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· your text here
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two years ago there was a criterium held about 4 miles from my front door. I knew nothing about it, and felt left out. last year I went and watched, but was too chicken to do it. This year I decided three weeks ago I was gonna do it.

Before REALLY deciding, I emailed the "contact us" and let the guy know I've never raced before, I was nervous about the close quarters, and what the avg speed might be. He said not to worry, and the avg speed was around 20-21 mph for the citizens/cat5 group. "You'll do fine. Looking forward to seeing you in the race."


Even though some people piled on this guy for not riding in groups much before his first race, I figured I should at least try it. Plus, as Grumpy points out, I will probably just be spit out the back anyway. I just wanna see what racing is like.

I have read to ride in the front 1/3 of the pack. I have heard to stay off the back since I am new. I have heard I will bleed out my eyeballs. I have also been reminded to take the saddle bag off the bike, but no word on the blinky light...

i registered today.
8:30 is the start for my group. i have ridden the course, but not at speed. im freaked.

So, what advice can I get from the racers here? What is advice you wished someone had told you before trying your first race?

 

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weltyed said:
Two years ago there was a criterium held about 4 miles from my front door. I knew nothing about it, and felt left out. last year I went and watched, but was too chicken to do it. This year I decided three weeks ago I was gonna do it.

Before REALLY deciding, I emailed the "contact us" and let the guy know I've never raced before, I was nervous about the close quarters, and what the avg speed might be. He said not to worry, and the avg speed was around 20-21 mph for the citizens/cat5 group. "You'll do fine. Looking forward to seeing you in the race."


Even though some people piled on this guy for not riding in groups much before his first race, I figured I should at least try it. Plus, as Grumpy points out, I will probably just be spit out the back anyway. I just wanna see what racing is like.

I have read to ride in the front 1/3 of the pack. I have heard to stay off the back since I am new. I have heard I will bleed out my eyeballs. I have also been reminded to take the saddle bag off the bike, but no word on the blinky light...

i registered today.
8:30 is the start for my group. i have ridden the course, but not at speed. im freaked.

So, what advice can I get from the racers here? What is advice you wished someone had told you before trying your first race?

Hey,

I recognize that course and will be in the 8:30 5's and 9:00 30+ 4/5 races. You have nothing to fear. Seriously. Just don't overlap wheels.

Take off the saddle bag and the blinky light. And everything else that isn't necessary. If you've got any concerns about navigating registration, etc., send me a PM. I will probably be there VERY early and would be happy to help you out.

When it's all over, you'll wonder why you waited so long to give it a try!
 

· your text here
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
the two 90s are hard, but not too tight. the first one has a weird curbing to it, though. i can see where an elstic bunch will form there. the fastest section is after the second 90 turn.

the other turns are all pretty good. the last one is where some havoc may happen, especially near the final laps. i think everyone will go into that corner pretty hot. the trick will be to jump WAY before then and be one of the leading 4. if its windy, you wanna be third wheel.
dont tell anyone i said all that.
 

· Anti-Hero
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It doesn't always happen, but sometimes in the last lap, a few guys will be bunched up front, mean-mugging each other because they all want to be ~3rd wheel rather than pulling. If that's the case, then at the part of the course just before those last white arrows on the map, give them a hard attack across the road. Don't let up or look back, and take the last sweeper at the very limits of your tires' traction. The idea is that you catch them off-guard and they don't have time to catch you.

It only works in that situation where people up front are distracted, though. If they're sitting up front waiting for an attack so that they can jump on a wheel (or if the pace is already pretty high), then it will result in you giving someone a nice leadout.
 

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weltyed said:
the two 90s are hard, but not too tight. the first one has a weird curbing to it, though. i can see where an elstic bunch will form there. the fastest section is after the second 90 turn.

the other turns are all pretty good. the last one is where some havoc may happen, especially near the final laps. i think everyone will go into that corner pretty hot. the trick will be to jump WAY before then and be one of the leading 4. if its windy, you wanna be third wheel.
dont tell anyone i said all that.
My experience in racing Cat 5's in the greater Chicagoland area is that: 1) There will probably be a preme on the second to last lap, and the pace will be very high for the entire last 2 laps; and 2) a few guys are going to go before crossing the line getting the bell (whether or not there was a preme).

You'll probably have a hard enough time getting oxygen and keeping track of things like location of manhole covers and wind direction to worry too much more in-depth racing. If you're in position to place well in the last few laps, though, my experience has been to go early. Real early. Try to break off maybe after the first turn. Give it an all-out-sprint effort. That will rip up the pack and drop a lot of guys who have been hanging on just to hang on- they won't have the fight to put in a lap at 10/10's (unlike just riding around, where they'll happily wait to sprint). The guys at the front will start chasing and many of them will probably come around, but you'll cause enough chaos to land yourself in the top 10.
 

· chamois creme addict
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First race advice

My first criterium was back in 1994(!) and it was on a 750 metre L-shaped course on narrow residential streets. The most vivid memory I have from it was that it was fast and hard. Here is what I would suggest for a first race:

1) Get everything ready early the night before so you have no stress in the morning. You will be nervous, so get to bed early and medicate to sleep if you need to. I'm not kidding, two Benadryl will get me to sleep in the worst moments.

2) Eat breakfast 2-3 hours before your race and do not overdo it. Criteriums are short and intense and if you have much food in your stomach it will not sit well.

3) Arrive 90 minutes early (or earlier) and sign-on and get your numbers. Make sure to check that things are running on-time.

