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I signed up for the Bulldog RR at Camp Pendleton on Saturday. I don't expect to be in the front of the pack so what's the best strategy for doing well? I've done big group rides before, some paceline training, but not much else other than riding a lot by myself. I don't want to do anything stupid; I DO want to finish safely and quickly. It's a relatively flat 26-mile course with a big climb in the middle. I'm resting up and carbo-loading tomorrow, any other advice would be appreciated.
 

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Rest today and ride easy tomorrow with a couple short efforts. Arrive early, get signed in and get a good warm up. Eat carbs tonight too. Have fun!
 

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fight like a hungry dog to stay near the front, but not on the front. maybe 6th through 10th. it is generally safer and you'll be able to see what's developing. in the long run, the training you get staying near the front will pay off in your overall fitness.

if somewhere in the final 5 miles you see a small group jump off the front, try to go with them immeidately, sprinting at 110% to avoid just pulling the rest of the field behind you. maybe your breakaway will stay away to the finish.

and if you get dropped, it's a lot more fun getting shot from the front all the way through the pack and out the back than being dropped from the tail end of the group. good luck.
 

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Since this is your first race, stay mid-pack. If someone in front of you starts to falter and lets a gap open, go around him right away. If you wait, you're dead. One you connect with the group in front of you, sit in as long as you can. You will probably have to work, sooner or later, but don't kill yourself. If you're off the back, by yourself, see if there are other riders behind you and wait for them.
Try to finish with all your skin.
 

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having just done my first race this past saturday i cant offer to much. My advise, stay calm, get to the front of the pack,d o your part but dont over do it. I did that. I felt awsome the whole time up until the last 300 meters. Then it hit me. No power. Also, dont forget to eat and drink. Thats about it. someone chime in if I'm wrong about something. My 2nd race is Saturday. So i'm very excited..

Carlos
 

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I'm racing too

Hey Chang, I'm signed up for that race too! What's your race number? My number is 181 and I'm in the Clydesdale division (6'2" and 225lbs.).

The only advice I have to offer is just have fun. This was my first introduction to bike racing back in 2002 after more than 15 years of cycling. I was always afraid of racing for fear of looking foolish or fear of doing poorly. But as I got older I thought to myself, "what the hell" and entered the 2002 edition. I had no aspirations other than being in a "real" bike race. Overall I finished in the top half and got 10th place in my division. That first experience was so fun that I entered a criterium and took up track riding. Anyway . . .

Look around at your competition and try to mark someone who you think has the same abilities as you and try to keep them in sight (just a little self motivational tool that I use). If you're not comfortable riding in a large group, stay in the back and/or towards the middle of the road (less claustrophobic). The hill, while steep, should be no problem. I was able to muscle my way to the top without expending too much energy. The trick is not trying to stay with the "climbers" and ride your on pace. If you're in decent shape you should be able to "hopscotch" your way to the front.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
JaeP said:
Hey Chang, I'm signed up for that race too! What's your race number? My number is 181 and I'm in the Clydesdale division (6'2" and 225lbs.).

I don't have my bib # yet, signed up late online. I'll be in the men's 35-39 Civilian group. I'll look for you at the site. Thanks for the encouragement.
 

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I cut my teeth on this race, too

chang100 said:
I signed up for the Bulldog RR at Camp Pendleton on Saturday. I don't expect to be in the front of the pack so what's the best strategy for doing well? I've done big group rides before, some paceline training, but not much else other than riding a lot by myself. I don't want to do anything stupid; I DO want to finish safely and quickly. It's a relatively flat 26-mile course with a big climb in the middle. I'm resting up and carbo-loading tomorrow, any other advice would be appreciated.
This was my intro to racing as well, back in '03. Sounds like the same course, as ours was 26 miles, too. Yes, that hill was pretty killer in the middle. Of course, I had been riding for only 2 months prior, so I can't say now how bad it really is. Regardless, it WILL split you guys up. This is where I lost contact with the 2 high school kids who ended up taking 1st and 2nd. As the others have said, just stay comfortable, stay near the front, and don't do any work if it doesn't directly contribute to you getting to the line first. Sounds like you'll be in better race shape than I was at the time, so if you are all together at the foot of that hill, and you're feeling good, attack. A few will go with you, but you WILL gap a majority of your competitors.

