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Tour De Pain review: Live and Learn(10 posts)

Tour De Pain review: Live and LearnJames Curry
Mar 26, 2002 1:47 PM
The tour de pain is a non-licensed, self-seeded 50K wreck fest.

Top Ten Things heard in the Tour De Pain:

10. 'Move Up'
9. 'Good Recovery'
8. 'Turn ahead'
7. CRASHHHHH [sound of cracking carbon TT frame]
6. "What Centerline?"
5. 'Would you quit using your damned aerobars!'
4. 'Who's off the front? Who cares!'
3. 'IS your combat helmet ANSI approved?'
2. 'How many dead squirrels are on this course?'
1. 'It's just a flesh-wound'.

I have never seen more gruesome behavior from a pack of marines: dudes cornering in a peloton at speed, while down on their aerobars. Oh, yes and also during the final sprint!

There was a crash at every corner. THere was a crash where there were no corners. And then, of course, there were the camoflouged cones everybody seemed to keep hitting (we were on a military base of course).

I have never seen the speed of a pace line be so affected by a railroad crossing.

The problem: Self-seeded race.

I hope that all the 5/4 races I am in aren't like this. Are they? It's a combination race. If I were a cat 4 I would want to haul ass and hope the 5's didn't come near me. Is this what I should expect?

I guess for the first official race of my season, the unofficial result is to not race the tour de pain ever again.
re: Tour De Pain review: Live and Learnmixinbeatz
Mar 26, 2002 2:13 PM
This being my first race season, I have been surprised how well and predictable people are in the 4-5 pack here in the NW. Granted there have been a couple crashes near the back, but I try and always stay at the top 1/3 of the pack. In my first few races I have noticed that for the most part the unattached riders are much more squirrelly. I have also figured it out that if someone is riding like an idiot, start screaming at them, others will join in and they will disappear into the pack. These are the guys that cause problems in the front for the first half of the race and then you never see them again. You story sounds horrible, I would quit racing if it was always that shitty.
Actually two problems...brider
Mar 26, 2002 2:25 PM
(1) self-seeded, and (2) first race of the season. As you get more experience, the early season stuff loses it's draw. Seems that there's always a few people that lose their pack skills over the winter of trainer sessions. It's like they forget that the handlebar turns! No, I'd say that the Cat 4/5 races aren't going to be that bad. And as for the "haul ass and hope the 5's don't come near me" idea, usually it won't work, as there's always some strong 5s (usually triathletes in their first season of racing, brutally strong but no sprint).
Even more than two problems...Wayne
Mar 28, 2002 9:07 AM
Guys riding aerobars in a mass start race? That's just asking for accidents. And since it wasn't a sanctioned race, I suspect there were a larger number of brand spanking new racers than in most cat 4/5 races. Did my first 4/5 race of the year last week (crit in the DC area) and had a guy right in front of me stand up on the hoods and turn around to see what was going on behind him (which made absolutely no sense) just as the cross/headwinds were blowing everybody into a nice compact group. He predictably swerved a touch and then began rickocheting off the riders to his left than right then left again before he lost it and went ass over tea kettle, luckily he fell far enough to the right that I skirted by his bike on it's way down. I don't know if wrecks are any more commmon in 4/5 races (there seem to plenty in the 1/2/3 or pro races as well) but in the lower cat. races I think they happen because of incompetence whereas in higher cat races it's people doing risking things.
Even more than two problems...RockyMountainRacer
Mar 28, 2002 9:48 AM
Man, you guys are scaring me with all this crash talk. I did all Sport-level mountain biking last summer, this year I'm starting off my season with some of my first road races. I did my first cat 5 crit last weekend (got dropped of course), but fortunately there were no crashes. We had a pretty small field (about 15-20 riders), so there wasn't much of a "pack" to speak of after half the race. A lot of us were time-trailing pretty quick, so that could have increased the safety. But I was in the pack for half the race, and everyone was riding well. Nobody did anything to scare me, but next weekend I'm doing a crit that is a 4/5 combined field. I hope the bigger field isn't as dangerous as the one at the Tour de Pain! What's nice about mtb racing is that when you crash it's ussually your own fault, and people don't take you out too often. Plus you don't land on pavement. I think it's going to take me a while to get used to racing with people all around me.
Yeah it will take some geting used to...James Curry
Mar 28, 2002 10:23 AM
I compare it to driving in Atlanta traffic!!! You really have to see things before they happen! You get used to looking in the correct places-almost never behind you though! What was that guy thinking!!!

You will ultimately find sheer enjoyment though when you're cruising along at about 27 mph, all the talkers have shut-up and you're smack in the middle of the pack, and all you hear is that quiet WHIRRRRRRR of the peolton. For such a fickle position that's the most relaxing sound!!!
Yeah it will take some geting used to...RockyMountainRacer
Mar 28, 2002 3:06 PM
Good analogy with the Atlanta traffic! That definitely gave me a chuckle or two because my girlfriend is from that nutty city...I was there with her for Christmas, sitting in the pasenger seat of her car and trying to act like I wasn't about to s%^t my pants! You are dead-on, those people are all smoking crack while they drive in that city!

Anyway, I think you are very right about tucking yourself in the middle of the pack. I was in there for a couple laps, and you just kind of go with the flow in there. I got dropped when I suddenly found myself on the back...all the sudden it got a lot windier, and I realised I needed to move up because you don't get much of a draft on the back. Just as I thought that, the guy in front of me lost the wheel. So I tried to go around him and bridge, but I just didn't have the legs because we just climbed a hill. Ooooh, it is soooo frustrating to watch that pack cruise away and know you can't catch it. The other thing I'm getting used to about this road racing thing is that if you lose the pack, you are done for, you lose! With mountain bike racing you can recover and come back. In some of my best mtb races I've actually totally blown on climbs and then come back to place high. Oh well, live and learn--next crit I do I will go balls out to stay near the front.
C-ya!
Yeah it will take some geting used to...allervite
Mar 29, 2002 11:43 AM
Try to stay about fourth place: close enough to stay out of the crashes, but far enough back to get a good draft. Don't give up when the pack whirs away. The pack will have a different personality each race. A lot of times everyone will sit up and you will catch on easily. Also, you are not doing any more work trying to catch on as the guy in front trying to drive the pace. The key to transitioning from the MTB to the road is the speed interval. We dirt guys are just not used to cruising along in the mid to upper 20's.
It is easy...MeMyselfandI
Mar 31, 2002 7:59 PM
It is easy to take down guys in their aerobars. Learn how to do it so that they cannot take you down as well. And make sure to do it in a manner that it doesn't endanger anyone behind.
Um...Duane Gran
Apr 5, 2002 6:00 AM
I'll assume that your statement is sarcasm and spare us all the obvious rebuke.

On this issue, I would never do a race where people have aero bars or use them. The only unofficial race I will do is a time trial, where no other cyclist has the potential of ruining my race.

As for crashes.... they happen, but after a while you get a sense of who will cause them or fail to avert them. These are the people you make sure are behind you or that you ride near the edges and have an escape plan.