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What's the protocall for Holding Your Line in a crit race? I just started racing last year and only did one crit race. I understand all about holding your line and had no complaints against me in any race or group ride. My 1st crit, I did all I could to "Hold my Line", but it seemed to me this rule was thrown out in the crit race (cat 4/5). I would go into a corner on the inside of the group (the group was wide, but I was on the insde of the group, maybe 2-3 racers wide) and it was all I could do to avoid everyone that was wide and into the corner would cut right into the inside corner and exit wide. Leaving no room for me on the inside who was trying to hold my line on the inside thru the corner. This did not happen on just one turn, but all of them. I ended up learning my lesson very quickly and made sure I was on the outside of each turn or in the middle.

What is the correct or best way to take a corner in a crit..pretty much asking for advise here.

KMan
 

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Enter wide, clip apex, exit wide. Just like you'd do in a race car or a motorcycle or ski racing. Coming in hot on the inside is a sure way to crash someone out, because your line is much different from the line of the rest of the group, and on exiting the turn your only options are to grab a huge handful of brake (bad for your momentum and bad for anyone behind you), or cut across the other riders' line (also really really really bad).
 

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The other riders are entering and exiting wide in order to carry more corner speed. If you turn in early you're bound to have converging lines. You will also be slower at the apex and have to accelerate harder comming out of the corner. Try the wide entry/exit and see if it's faster for you.
 

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In a pack crit, you should be holding your line through corners. 4/5's tend to have some trouble with this; the first few guys are able to dive through corners as described above, but once you get a few wide, it doesn't work yet people further back tend to follow what the first couple riders are doing. This issue typically is resolved in Cat 3 races..

If you want to avoid people who can't handle their bikes properly, move up to the front. In a pack of 75+ riders, I try to stay in the top 10-15 the whole race, you see a bit more wind but you're safe from most crashes and in the company of other riders who know how to ride bikes properly.

The other good piece of advice is to just go with what the pack is doing. If everyone is taking a solo line through the corner (Wide, hit apex, wide), then you're somewhat forced to do that.. problems arise when you get two riders taking the corner differently and not paying complete attention to what's happening around them.

Stay relaxed, ride safely and have fun!
 

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I think this works when everyone in a pack knows what to do. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the fastest way through a turn, so there may be a few racers who veer away and take their own line, which may conflict with the rest of the riders.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone

That is what is saw happening. I was midpack so into the corners it was not single file now, but 2-3 cross (and me on the inside). I was assuming the riders next to me and in front of me were going to hold there lines...not realizing everyone was going to cut into the corner. As I mentioned it was my 1st crit race so I was/am just trying to learn. I am planning on doing a small "tour" at the end of the month which will have a crit in it. I want to go into this crit with a bit more knowledge.

KMan

llvllatt said:
In a pack crit, you should be holding your line through corners. 4/5's tend to have some trouble with this; the first few guys are able to dive through corners as described above, but once you get a few wide, it doesn't work yet people further back tend to follow what the first couple riders are doing. This issue typically is resolved in Cat 3 races..

If you want to avoid people who can't handle their bikes properly, move up to the front. In a pack of 75+ riders, I try to stay in the top 10-15 the whole race, you see a bit more wind but you're safe from most crashes and in the company of other riders who know how to ride bikes properly.

The other good piece of advice is to just go with what the pack is doing. If everyone is taking a solo line through the corner (Wide, hit apex, wide), then you're somewhat forced to do that.. problems arise when you get two riders taking the corner differently and not paying complete attention to what's happening around them.

Stay relaxed, ride safely and have fun!
 

