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How to get started in Crit racing?(8 posts)

How to get started in Crit racing?Zonic Man
Jul 23, 2002 8:11 PM
I'm currently a beginner class (top 5 usually, and I'm moving up to sport so no sandbagger comments!) XC mountain bike racer and sport level downhill/dual MTB racer looking into gettting into road racing.

I recently acquired a nice new santa cruz roadster with full Dura-Ace and all the goodies, so I got a bike. I've been out on the MTB with the guys from the local shop ride and can hold a line fairly decently--but can't quite pull at the front my fair share of the time, at least on the mountain bike. Recently been doing 25-30 miles at about 17mph average with the group, so I can keep up with them--by riding a wheel.

Anyway, enough of the stupid resume. That's my background.

I'm looking into doing some local (I live in Sacramento) crits, and wondering if I could tug your ears for some advice/guidance getting started in this new sport.

I know how to find crits (local clubs, net, shops, etc)...just what are some things to look out for/what should I be doing in my first road race?

Help appreciated. Thanks!
advice for the first raceweiwentg
Jul 24, 2002 2:34 AM
don't ever pull, just hang in the front third of the pack if at all possible. the pack WILL accelerate out of EVERY corner - be ready for that. don't brake in the corners.
as a mountain biker, you will experience some difficulty adjusting to road racing. the numerous accelerations will be painful. standing to climb will feel wierd (although you probably won't need to worry about that in a crit). the gearing will feel monstrously high. and tight packs will feel scary. if someone taps you, DON'T REACT. racers in a tight pack tap people to let them know they're there.
you might want to train more and get more experience riding in a pack before racing. my friend (who also transitioned) more or less got slaughtered on his first road ride. figure 2-3 months of riding before your first race (it's up to you, though).
Good advice.Zonic Man
Jul 24, 2002 8:24 AM
Think maybe I'll do some group stuff during the winter in some bigger groups to hone the skills.

One thing I don't understand, is the thing about numerous accellerations...one thing i've noticed is that I definately work harder on the dirt than on road rides, especially when the road group that I ride with now tries to drop my mtb riding ass off the back....

I'll take the advice though, thanks!
Good advice.kaiser
Jul 24, 2002 2:29 PM
no doubt, at least for me, that MTB rides are more brutal...But road racing is different than road riding. You will accelerate to what you might think are insane levels. That's what drops people. It isn't the overall pace, but the spurts that kill people. Your run-of-the-mill road ride on saturday, even with a club, typically will not accelerate that high. This is why the interval training sessions are so vital. You not only need to tolerate the acceleration, but you need to recover well enough to keep riding fast, and also be ready to endure the _next_ acceleration.

MTB races are closer in difficulty to time trials. It's a good judge of your fitness as an average, but road races point out your weakenesses in a very obvious way.
he's quite right. nmweiwentg
Jul 24, 2002 5:40 PM
Good advice.yiucycle
Jul 28, 2002 6:31 PM
i think you should try to find some weekly crit training ride becasue that helps me alot on crit. some are free and some you have to pay couple dollars.
Go do the river ride a few timesshirt
Jul 25, 2002 10:24 AM
before racing a crit. Haven't done it myself, but I know a lot of the roadies down there do it. Good place to learn road skills...

Also check out ncnca.org ("Road" link) for a race calendar...

/shirt
try the davis time trialJakob
Jul 26, 2002 8:10 AM
Steve Larsen's Wheelworks hosts an every other Wednesday Time Trial in Davis. I did my first one this week and it was a lot of fun. It was the first time I had ever done anything even remotely competitive on my road bike. It might be worth it to you to start with the time trials. I have read that xc racing is more like a time trial than it is like a crit. Maybe the time trial would be a good transition for you.