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Race drafting technique help wanted(4 posts)

Race drafting technique help wantedbigdave
Apr 4, 2001 9:01 PM
I've been taking a crack at my first few crits and generally have done poorly, which is not unexpected for a first-timer. I'm not too bummed... I'm just training harder.

But can anyone help me with any pack drafting tips? I do some group rides, but they are often with my team and therefore not *hostile*... meaning, no one cuts each other off, is good about letting folks in, etc. In that environment, I am totally fine, as I hold my line, can slide on and off wheels, etc.

But when I get in a race, if I happen to pick the wrong wheel to ride on (which often happens) I feel trapped there... I don't want to try to jump on an adjacent wheel because I am afraid of cutting someone off or worse, causing an accident. So I look back subtly from time to time to try and slide in, but it's like trying to merge into a fast moving lane in rush hour... no one's going to let you in. :-)

So how do you deal with that? How do you work your way back up in a pack if slight mistakes send you toward the rear of the pack without causing a melee?

Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated.

--Dave
My crit techniquePete
Apr 5, 2001 4:23 AM
First and foremost, start at the front, and stay at the front. Don't let yourself move more then 10-15 riders back. That is the safest and easiest way to do well in a crit. The corners will be faster and you won't have to brake as much up towards the front. With that being said here are other options.
I'm only 5'5" and weigh in at a huge 133lbs. However I can hold my own in a crit. If you want a line or a wheel, work your way in there. I have found in most Cat 3 races (and definitely in a 4/5 race) that you can easily move someone off another guys wheels just by slowly moving over towards them. It is a mind game. He doesn't want to go down anymore then you do, so he may consciously or unconsciously move over. You can then make your move to that spot. however don't be dumb about it. Don't try to squeeze in where there is just no possible way of fitting.
Take advantage of the corners. If you notice the pack tends to go wide you may be able to move up a dozen spots or more if you take the corner low and quick enough (again, don't be dumb). Hesitation is what is going to loose you spots in a crit.
You may notice in Pro 1/2 and 3 races that the field takes corners maybe 2-3 wide, while Cat 4/5 races try to cram 30 riders through a corner only 6 guys wide. You may be running into that problem with the races you are doing (you don't say what Category you are). That is again why I would say start at the front and stay at the front.
Hope that helps
Helps loads...bigdave
Apr 5, 2001 12:29 PM
Yeah, just the info I was looking for. I am a 4 and run in the 30+ too, so I definitely see the cornering differences you mention at the end. I am definitely running into that problem. I am one of the hesitant ones. I'll definitely keep your tips in mind.

Thanks again,

--Dave
find out who is fast and who's notmondo mike
Apr 5, 2001 9:30 AM
know the people you race against. this will help you
so you don't pick the wrong wheel to set on. also
helps you know if any riders like to crash alot.

peace mondo mike