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KMan said:
That is what is saw happening. I was midpack so into the corners it was not single file now, but 2-3 cross (and me on the inside). I was assuming the riders next to me and in front of me were going to hold there lines...not realizing everyone was going to cut into the corner.
You'll get it with experience, but just to be clear, it sounds (though without actually seeing the corner I can't really say) like *you* were the one not "holding the line," not the other riders. As the other posters said, in a crit, "the line" through a turn is generally wide to tight to wide. It sounds like you started out too tight, so you got pinched by guys as they cut into the apex. They weren't deviating from the line, they were following it. You, on the other hand, were off the line (to the inside) before you even got to the turn, so when you hit the apex, you had nothing to do but panic and brake. Don't fret about it -- no roadrash, no big foul -- and everybody starts out that way. In your next race, concentrate on getting wide before each turn.
 

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wavylines said:
You'll get it with experience, but just to be clear, it sounds (though without actually seeing the corner I can't really say) like *you* were the one not "holding the line," not the other riders. As the other posters said, in a crit, "the line" through a turn is generally wide to tight to wide. It sounds like you started out too tight, so you got pinched by guys as they cut into the apex. They weren't deviating from the line, they were following it. You, on the other hand, were off the line (to the inside) before you even got to the turn, so when you hit the apex, you had nothing to do but panic and brake. Don't fret about it -- no roadrash, no big foul -- and everybody starts out that way. In your next race, concentrate on getting wide before each turn.

How do you go from 4-7 wide to a single line? It just doesn't happen in Cat 5. Everyone stays next to each other.
 

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Inside!

KMan said:
What's the protocall for Holding Your Line in a crit race? I just started racing last year and only did one crit race. I understand all about holding your line and had no complaints against me in any race or group ride. My 1st crit, I did all I could to "Hold my Line", but it seemed to me this rule was thrown out in the crit race (cat 4/5). I would go into a corner on the inside of the group (the group was wide, but I was on the insde of the group, maybe 2-3 racers wide) and it was all I could do to avoid everyone that was wide and into the corner would cut right into the inside corner and exit wide. Leaving no room for me on the inside who was trying to hold my line on the inside thru the corner. This did not happen on just one turn, but all of them. I ended up learning my lesson very quickly and made sure I was on the outside of each turn or in the middle.

What is the correct or best way to take a corner in a crit..pretty much asking for advise here.

KMan
When you do that move up the inside you should also accompany it by yelling "INSIDE!" loudly. That always helps! My response to that line is usually "TOO BAD FOR YOU" as I close the door. :p

Seriously though, it seems as though you sort of figured it out. Almost all corners are best taken by setting up wide, coming across to the inside and exiting wide. It is inevitable that guys are going to go up the inside, especially in the lower categories when the speed drops. This is usually when things get dangerous. In the big P/1/2 crits, the inside move is largely negated because of the sheer speed of the racing. When things are strung out single-file trying to move up the inside is pretty darn hard because any position improvement gained into the corner is usually lost out of the corner as the acceleration from a slower speed when exiting is very hard.

Now, that is not to say that moving up on the inside should never happen. The secret is to make the move early enough before the corner so you can gain the positions and then gently but forcefully move back into the line and be wide before the corner to avoid having to scrub speed. This is a bit of an art, as you actually have to rely on someone else backing off to let you back in line and if no one does then be prepared to slow considerably and probably lose spots. If you know your competition, you will know who you can count on to back off and also who will never back off. For instance, hardened crit riders like Gord Fraser or Alex Candelario will never back off or give up their spot.
 

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bas said:
How do you go from 4-7 wide to a single line? It just doesn't happen in Cat 5. Everyone stays next to each other.
Right, but the pack as a whole goes outside-inside-outside. Once you get used to that flow, you'll have a sense for when you're too far on the inside coming into the turn and likely to get pinched.

Novice crit racers are often nervous around the other bikes (not talking to you directly here, KMan, just some of the guys I mentor on my team), so when the pack swings wide to set up for a turn, they see all that open asphalt on the inside and think "phew! lots of space, I'll just slide into the inside and get some breathing room." They don't realize that the more experienced racers were swinging wide on purpose, and that by going inside, they've put themselves on a line that goes through the curb. Of course, they can't actually hit the curb, so they end up horning in on the pack at the corner and yelling at the others to "hold their line!" They think that just because they were on the inside before the turn, they have a right to the inside at the turn, when they were in fact *too far* to the inside on the set up.

