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First Race--what to expect?(9 posts)

First Race--what to expect?amflyer
Jul 18, 2001 11:57 PM
Hey,
Doing my first real race this weekend. I'm signed up for an "novice" 38 mile ride, doing 3 laps of a circular course. I'm not sure what to expect...anybody have any ideas?

I'm in the 30-44 yr age category, novice (no licensed riders in my group).

One specific thing I wonder about is as follows: As there will be other concurrent races going on during mine (cat. 1 & 2, cat. 3,4, and 5) how does one usually keep the riders separate. I mean, I don't want to try to cover that speedy "break" that really is another category blowing through. Is there any etiquette concerning pacelines, drafting, etc. between categories? I mean, will someone go all Blijlevens on me if I hop onto their wheel and they aren't in my novice classification?

Thanks for any info you can relate.

Steve
re: First Race--what to expect?Duane Gran
Jul 19, 2001 4:57 AM
They usually send off groups in increments (5 minutes usually) and do the order in such a way that it is unlikely for packs to overlap. I wouldn't worry much about it, however if a breakaway makes contact with riders in another category it is strictly against the rules to draft one another or work together.

Good luck at the race and have fun!
Race numbers and categoriesBipedZed
Jul 19, 2001 5:29 AM
Since you have relatively long laps there is probably not much of a chance of categories overtaking each other. Regardless, most categories are grouped by race numbers - 4s get 4xx, 3s get 3xx, Pro/1/2 are usually two digit numbers. In other words, each category will have numbers in the same "hundreds". Working with racers not in your category is illegal and if you are caught you will be disqualified.

When you register, pay attention to what side of your jersey you should pin your race number.
numbersDog
Jul 19, 2001 5:35 AM
Your bib numbers will have different ranges; note what range you are in, for example, 750-799, and race only with that group's numbers. You are not supposed to ride with other groups, because it's unfair to those in your group and theirs. Nonetheless, if you and another lonely straggler find yourselves 2 miles off the back of your groups, what the heck? I doubt anyone will complain if you marginally reduce your suffering by riding with someone if both of your are at the back of your respective groups. I've seen it done a lot. Just don't get any idea in your head about improving your position on the group, though.

If this is a hilly race, sad to say, count on getting dropped. Most new racers aren't up to the extreme anaerobic distress that occurs in races, particularly hilly races. Don't be bothered by it, just expect it and then work on it for next time.

Sit in, conserve, conserve, conserve, watch, and learn. Remember a couple of vitally key points:

*If you are suffering, likely everyone else is, too.

*It's easier to keep up than catch up, and easier to catch up than ride alone. Do everything you can to stay with a group.

Doug
Placed 3rd in my first crit yesterday, but I have a questionSteve Davis
Jul 19, 2001 7:13 AM
Thanks to a lot of good advise read here I placed third in my first crit yesterday (Cat 5 training crit).

I tried to stay near the front most of the race and found a good wheel to follow leading into the final sprint. Unfortunately, I waited a bit too long before coming around and coudn't pass him before the line... if only I had another 5 yards.

I do have a question though, and wonder if you'll give me some help?

Early on I ran into trouble. After sprinting for a prime, I was whipped and dropped back in the pack to try to conserve energy and get my heart rate down a bit. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention and the guy I was riding behind let a big gap grow which made it very tough to bridge back up. Soon another rider was next to me and said for me to grab his wheel. I did and was towed back up to the group. After the race I learned that this guy was a cat 2 and was out helping the cat 5's as a "marshall". Was I wrong to contest the final sprint after receiving this type of help?
great jobDog
Jul 19, 2001 7:27 AM
Hey, it was a training race, right? You're there ot learn and train. You learned something valuable. If a guy gaps you, you can be hosed. Get this, sometimes guys do that *on purpose*, especially if part of a team tactic. You went out and looked strong on the prime sprint, and the "gapper" could have eliminated you from the race with what he did, which is perfectly valid, by the way. So, you have to watch and be ready to go around someone, grab another wheel, or just watch who you follow.

Nothing "wrong" with what you did, as he taught you much more that way than if you had fallen off the back. Just don't expect it in a real race.

Doug
Training critBipedZed
Jul 19, 2001 7:35 AM
Training crits are a great way to learn tactics and the dynamics of racing and as such they tend to be more forgiving in pace and rules. For instance, in training crits lapped riders are usually not pulled and dropped riders can work with other riders a lap up to get back into the pack. Contesting the sprint was fine, but keep in mind that in a BAR/BAT weekend race the pace will be faster, the fields will be larger and deeper with more aggression (yelling), and the rules will be much stiffer. But remember a training crit is just what it sounds like and use it to learn how to race - for example, you may want to hold off going for primes in a weekend race as you may end up off the back while trying to recover from the effort. Learn from the training crit and structure your training around more sprint intervals and recovery from VO2 max intervals.
Thanks for the pointersSteve Davis
Jul 19, 2001 11:41 AM
It was a great lesson. A lot of fun too.

I think I'd like the job of a "gapper" on a higher cat team. I could probably hold my own for the first few laps and then conveniently fade away. Who knew there was a job description like this? Doesn't sound like there would be too much training required. ;-)

In the meantime, I'll work on my sprint intervals so that I can recover quicker.
Thanks everyone...helped out a lot. nmamflyer
Jul 19, 2001 2:15 PM
nm