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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I had a pretty lousy first crit being dropped on lap 3 on a 4% grade hill on the back stretch, I kicked up my hill training...a bunch... before this weeks race. The most important lesson I learned in the first race was just because I crest the hill, there is no recovery time there...it is back to speed...which killed me.

I had a different strategy this week...I was going to position myself near the front and spin instead of sprint the hill. But in reality I only got part of it right. I put myself second wheel, I didn't want to be that far up but thats how the cards played out. I was able to match the speed up the hill (the first rider sprinted and I spun) I was very careful to hit it over the top and got right back on his wheel (so much for letting myself drift back on the hill) I held the wheel for a quarter mile before I think he was done with me and kicked it up...I was already still in the red...first from the hill, then his torrid pace. We hit the third turn and he gapped me a little...I stood up to try to close it and I had nothing for him...then the familiar feeling of being passed by the field...I tried to get back in line but nobody was having any of that...I made the mistake of letting them pass instead of keeping pace and when the last person passed me I realized too late that I needed to grab that wheel. I had to accelerate and I caught the wheel just before a long gradual hill which did me in...game over.

Im still learning...the hard way :)

I obviously am not recovering fast enough after redline efforts. I have been doing intervals and hill repeats, but nothing matches having to dig deeper when you are already all out. How do I train for this type of intensity? Surely I should be able to do it if 14 other people can...at least for a few more laps.
 

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The short answer to all of this is ride more. Sure, intervals and hill repeats will help build the capacity to stay in the red long enough to get onto the last wheel, but if you're having trouble getting on a wheel in a cat 5 race, its a basic fitness problem. Don't worry about getting in specific race work, just make the most of your time to build your aerobic engine and the rest will come. Race as often as you can and you'll pick up the skills necessary to work less in the race. By the time summer rolls around, you'll be flying.
 

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Hill repeats for a week are not going to magically make you able to keep up on a hill.

In your previous thread, didn't you mention that this is an "all comers" crit? So, you are racing with all categories right? In that case, you goal should be to hang on as long as you can, because you will be dropped...repeatedly. There is no shame in a Cat 5 guy being dropped by a group with higher Category racers. I respect your effort, but it is unlikely that you will be staying with the group anytime soon. Don't get discouraged, and keep doing this race. It will make you stronger. Eventually, you will find that you can hang a bit longer, and a bit longer. If you stick with it, you will eventually be able to hang. Keep your head up.
 

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Stop trying to over think this. Ride more, that's it.
This^. And what Kbiker said.

Get a calendar to track your rides. At the end of the month, that calendar should be full, with rides from 1-3 hours. (I usually have 4 days a month where i didn't ride)

That'll get start getting you in the neighborhood. Then intervals helps decide what house you live in, within that neighborhood.
 

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As others have said ... Ride more :)

The simple fact is this: no amount of tactics will make up for a lack of fitness when compared to other faster and more experienced riders.

You need to work on your overall conditioning and work on intervals. If you want to focus on Crits, you need to do some FTP work, but have a lot of time spend on repeatable 1 minute VO2 max intervals.

As the basic saying goes ... if you don't train at 26 mph ... you will never ride at 26 mph (or faster for that matter). So if you are never training at high speed, you will never be able to respond to the attacks in a race.

With all that said ... keep training and keep racing. As your fitness gets better, you will hold onto the group longer and longer to the point you don't get dropped. Then you can start working on tactics to move up in the field, get placings and make the new riders hurt and get dropped :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay I need to play dumb for a minute...when we are talking ride more I get that but what sort of effort do I aim for?

The maximum heart rate I have ever seen for me is 164, and I see that a few times during the race too. 154 is where I feel the burn but feels like my muscles are clearing the waste okay.

When you say ride for an hour, 2 or 3 what should my target range be?
 

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Surely I should be able to do it if 14 other people can...at least for a few more laps.
Look at the person to the right of you. Now look at the person to the left. You are very likely faster than both. Listen, a bike race isn’t like a community 5k run where you get all sorts of people. A bike race is done not only by cyclists but by the stronger cyclists. Know what I mean? You’re not competing against the guy who did the equivalent of a C25K program ova here so stop being down in the dumps and congratulate yourself on a race well tried.

Honestly I don’t have much race experience at all but I have enough to know that you aren’t doing terrible.

And don’t call me Shirley.
 

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Okay I need to play dumb for a minute...when we are talking ride more I get that but what sort of effort do I aim for?

The maximum heart rate I have ever seen for me is 164, and I see that a few times during the race too. 154 is where I feel the burn but feels like my muscles are clearing the waste okay.

When you say ride for an hour, 2 or 3 what should my target range be?
Start by riding every day. You shouldn't go a month missing more than a day at a time or two days a week. Even if they're short rides, ride every day. Then ride more hours. Try to hit 10+/week. At least 2-3 hours a week should be at or near your TT pace, the hardest effort you can put out without blowing up. Once that becomes routine, add <45 min a week (total volume of ON efforts) of 1-5 minute all out intervals. When you get tired, drop all the hard stuff and just ride easy every day.

If you have a powermeter and know some stuff, the first couple pages of this thread has an interesting get fast quick plan, but you can't race and almost everything is structured.
Adding 10-15 watts to FTP? (Final results): Triathlon Forum: Slowtwitch Forums
 

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You need to work on your overall conditioning and work on intervals. If you want to focus on Crits, you need to do some FTP work, but have a lot of time spend on repeatable 1 minute VO2 max intervals.
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As your fitness gets better, you will hold onto the group longer and longer to the point you don't get dropped. Then you can start working on tactics to move up in the field, get placings and make the new riders hurt and get dropped :)
I completely agree that strong VO2max and AWC are vital to being a good crit racer, but wouldn't a beginner be better served by building aerobic fitness? The gains from anaerobic work are relatively unsustainable. IMO, if you're having trouble just hanging on, build that motor until you have an easy time moving around in the field, then built the razors edge of fitness to get yourself a win.
 

