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First crit, first crash(11 posts)

First crit, first crash-JC-
Jan 20, 2003 2:57 PM
A friend talked me into racing the Early Bird crit yesterday. I ride a lot but don't race. I am probably the slowest of all my rodie friends.

Anyway, we do all the pre-race stuff including a nice lecture/demo for the cat 5s on pace lining basic race skills like not spazing when you hit the bott's dots or get bumped.

The race starts and I find myself at the front. It is a 50min race and I feel like I am working way too hard so I drift back into the pack and chill for a while. The course is a mile loop with four 90deg turns. Everything is going along way better than expected. My heart rate can't be over 120 and I discover that my handling skills are better than most of the people around me. I get bumped a few times and one guy slams into me pretty hard but we recover without incident. I can't believe how easy this race is.

I see the 3 laps to go sign and figure I am going to get to the front and if anyone attacks I'm going with them. On the back straightaway I am about 1/3 of the way back in the pack when it happens. I see a rider veer out of her line and plow into another rider next to her. Next thing I see is a wave of tumbling bikes and riders coming at me. I drop my ass onto my back wheel and slam on my brakes. I skid to a stop bumping one of the fallen rider's bikes pretty hard but I stay on. Just as I relax and unclip, POW! someone plows into me. they go OTB and I catch their bars in the back of the head. I wasn't hurt but my rear wheel was trashed and my front was flat so I began the long walk back to the car swearing the whole way.

I wasn't hurt (unlike a lot of the people who went down) and was able to true my wheel but it was pretty frustrating to ride well for 9/10 of a race and then get taken out due to someone's careless inattention. I can see why race car drivers get in fights all the time.

What I learned:
Get to the front and stay there.
If someone in front of you drops their head or looks wasted, pass them.
Being able to stop fast does you no good.

C'est la vie,
Jan 20, 2003 3:54 PM
You're going back for more, right? You don't sound too upset!

I don't have the guts.
re: First crit, first crashMR_GRUMPY
Jan 20, 2003 4:51 PM
Yep, that's what happens sometimes. A crash like that is typical at that late stage of the race. Some people are dead to the world, and their brains shut down. Some times you can't prevent it, but some times you can. Like they say, "stay near the front" at the begining and the end. You got off easy. You could have ended up with a large piece of your shorts and skin left on the road. Next time, as soon as you see the crash, don't look at it. If you do, you'll go right for it like a heat seeking missile. Ride away from it. Unless it happens right in front of you, you should be able to avoid it. Lucky you, I've got to wait 2 months until it gets warm enough for the racing season to start.
re: First crit, first crashMatt Britter
Jan 20, 2003 6:18 PM
Was this in Fremont, the Early Birds? Which race were you in?
re: First crit, first crashS-U-B
Jan 20, 2003 8:17 PM
I'm thinking of heading over and doing the last crit the first weekend of feburary. Glad to hear your ok. How are the lectures etc? got to love those crits, if your afraid, dont bother.
Its really well organized-JC-
Jan 21, 2003 8:49 AM
I should have put in my post that this, in no way, should reflect on Velo Promo. I couldn't believe how well organized the race was and I thought the lecture/demo was excelent. That alone probably reduced the carnage a little.
Its really well organized - second thatoutofthesaddle
Jan 21, 2003 9:15 AM
I agree - the Early Bird events have been well run. Shawn Mehaffey, Larry Nolan and mentoring crew together with race promoter Velo Promo have done a great job. 100+ brand new Cat 5 riders each week for three weeks. I know of only two crashes so far. In the other one (week 2) only a single rider went down.
Jan 21, 2003 11:24 AM
Is 50 minutes too long for a Cat 5 crit?
I don't think so. (nm)outofthesaddle
Jan 21, 2003 11:38 AM
re: First crit, first crashNo_sprint
Jan 21, 2003 9:03 AM
Glad you're ok. Fun stuff huh? I've never seen a really bad 5 crash. 3s yes, not 5s. Go out there and get it on again.
Great reactionPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jan 21, 2003 5:01 PM
Thats better than I think I would have reacted in that situation so good job stopping in time. The people behind you weren't even able to!

Anyway since it was a relatively newbie crit hammer the fact to ALWAYS ALWAYS shoulder check when changing lines on the bike in a pack... seriously repeat it every second setence for the first 5 mins. Also use the saying if you don't know... don't go. Best phrase a driving instructor ever gave me. And one that would have gotten me out of a stop light ticket today if I had listened to it.

As for staying at the front of the pack its a good idea... but at the same time to win realistically you should be in the middle of the pack until the last few laps then move up.

Then with crashes they are part of racing... period. And sometimes they are a small error but at other time its stupid mistake or a rider riding outside of their ability. But as long long as you don't go if you don't know it won't be your fault. So just ride attentively and listen to your gut instinct on how to ride. Every situation is different... in a more experienced pack such an accident would have probably never happened.