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Race Report: 3rd at the Tues. Night Crit (Cat 5 story)(10 posts)

Race Report: 3rd at the Tues. Night Crit (Cat 5 story)Marlon
May 16, 2001 2:07 PM
Here's a race report from a Cat. 5 race... It might be useful for new racers, and provide a few chuckles for a few old.

A pretty good race, given that I had been off the bike for more than a week, hiking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. I came into race day feeling a little out of biking shape and out of sorts, but by race time, I was getting pumped. A quick warm-up beforehand, and then the race was off. I quickly settled near the front, in fourth place, and sat it out for the first lap. The weather was looking like rain (the race finished just before the downpour started) and it was windy... I was glad I was keeping a close eye to the guy in front of me, gauging my distance by looking at his seat just like a kind Cat. 1 taught me so many rides ago... Lap 2 started heating up with a bit of movement - the pack was getting impatient with the pace, and the front was bunching up, riders moving forward or backward, resting or getting ready to attack. A few half-hearted attacks by others later and suddenly, I found myself moving back in the pack. Whoa! Not good. A bit of agressive cornering, a few games of chicken with other riders, and some well-timed wheel-sucking of riders moving up front found me back into 2nd or 3rd place close to the end of Lap 3, sticking to the rear wheel of the guy in front of me like bubble gum. At this point, This Was It - I decided to attack, and launched full out, seeing what would happen. Prime time too! I gunned it. I didn't think much would happen, but about halfway through Lap 4, I was on a straightaway with only 1 other person with me - I'd left the pack behind! Problem was, one other guy, a sandbagger, had followed me, and was busy doing his best impression of Roland Green doing a time trial, and I was deadly tired... I couldn't even tell if I got the prime. My erstwhile breakaway partner, in a blue jersey, immediately took the lead and attempted to leave me in his dust, but I gave it my best and hung on to his rear wheel as best I could... And that was it. My lack of fitness finally showed, and it was all I could do to hang on - I didn't have energy to do anything else. A few times over the next lap and a half, Blue jersey tried to shake me, but I hung on for dear life. Finally, he called out to me a truce, and I immediately agreed, warning him I didn't have much left. So, we worked together, me taking an occassional (very) short pull while Blue pulled me along for the ride. We made such good time that we caught up to the Sandbagger out in front, who immediately tagged on and started dueling with Blue for position once he'd rested up. It was interesting for me - having conceded to Blue, I just hung on and watched the two guys go at it. They finally lost me on the final turn just before the finish, and although I muscled as hard as I could, I was done. The pack still finished a good 15-20 seconds behind me though, so I'd done some good cycling. All in all, a good day - I hadn't won the prime, but I'd come in 3rd despite a lack of bike fitness. Lessons learned - don't be afraid to attack!
There is no such thing as a sanbagger in roadracing.J.S.
May 16, 2001 2:14 PM
You race the class they tell you to race. I raced 5's this weekend because they wouldn't let me move up to 3's(I am an expert MTB) and I won 5's. I asked about upgrading after and the offical would not budge.
Oops that should be "sandbagger" (nm)J.S.
May 16, 2001 2:15 PM
Upgrade issue?Marlon
May 16, 2001 2:30 PM
I know that in the races I've done, it's the same one or two guys all the time up front, and from the easy way they talk with the race organisers, I'm pretty sure they were in Cat. 5 last year. Not to mention the fact that these guys also race with the Cat. 4's in the race afterwards! Still, I hold no grudges - their speed is a pretty powerful incentive to get better quickly!
Yeah there are...longfellow
May 17, 2001 5:14 AM
I've seen a Cat 5 win the BAR (Best All-Aorund Rider) for a state in Cat 5, and still stay a Cat 5 the next year. Talk about a freakin joke. Someone should be watching this mess and forcing upgrades.
well there is, and it depends on the officialclimbo
May 17, 2001 6:15 AM
you speak to. I am an expert MTB racer and was put in to 4's after I put my resume together for the USCF. Another friend was told they were putting him straight in to Cat 3, not really smart for an unexperienced road racing MTB'er so he got them to make him Cat 4. There is no way I would go to Cat 3 until I had the experience or points to do so and I wouldn't want to stay in Cat 5, too dangerous. Cat 4's can still do a lot of Cat 3/4 combined races for longer and better races.
Great stuff, my manbigdave
May 16, 2001 10:04 PM
Way to go Marlon... I'm in the same boat as you as a new 4/5, so it's awesome to hear your great day. Sure, you might be upset you didn't win because you were so close, but you took a gamble and stuck with it. That's awesome.

I certainly don't feel like a breakaway rider like you at this point in the season... still feel like I have a ways to go fitness-wise. But I'm going to give it another crack soon and maybe, just maybe, I'll pull a "Marlon" and surprise some people. :-)

re: Race Report: 3rd at the Tues. Night Crit (Cat 5 story)dustin73
May 21, 2001 1:26 PM
how long are Cat 5 crits? the only crits i've seen were the pro men and women at the Downtown Criterium (at RtfR). would a Cat 5 be the same distance, just at a lesser pace?
re: Race Report: 3rd at the Tues. Night Crit (Cat 5 story)Marlon
May 22, 2001 8:53 PM
The Crit I did was about 2.5km per lap, with 7-8 laps. Around 17.5km to 20km total. Fun! I'm not quite sure about lesser pace, but I think we're definitely not Cat 1 speed, if that's what you're talking about.
re: Race Report: 3rd at the Tues. Night Crit (Cat 5 story)ScottW
Jun 1, 2001 1:11 PM
IMO, if you're in very good shape and are confident that a breakaway can win you the race, great. If not, why not save your energy, sit in the front of the group, and haul in the last lap or 2nd to last. If you use up all of your energy in a breakaway, you'll have nothing left for the finish.

When I first started racing I'd be in the very front leading the group around for a lap or two and then bonk out. When I finally wised up and learned to sit in and explode at the end, I started placing.