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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to check if I can use my first road bike for my first time entering a race? I recently got a full carbon frame bike the Specialized Roubaix but really don't want to risk getting it crashed or scratched.

My bike of choice would be the Sp. Allez that I've upgraded with 105 components, I figured that's good enough for the beginner classes, but do I need spare wheels, tools, or any other supplies different from a typical ride?

The first series I'm looking at locally is the Leaving 99 Crits here in Littleton, CO. Has anyone ever been there? I'm planning on just watching on the first race which is on 3/14, so hopefully I can get some pointers on all my questions there and then plan of racing the weekend after.

Thanks for any tips provided :)
 

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capnron5177 said:
Just wanted to check if I can use my first road bike for my first time entering a race? I recently got a full carbon frame bike the Specialized Roubaix but really don't want to risk getting it crashed or scratched.

My bike of choice would be the Sp. Allez that I've upgraded with 105 components, I figured that's good enough for the beginner classes, but do I need spare wheels, tools, or any other supplies different from a typical ride?

The first series I'm looking at locally is the Leaving 99 Crits here in Littleton, CO. Has anyone ever been there? I'm planning on just watching on the first race which is on 3/14, so hopefully I can get some pointers on all my questions there and then plan of racing the weekend after.

Thanks for any tips provided :)

Just go ride. You can ride anything you like as long as it conforms to the rules, and the Spec would be fine. Bring spare wheels if you have them, to save time if you get a flat, but it's not really necessary. Bring your floor pump, and check tire pressure just before the race.

Don't be afraid to ask questions of the experienced-looking guys. And I'd suggest planning to race even on the first day. It's a training crit, with a newbie class. You'll learn more by giving it a shot than by just watching. Get there early and ask a lot of questions, try the race, then stay and watch the other classes to learn more (and ask more questions, too).

Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tip! I may just do that, I'll bring my bike along in case I get enough courage to try it out, if not there's 4 races every weekend afterwards in March, so I'll try at least one of them.

Hopefully later on I can find a more long distance race, probably would like to try those out as well.
 

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Your old bike is fine. It's been stated here many times, if you can't afford to replace it, don't race it.

Don't watch the first race, register and line up for it. You'll learn a lot really really quickly by being in the mix.

If you've got spare wheels bring them. If you don't have spares, don't sweat it, if you flat just bail. Other than a bike, a pump, and a water bottle (which most people will forget is on their bike during the race) you don't really need much in the way of tools for a crit. A trainer is nice to have around to warm up on.

Let us know how it goes.
 

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Throw a folding chair into your car. After racing, nothing like pulling your bike shoes off, popping something cool to drink and watching other people suffer from the comfort of your own chair. :D
 

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capnron5177 said:
Just wanted to check if I can use my first road bike for my first time entering a race? I recently got a full carbon frame bike the Specialized Roubaix but really don't want to risk getting it crashed or scratched.

My bike of choice would be the Sp. Allez that I've upgraded with 105 components, I figured that's good enough for the beginner classes, but do I need spare wheels, tools, or any other supplies different from a typical ride?

The first series I'm looking at locally is the Leaving 99 Crits here in Littleton, CO. Has anyone ever been there? I'm planning on just watching on the first race which is on 3/14, so hopefully I can get some pointers on all my questions there and then plan of racing the weekend after.

Thanks for any tips provided :)
1. Welcome to the sport. Have fun is rule #1 and no need to sweat about what things to bring. However, do bring spare tubes, and a pump (if you're driving to the race, bring the floor pump). And of course mini took kit with allen keys. Don't screw around with your bike the night before. Make any adjustments with the bike itself and your bike fit way in advance, and then test it out at least the day before. Have all our cycling clothes/shoes/food ready to go the night before. I have to ride to races so I cannot waste anytime in the morning. Plus it's less stress.

2. I don't know how long your race is, so as far as hyrdation and food are concerned, have something before (also don't try to experiment with new foods or drinks the night before/morning of race) and after the race. In short crits, I would at the most put a full bottle in the cage. You should drink minimally in a short race for a couple reasons (1) you should drink more before-by the time you really need to drink, it's probably too late. (2) in a crit, you really need to be concerned about keeping focused. Getting a bottle out/in a cage during a fast paced race with a lot of newbies can either cause you to swerve causing a chain reaction of crossing/touching wheels/crashes. Also if you drop the bottle you may cause a crash behind you, I've seen all the above happen. It's simply ridiculous.

3. No need to put anything in your jersey except maybe a gel (if the crit is on a city street or a block circuit and you can walk back to your car if you flat, then don't even put a spare tube in your jersey--if you flat, you're done anyway).

