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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
the race organizers tell who is who? I have read that it is common for Cat 4's and 5's to race together (obviously i would be a 5) but are they all competing against each other and if not how do you tell who's who? Sorry if this is a lame question::blush2:
 

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Rondo said:
the race organizers tell who is who? I have read that it is common for Cat 4's and 5's to race together (obviously i would be a 5) but are they all competing against each other and if not how do you tell who's who? Sorry if this is a lame question::blush2:
The races are rarely seperated. It is unimportant who is who. 4's simply have 10 or more races under their belts within a specific period of time.

To find the local cycling association use google. Bike races Florida, or whereever you live. The races coming up will likely be listed on the on the website often with links to the race web page.

Definately bone up on race ettiquite before heading out. Your safety and the safety of those around you depend on steady deliberate bike handling, not diving corners, and a host of other rudimentry racing habits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think I get it now!

Cat 4's and 5" are so close that it does not matter so they compete against each other.
One more thing, I will be 49 years old in January, do I get a special exemtion like a head start:eek:
 

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You might want to repost in the Racing, Training forum

I trust you are comfotable riding in a fast tight pack, can hold a line and go through corners fast, and shoulder to shoulder. In most crits. it's easier to ride near the front than the back. But if you don't have the bike handeling skills yet, it may be best for you, and the other riders, to be at the back-at least initially until you have a feel for the race. There was a resent thread on crits and how you are moving backwards if you are not moving up to the front-it is like a swarm of bees. One minute you're at the front and in a couple of minutes your're near the back again! If you're not use to riding in a close fast pack, you need to do training rides with racers until you have sufficient skills. Crits start really fast. Master racing is faster and more brutal than Cat 4/5 so forget the 45-49 age group until you can hang with the 4/5s. You will need to get warmed up really well because it will start warp speed. It will probably settle down after a few laps. Consider bring a trainer and get in some max 1 min intervals to build up and pass acid prior to the race. Or do them on the road if there is an appropriate place to warm up well.
 

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n00bsauce
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I wouldn't start racing with a crit. I'd pick a road race with a nice course for my first race. Crits can be intense with a lot of jostling, high speed corners and close quarters. Road races, while still demanding good bike handling in large packs, tend to be a little less intense.
 

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gastarbeiter
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Rondo said:
the race organizers tell who is who? I have read that it is common for Cat 4's and 5's to race together (obviously i would be a 5) but are they all competing against each other and if not how do you tell who's who? Sorry if this is a lame question::blush2:
Condsidering that you're 1. a beginner and 2. 49 years of age I'd recommend that you try a road race before you try a crit.

My 1st race was a crit when i was 23. i lasted 3 laps, not because i wasn't fast, but because i had no clue how to corner in a pack (it didn't help that i had a slow start since i was a Sean Kelly fan and was using toeclips instead of clipless like everyone else ;)).

Also, seeing as it's a 4/5 crit, you might want to save some of your skin. :)

Good luck.
 

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Rondo have you been doing training rides with guys that race? If you have and you want to try a crit go for it. If you haven't been doing these rides, I don't recommend even the road race. Find guys that race and get in with them. Join a club that has a race team and ride with them some first. There may be a low key week day local crit where you live. This is great training-that's what it's for. True there are more crashes in crits than RRs but I bet there are more serious injuries in the RRs due to vehicles, speed going down long hills and going off the road. In most crit crashes you lose skin and wound your pride and maybe some bike damage, but even that is usually handlebars, seats or maybe a wheel. Sometimes a broken wrist or collar bone. Please note-I am not saying that guys don't get hurt and sometime seriously in crit. racing. It happens, but you' re not likely to get nailed by a car or go off a mountain side at 60 mph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you guy's are trying to scare me it's working

I train at least 5 day's a week, 25 -40 miles loops. I ride with a fast club once a week (not a member just a lurker) and they do 65-70 mile loops with lots of hills. They typically ride in a two person pace line until the speeds really wick up, then you stay on a wheel until it's your turn to pull. Also there are always mass sprints for the city limit signs where all hell breaks loose. That's the extent of my "group/race" environment and after reading these replies I don't think I'm ready
 

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Where do you live, Rondo?

