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Criterium first experience (a wee bit long)(5 posts)

Criterium first experience (a wee bit long)bigdave
Mar 18, 2001 7:05 PM
Well, like Bikenben a week ago, I got my first taste of criteriums today. It was a balmy day in Wis... about 42 degrees. A heat wave!

After listening to the sage words of many, I proceeded to ignore all reasonable advice. :-) The 30+ and the Cat4 were back-to-back, so I decided to try both, for, you know, a better workout and all.

Well, I got it. Instead of hanging back and observing in the 30+, I went out and mixed it up with the top 5... for about 4 of the 1-mile laps. After that, I couldn't keep up... blew my wad in the first 10 minutes! And because the field was relatively small, I slid off the back and into oblivion. I was *majorly* discouraged, ready to go home early.

The problem was that I was so h*ll bent on staying near the front and not falling off the back that I was in a place that my fitness (or lack thereof) did not allow me to be. Basically, I can ride at LT for too short a time span right now... but at least I know what to work on.

So, I did the Cat4 next. Very different. For one, let's just say the 30+ are a *lot* smoother bike handlers... some scary stuff in the 4s, but everyone stayed upright. Pace, obviously, not as high although still pretty good for me. I chilled out and rode at the front, middle, back, and back to the middle... where somehow the field got split, and I noticed it going into a headwind. Not enough gas to bridge, so I rode with the fractured group. And most importantly I finished. Found out my cornering wasn't as bad as I feared (first time outside this year... thanks new Axial Pros) and I wasn't a complete turd. But being new, I still have to break the *bad* habit of letting a two-foot gap turn into a three-foot one, into a four-foot one and then punching it to stay there. Got to work on that, but I'm confident that will come in time. Maybe I didn't finish real high, but simply finishing was my goal after the first debacle.

So what did I learn? Enter Masters races when I can go fast and actually *hold* it for a while. And in the 4s, the lead group, like Bikenben told me, was the place to be. I think with some longer intervals at LT, I'll be just about there, because it seems like a game of just hanging on by the skin of your teeth until the next lull comes. Once I can fight through that mentally, I'll be better off.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, the first race didn't kill my spirit after all, because I learned a lot in the 4s. I think I'll still will do both races for a workout, just maybe not immediately. But more importantly, I know what I have to work on... and the whole experience was one that will bring me back next weekend. :-)

See...It's not that bad...biknben
Mar 19, 2001 4:11 PM
No torn flesh or shattered frames. By some of the stories I'd heard I figured I should wear some downhill gear. We lived through it to train for the next weekend.

Good luck
True, true..bigdave
Mar 19, 2001 4:36 PM
Yeah, there was definitely *potential* for ugliness, but it didn't happen. If you pay attention and ride respectfully (holding your line, maintaining speed) it seems like you should be ok... not that freak things won't happen.

Thanks for the words of encouragement and good luck to you too! :-)

What Race?RobO
Mar 19, 2001 7:15 PM
I thought the earliest race in WI was the GDVC races next weekend in Madison.
Mar 19, 2001 7:24 PM
There were crits at UW-Parkside on the 11th and 18th. They were part of the ABR organization. I didn't do the ones on the 11th. here's a link.