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Shot Out the Back Like a Cannon part II(7 posts)

Shot Out the Back Like a Cannon part IIJBergland
May 9, 2001 9:42 AM
I was in my first RR of the year a couple weeks ago (see the post 'Shot out of the back like a cannon shot' for more details). I had what I considered poor results and wondered what is going on. This is the first year that I have taken my riding seriously (in a racing context) and have been working pretty hard since Jan. 1st. I was very confused and a little disheartened when I did as poorly as I ever had (even in my very first couple RR, I didn't do as badly!!).

Keeping with my goals of this being an experience/building year, I sheepishly entered my very first crit. last night (my racing experience has been limited to RR and Mountain so far). A teammate tried the same crit last week and was dropped on the 4th lap (of 12). Hearing this, a flood of memories from the previous RR started me thinking about the worst.

The race started and I found myself right with the front of the pack. I was worried about holding my line (and others holding their lines) for about a lap or two, but that didn't last long. The pace picked up on lap 4-5... I was right there the whole time!! I was in a GREAT position to try get some points on the 6-7th lap, but held back... there is no way I wanted to be dropped!! I didn't pay attention for 1/2 a lap in the middle of the race and found myself mid-pack!! One lap later I was back at the front. On the bell lap I felt pretty good... passed 6-8 guys (and one gal... she was VERY fast!!) and ended up finishing 8th (or around there) in the final sprint!!

It was a Points Race... being that I didn't get any points (only goes out to three places) I didn't 'really' place at all. But I felt strong for the entire race and have been kicking myself for not going for those points!!:) Maybe next time!!
Bravo!rollo tommassi
May 9, 2001 9:48 AM
You are doing all the right things - don't worry about "holding back"; being observant is a great skill, and the race "sense" that you learn will pay off sooner than you think.

A big pat on the back to you JB!!
re: Shot Out the Back Like a Cannon part IIbnlkid
May 9, 2001 11:52 AM
I was in the same race. Maybe you saw me when you came around on the 7th lap.(Yes I got lapped....twice) This was my first ever race and I didn't know what to expect. I went into the race just wanted to experience the rush and was hoping to hang on for 6 or 7 laps. I was out in front for the first lap waiting for someone else to take the front, but it turned out I ended up being the idiot. I was doing fine for the first two laps, but when the bell rung for the first prime, everyone else took off and I didn't react quickly enough. I beared down and managed to hang on for the 3rd lap and then ran out of gas trying to catch up. After I was dropped, I was determined to stick with the pack when it came around to lap me. At this point there were 3 of us riding together waiting for the pack. When they came around, I was ready to go. I went with them for another lap, but was quickly dropped again. The pack came around again on the last lap(my tenth), and I gutted it out and was at least able to finish with the pack even though I had only done 10 laps. I guess someone has to finish last.

I wasn't really discouraged, though because this was my first real hard ride of the season and first ever race. And I viewed this as more of a workout and finding out what I needed to work on. I have only been able to manage about 400 base miles with no interval or hill work. I know I will be able to stick with the pack once my fitness is up and I drop about 20 pounds. After all, I only started riding last August.
re: Shot Out the Back Like a Cannon part IIbigdave
May 9, 2001 2:40 PM
Yeah, it will come around. Give it time and miles. But you learned a lot, right? I mean, being in the front is not the place to be when you want to finish with the pack for the first time. I did it too. You don't *think* you're riding hard, but when they turn up the wick, you suddenly realize you went harder than you should have by sitting on the front.

Now that you're aware of the push that comes into the 3rd lap or so, just chill in the beginning by being about 5-10 riders back. Then look around the rider in front of you as much as possible to see when that acceleration's taking place, then smoothly pick up your pace (think quick pedals instead of mashing them). Doing that is far less taxing than just waiting for the guy in front of you to go, then having to hammer to stay on his wheel.

Looking at it as a workout is the way to go. If you're going to do more crits, just think of them as that and a way to hone your racecraft (ie: drafting well, not doing too much work in the beginning). Before you know it, you'll get a finish.

Sure, the interval work will help tons, but keep in mind that getting good at the racing thing takes a while. My experienced teammates tell me that it often takes 3/4 of a season before most beginners actually finish a race with the pack, so don't sweat the results. I know it's hard to do, but I had the best race of my short career by just thinking "just a hard workout, nothing more," and the result was a race like JB's. It can happen for you too... just stick with it! :-)

Good Luck!

--Dave (who's off to do some hill intervals)
Yeah, that's the ticket!bigdave
May 9, 2001 2:28 PM
See, I knew it would turn around, because that's like a carbon copy of me from a few weeks ago. My goal at those sprint point times during the race were, ok, keep them in sight, but that's it... sprinting for them could be suicide. And in the end I was glad I didn't succumb to the temptation.

But you did great... and it also shows how fickle bike racing can be: one day, junk... the next great. I'm still at that *roller-coaster* stage where one race might be good, the next bad, etc. I'm not consistent yet, but with some more time, more intervals, that will come for me... and for you too.

Good job.

Double Super Secret Secret of WinningOld Guy
May 9, 2001 2:58 PM
I swear to god, hanging out at the front of a crit pack lowers your HR 20 bpm, adds 5 lbs of muscle to your legs and increases your VO2 max by 10%.

It's a fact.
At least you're out there trying.Largo
May 11, 2001 8:32 PM
You want to get faster?
This is humbling, but find out which ride the "fast" guys go on (ie weekly group ride) and go on it.
You will get dropped, but one day, you will be there, and then it gets better.
Good luck