with some group rides and charity rides first (something more casual and less competitive). Where I am currently going to college, I have not seen a single road cyclist even in the nearby area. However, I have found a competitive cycling club in the next town over.

Thanks for the advice everyone.
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Old 02-03-14, 11:56 PM
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Utilize the Kevin Costner Training Regimen approved by Eddy M. and you'll be ready in no time.
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Old 02-04-14, 12:21 AM
  #35  
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from my experience, about 50% of the cat 5 racers are showing up just to race. Another 25% are super strong but think it's a group ride so they go to the front and try to hammer everyone to death. 25% actually have a shot at winning and have a sense of what to do.

Ability is anywhere from downright terrible to SUPER strong. You never know what to expect. Go out there and do your best!
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