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Moderatus Puisne
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was my first race of the season, a 50-mile circuit-type road race, consisting of four 12.5-mile laps around a lake. The road was narrow and windy in parts, and mostly chip-and-seal, with one smooth, wide section along a main road. Weather was in the upper forties, and the roads were damp, but it wasn’t actively raining.

My preparation for the race pretty much sucked. The night before, I’d been up until 2 AM, and I had to get up at about 6:00 to get to the race. After a little bit of direction confusion, we arrived at the site 45 minutes before rollout. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my stationary trainer along, since it’s still on loan to a friend, and since the gravel parking lot attached directly to the course, where no warming up was permitted, I wasn’t able to warm up at all.

Oh, well. This is Cat 4 (senior men’s) racing, and the pack wasn’t going very fast. I was able to get a solid warmup out on course, as the first 5 miles were ridden basically neutral. This is also my first race as a Cat 4, with the Cat 5’s in a separate race a few minutes later. I settle in near the front of the pack.

At about mile 8, one guy decides to make an early attack, and dangles off the front for a while, not making very much progress. About two miles later, the rider in front of me decides to jump across the gap, and, what the heck, I follow him. We bridge up to the third rider, and we start working together.

Hammering for about 5 miles, we get a gap that I’d estimate at 90 seconds; I couldn’t see the main field. At that point, the rider that attacked first falls off the back. The other rider and I trade pulls, but when he’s at the front, the pace isn’t what I’d like it to be, so I do most of the work. The slight uphill sections of the course – barely pimples in the road, gaining perhaps 100 feet – see him drop off the pace considerably.

This is where I make a foolish decision; I slow to allow him back on my wheel. In retrospect, I should have either gone back to the group, or else hammered away at full-speed. Half-assed breakaways get nowhere. Once a guy’s dangling on and off the back, he’s not going to be any good, and my breakaway partner doesn’t do any more work. A couple of miles later he falls off the back for good, and I continue to foolishly spin along in this breakaway, not wanting to burn myself out, but unwilling to simply sit up.

I chuckle at the obligatory cheers as I pass the start area, and continue on my way. I even eat half a bar. I glance back, and see the pack has closed most of the gap to me. I shrug, sit up, and re-integrate into the group. I was off the front for about 20 miles, a little more than half of that solo. Well, it was good training.

The rest of the race, the crowded, twitchy pack snakes around the loop, any other attacks being quickly nullified. It hardly takes any effort to maintain the packs’ speed; the hardest part is moving up through the crowded field. Before I know it, we’re in the last kilometer, and the speed winds up a bit. I’m trying to work my way to the front, but, then, so is everyone, and the last thing I want to do is go down again; my shoulder and elbow still hurt quite a bit from a previous crash.

We’re allowed the full road for the final 200 metres, and, at about 250 to go, I’m planning my jump. I don’t think I’ve filtered through enough of the pack to go for the win, but I might get top-five, I figure, so it’s worth the sprint.

Then, someone shouts “Oh, FVCK.” Two wheels in front of me, the rider has tried to jump out across the road, miscalculated his distance, and hit the back wheel of the rider in front of him. His front wheel twists sideways, the rider directly in front of me slams into the back of him.

I remember my lessons about target fixation, thankfully, and find my exit in the gravel. I see someone flying over the bars, and hear a loud CRACK, POP, and some more shouting. Yikes.

I’m already slowed enough that I’m not going to place in the race, so I stop, lay my bike beside the road, and run over to see if I can help the riders who went down. It looks like only two racers actually went down; one slid on his side and just has some road rash, but the first guy’s carbon frame snapped at the head tube. He face-planted on the ground, and it’s pretty ugly; he’s got his teeth punched through one side of his check, a stick through the other, and he is not conscious. Bright-red blood runs from under his helmet. Damn.

Thankfully, the guy with the just-road-rash-and-perhaps-a-fractured-collarbone is a doctor, and gets the guy’s neck stabilized. He’s making really disturbing sputtering noises…

I’ll spare the rest of those details, save that the ambulance showed up a few minutes later, and I heard the next day that he was lucky, as far as it goes; he didn’t break his spine, and the CAT scan was negative.

Still.

Be careful out there, folks.
 

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great report. and exactly the reason i'm considering giving up road racing after three years. are cat. 3s any safer than 4s? around here it is difficult to find a cat. 3 only race, so does not make any difference?

hopefully this was just early season squirlies and things will calm down in may.

Argentius said:
This was my first race of the season, a 50-mile circuit-type road race, consisting of four 12.5-mile laps around a lake. The road was narrow and windy in parts, and mostly chip-and-seal, with one smooth, wide section along a main road. Weather was in the upper forties, and the roads were damp, but it wasn’t actively raining.

My preparation for the race pretty much sucked. The night before, I’d been up until 2 AM, and I had to get up at about 6:00 to get to the race. After a little bit of direction confusion, we arrived at the site 45 minutes before rollout. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my stationary trainer along, since it’s still on loan to a friend, and since the gravel parking lot attached directly to the course, where no warming up was permitted, I wasn’t able to warm up at all.

