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Did my first crit race last weekend as part of an omnium. This was my first crit ever, so I didn't really know what to expect. My plan was to stay near the back of the main pack so that I could get the good draft on straight sections, and not cause a wreck in the turns.

Brief course layout. It was shaped somewhat like a "P". The race was 35 min +2 laps, and started and finished on a downhill. The downhill led into a loop shaped parking lot, and then exited into a long straightaway that headed uphill into the wind. This uphill ended with a 180 turnaround.
Now to the race: I started in the back of the pack and began to execute my plan. Worked out fairly well to begin with while my legs were still strong. I did not realize how hard it was going to be to continually catch up to the front guys as they accelerated out of these turns and I was still moving slowly through them. It seemed as though a huge gap formed each time I exited the last turn of the loop. I hung in there pretty good until the last lap, when the gap was too big and my legs were too dead to catch the main group (now only about 15 riders, started at about 50). I ended up finishing in 16th place after an all-out sprint with another guy who had gotten dropped off the back of the main group as well. It was an exciting sprint, drafted behind until the last hundred yards with him trying to drop me, then I swung out and gave it all I had to the finish. Ended up winning by about a bike length, just wish it had been for first place rather than 16th.
Anyway, I think it was a great learning experience for me to know that the back is not the place to be. Quick advice needed, where do you feel the ideal place to be in a race such as this would be so that you're not pulling the group, but also so you don't have this long sprint to catch up to the leaders after every turn.
Oh, and I'm definitely hooked on racing. The next day was a 45 mile road race, ended up 30 out of 68, 18 minutes back from the winner. I'd give more details but this is getting too lengthy already. Hope this advice helps some other beginners, and any advice would be great. Cheers!
 

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'ze front...

B-Fun said:
Did my first crit race last weekend as part of an omnium. This was my first crit ever, so I didn't really know what to expect. My plan was to stay near the back of the main pack so that I could get the good draft on straight sections, and not cause a wreck in the turns.

Brief course layout. It was shaped somewhat like a "P". The race was 35 min +2 laps, and started and finished on a downhill. The downhill led into a loop shaped parking lot, and then exited into a long straightaway that headed uphill into the wind. This uphill ended with a 180 turnaround.
Now to the race: I started in the back of the pack and began to execute my plan. Worked out fairly well to begin with while my legs were still strong. I did not realize how hard it was going to be to continually catch up to the front guys as they accelerated out of these turns and I was still moving slowly through them. It seemed as though a huge gap formed each time I exited the last turn of the loop. I hung in there pretty good until the last lap, when the gap was too big and my legs were too dead to catch the main group (now only about 15 riders, started at about 50). I ended up finishing in 16th place after an all-out sprint with another guy who had gotten dropped off the back of the main group as well. It was an exciting sprint, drafted behind until the last hundred yards with him trying to drop me, then I swung out and gave it all I had to the finish. Ended up winning by about a bike length, just wish it had been for first place rather than 16th.
Anyway, I think it was a great learning experience for me to know that the back is not the place to be. Quick advice needed, where do you feel the ideal place to be in a race such as this would be so that you're not pulling the group, but also so you don't have this long sprint to catch up to the leaders after every turn.
Oh, and I'm definitely hooked on racing. The next day was a 45 mile road race, ended up 30 out of 68, 18 minutes back from the winner. I'd give more details but this is getting too lengthy already. Hope this advice helps some other beginners, and any advice would be great. Cheers!
Ride at or near the front. Top 10 riders is where you want to be. You still get a draft, and still don't spend too much time or energy closing the cornering gaps.

Don't sprint for 16th place. Another rookie mistake. After they award the "money" spots, might as well not put yourself into danger, and or possibly someone else for really, nothing more than bragging rights.
 

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magnolialover said:
Don't sprint for 16th place. Another rookie mistake. After they award the "money" spots, might as well not put yourself into danger, and or possibly someone else for really, nothing more than bragging rights.
The crit was part of a three stage omnium with points in each stage down to 20th place. With the final stage counting 50%, there was no way of knowing how significant the points for that one place in the crit might turn out to be. It's a good argument against crits in omniums. Instead of everyone in the pack getting the same time as in a stage race and cruising in together; in an omnium, everyone is still fighting for the minor places.
 

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B-Fun said:
Did my first crit race last weekend as part of an omnium. This was my first crit ever, so I didn't really know what to expect. My plan was to stay near the back of the main pack so that I could get the good draft on straight sections, and not cause a wreck in the turns.

Brief course layout. It was shaped somewhat like a "P". The race was 35 min +2 laps, and started and finished on a downhill. The downhill led into a loop shaped parking lot, and then exited into a long straightaway that headed uphill into the wind. This uphill ended with a 180 turnaround.
Now to the race: I started in the back of the pack and began to execute my plan. Worked out fairly well to begin with while my legs were still strong. I did not realize how hard it was going to be to continually catch up to the front guys as they accelerated out of these turns and I was still moving slowly through them. It seemed as though a huge gap formed each time I exited the last turn of the loop. I hung in there pretty good until the last lap, when the gap was too big and my legs were too dead to catch the main group (now only about 15 riders, started at about 50). I ended up finishing in 16th place after an all-out sprint with another guy who had gotten dropped off the back of the main group as well. It was an exciting sprint, drafted behind until the last hundred yards with him trying to drop me, then I swung out and gave it all I had to the finish. Ended up winning by about a bike length, just wish it had been for first place rather than 16th.
Anyway, I think it was a great learning experience for me to know that the back is not the place to be. Quick advice needed, where do you feel the ideal place to be in a race such as this would be so that you're not pulling the group, but also so you don't have this long sprint to catch up to the leaders after every turn.
Oh, and I'm definitely hooked on racing. The next day was a 45 mile road race, ended up 30 out of 68, 18 minutes back from the winner. I'd give more details but this is getting too lengthy already. Hope this advice helps some other beginners, and any advice would be great. Cheers!
Tee hee! Classic rookie mistake: thinking I'll ride at the back, it'll be safer/whatever' Don't work like that grasshopper. The back is about the WORST place for new racers to be 'cause it hurts so farging much the whole race.

Next time, try and stay in the top third and see how you do. My bet is much better.

If you want the workout, by all means, stay at the back! I do when I want the sprint/bridge/whatever training.

M
 

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At the front, not on the front...

at the back, you get the rubber band effect. forcing a sprint out of the turns.
Plus, you'll have to cover gaps blown riders open up.
and, if there is a crash the rider is gona be in front of you, better for that to happen behind you.

Remember, if you aren't moving up, you are moving back.
 

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Ah...the back

It can even suck for us not so newbies. I wound up near the back with 7 laps to go a week or so ago. I am not a particularly gutsy racer (kids, career that don't need me in crutches) so I got stuck behind the large bolus of the pack. I rubber-banded along wearing myself out. The field accelerated with 5 laps to go and me and 4 other guys chased and were thinking, "what happened????" Duh. Hypoxia and the brain made that hard to compute at the time:) .
 
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