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So after a 4 week hiatus (yea, i'm calling my time off a hiatus) due to final exams and some other stuff I had to take care off, im back to racing. Did 3 rides last week once I got home and re-built the bike and such. Decided the best way to get back into racing was to, well, race. Sunday I did a crit. Cat 5, 50 riders. (sat i did an easy 15 mi spin in just over an hour w/ the parents). 15 laps on a .7mi course. 5 laps in and i was cooked. I realized later I had been spinning at like 130 cadence with awful gear choice, but still I wasn't doing any work or anything. I got dropped around lap 7 or 8, formed a "chase-group" that didnt really chase, just sort of rode a paceline to the finish. I was 33/50. It was rather depressing, but it showed me what i need to do to get back into shape. There is a local tuesday night training crit about 10 mi from my house, so i figured what the heck. monday i rode a 5 mi recovery ride (i had no time and no legs). tonight was 30 laps on a .8ish mi course. cat4/5 combined. i did a fair bit of work (sprinting to close a sizeable gap and dragging the field with me) and also riding in the wind for a lap or two. anyways, i had legs and felt good, and i think i counted 10 or 11 riders ahead of me. I even passed about 15 people in the sprint (an uphill one so some people just die). I rode a smarter race( better gear choice) but not that much smarter. Can anyone tell me why I rode so much better tonight? The conditions were about the same (hot and sunny). my stretching/nuitrituin was about the same, and the training crit had a slightly higher avg. speed than the crit on sunday (less than 1mph, nothing significant). I'm baffled, do i need to train myself back into race shape or am I in race shape, and how should I train accordingly. Thanks.
 

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You probably just fell out of the habit of racing on the first crit and got back in on the next one. That tends to make a world of difference, for me anyway. Just keep getting out there and you'll be back up to speed (so to speak) in no time at all.
 

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Some courses are faster than others, so comparing speed doesn't make any sense. My guess is that most people don't care as much as you do about a Tuesday training race. Four weeks off is a lot of fitness to lose, and it won't come back after a couple easy miles with your folks.
 

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Yeah, I am in the all but well known position of graduating school and starting a new job. I had to take a week and half off and now I starting to train in the evenings after 7pm. That leaves me little time to ride on the road for high mileage but I can do a lot of intervals and easy rides. However, I did manage to put out a decent crit showing at the Baker Park Criterium in Frederick, MD coming at 28/50 in the Cat 5 race. Beforehand I was coming in at 35-40th in the collegiate C races so being in the back is a well known place for me.

Hopefully, my body will decide to wake up and stop getting spanked.
 

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some unsolicited advice:
when I started racing, it mattered to me whether I was 30th or 50th, and I do understand it. Heck, it is something to even reliably finish races.
All of this, however, is something to get past.
Race. Don't worry about your placing (unless you can get into the top ten or fifteen or so, when it does mean a little something even if you didn't score). Getting dropped sometimes means that you did your job and did it well. Finishing "top thirty" sometimes means nothing more than that there were another forty guys who sat up.
 
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