R.e. single-file vs. several riders wide: as you know, "the line" is basically defined as the fastest way around the course. When the pack is single file, it's usually easy to figure out. It goes all the way from the outside curb before a turn to the inside curb at the apex, back to the outside turn on the exit. When the pack is wider, think of the line as the course taken by the centerpoint of the pack. A 4-wide pack is about 10 feet wide, so the line will go from about 5 feet from the outside curb to about 5 feet from the inside curb, to make space for the riders to the right and left of center in the pack. The problem that novice crit racers have is that they start the turn 8 feet to the right of the line, which means that *their* line would really send them through the curb.

Sorry for the long-winded answer. Does that make sense?
 

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wzq622 said:
I think this works when everyone in a pack knows what to do. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the fastest way through a turn, so there may be a few racers who veer away and take their own line, which may conflict with the rest of the riders.
I don't think it is ever an issue in a single-file race. The worst are broad sweeping corners where people can and do take them 2 or 3 across- and some clown insists and sliding all over the place.
 

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Yes definitely makes sense.. Just kind of hard to practice outside of a race.

Group rides on streets with cars aren't the best place to be practicing :(



wavylines said:
Right, but the pack as a whole goes outside-inside-outside. Once you get used to that flow, you'll have a sense for when you're too far on the inside coming into the turn and likely to get pinched.

Novice crit racers are often nervous around the other bikes (not talking to you directly here, KMan, just some of the guys I mentor on my team), so when the pack swings wide to set up for a turn, they see all that open asphalt on the inside and think "phew! lots of space, I'll just slide into the inside and get some breathing room." They don't realize that the more experienced racers were swinging wide on purpose, and that by going inside, they've put themselves on a line that goes through the curb. Of course, they can't actually hit the curb, so they end up horning in on the pack at the corner and yelling at the others to "hold their line!" They think that just because they were on the inside before the turn, they have a right to the inside at the turn, when they were in fact *too far* to the inside on the set up.

R.e. single-file vs. several riders wide: as you know, "the line" is basically defined as the fastest way around the course. When the pack is single file, it's usually easy to figure out. It goes all the way from the outside curb before a turn to the inside curb at the apex, back to the outside turn on the exit. When the pack is wider, think of the line as the course taken by the centerpoint of the pack. A 4-wide pack is about 10 feet wide, so the line will go from about 5 feet from the outside curb to about 5 feet from the inside curb, to make space for the riders to the right and left of center in the pack. The problem that novice crit racers have is that they start the turn 8 feet to the right of the line, which means that *their* line would really send them through the curb.

Sorry for the long-winded answer. Does that make sense?
 

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Normally..

Eric_H said:
When you do that move up the inside you should also accompany it by yelling "INSIDE!" loudly. That always helps! My response to that line is usually "TOO BAD FOR YOU" as I close the door.
My normal response when that happens is to say, "F*ck off!" and then take whomever it is into the curb slightly to remind them they shouldn't be barging corners. Once they lose 20 spots going into a corner a few times, they learn. Mostly.
 

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I was marshaling...

the first turn in a local training crit about 6-7 weeks ago (some of you may be familiar with the Quick Silver Winter Solstice Series) and the difference in how the groups took the turn was eye-opening. The "C" race, cat 5's mostly, came into the turn, which is a bit over 90 degrees but fairly wide, very close to the righthand side of the road (right hand turn). So they obviously had to slow down quite a bit in the turn. The "B" race, mostly cat 3's and 4's, the racers came into the turn in the middle of the lane, able to turn a bit faster, but still not as fast as they could. The "A" race, 1s and 2s, the guys came into the turn completely over on the left hand side of the road, carrying maximum speed through the turn.

As a cat 4, I found this to be very revealing and educational and am trying to incorporate this into my racing.
 
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