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Novice Racer (Cat 5) with questions(6 posts)

Novice Racer (Cat 5) with questionstexsun
Sep 21, 2002 4:58 PM

This is my first road race and I have a couple of questions that hopefully someone will be kind enough to answer.

1. What is the rule about feed zones and handups? Do I need to have someone drive to the feed zone to hand me food/bottles or is the feed zone neutrally supported?

2. What is the rule on spare wheelsets?

3. I'm planning on riding the race without any tools. Is this smart? Do I need to carry a spare tube and air cartridges or can I rely on spare wheels?

Sorry for the beginner questions....I race mtn, but thought I would give road a try.

1, 2, 3Kerry
Sep 21, 2002 5:13 PM
1. It would be unusual for someone to be supplying food to everyone in the feed zone. Are you sure that a Cat 5 race is long enough to have a feed zone? You usually need to have someone there handing up. You might ask the organizers if they are feeding, but it's very unlikely.

2. It will depend on the race. Is this a road race or a criterium? For a crit, you tag your wheels with your name and leave them in the pit area. You get a free lap to replace the wheel. On a road race, you'll need to talk to the organizers - tag your wheels either way - they may have a follow car to carry the wheels.

3. Assuming decent support, you won't need tools. If you suffer a breakdown, you're out of the race either way, so all you want/need is a ride back to the start/finish line.
re: Novice Racer (Cat 5) with questionsflyinbowlofmilk
Sep 22, 2002 5:33 PM
I agree with Kerry 100%. Besides coming from a 1yr Cat 5 racer myself, I would have to agree. Usually if a Cat 5 road race has a feed zone it will be near the start/finish line. But most Cat 5 race don't have feed zone because they are usually less than 30 miles. As for the wheel put a tag on them ,and leave them at the wheel pit. As far as tools don't carry any with you since you will have a pair of spare wheels. One more thing . Good luck
The student becomes the teacher! Right on! (nm)hrv
Sep 23, 2002 6:44 AM
Sep 23, 2002 6:14 AM
As others said, most Cat 5 races are under 50 miles, but I did some up to 65. Unless it's unusually hot, you likely can get by with 2 big bottles and no hand up. If you need more, carry a third bottle in your jersey pocket, and drink up right before the start.

If you do use a feed zone, most of the time you need to have your own person there. Also, you may want to practice hand-ups before. I see them blown about half the time. The helper needs to know what to do, and you need to grab the bottle without dropping it. (Keep your eye on the bottle!)

Some races I've done do have neutral water -- bottle in, bottle out. Pitch them a used bottle and they hand you a bottle of water. I've seen this on better organized, longer, hot weather rides. It's a nice feature, but hard to count on ahead of time. Check the race flyer or ask.

Some road races have a neutral sag wagon that will carry your spare wheels. Just put tags on your wheels and they will carry them for you. However, the sag wagon will usually follow only the main group. If you get dropped, it will pass you and then you are on your own. Believe me, I've been there. Oh, don't forget them afterward, either.

Plus, if you flat, you are out of 99.9% of the races, anyway. Even under ideal circumstances, with a quick wheel change, the group will be 1/4 mile ahead of you. There won't be team mates hanging back to pull you back up, either. So, you either quit or time trial it to the finish, watching the group go further and further away.

That being the case, unless you are a contender, just carry one tube, a C02 inflator, a lever, and a micro-tool kit like the Blackburn race tool. At least if you have a problem you can get back to the car. Don't count on assistance.

re: Novice Racer (Cat 5) with questionsU of A racer
Sep 24, 2002 1:09 PM
Your best bet is to get in touch with the race organizers and ask them about the neutral support. They're the only people who know for sure. Every race can be different.
Only you know how much water you need for a given distance. If the race is over 40 miles and the temps are over 80 degrees, I wear a bare-bones hydrations pack. Here's the reason.
In the cat V races I've done, most rider are on their own. You could have someone hang out at the halfway mark and hand you a bottle, but then you have to worry about being in the right position to receive it, out in front and to the right of the group. If you drop the bottle, you loose contact with the group. Even if the race has a designated feed zone, and neutral support, you have to make sure no other feeders get in the way. With a small hydration pack, you're in control. You can concentrate on racing. The biggest reason racers wouldn't wear one would be because they don't look cool. I've seen plenty of Cat V race winners wear them. Unless the Cat V race is up Alpe d'Huez, the weight won't be a factor, but dehydration will be.
You're responsible for bringing your own spare wheel set. You'll put a tag on them that has your rider number on it. About half an hour before the race start, you'll find the vehicle and give them the wheels. The vehicle will follow the main cat V group throughout the race. If you get dropped, the vehicle move on without you. You're on your own. Bring a spare tube and CO2. I don't think your allowed to have a frame pump on your bike due to safety reasons. In cat V races, mountain bikers do quite well.