4) Warm up well. I always prefer a "riding" warmup to a stationary one because I can regulate my body temperature better, but if there is no good place to warmup then a trainer or rollers is a must. Your body needs to be fully warmed up and ready to make a near-maximal effort at the start.

5) If you are already familiar with the course, do not pre-ride it before your race. Linger near the start line and line up on the front row or as forward as possible. It is much easier to start near the front of ANY criterium.

6) Once the gun goes, expect the first 10-15 minutes to be very intense. There will likely be lots of short-lived attacks. Try your best to stay up front, be careful not to overlap wheels and be attentive. After the early attacking the race will likely settle in.

7) Corners will be taken at speed, outside-inside-outside when the pack is single file. If the pack is not single-file in the corners, the best place to be is slightly to the inside of the group. Most cornering crashes slide to the outside with momentum.

8) When I say inside above, I do not mean to be the guy who comes up way on the inside into tight turn and says "inside". Watch out for these choppers, it happens in every race from cat 5 to cat 1. It usually happens when the pace eases and guys try to move up in the inside but run out of room before the corner.

9) If there are primes on offer (mid-race sprints for prizes or money), the bell will be rung and the prime announced. Expect lots of attacks and a near-finish-like sprint to ensue. Attacking after the prime is a good move to get a breakaway started, if you can manage it.

10) Looking at your course, the 2nd last and last corners will be the dangerous ones because the straight sections that follow are the shortest. Guys will try to pedal as early as possible and the risk of someone clipping a pedal will be highest in these two corners.

11) If you survive to the end and don't fancy a sprint, try to catch the pack on a lull and attack before the 2nd last corner. A single rider can likely ride the last two U-turns to the finish quicker than a chasing bunch.

Good luck and have fun!
 

· What? Me worry?
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weltyed said:
So, what advice can I get from the racers here? What is advice you wished someone had told you before trying your first race?
You're not going to like this, but my advice is to not make your first race an open race. Join a club. Do about 20 club races before your first open race. Even then, your first open race will be an eye-opener.

Here are things that are most likely to happen, not necessarily in any order:

1. Your bike won't pass inspection and they won't let you ride.

2. You'll be spit out the back in the first 3 minutes.

3. You'll hook a wheel and crash.

4. You'll hook a wheel and crash breaking your collarbone.

5. You'll hook a wheel and crash fracturing your skull

6. You'll hook someone else and cause him and four others to crash.

7. You'll ride into a crash ahead of you causing results listed in 4. and 5. above.

8. You'll be spit out the back in the first 4 minutes.

I could go on, but the point is that bad things can happen if you're not prepared, and from what I've read, you're not prepared. Just having ridden a bike and wanting to do a criterium is not preparation. It's unfair to the other riders as well as to your survivors to consider such a thing.

Do the the grown up thing. Prepare properly and spare yourself and others a lot of grief.
 

· Game on, b*tches!
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Dude. It's a "citizen's race" and cat 5. He'll be OK. Prolly won't win, but prolly won't get lapped, either.
 

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StillRiding said:
You're not going to like this, but my advice is to not make your first race an open race. Join a club. Do about 20 club races before your first open race. Even then, your first open race will be an eye-opener.

Here are things that are most likely to happen, not necessarily in any order:

1. Your bike won't pass inspection and they won't let you ride.

2. You'll be spit out the back in the first 3 minutes.

3. You'll hook a wheel and crash.

4. You'll hook a wheel and crash breaking your collarbone.

5. You'll hook a wheel and crash fracturing your skull

6. You'll hook someone else and cause him and four others to crash.

7. You'll ride into a crash ahead of you causing results listed in 4. and 5. above.

8. You'll be spit out the back in the first 4 minutes.

I could go on, but the point is that bad things can happen if you're not prepared, and from what I've read, you're not prepared. Just having ridden a bike and wanting to do a criterium is not preparation. It's unfair to the other riders as well as to your survivors to consider such a thing.

Do the the grown up thing. Prepare properly and spare yourself and others a lot of grief.
Don't be a jerk, he's not gonna kill anyone. If he's that big a noob, he won't make it two laps.

To the OP, settle down and try to enjoy yourself.
 
G

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Good luck.

And I don't remember the last time I saw anyone doing a bike inspection (unless you count the juniors and their rollout).

They use dogs to track down people who don't know how to pin on numbers though and Lord have mercy on the guy who shows up at a race in a sleeveless jersey but I don't see them looking at any bikes.

Everyone has a first race, might was well get it out of the way. Its not combat like the one poster made it out to be, its bike racing, and it can be painful but there aren't any landmines strewn along the road.
 

· Scary Teddy Bear
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Cruzer2424 said:
Or skip that club crap and just do it. :rolleyes:

+1000....no one can really "tell" you....you just have to get out there and race. Just be mindful of your line and position...don't make any wild manuevers, but by the same token don't take anyone else's cr*p either. Don't even think about worrying about tactics.....Take a lap or two to get used to the pace......and hang on. Then if you feel strong....pick a spot and try and go...that's about it for tactics in your first race....

OH, and don't blow up in the first 3 laps.

Good Luck buddy.:thumbsup:
 

· Administrator
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Everybody has a first race, and a crit is as good a place as any.

Besides, its a Cat 5 race.

Just don't clip your inside pedal on the 90 degree corners.

Don't panic if you rub wheels or bump someone- you won't go down unless you overreact, as your bike wants to stay up.

Its ok to be nervous, but work to "park" any negative thoughts.

If you are hurting, so are they. Just hold on another minute. Then another.

Bike racing's fun.

:D
 
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