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Converting from MTB Racing to Road Racing(4 posts)

Converting from MTB Racing to Road Racingskip work to ride
Oct 14, 2001 9:58 PM
I would like some input in going from these one to the other in terms of the benefits of:
Joining a Club?
Training in the off-season (time, intensity, different skills to focus on)
What to expect
Resources (I have Friel's book and a host of others on MTB training)
Any other suggestions/expectations.
re: Converting from MTB Racing to Road Racingnestorl
Oct 15, 2001 6:57 PM
Welcome to the roadies' world :-)...

At the high risk of getting flamed, here are my thoughts:

1. JOIN a CLUB! you will not get fast unles you ride with people that drop day you will hang on!. Clubs are the best and fastest way to learn ettique, skills, tactics, etc etc etc

BUT...and here is where I get flamed

Do not expect roadies to be as nice as MTB people. Although there are a few welcoming and friendly clubs out there, most clubs a quite elitist and hard to break in. Once you do, you are in! but the breaking in process is humbling and not for the low self-esteem type :-) or your ego will get very bruised.
Same goes for racing... it will not be as friendly as the first time you raced mtbs. You will get used to it soon or will simply return to mts as many others (I can not blame them).

If you want to improve exponentially during the off season. Get rollers!!

Have fun, and ignore the hardcore, testosterone filled hammer heads that will ignore you during your first few rides. They are just insecure people who get 100% of their self-esteem from the muscles on their legs.

Oh... and Did I tell you that you have to shave your way around that one if you really want to feel as one of the boys. :-)

train your mindjw25
Oct 17, 2001 8:33 AM
I've done the same thing, and the biggest difference I can see is the strategy. In mtb, my main goal is to hang with a rider or group, pass if I can, and finsh strong. On the road, it's a moving chess game (not my quote), with riders constantly jockeying for position. It's much less about strength and power, though they help, of course.
So, definitely join a club. I'm lucky to have a fairly big club, with organized group rides and practice races for both disciplines, as well as good collegiate teams close by. As was said, you will get dropped on the fast rides at first, but that's how you learn. Just go prepared (plenty of fluid, and some food), and make sure you know the way back. Some clubs can be elitist, but I've found that a few questions can really open people up, since they want you to know how to ride in a group (it's self-preservation).
Learn to ride a paceline. It's harrowing at first, but the closer you can get to the wheel in front of you, the less work you do, and the farther you can go. Since most road racing is just this, plus a sprint at the finish, it's a basic skill.
As for what to expect, you'll be starting as a Cat. 5 (or 4 for women). No ifs, ands or buts. 5's have a reputation for squirreliness, and they earn it. This is one reason why group rides are good - there's a lot less pressure than the middle of a racing pack. Definitely be aware of everything around you, don't just focus on the wheels in front of you. In fact, you shouldn't fixate on wheels at all, but look at the riders. Be ready to move if necessary, and don't be afraid of contact. Just try not to overlap wheels - you'll find out why the first time you do. It's not so bad if you're the one in front, but if it's your front wheel, you're probably going down.
Not that I'm trying to scare you, you just have to know that things could happen. I've done 10 races at this point, and haven't gone down yet (knock on wood). I just expect to, so if it happens, I'm ready to react appropriately. This is one place where mountain biking should help you, as you probably have some experience crashing.
If you've got Friel's MTB bible, don't bother getting the road version, as you've basically got it already. For training, I'd recommend working on climbing, both short power-climbs, and the long grinders. A HRM is invaluable here, since you can gauge effort so much more precisely. Also, do some spinning work, since it pays off on the road far more than off-road. I save this for the off-season, when I can be on a trainer, and just spin along at 85 RPM for half an hour with no traffic, stop-lights, hills, whatever. Once you're body gets used to a faster cadence, you'll tend to just do it, without having to concentrate on it.
I also recommend a monthly TT, about 10 miles, just as a gauge of fitness. If you know you can push along at 93% of Max. HR for 25 minutes, you'll have a good idea of how hard you can go in a race.
And finally, don't expect to win anything your first year. Use each race as training, and try to pick up tactics and strategies that worked. 4/5 races are excellent for this, as you'll get seasoned racers who haven't yet upgraded to Cat. 3, but have years of experience. Don't be afraid to talk to them before and during the race. If you can't talk during a race, you're way out of your league (well, up until the final mile or so, anyway).
Most importantly, though, keep it fun. Like I said, go with expectations to finish, and a good placing will just be icing. It's an experience like nothing else, so enjoy it.
train your mindWoof the dog
Nov 5, 2001 5:06 PM
touching wheels ain't bad, unless a person moves way over suddenly. Then you are fu*#ed.

Woof the dog