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I would say if it's an "all comers" practice crit then just use it for what it is, practice. Get yourself entered in a Cat 5 race and then see where you are at. Honestly, I think we do ourselves a disservice by making things too complicated for a simple Cat 5 crit. Just ride as often as your schedule allows, have fun, and learn as you go.
 

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IIRC, your training crit is mixed category field, so you're racing against guys that have deep legs, from many years of experience. Unless you're a genetic wonder it just takes time to build that top end fitness. Plus, the best crit racers from experience and intuition know how to follow wheels, so you as a newbie use a lot more energy to go slower until you get unhitched.

The week or so of hard intervals probably just made you slower due to fatigue, but stick with it and the pay off comes long term later in the season. I do think Wookie is right on in recommending one minute intervals it you mainly want to race crits. One habit to add to your regular training rides is to dig really hard out of every corner and then try to recover at a tempo pace.
 

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I completely agree that strong VO2max and AWC are vital to being a good crit racer, but wouldn't a beginner be better served by building aerobic fitness? The gains from anaerobic work are relatively unsustainable. IMO, if you're having trouble just hanging on, build that motor until you have an easy time moving around in the field, then built the razors edge of fitness to get yourself a win.
Well ... the nice thing about doing VO2 intervals is that if you do enough of them in combination with general riding, it not only improves your general fitness but will also increase your FTP.

Yes, working on FTP will help a person stay in a crit, but when the surges happen they can't stay with them. Many TT specialists have difficulty staying in crits because they can't handle the surges ... they have super high FTP, but not so great VO2 Max.

If you want to race crits VO2 intervals is the most important thing you can do ... a single 2x20 interval session per week will be enough if done along with a couple sessions of VO2 work to build the aerobic base needed for crits.
 

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Okay I need to play dumb for a minute...when we are talking ride more I get that but what sort of effort do I aim for?

The maximum heart rate I have ever seen for me is 164, and I see that a few times during the race too. 154 is where I feel the burn but feels like my muscles are clearing the waste okay.

When you say ride for an hour, 2 or 3 what should my target range be?
In regards to HR ... You are either an older rider, not pushing yourself hard enough or have a very low HR ... not sure which. I'm 43 and have a low HR for my age and in races, especially something like a crit, I'll see 177 bpm. My TT HR that I sustain for 30-40 minutes is in the mid 160 range.

As far as training goes ... a lot will depend on how much time you have to train.

For most people, shooting for 10 hours a week is what you are looking for. Spend 5 days a week on the bike with rides of 1.5 - 2 hours each ride and maybe a 3-4 hour ride on the weekend. Figure the weekend ride as a hard group ride or race and two interval sessions a week (Monday and Wednesday are usually good for people, but I like Tuesday and Thursday).

Find a good climb for 2x20 work ... assuming you have one long enough, or a good, long flat road with no stops for this. Then do 20 minutes at 90%-95% of FTP ... spin for 5 minutes ... do another 20 minute interval.

For 1 minute intervals (maybe do a session with 8 - 10 of them) ... any flat ground or small hills will work. Do an interval at 130% - 140% of FTP for one minute ... then take 5 minutes of easy spinning and repeat until all the intervals are done.

That should give you a basic start.
 

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Balancing intensity and recovery is a big part of it, and without a structured program you're likely going to miss the target. You don't have to go out and get a coach, since there are many books out there that can point you in the right direction. It just takes a bit of discipline and effort on your part. Unfortunately, I'm lazy and undisciplined, so I went with a coach to tell me what to do.

Race more. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Play around with positioning in the pack, experiment with drafting, and identify the good wheels to follow. Training (and Cat 5) races are all about learning and fitness, not winning.

Ride with people faster than you. Climb more. If you have 3 hours to ride, try to wear yourself out in 1 with VO2max intervals. Sleep lots. Eat well. Lose a few pounds. Ride in the rain. Embrace the suck. Find the joy in simply riding around on recovery days...

You're at the point in your development where you can make giant strides with a little focused effort. It gets harder later, as the gains taper off. If it was easy, we'd get bored and move on to some other sport.
 

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Hard :)

Basically intervals that range in length of 1 - 5 minutes and vary in intensity of 120% - 150% of your FTP. You do more of them than you would FTP intervals or Tempo intervals due to their shorter length, but due to their higher intensity they can really take it out of you.
I'm lousy with the vernacular. This is my first season racing. I’ve done 7 crits so far, and 2 road races. Have yet to be dropped, but I’m not much of a factor in the race yet. Just sitting in is no fun and not really racing your bike, so I’m starting to look at training methods to help out. I seem to really lack the punch over that last lap or two to contest the finish. Some of it is fitness, but some of it is tactics too. I need to start trying more things to see what happens. In my next races I’m going to try for some primes and make some attacks to see what happens. If I get dropped, I get dropped. Time to htfu.
 

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Yes, if you feel like going on the attack, ATTACK!

And it's true that things tend to heat up in the last lap of crits. This is especially true in cat 4 and 5, as riders are not strong (confident?) enough to break away or savvy enough to throw down proper attacks during the race. That said, it's often a matter of riding around at a slower pace until riders get jumpy.

Racing can't be fun if you're riding in a pack waiting for the finish, only to have the finish come and go without being a factor.
 
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