Just don't do like I did. After the hill, with 10 miles or so to go, I took a swig, then reached down to put my bottle back in the cage. Yeah, missed the cage and promply deposited my bottle on the road...no mo' H2O for me...sucked BIG TIME.

If I remember correctly, I entered the "citizen's class." I'm pretty sure of this, as it seemed a lot easier than when I later did my Cat 5 races. If you're racing 5's, then the same advice goes, but be aware that they'll be a good bit stronger than the folks I raced with.
 

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First race.

How did you do in your first race? Persistent determination and discipline in training will help you face any challenges in the race of life. Ride well.
chang100 said:
I signed up for the Bulldog RR at Camp Pendleton on Saturday. I don't expect to be in the front of the pack so what's the best strategy for doing well? I've done big group rides before, some paceline training, but not much else other than riding a lot by myself. I don't want to do anything stupid; I DO want to finish safely and quickly. It's a relatively flat 26-mile course with a big climb in the middle. I'm resting up and carbo-loading tomorrow, any other advice would be appreciated.
 

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summary

Thanks for all the good advice, it was really helpful. I finished 45th out of 59 in my age group, did the 27 miles in 1:29:29 and set a personal best avg. of 18mph and max of 43.8mph. Since the race was organized by age group and not ability, there were a lot of really fast sponsored guys setting the pace. All men 30-39 started at the same time, about 130 guys. We were going 33mph right out of the gate and it wasn't hard in the middle of the pack, but I gradually fell back within the first 10 miles and slogged through mostly solo. I tagged on with passing pacelines when the opportunity came up, and that really helped. The best part was blazing down the long hill in a group of about 20-- I felt like a fighter pilot flying in formation.

It was a very humbling experience and definitely something I will continue doing. I just need to find the time to train more and get stronger. I'm glad I did it! The organizers and the Marines put on a great event, my hat's off to them.

JaeP, sorry I missed you at the finish line, had to get home to the wife and work on the house. I saw your results, you're faster than I am!
 

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Congrats

Congradulations Chang100. I'm glad your enjoyed your first race experience and hope you'll continue to race and ride. Once again I might have to lodge a complaint because 2 of the top 3 finishers in the Cyldesdale division look sub 200lbs to me. (just kidding, but one of my teammates suggested that they should start weighing the Cyldesdale winners before they pick up their medals). :)

I finished 19th in my division. The pace was brutal for a bunch of "fatties". Someone stepped on the gas as soon as we made that right hand turn onto the race course. Huge gaps started forming in this supposedly neutral section of the race. I chased like crazy to get to the front of the group. I was able to bridge before the front group made the left hand turn onto the main road only to get shelled off the back once we hit that little dip in the road just after that left hand turn. C'est la Vie.
 

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JaeP said:
I finished 19th in my division. The pace was brutal for a bunch of "fatties". Someone stepped on the gas as soon as we made that right hand turn onto the race course. Huge gaps started forming in this supposedly neutral section of the race. I chased like crazy to get to the front of the group. I was able to bridge before the front group made the left hand turn onto the main road only to get shelled off the back once we hit that little dip in the road just after that left hand turn. C'est la Vie.
It wasn't only the big guys in that wave. They also had the 50+ guys, many of whom are also Cat 1, 2 etc. It was my team (UC Cyclery in Phonak type color scheme) that hit the gas since we were going for the win. Also it wasn't in the neutral area when we hit the gas. Once the pace truck pulled off, everything was fair game, so thats what we did. We got 1st and 2nd in the 50+ and 1st and 4th in the 55+. I entered in the Clydesdale so I was also able to help my guys before we hit the hill. Either way it was a fun race if not weird way to put on a road race.
 
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