In some locales there are training crit series, usually on weeknights. They're less formal (and cheaper) than the weekend races, and often have rules that facilitate pack training (like letting you sit out a lap and jump back in if you get dropped). Ask the club guys you ride with if there's any such thing locally. They can be a good way to give it a try, without the time and money invested in a bigger race. It's very frustrating to pay $25 and drive two hours to get to your first road race, start with high expectations, and then immediately get squeezed to the back because of limited pack-riding experience and get dropped on the first hill, and then spend 2 hours chasing in what amounts to a high-cost solo training ride. I speak from experience, having taken up racing in my mid-40's. I liked the challenge, but the training crits turned out to be the most fun. Oh, find out if there are any local time-trial series. That's kind of a kick, too, and you don't have to mess with the pack riding.
 

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I say give it a try. Everyone that races or raced had to do their "first one". If you can find one, the weekday training crit is your best bet. Don't get discourged if you get dropped in the first lap or two. Do short 1-3 minute max vo2 intervals once a week and full recovery sprints for training. If it is a training crit see if the Refs will let you hop back in just stay out of the way the last lap. Dispite all the race day game faces, you and no one else in the group are competing for a place on a TDF team so have fun 'cause if you're not having fun it will not be worth the pain!
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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Rondo said:
I train at least 5 day's a week, 25 -40 miles loops. I ride with a fast club once a week (not a member just a lurker) and they do 65-70 mile loops with lots of hills. They typically ride in a two person pace line until the speeds really wick up, then you stay on a wheel until it's your turn to pull. Also there are always mass sprints for the city limit signs where all hell breaks loose. That's the extent of my "group/race" environment and after reading these replies I don't think I'm ready
Don't let them scare you. A lot depends on where you live. Around Chicago there are a lot of races to get started in (BTW, if you wait for a road race around here, you may never get started).

In this 6 race series, there is a "Masters 40+ who have raced less than 15 times" catagory. Yesterday (5/14) it was kind of a sh!tty day and there were only 8 riders in the group. http://www.prairiepathcycles.com/Athletes By Design/racesevents/2006/MaJoRS/ABDMAJORS.pdf

Some races have a Citizen Only catagory. Though these do tend to be scary, they are doable.

I have seen another for "Those who have never done a pack race on the road."

Though the group ride is very important, starting to race at the same time will cut down the learning curve and can be a lot of fun.

TF
 

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A local time trial series is the lowest-stress way to start racing. The group rides you are doing are about as close to race training that you can get on group rides, mostly the all hell breaks loose city limits sprint part. Some areas there will be training races explicitly for teaching people how to ride races. Ask at your LBS.
 

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If your in a hot area like the mid-atlantic (VA/MD) - they are separated. Cat 5 fills up with 50, and Cat 4 fills up with 100.

This race opened at 8pm last night. Today Cat 5 is full, and Cat 4 is 84 riders strong.

http://www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=3496


AlexCad5 said:
The races are rarely seperated. It is unimportant who is who. 4's simply have 10 or more races under their belts within a specific period of time.

To find the local cycling association use google. Bike races Florida, or whereever you live. The races coming up will likely be listed on the on the website often with links to the race web page.

Definately bone up on race ettiquite before heading out. Your safety and the safety of those around you depend on steady deliberate bike handling, not diving corners, and a host of other rudimentry racing habits.
 

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I would say that you are ready to race. You've done group rides which according to your description sound like they are similar to races, not century rides. There are many group rides all over the country which are much faster than your average category 3 race. Your experiences might not be the same as racing, but they sound pretty close. I suggest that you talk to some of the riders at the ride and ask about the local racing scene -- is there a local newsletter or website that lists the races in your region? Look for a race that is designated as cat 5 or masters 45+. Do not register for a race that is classified as only "masters" -- you could be lining up next to 35 year old national champions -- making for an unpleasant beginning experience. The suggestion of finding a training race series is a good one -- training races are often more fun since people tend to race them tactically more aggressive.

Most races will allow you to get a 1-day license. If you are bitten by the bug, you can then apply for an annual license.
 
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