4. In an ideal situation, you would not want to race on carbon in amateur crits, especially in beginner races, including CAT5. You have a lot of folks who are just entering their first race, and there's bound to be someone who crashes. Even for more experienced racers, I've been told that they lay low in the first few races, b/c in the beginning of the season there a lot of riders who go out too agressive and are not as careful. If you're going to race on carbon be careful. As in any race, be careful if you decide to ride someone's wheel. I would not suggest it in beginner crits. Chances are they will brake in a corner and if you're behind him, you'll hit him. Be cognizant of those riding to your left and right as they pass you. If they bump arms or elbows, keep your elbows out while your hands are on the bar . You do that so that you can put some distance between you and the adjacent rider. If you guys cross handlebars, you'll crash. You will not crash if you ride shoulder to shoulder with someone. My team trains by literally rubbing shoulders while riding in columns of 2 for long stretches of road, so we don't get afraid of people bumping into us or swerving. If you swerve to get out of someone bumping into you. you can ride into someone else's wheel. Just bump them back/hold your territory by keeping your body weight centered.

5. I hope you know how to fall without breaking a wrist or damaging your bike. Don't stick your hand out to brace it (you'll fracture your wrist). Use the meat of your side area/shoulder/chest to cushion the fall, and chances are the bike frame won't touch the ground, just your handlebar, pedals, and possibly rear der.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again for all the replies. Yes, its a crit and the expected length for the race is about 30 minutes, so the idea of spare wheel and water bottle would not be needed. All good advices here, I now have more courage now to show up! All things considered I'll have a good time no matter what the results are.
 

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capnron5177 said:
Thanks again for all the replies. Yes, its a crit and the expected length for the race is about 30 minutes, so the idea of spare wheel and water bottle would not be needed. All good advices here, I now have more courage now to show up! All things considered I'll have a good time no matter what the results are.
That's the right attitude. Just do a few races, and you'll start to feel those pre race jitters less and less. Even though it's a short race, try to breathe (really) normally, it's still an aerobic effort. And don't clench the bars in a death grip though it is tempting to do so. One last tip: to the extent possible, try to be in the first third of the group. A lot of crashes happen in the back half of the group,
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for the advice. I did the crit this saturday and I had a great time even though I left a pair of lungs somewhere there... I placed 8th out of 14 riders in the newbie/citizen class, and went ahead try the cat 4 races for $5 extra just for the experience. I got lapped and everyone who does had to withdraw for the final 5 laps, but overall its all about the experience gained, I felt like I've gained a level up on cycling :)

Like all said, be aware the space around you, follow the lines riders take in turns, and expecting the guy in front would brake. There were no crashes in the newbie race, but in the cat 4 I saw two people who slid out this hard left after a fast downhill. Overall it wasn't as dangerous as I thought it would, and would definitely look forward to a few more races later on!
 

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They let you do the cat 4 race? I didn't think that was kosher.

8 of 14 is good. In my first cat 5 I was dropped and lapped like a dying slug. A bit better in my second.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here in Colorado cat 4 is the entry classification. Yeah, I wished there was a cat 5 in between. I'm surprised even in the newbie class, how there's a lot of teams, or riders representing a team. In the cat 4 race there were 2-3 photographers, plus a handful of coaches for the various teams shouting tactics and of course encouragements, real serious stuff...
 

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you're doing it right

Race the bike you can afford to smash up. Aluminum bikes with 105 stuff on them race great.

Just use the good tires.
 

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Good for you

I had a great time even though I left a pair of lungs somewhere there
That means you were doing it right :)

Next week, you'll lose a lung again, but you'll hang in the Cat 4 a few laps longer. Remember what Greg LeMond said: it doesn't get any easier; you just go faster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Going back to my original concern about the bike/equipment, I realize that even if I have a $10,000 bike this weekend I would still get lapped for the cat 4 race. It really is all about the rider. The best strategy I think (at least for me) is to use what I got, train hard and if somehow one day I can feel I have a chance to place the upper half, then better equipment just might give me that little edge to get there.

Thank you all for the congrats and the encouragements!
 

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stop being reasonable..... you'll do way better in races with a better bike, and carbon wheels are a must.

after a few races things will "slow down" for you. you'll be more efficient in the group, waste less energy, etc. it's a learning process as well as a training/fitness process.

good job on getting out there and giving it a go.
 

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Yes, really not about the bike. As long as it is well constructed and tuned properly(gears/brakes) you are fine. My bike has lots of lower end components, but the reason I don't win is me, not the Tiagra RD.
 
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