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Got spanked in my first Crit race...(8 posts)

Got spanked in my first Crit race...biknben1
Mar 11, 2001 8:33 AM
Entered my first ever crit race yesterday in NJ. I'm a Sport(moving to Expert) MTB racer. Since I did 80% of my riding on the road last year I figured I'd try a few races with my skinny tires.

I thought I was starting off right. Got my license, entered a "Training" series race and just wanted to hang out and see how it went. From the stories I read read hear I figured I'd get dropped while fumbling with my pedals at the start.

I stayed at the back of the field just checking everyone out. Everything seemed nice enough. Most people looking over their shoulder before diving into corners and looking out for everyone's wellbeing. After 12 minutes the field was beginning to stretch out and I was still at the back. This is where I made my error. I didn't realize that the thinning of the heard had begun. I was sucking the wheels of the wrong people and soon gaps began to form. Before I knew it I was done. I got caught up in the dropped riders and couldn't get back to the main group. Other guys dropped way back or dropped out completely. I found myself riding solo half-way between the pack up front and the dropped riders who still remained. I tried to catch up but watch the slowwly (teasingly) pull farther and farther away. After 10 minutes of that I let the slower guys catch me and just rode the rest of the way with them. We got lapped just before the finish.
Thankfukky I'm not dissappointed. "Expect nothing and you'll never be dissappointed" is one of my mottos. I just wanted to see what it is like. The "Training Series" turned out to be a "Reality Series". I mentioned that to another guy and we got a laugh just before sprinting for last place.

Don't worry, I'll be out there again next Saturday. I also have a CAAD 5 frame on the way to motivate me. It's gonna replace the late '80s Fuji steed that I'm on now.

So, ultimately...bigdave
Mar 11, 2001 8:23 PM
What did you learn and how will you change it for the future??


PS -- Thanks for sharing your story... I'm going to be doing the same (first training series crit) this weekend if weather permits.
I Learned...biknben
Mar 12, 2001 4:38 AM
I knew that if I got dropped I was done. But while riding solo behind the group I realized that I WAS strong enough to keep up IF I had stayed in the pack (with the draft). Gaps formed ahead of me while I was at the back and I didn't react quick enough. Next time around I'll stay further up towards the front.

Going into it I thought you get dropped because your not strong enough to keep up. I was strong enough to keep up but not strong enough to bridge a large gap by myself.
re: Got spanked in my first Crit race...philg
Mar 13, 2001 4:16 AM
What a coincidence, that sounds 'exactly' like my first crit. I can relate to everything you describe. I also thought afterwards that I could hang in with the group if I avoided a split. But when the speed picked up massively in the last couple of laps before the sprint I was done for wherever I was in the pack. Great fun though. Aim for this year to finish in the leading pack and who knows......
Doesn't everybody?TJeanloz
Mar 13, 2001 6:33 AM
Seriously though. I don't know anybody who didn't get spanked in their first crit. People will tell you that they won their first crit, but what they really mean is that they won their first crit after they had figured the whole thing out. Crit racing is sort of a different beast; the strongest guy is usually beaten by the smartest guy (or girl), and it takes more than a few races to learn to be the smartest guy.
Doesn't everybody? No, just me...Old guy
Mar 13, 2001 9:19 PM
You're probably remembering my post from a week or two ago. I'm not "everybody", and I did win my first crit ever. But that was back in the EIGHTIES and probably doesn't count any more.

If it makes you feel better, I only won races as a 4 and never as a 3 and after moving up to 2 my third year realized how slow I really was. Then I quit.

And yeah, I won it because I'd been practicing TACTICS all winter before my first season. I wasn't that strong...
re: Got spanked in my first Crit race...Nate
Mar 13, 2001 7:34 PM
I'd have to agree with all of the respondents to your message. I entered my first crit in almost 10 years, thinking I remembered the strategies (i.e. don't lag at the back of the paceline, pay attention to the break-aways, use the energy of the paceline rather than fight it, etc.)...I got whooped...HARD! I managed to hang on (riding alone) without getting lapped (2 mile loop) just to maintain my ego in front of the spectators, but I was totally trashed when it came for the 60-mile road race the next day.

Bottom line..."a smart rider uses less energy than those who don't pay close attention to what goes on."

Good luck in your racing and subsequent crits!
Great observation dude...Glenn Smith
May 25, 2001 10:49 PM
I have done several first races this, really. I did a few Crits, Road Races and a Time Trail. I never raced until this year. I'm a strong rider, but what happens with the new guys like you and I, we dont want to get out in the very front. We want to set back and enjoy it/learn from it. Well guess what. "While we're learning, someone else is winning". Kinda had a ring to it...LOL you all can use it. Me...Im going to spend more time warming up, getting my HR just above my Lactate Thrushold, pulling up to the line and hope the race starts with in just a few while my blood is WARM! hey, never hear about warm blood do you all. Stay tooned.

Glenn Smith