Oh, well. This is Cat 4 (senior men’s) racing, and the pack wasn’t going very fast. I was able to get a solid warmup out on course, as the first 5 miles were ridden basically neutral. This is also my first race as a Cat 4, with the Cat 5’s in a separate race a few minutes later. I settle in near the front of the pack.

At about mile 8, one guy decides to make an early attack, and dangles off the front for a while, not making very much progress. About two miles later, the rider in front of me decides to jump across the gap, and, what the heck, I follow him. We bridge up to the third rider, and we start working together.

Hammering for about 5 miles, we get a gap that I’d estimate at 90 seconds; I couldn’t see the main field. At that point, the rider that attacked first falls off the back. The other rider and I trade pulls, but when he’s at the front, the pace isn’t what I’d like it to be, so I do most of the work. The slight uphill sections of the course – barely pimples in the road, gaining perhaps 100 feet – see him drop off the pace considerably.

This is where I make a foolish decision; I slow to allow him back on my wheel. In retrospect, I should have either gone back to the group, or else hammered away at full-speed. Half-assed breakaways get nowhere. Once a guy’s dangling on and off the back, he’s not going to be any good, and my breakaway partner doesn’t do any more work. A couple of miles later he falls off the back for good, and I continue to foolishly spin along in this breakaway, not wanting to burn myself out, but unwilling to simply sit up.

I chuckle at the obligatory cheers as I pass the start area, and continue on my way. I even eat half a bar. I glance back, and see the pack has closed most of the gap to me. I shrug, sit up, and re-integrate into the group. I was off the front for about 20 miles, a little more than half of that solo. Well, it was good training.

The rest of the race, the crowded, twitchy pack snakes around the loop, any other attacks being quickly nullified. It hardly takes any effort to maintain the packs’ speed; the hardest part is moving up through the crowded field. Before I know it, we’re in the last kilometer, and the speed winds up a bit. I’m trying to work my way to the front, but, then, so is everyone, and the last thing I want to do is go down again; my shoulder and elbow still hurt quite a bit from a previous crash.

We’re allowed the full road for the final 200 metres, and, at about 250 to go, I’m planning my jump. I don’t think I’ve filtered through enough of the pack to go for the win, but I might get top-five, I figure, so it’s worth the sprint.

Then, someone shouts “Oh, FVCK.” Two wheels in front of me, the rider has tried to jump out across the road, miscalculated his distance, and hit the back wheel of the rider in front of him. His front wheel twists sideways, the rider directly in front of me slams into the back of him.

I remember my lessons about target fixation, thankfully, and find my exit in the gravel. I see someone flying over the bars, and hear a loud CRACK, POP, and some more shouting. Yikes.

I’m already slowed enough that I’m not going to place in the race, so I stop, lay my bike beside the road, and run over to see if I can help the riders who went down. It looks like only two racers actually went down; one slid on his side and just has some road rash, but the first guy’s carbon frame snapped at the head tube. He face-planted on the ground, and it’s pretty ugly; he’s got his teeth punched through one side of his check, a stick through the other, and he is not conscious. Bright-red blood runs from under his helmet. Damn.

Thankfully, the guy with the just-road-rash-and-perhaps-a-fractured-collarbone is a doctor, and gets the guy’s neck stabilized. He’s making really disturbing sputtering noises…

I’ll spare the rest of those details, save that the ambulance showed up a few minutes later, and I heard the next day that he was lucky, as far as it goes; he didn’t break his spine, and the CAT scan was negative.

Still.

Be careful out there, folks.
 

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Nice race report.

Do you have a team or were you just out there solo?

Keep the reports coming everyone, it's great reading for us in the office right now.

Silas
 

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Training race.

Man, you were so blessed not to get tangle up in another crash. Your guardian angel is working overtime?! He-he. Talk about narrating skills, juicy details, man, you took me there, I could hear the wheels spinning close to you! Too bad you could not place in the race after all that solo work for 20 miles! Still, IMHO, that was a heck of a training road race, and a very close call with misfortune. Ride well!
Argentius said:
This was my first race of the season, a 50-mile circuit-type road race, consisting of four 12.5-mile laps around a lake. The road was narrow and windy in parts, and mostly chip-and-seal, with one smooth, wide section along a main road. Weather was in the upper forties, and the roads were damp, but it wasn’t actively raining.

My preparation for the race pretty much sucked. The night before, I’d been up until 2 AM, and I had to get up at about 6:00 to get to the race. After a little bit of direction confusion, we arrived at the site 45 minutes before rollout. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my stationary trainer along, since it’s still on loan to a friend, and since the gravel parking lot attached directly to the course, where no warming up was permitted, I wasn’t able to warm up at all.

