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· It's all ball bearings
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5,285 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have the funk's undeniable bible of shaving and francois' top 10 beginner tips threads in the beginner forum, so why not have one in the race forum dedicated for newbie racers? Let's hear your best 5 to 10 tips for the first time (or minimally experienced) racer.

Here are a few off the top of my head to start the ball rolling:

1 - Racing is supposed to be fun. Look at your first race as a fun way to get out and ride with some new folks, rather than as a competition. It will help you relax and enjoy the experience more.

2 - Make sure you are somewhat skilled at general pack riding. Go on some bigger group/club rides before you do a real race.

3 - Make your goal for your first race be to just finish with the pack. Don't try anything funny at first.

4 - Warm up. The shorter the race, the longer the warm-up. A 30-45 minute warm-up is not a bad place to start for most 1-2 hour circuit or crit races like those which are common in the USA.

5 - Pay attention to the pace and get ready to get on the gas quickly when an attack/counter attack ensues.

6 - Stay in the front 1/3 of the peloton as much as possible. If you aren't actively trying to move up you will almost automatically be moving back. Take advantage of the slow recovery paces between attacks to move up towards the front.

7 - Don't get discouraged if you get dropped or do poorly in your first few races. There's a learning curve and the more you race the more you will learn and take with you to the next race.


Thats all that I can think of at the moment.
 

· Registered
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167 Posts
Group riding skills

I would say depending on the type of race, being only "somewhat skilled" is asking for trouble. I really think to stay toward the front (and safe) you had better be comfortable going as hard as you can in close proximity of other riders. Newer riders (or racers) tend to make bad moves when the pace goes up and they're really struggling to hang on. Not to discourage anyone but keep in mind that the well being of your fellow racers depends on you being able to ride competently in a group...

Wayne


2 - Make sure you are somewhat skilled at general pack riding. Go on some bigger group/club rides before you do a real race.
 

· Registered
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467 Posts
IMMEDIATELY identify squirley riders(assuming you aren't one of them :p )Anyone who can't hold their line,can't follow the wheel in front of them or is sketchy avoid them at all costs.

Keep your nose out of the wind no matter how good you are feeling-you'll need that energy later.

Remove any useless junk off your bike.

Get to the line early and get near the front.-it is much easir to start near the front and fight to stay there than to start at the back,fight to the front,THEN fight to stay there.
 

· Registered
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635 Posts
turn yourself inside out to stay with the pack, cause once you get dropped its over
(usually)

eat well the night before and on race day

shave your legs if you don't already....most everyone else at the race will have
(see funk's guide)

bring water even if you dont think you need it, especially if its warm, and know how to get water/put it back while riding/looking up

if possible race w/ a friend/team or someone you know so that they can show you the ropes, it'll help alot more than you think.
 

· I heart team Zissou!
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2,954 Posts
#1 rule in racing as passed down to me by my coach when I was 12:

"Every effort you make must be made for a specific reason and with a specific outcome in mind"

e.g. don't go off the front, take wind, push yourself in the red unless you have a purpose for dipping into your reserves. Racing is often about spending as little energy as you need to in order to get across the finish line first.

Also, another nugget of wisdom from Cyril Guimard: "Bicycle racing is more akin to sailing than any other sport -- it's all about the wind"

A+

Philippe
 

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335 Posts
1. Don't stop pedaling
2. Remember that energy you bleed off with the brakes needs to be turned back in with your legs.
3. Stay on top of your game, but try to relax.
4. If you are at the back, watch 4-6 guys ahead of you/ and the front of the pack, your reaction to them will be significantly delayed if you are just watching your wheel.
5. Stay in the right gear always. To many times have people not been able to answer quick attacks because they are not spinning the 90's (or whatever cadence you use to accellerate out of).
6. Stay Balanced left to right AND front to back.
7. Be comfortable riding in large groups.
8. Stay positive. Nothing can overcome a negative attitude.
9. Make sure that your bike is tuned right, and everything is ready to go. This goes a long way to making sure that you are mentally prepared.
10. Fuel yourself. Know what you can consume comfortably. Don't try anything new for a race, or you will be known as the "vommit comet", but better that then the other end.
11. Finish, even if you get dropped (unless the course marshall tells you that your race is done).... so your race just turned into a training ride... that you had to pay for.
12. Have fun, because if you are not having fun, then why are you doing it anyways?
13. Be safe
 

· BrooklynVelo
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1,426 Posts
Some observations made when thinking back a few years on what I did wrong.

1) Always check out the course if possible. In particular pay attention to the last couple hundred meters before the finish. Even if you're not contesting a sprint this is where things will ramp up and you want to know that piece of pavement well.

2) Don't take the day before a race as a rest day. Go for a quick spin (1-2hrs) just to keep the legs loose.

