Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, on sort of a whim and some encouragement from a friend, I decided to enter my first road race. It's a cat 5 race, 25 miles, one lap. I've been riding since January and have been doing group rides all summer. I figure the worst that could happen is I could come in last. No big deal really.

I've done some looking around on the web and read a few things such as:
-Hydrate well several days before the race.
-Eat a large meal two nights before the race and a moderate meal the night before the race.
-Eat a breakfast such as whole wheat toast with peanut butter.

I'm mostly just going to try to hang with the pack and then when I get spit out the back, I'll form a pack with whoever else does too. Surely, I won't be the other one. While I'd love to go out and dominate, I'm realistic and know that most people get dropped their first couple of races. Not to mention, I haven't specifically prepared for this event though I have been doing a little bit of interval training. I just hope to finish not in dead last. And even if I do, I imagine it will be fun.

Any other advice or things I should be aware of? Thanks!
 

·
Off the back
Joined
·
1,850 Posts
Yeah, stay alert and relaxed. It will minimize your prospects for kissing the asphalt. Inexplicably, this occurs frequently in cat 5 races.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
1) Protect your front wheel. Either be side by side with someone or directly behind, don't overlap your front wheel with their rear.

2) Keep an eye out for the confident riders and try to stick with them. It's very unlikely that they will be the ones that will crash.

3) Try to take the outside edge on corners - this will help prevent you from having to brake and then quickly accelerate again and again.

4) Stay calm and composed and do not let the tight pack freak you out.

5) Run a lap or two on the course either the day before, or the day of. Since you only have one lap be sure to know the course inside and out when you are on the bike. Know where the potholes are, the bumps, the sewers etc.

6) Shave your legs. If by some unfortunate accident you do eat asphalt, your legs will thank you for shaving.


Also try to get a ride in, in which you practice tight cornering and hard accelerations out of it. Do this until your legs are burning with every sprint out of the corner. Doing this at least once before the race will make your legs used to race type efforts.
 

·
Moderatus Puisne
Joined
·
15,883 Posts
Ride hard, don't wreck, don't wreck anybody else, have fun.

Let me reiterate -- go so hard you think you are going to puke and pass out at the same time, but keep your head up.

Hold the wheels as long as you can, draft close, stay out of the wind.


That's really it.

Don't worry about all that other stuff about nutrition, etc -- that is for later. We are talking about maybe 75 minutes here. over before you know it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
Something that's really helped me is to have a sports drink and a cup of coffee with my breakfast, especially if its going to be warm. The extra hydration and electrolytes will help you out come race time.

For breakfast: I usually have a bowl of oatmeal. But really, any carb-rich breakfast with a little added protein will do. Muesli, Oatmeal, Porridge, Toast, Cereal.

Since this is a short race, you're going to need to be adequately warmed up before you get to the start line. Have a gel 15 minutes before you start, and another one halfway through. The rigors of racing will kick your engine into overdrive, even if its only for 75 or 80 minutes, so you want to make sure you have the fuel to sustain it.

If you get dropped, chase like a man possessed. Don't crash. Don't crash anyone else. Ride defensively.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,799 Posts
Stay in the front.
Don't be afraid to do some work to keep the pace consistent.
Finishing last is better than crashing out.
Be smooth, consistent and predictable until you attack
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the tips! The race is Saturday and I can't wait! Through the grapevine, I've heard that there are quite a few other first time racers so at least I won't be the only one. I suppose that could be a bad thing because there will be more inexperienced people like me. I would mostly just like to not crash and if I do, not to do any long term damage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
If you could spot the stronger/more confident/experienced riders, try to stick to their wheels. They're the least likely to crash.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Main thing is be safe. You already admitted you aren't going to win, and that is true. So, just be safe.

Don't be surprised if the pack shatters on the first climb. If it does, and you fall off the back, just find a wheel to suck and keep going. Try to trade turns pulling. It's one lap, so you won't get pulled, but you might fall outside the safety envelope of the escort cars - so you'll have to obey traffic laws and stuff.
 

·
waterproof*
Joined
·
41,608 Posts
Most road races are "center line rule" - meaning, this ain't the Tour, you don't get a full road closure... it's like a fast group ride except the testosterone level is 10x and guys will squeeze into places they really should not be and make lateral moves they'd never pull on a bike shop ride. This can cause crashes.

The best way to avoid those is to line up on the front row get to the race an hour before your start, get / pin your #, warm up ~ 20 min's, take a leak, go linger around the start line, when they start lining up you get in there and stand there.

If you can stay in the front 15 or so, your risk of crash goes way down. And... if the pace gets too high, you have more room to slide back before you are dropped.

About getting dropped... if you are on the rivet, hanging on for dear life, you might start to think "I'll just take a quick breather then I can catch back on." You will be wrong. Do everything, everything to hang onto that last wheel.

25 miles is not all that long. Are there hills? Wind? Do you know the course (google streetview / map / satellite / local forums)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Crack Monkey said:
Main thing is be safe. You already admitted you aren't going to win, and that is true. So, just be safe.

Don't be surprised if the pack shatters on the first climb. If it does, and you fall off the back, just find a wheel to suck and keep going. Try to trade turns pulling. It's one lap, so you won't get pulled, but you might fall outside the safety envelope of the escort cars - so you'll have to obey traffic laws and stuff.
The good thing is that the cat 5's are the last ones starting so at least there will be a few other groups behind me. I think women and juniors. Plus, the cat 1/2's do three laps. I've been working on climbing, but it is still a weakness of mine.

Creakyknees said:
Most road races are "center line rule" - meaning, this ain't the Tour, you don't get a full road closure... it's like a fast group ride except the testosterone level is 10x and guys will squeeze into places they really should not be and make lateral moves they'd never pull on a bike shop ride. This can cause crashes.

The best way to avoid those is to line up on the front row get to the race an hour before your start, get / pin your #, warm up ~ 20 min's, take a leak, go linger around the start line, when they start lining up you get in there and stand there.

If you can stay in the front 15 or so, your risk of crash goes way down. And... if the pace gets too high, you have more room to slide back before you are dropped.

About getting dropped... if you are on the rivet, hanging on for dear life, you might start to think "I'll just take a quick breather then I can catch back on." You will be wrong. Do everything, everything to hang onto that last wheel. 25 miles is not all that long. Are there hills? Wind? Do you know the course (google streetview / map / satellite / local forums)?
Good idea about lining up. My goal is to be able to stay in the front half of the pack at least. I've ridden in faster groups and been able to maintain a 23-25 mph and I've gotten better at accelerating since then too.

I'm glad you mentioned the thing about getting dropped too, because I'd be likely to do that. The course is mostly rolling hills. There are very few flat areas. It will probably be pretty windy also. Here is the course:
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/29112

The finish line is right after the steepest climb!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
622 Posts
stay close to the front, and try to guess where and when the break will be...try to make the selection to stay in the front group. Don't look at the rider right in front of you, look through him to view the entire field.

Have fun. Been racing for two years and it is a blast.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top