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How or when to do first criterium?(10 posts)

How or when to do first criterium?Zonic Man
Jun 12, 2003 9:31 AM
I've ordered a bike, it's coming in next week, and on July 4 there's the annual "Davis Criterium", flat, not too turny crit here in town close.

I'm a complete newb to road, but I've ridden in fairly big groups just fine on a borrowed bike, have decent enough bike handling skills, don't freak out when bumped, can pedal in corners, etc.

My question for you roadie racers (or done one before) is this: How should I go about racing? Should I just enter and throw myself to the wolves (like in MTB racing that I've done) or should I go to a "camp" or "school" first?

I know there's a lot of you out there with my experience at one time or another, please share/enlighten me on stepping up to your first crit.

my second road race was a crit..._rt_
Jun 12, 2003 9:53 AM
and was the day after my 1st road race, and maybe 4 months after i got my road bike.

crits are fast and, at the cat 5 level, pretty squirreley. with your mtb skills though, you should be ok. besides, if it really sucks you can always drop out.

good luck.
hang out with some racersDougSloan
Jun 12, 2003 9:53 AM
Try to find some racer group rides. They can be quite a bit faster than "club" type rides, especially with hills and surges. That would be the first suggestion.

If the race has a citizen's race, you might consider that.

Other than that, just go for it. Crit's will place an optimum on skills and anaerobic/threshold fitness. Drafting and cornering amongst 100 other racers is a bit different than your 50 mile club ride. But, you'll never know until you try.

training racesDMoore
Jun 12, 2003 10:00 AM
Are there any training crits in your area? There's a regular Thursday night training crit in my area, and I participated in them for several weeks before I actually entered my first race. To my pleasant surprise, I was able to hang on and finish with the pack in my very first race. I'd have been scared spitless if I hadn't done those practice crits beforehand.

The experience of riding in a pack, cornering with them, fighting to get back on, etc. was very beneficial.

If you don't have any such local options, then just go for it. Just remember you're not out there to win your first race - just view it as a learning experience. If you enjoy it and stick with it, the results will come.
Ditto......just get out there and give it a go.Screaming Barfy
Jun 12, 2003 10:14 AM
My 1st race was a Crit and they combined the 4's and 5's at the last minute. I got dropped on the last lap before the final bell, but it was a great learning experience and got me over the initial anxiety of how supposedly dangerous crits are. Crits always get the bad press for wrecks etc., but I've seen just as many, if not worse, wrecks in RR's.

Try to stay with the lead group and pay attention to their gearing etc until you feel comfortable on the course. Conserve energy when you can, watch the guy 5 riders up--not the wheel in front of you and crank it out of every corner and you'll do fine. Good luck!!
Jump intriple shot espresso
Jun 12, 2003 10:15 AM
Give it a try. A couple things to remember. Unlike mt biking you can't make sudden squirrly moves to the left or right, there are people there that you will crash into. There is no need to follow closer than 1 foot in your first race. Don't dive corners, follow nice smooth arcs around corners. Sit in, it's not a training ride, it's a race, so if the field is going slow don't feel compelled to pull the field around, it's not like a mtb race where you need to be going 130% the whole time. If you hear scraping metal against the pavement do not turn around to look at it. Keep your head and eyes up, you can't see the road through the riders so if there is some kind of road hazars you have to watch for thier reaction to know it's there. That's plenty to get you through your first race. Oh and have fun.
re: How or when to do first criterium?No_sprint
Jun 12, 2003 11:12 AM
Do your first one anytime you feel comfortable. I will not offer as much *jump in* praise as others though. Please be careful out there, for yourself and others. If you have any hesitations bumping legs and shoulders and rubbin' wheels and being cut off, cannot hold a straight line at a very high rate of speed and corner hard, please stay on the back (you'll likely be there whether you like it or not).

Take care your first few times out. Get together with other local racers as much as possible. Do practice crits, local training rides. By all means, hook up with a local racing oriented club. Enjoy.
I think he should Jump Intriple shot espresso
Jun 12, 2003 11:58 AM
I don't know why all the ladies out there continue to create a fear of crit races. My first 3 or 4 races were crits and I was scared because it was my first race and everybody had built it so much I was shaking in my cleats. But you go out there you do a race and then another and another and then you crash but you take your free lap and jump back in and then you do another race. No offense to Mo_Sprint but I'm getting sick of some of the fear mongering that's going on in this country, not just with racing but with the evening news and the Homeland Security Level Orange and the fear of WMDs and SARs, now monkeypox for Pete's sake. Be aware, take nessecary precautions but do not be afraid.
Jun 13, 2003 7:40 AM
Because most racers, at least here in SoCal are not 18 year olds with no jobs, no responsibilities, no families, and have a sense of indestructability. Most of us are older, not indestructable and I for one simply didn't like racing with a guy who had never taken a serious corner at 27 mph boxed in tight cage. A couple weeks ago I watched a cat. 5 race that had a ridiculous 3 or more crashes in one 30 minute race. Sure, it's just crashing and nobody's dead, however, ridiculous in my opinion.

I told him to jump in, though without the vigor of some of the other posts, that's all.
Fresh meat for the slaughter!!!pnitefly
Jun 13, 2003 4:21 AM
You can only talk and hang out with racers so long before you just have to go out and do it. I will tell you this, everything you have been told about racing is easy to talk about but VERY HARD to do. Just jump right in and don't be afraid to get smoked on your first couple of races (because you most likely will). Also, if you don't have any allies/friends in the peloton things can get pretty tough so try to join a team if you enjoy your first couple of races and want to stick with it. Tactics add a completely different dimension to racing and the only way to develop those skills are to race often and hard. Good Luck!