's Forum Archives - Racing

Archive Home >> Racing(1 2 3 )

criterium cornering(11 posts)

criterium corneringjust starting out
Jan 8, 2002 4:41 PM
Can someone please explain the ideal way to corner in criteriums? My understanding is wide -- but I don't know exactly what that means. Start out wide and finish wide? Any insights would be appreciated...
Good questionshirt
Jan 8, 2002 8:38 PM
Your question is a good one. One that most racers don't seem to ask very often. Or if they do, they're poorly advised or are poor students.

The answer's long and I'll only give a synopsis here. Your goal is to maintain as much speed as possible. This means you want to go through a corner in such a way that you minimize braking and minimize accelerating. As a GENERAL rule of thumb, this means the following:

Say you have a 90 degree right hand corner. You "set up" for it by drifting as far to the left of the course as possible. You turn right at a point where you almost clip the RIGHT curb. If you're carrying enough speed and have chosen your line right, you will drift all the way out to the left side of the road after the turn.

There are many exceptions to this, mostly caused by hills and traffic. I don't believe roadies, as a rule, understand cornering. I'm a little jaded from having road raced motorcycles for 7 years. If you're really interested in the science of cornering (I used to be) check out "A Twist of the Wrist" by Keith Code. There's actually some good racing info there that applies to pushie riders, as well.

Good luck,
Good questionjust starting out
Jan 8, 2002 9:04 PM
Thanks for your reply. So, I'm assuming that is ideal cornering and (using your example) you need to adjust how close you come to the right curb if you are in a pack -- etiquette-wise -- not to cut people off. Is that true?
no, just knock them overshirt
Jan 8, 2002 9:32 PM

Sure, that was an ideal "off the front" plan. If the peloton has any sense at all (it rarely does), it will generally follow that rule.

You'll notice Cat5, Cat4, and hell, Cat3 and Cat2 pelotons running exactly the wrong lines through corners. Of course, if you're at the front with a couple mates and driving the peloton, you may WANT to take the absolute worst line through the corner you can. At the front, you can recover from a bad line very quickly, while the unfortunates behind you will bunch up on the inside, all braking at once, pussy foot through the corner, then try to figure out where to go when they're on the other side.

But I tell too much...

Jan 8, 2002 11:02 PM
Shirt's advice is perfect in a perfect situation: I.E. There is no one immediately in front of you (NOT an ideal situation unless you are going into the last corner); and you are going as fast as the corner will alow.

Criteriums (even in cat 5) tend to develop into one long line of riders in single file with a few doubled or tripled up. You want to be up front to avoid the crashes, but you do not want to be the very first rider taking the brunt of the wind.

If no one is immediately in front of you and you are not going at absolute top speed, someone braver or better than you is going to cut inside and leave you out of line.

If you are in the pace line and you move out of it to set up wide, you will loose your place in line (they are hard to come by).

So if you are leading or chasing and going as fast as the corner will allow, follow Shirt's advice. If you are in the paceline, just follow the wheel in front, unless you are brave enough to cut inside.

Here is an awesome cornering trick I learned from a Dutch Kermesse rider. Say you are in the pace line and there are more than 15 riders in front of you. The problem with this situation is that many riders in line in front of you will brake a little more than the guy in front of them. This causes small gaps between riders that really add up by the time you come into the corner. Because of this, each rider in front of you will accelerate as he comes out of the corner. This causes a sort of "rubberband" effect in the pace line with the guys in the back having to make up the biggest gaps and accelerate the longest and hardest(another reason you should stay up front).

Here's the secret: as you approach the corner, brake early. Let a gap open up between you and the rider in front of you (the size of the gap depends on the speed). Just before you go into the corner, start to close the gap. The guy in front of you should be off the brakes and in the corner. If you do it right you will be accelerating through the corner and up to his rear wheel just as he starts accelerating. The jump in speed will be much easier for you to handle now.

I hope I did not confuse.
Jan 9, 2002 6:34 AM
That advice is dead on. I wish you'd keep your mouth shut though, I don't want too many people to know about it :-)

One other thing to consider as well. I'll often downshift 1 gear or so (depending upon the terrain into and coming out of the turn) so that I'll be able to get on top of my gear better and improve my acceleration out of the corner. Of course, sometimes it's not warranted.

re: criterium corneringmerckx56
Jan 9, 2002 2:32 PM
three words: hold your line! if you come down on another rider, they may not be very understanding! if you are off the front, you can shoot the apex of the corner. if you are in a three wide pack, hold your line!
the advice to let a gap open just in front is good for holding your speed through a corner.
as you move up in category, you'll notice there is a lot less touching of the brakes. it becomes much faster and smoother through the corners!
i've been in pro 1,2 fields, on flat, four corner courses, where i can't remember ever getting on the brakes!
re: criterium corneringbrider
Jan 10, 2002 11:25 AM
Good advice given already. One thing to be cautious of with Allervite's advice -- be ready to change lines if the gap closes too quickly, as you don't want to touch the brakes once you get into the corner. Learn countersteering. Also, you can carry quite a bit of speed into and out of a corner if you learn how to pump the bike when pedalling through a corner. This works best on uphill corners (or corners going into an uphill), or when at the front. You'll want to be near the front anyway to minimize the "accordian effect" that will sap any speed out of you quickly. Good luck.
What do you mean by "pump the bike"? <nm>shirt
Jan 10, 2002 12:11 PM
What do you mean by "pump the bike"? <nm>brider
Jan 11, 2002 11:55 AM
It's a side-to-side motion when pedalling through a corner, similar to what you see the sprinters doing at the finish, but you're doing it in a corner. You stand up and basically pedal through the corner, holding the outside leg out a little. The bike rocks outward as the inside pedal comes down. Takes a little practice to really be able to power through a corner and hold a good line. This is something you difinitely wouldn't do in tight confines (tends to make people a little annoyed), but is a good way to set up the exit.
variation on the themeallervite
Jan 12, 2002 7:25 PM
I like to slide my butt over to the outside of the seat, lean my upper torso into the corner and hold the bike at a slightly more upright position while pedaling through the corner. I am essentialy maintaining the inside pedal position brider mentions, all the way through the corner.

Neither method will work if you are balls to the wall going into the corner. You will crash or go wide, but if the speed is manageable you can really accelerate out of the corner.