3) Never try out anything new on a race day. That includes equipment, position or food. By the time race day comes around you don't want to find out that your new saddle wasn't adjusted just right, or that miracle gel doesn't agree with your stomach.

4) If you're new to the course pay attention to the more experienced riders gearing at the start and match it. They know what to expect.

5) Find a good wheel. Keep clear of riders that don't choose good lines, or don't know how to hold them through corners, descents, etc... You should be able to figure this out quick enough.

6) If you have a morning race get up earlier than you think. Don't sacrafice sleep (go to bed earlier) but get up a little earlier than you think you need to. This will help you to make sure that you eat in a proper timeline and have time to remember all of the things that you forgot to pack in your race bag.

7) Pack a race bag the night before. Include everything you think you might possibly need. Spare tubes, patch kits, gel, change of clothes, asprin, bandages, money... you get the idea. Follow the BoyScout motto on this one "Always be prepared."

8) Don't touch your bike (adjust, fiddle with, etc...) the day before a race. All adjustments should have been made already. When it comes to the night before, give her a quick wipe down and lube, check the tire pressure and leave her alone. She needs her sleep as well.
 

· tofurkey hunting
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4,734 Posts
i learned this first when playing in golf tournaments. the day you are going to race, do everything slowly and deliberately. walk, eat, drive, move in this way. it will do wonders to calm your nerves and help keep your muscles relaxed amidst the nervousness. think zen.....
 

· Banned forever.....or not
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24,573 Posts
""Every effort you make must be made for a specific reason and with a specific outcome in mind"
.
This should be everybody's Rule #1
.
#2 should be........Resist the impulse to ride at the back. It's harder to ride at the back than to ride mid-pack.
 

· Old, slow, and fat.
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3,897 Posts
If I'm not ON the front, I watch the front. Accelerations you see happening ahead of you WILL get to you sooner or later. If you're watching out you can be ready for the jump BEFORE it gets to you and be either A. accelerated partially or B. in the right gear to jump on the wave.

Don't be afraid to bump elbows, helmets, wheels, whatever. If you ARE skeered, practice these things in a training environment first.

Cross train on a cyclocross or mtn bike. It makes bike handling instinctive. Helps keep you upright when yer wheels suddenly do something strange.

M
 

· Banned forever.....or not
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24,573 Posts
My rule # 3 is...........Remember, you only have so many bullets in your gun, save some for when you might need them.........On the other hand, sometimes you can do something with an empty gun.
 

· It's all ball bearings
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5,285 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The Armagh said:
I found this one of the more interesting things in books I have read...if we are talking about the same thing. Most replied no.:D
oh, er, no... :)

I was asking a general Q to the mods if this thread was worthy of being made a sticky.
 

· It's all ball bearings
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5,285 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Make sure your engine is running efficently

Another tip that I really just realized on my own in yesterdays race: RELAX during hard efforts.

For the first time ever during a race, I caught myself numerous times almost "fighting" my own pedaling motion a la isometric resistance when the pace picked up and the attacks at the front really put the hammer down. In other words, I found myself so tense that my opposing muscle groups were resisting the working muscle groups completely needlessly. I told myself to relax and suddenly pedaling at the same speed and cadence felt amazingly easier. I was mainly tense in anticipation of having to make quick jumps to get on certain rider's wheels, etc...but I realized very quickly that you can still make quick jumps like that without being overly tense.

Take home message: when the races gets rowdy and you feel yourself getting tense in response, actively tell yourself to relax as often as you can think to do it.
 

· I heart team Zissou!
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2,954 Posts
oh, and one other thing...

The race is happening with you or in front of you. No matter what you hear behind you --crash, screams, metal scraping on the pavement, gunshots, song of the humpback whale, nuclear explosion, moans of pleasure -- <i>whatever</i> you hear behind you (ok, with the possible exeption of the last item in that list) DO NOT TURN AROUND TO LOOK!

You will be turned into a pillar of salt.

Ok, maybe not... but you will likely bring down a few riders and be forever shunned at future races!

Philippe
 

· Old, slow, and fat.
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3,897 Posts
philippec said:
The race is happening with you or in front of you. No matter what you hear behind you --crash, screams, metal scraping on the pavement, gunshots, song of the humpback whale, nuclear explosion, moans of pleasure -- <i>whatever</i> you hear behind you (ok, with the possible exeption of the last item in that list) DO NOT TURN AROUND TO LOOK!

You will be turned into a pillar of salt.

Ok, maybe not... but you will likely bring down a few riders and be forever shunned at future races!

Philippe
Just like driving on the freeway! A wreck happened. So what?!

Drive.

Even better: ATTACK! While the rest of the guys are going 'huh? wonder WTF happened?' you can be OTF doing something about winning the race.

M
 
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