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I am sure that this has been addressed before somewhere, but I am a neat combination of scared and excited and nervous and anxious and hyped up, I have entered my first race of my life for this Saturday. it is a cat V 13 mile race. here is the link:
www.redroseraces.com/index.php?option=com_races&task=listRace&id=15&Itemid=42

I rode the course today, and it seems like it is going to be pretty quick except for 2 hills that are fairly steep. I averaged over 19 mph. I guess I was wondering a few things. first am i am going to be really embarrased (and more importantly, why do I really care)? I ride about 100 miles a week and usually avg. 18.5 mph over 25 mile rides with very similar terrain.

second, being a Cat V race, what types of things should I expect as far as tactics, teams, etc... are concened. It seems to me that this is most likely going to be a real long sprint, and as a bunch of new racers, will there really be much of a peloton, or will it be a bunch of guys just having at it and seeing who can stand it the longest?

also, any pre-race stuff a new guy should be aware of, or things you wish that you knew before your first race? and finally, if there are any others out there who will be racing in this, I would love to meet you. PM me and we'll try to hook up. especially if anyone is racing the cat V and would like to team up and help each other out, that would be great. thanks for the advice, I know what I get from here will be great, I can't wait until I have some actual advice to post myself. thanks again.

tim
 

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timmyc said:
if anyone is racing the cat V and would like to team up and help each other out, that would be great
that's a good idea...you and your new cat 5 buddies drill it for the first couple of miles to soften up the peleton then send constant attacks up the road and then ride easy tempo on the front with guys covering any attempts to bridge. If there's a cross wind then ride an eschelon and put the peleton in the gutter and really drill it. If the break is caught then you guys can get a train established with a few miles to go and set a fast tempo to prevent attacks then really ramp it up in the last Km and have the last lead out guy go all out till 200m to go for the designated sprinter to take over, should be an easy win for you. Let us know how it works out.

am I forgetting anything?
 

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first off, you won't get smoked, at least if your cat 5's are anything like ours. there may or may not be breaks, team tactics usually aren't that big (other than basic, dont chase down a teammate, protect your teammates, nothing fancy since not everyone has the legs to pull that sort of stuff off, and if they do, they should be 4's) try to stay at the front as long as possible, especially on the hills. once you arent in the lead group, its pretty much over. is this a road race or a crit ? if its a road race thats especially true, a crit slightly less but still if a break goes, in my experience, in cat 5, its gone, cause its the strongest riders who make the break. 19mph solo on the course, you will be fine, make sure u get ample nutruition, sleep, rest for the race. remember to sit in the wheels as much as possible. who cares if you get dropped, it took me like 3 or 4 races to finish in the pack. being off the back is a part of racing, nothing to be ashamed of. 13 miles is a long time for it to be an all out sprint, but it will be a hammerfest. mr. mojo's advice is good, maybe a bit overkill for your first race, do you have experience riding in big packs? remmeber to hold a steady line, avoid sudden movements, and keep your eyes up. if you cant form a team, make sure you stay in the wheels. (hopefully) in the closing mile you are still up front, get on the wheel of someone, and stick to it. as riders start to make moves get on their wheel. you probably know how long you can all out sprint for (distance wise), try to get yourself into 2nd or 3rd wheel, and when that distance comes (or insidde of it) usually say 200m then come around the persons side and go till you have crossed the line. most likely you wont win (but hey, good luck and i hope you do) but with your training you shouldnt have any problems. good luck and let us know how things go. also, stay relaxed, the rest of your cycling future doesnt hinge upon this race's results.
 

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It will be over before you know it. It has enough hills that the "strategy," especially for your first race, is meaningless.

There will be no team tactics. The field will chase everything they can. Depending upon how steep the hills really are, strong guys may ride off the front and drop everyone; this may or may not be you.

Make sure you don't take anyone out when sprinting, switching from seated to standing, or rocking up a climb.

Warming up well will be absolutely crucial for this short of an event.

Just ride hard and see what happens, man. Enjoy!
 

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I was in your shoes 60 days ago

TimmyC, Your post describes me 60 days ago before my first race. I too ride about 100 miles a week and average 19-20 mph for 20-25 miles. I'm 55 years old and had no idea what to expect. I had a number of people give me really good advice, most of which I did not follow. I got dropped in the first 3 miles because I chose to start at the back. Looking back I was tentative, unprepared and didnt want to take somebody down going into a very early 90 degree turn. I also didn't warm up properly and had no idea the group (also cat 5) would start so fast.

My only advice would be to do whatever it takes to stay with the group as long as you can. This will probably be much more difficult than you think. If you get dropped just continue on. I finished the last 41 miles pretty much by myself in 40 degree temperatures with 19 mph winds. It really wasn't fun but I'm doing by second race this weekend. I'm in better shape and have a better idea of what to expect. In my opinion the whole process is a learning curve. I expect to get better but may well get dropped again. I was really frustrated after my first race but got a lot of encouragement to try it again. I read this forum about every day and there are some really experienced racers willing to share their experiences and suggestions, but I think it really just comes down to riding, riding and riding and learning when you participate in a race. Good luck
 
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