Oh, well. This is Cat 4 (senior men’s) racing, and the pack wasn’t going very fast. I was able to get a solid warmup out on course, as the first 5 miles were ridden basically neutral. This is also my first race as a Cat 4, with the Cat 5’s in a separate race a few minutes later. I settle in near the front of the pack.

At about mile 8, one guy decides to make an early attack, and dangles off the front for a while, not making very much progress. About two miles later, the rider in front of me decides to jump across the gap, and, what the heck, I follow him. We bridge up to the third rider, and we start working together.

Hammering for about 5 miles, we get a gap that I’d estimate at 90 seconds; I couldn’t see the main field. At that point, the rider that attacked first falls off the back. The other rider and I trade pulls, but when he’s at the front, the pace isn’t what I’d like it to be, so I do most of the work. The slight uphill sections of the course – barely pimples in the road, gaining perhaps 100 feet – see him drop off the pace considerably.

This is where I make a foolish decision; I slow to allow him back on my wheel. In retrospect, I should have either gone back to the group, or else hammered away at full-speed. Half-assed breakaways get nowhere. Once a guy’s dangling on and off the back, he’s not going to be any good, and my breakaway partner doesn’t do any more work. A couple of miles later he falls off the back for good, and I continue to foolishly spin along in this breakaway, not wanting to burn myself out, but unwilling to simply sit up.

I chuckle at the obligatory cheers as I pass the start area, and continue on my way. I even eat half a bar. I glance back, and see the pack has closed most of the gap to me. I shrug, sit up, and re-integrate into the group. I was off the front for about 20 miles, a little more than half of that solo. Well, it was good training.

The rest of the race, the crowded, twitchy pack snakes around the loop, any other attacks being quickly nullified. It hardly takes any effort to maintain the packs’ speed; the hardest part is moving up through the crowded field. Before I know it, we’re in the last kilometer, and the speed winds up a bit. I’m trying to work my way to the front, but, then, so is everyone, and the last thing I want to do is go down again; my shoulder and elbow still hurt quite a bit from a previous crash.

We’re allowed the full road for the final 200 metres, and, at about 250 to go, I’m planning my jump. I don’t think I’ve filtered through enough of the pack to go for the win, but I might get top-five, I figure, so it’s worth the sprint.

Then, someone shouts “Oh, FVCK.” Two wheels in front of me, the rider has tried to jump out across the road, miscalculated his distance, and hit the back wheel of the rider in front of him. His front wheel twists sideways, the rider directly in front of me slams into the back of him.

I remember my lessons about target fixation, thankfully, and find my exit in the gravel. I see someone flying over the bars, and hear a loud CRACK, POP, and some more shouting. Yikes.

I’m already slowed enough that I’m not going to place in the race, so I stop, lay my bike beside the road, and run over to see if I can help the riders who went down. It looks like only two racers actually went down; one slid on his side and just has some road rash, but the first guy’s carbon frame snapped at the head tube. He face-planted on the ground, and it’s pretty ugly; he’s got his teeth punched through one side of his check, a stick through the other, and he is not conscious. Bright-red blood runs from under his helmet. Damn.

Thankfully, the guy with the just-road-rash-and-perhaps-a-fractured-collarbone is a doctor, and gets the guy’s neck stabilized. He’s making really disturbing sputtering noises…

I’ll spare the rest of those details, save that the ambulance showed up a few minutes later, and I heard the next day that he was lucky, as far as it goes; he didn’t break his spine, and the CAT scan was negative.

Still.

Be careful out there, folks.
 

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i don't think the 3s are any safer then the 4s
for that matter, neither are the pro 1/2 groups

crashes are just part of racing. Be it becuse some novice dove in a corner or so pros clipped bars.

if you are pushing your limits you're doing just that.
 

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Moderatus Puisne
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, it was Mason Lake up in Washington.

Silas: No team, just yours truly and a buddy who raced in the cat 5 race. He had fun, but got dropped after 2 laps.
 

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What offseason?
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dfleck said:
i don't think the 3s are any safer then the 4s
for that matter, neither are the pro 1/2 groups

crashes are just part of racing. Be it becuse some novice dove in a corner or so pros clipped bars.

if you are pushing your limits you're doing just that.
I would agree and disagree on this. Crashes happen at all levels. The higher levels may or may not be more safe, but the majority the riders have solid pack riding skills. The 4/5 group has a lot more riders with little experience riding fast in a group and this creates crashes that don't happen (as often) in the higher levels. In general (and not without exception) there are a lot more crashes like described above where a rider makes an unsafe move (whether hitting the brakes in the pack or moving suddenly to one side) that causes havoc behind. There are also a lot of crashes in sprints where riders who are out of contention for the sprint 20+ riders back sprint through a slowing field.

When I upgraded to the 3's the pack seemed to get much more smooth - the crashes still happen but the stupid crashes aren't as frequent. In the 4's, the first few races of the year could be very nervous. Riders seem never seemed to grasp accordion effect in the group that stretches out and compacts the field and would slam their brakes to avoid touching wheels almost every time.
 
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