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My First Crit.... Advice welcome!(7 posts)

My First Crit.... Advice welcome!Marty T.
Mar 30, 2001 8:15 AM
Well tomorrow it's trial by fire. I'm entering my first 50+ crit.
It's 35 minutes plus 5 laps which I guess to me means a good five or more mile warm up and at the start it's go like hell, stay with the lead group until I blow up and then park it... I would imagine we'll be in the upper twenty to low thirty (mph) on the tail wind legs no?

Other than not doing something stupid in the corners any advice will be greatly appreciated.

re: My First Crit.... Advice welcome!bigdave
Mar 30, 2001 12:59 PM
I just had my first... you've pretty much hit on it... warm up hard right before the start, then go and just get a feel for it. Most everyone will be eager to stay with the pack from start, so don't worry about it too much. Stay smooth in the corners (holding your line, even if it's not perfect), and stay smoothly on the wheel in front of you. Try to look past the rider in front of you while maintaining a decent distance to his wheel... that way you won't get surprised if there is speeding up or slowing down. If you get behind someone that is constantly yo-yoing in speed, it will be hard to be smooth... in that case, get on another wheel and stay with the smooth one.

The big thing to remember is to stay with the lead pack if at all possible... it's easier to keep up than catch up. It may feel super hard to do that, like you're ready to blow up, but stay calm and go like heck. Chances are it will mellow a bit. If you can't hang, then drift back to the next group and hang with them.

You should do fine... and even if you don't so what? Have fun and learn.

Good luck!

You were right on all counts!Marty T.
Mar 31, 2001 4:44 PM
Well I wish I could say I finished my first one but I got dropped after only 7 or 8 laps. I didn't feel I started out warmed up enough and felt that sick feeling like being shot out of a canon at the start. We were doing solid 28's and hitting 30 at times. I can hang at that speed for sure, and even take a short pull but after a years worth of training I didn't realize how important it was to train for my jump or sprint. There was a VERY slow turn in the course (very dangerou) and I had to jump out of it every lap to stay on a wheel. Well... suffice to say my heart rate was pegged on every jump until I could jump no more... I parked it rather than ride around alone all tapped out... I'm starting my sprint intervals this week!

On the good side, It was a real pleasure to ride with the 50+ group---really sweet bike handlers and I didn't feel unsafe at speed at all. That was great! Especially since everyone told me to stay out of a Cat 5 Crit because of all the crash and burning.

So I'll be back the next time (soon I hope) only much more wiser.

Thanks for your advice, once again, you were right on!

Marty T.
Marty... I hear you!! :-) (read on)bigdave
Apr 2, 2001 4:36 PM
Hey, that sounds familiar. :-)

I did another crit (my 2nd) yesterday too... I actually did the 30+ first, and the 4s second. I knew I just wanted to do the 30+ for training, and concentrate more on the 4s. Well, I think this early in the season, the 30+ would've been better to stay in.

The pace started picking up a bit about halfway through and I thought I'd better chill to have enough in the 4s (advice from a very experienced teammate) even though I probably could've gone a bit harder... then two or three laps later (I could still see them ahead about 200 yards) they had visibly slowed the pace, but I was too far back to try and bridge. A few of the real elite guys went off the front, but the pack stayed together and I think I had a shot at staying with the pack. Oh, well, you know what they say about hindsight... :-)

So the rest of the race, I rode with a teammate who was doing the same as I... but I wanted to chill out and ride easy, and he's out there hammering... and I was too proud and stupid to say, "hey, I need to back off more so I am better rested." So I was more tired than I should've been going into the 4s.

But then I experienced *exactly* what you did in the slow corner, although ours was a decent speed corner, but followed by an slight uphill that the headwind turned into a real uphill. They'd putter through the corner, get 1/4 up the hill then hammer to keep up with the front guys that kept a more even pace through the corner/hill. Maddening. Then one time about 2/3 of the way through, I couldn't accelerate up that hill when they did. Lost the wheel of the pack, ate wind and I was cooked. I rode the rest of the race, but I was off the back...

So I learned again! :-) The front is the place to be, even if I don't feel real comfortable there yet. I am tentative if I get on a wheel near the front and it turns out to be a slow wheel... I don't really know how to slide off of that wheel and onto another one without getting into someone's way. I don't want to cause a crash, so I am tentative until I see a clearer opening... which is invariably near the back.

And, the front is *really* the place to be if there is a hill or slow corner... if you're near the front there, then you have more leeway in case you slide back a bit, because there will still be plenty of wheels to grab onto if you do.

The education continues! :-)

(not to mention hard intervals)

Marty... I hear you!! :-) (read on)RobO
Apr 2, 2001 8:02 PM
"but followed by an slight uphill that the headwind turned into a real uphill. They'd putter through the corner, get 1/4 up the hill then hammer to keep up with the front guys that kept a more even pace through the corner/hill"

Sounds like the GDVC crit in Madison, WI? No?
RobO, right on...bigdave
Apr 2, 2001 8:50 PM
What race were you in? What team do you ride for?? I'll look for you next weekend to say "hey."

RobO, right on...RobO
Apr 3, 2001 1:53 PM
I did the junior race (which was a waste of time), and the 4s race. Talk about a boring course. I was sitting in the top 5 for the last 2 laps, but someone laid down sprint cover and I lost my wheel, I was toast for that uphill sprint, I just sat up. I'll do it again this weekend, I'm on Nova/ISCorp, but we don't have our jerseys yet. We have our pumpkins, I mean orange helmets though.