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Getting Crit experience with minimal damage(23 posts)

Getting Crit experience with minimal damageiamkramer
Feb 3, 2003 3:55 PM
OK. I've got plenty of road and mountain experience but little Crit experience to speak of. (CAT 4). I'm interested in the top 5 things to keep in mind when racing crits. The more information I have the easier the adjustment will be.


re: Getting Crit experience with minimal damageMR_GRUMPY
Feb 3, 2003 5:04 PM
1) Don't crash all by yourself.
2) Don't ride over somebody that is lying on the ground.
3) Don't ride behind somebody that is covered in bandages.
4) Don't ride behind somebody that rides all wiggley.
5) Don't think about crashing.
stuff you should know alreadyDougSloan
Feb 3, 2003 5:11 PM
1. Don't overlap wheels
2. EVen if you do and you bump, don't panic, and steer into the wheel
3. Pick a good wheel to follow
4. Watch several riders ahead
5. Things get real panicky out of the last turn, last lap; be extra cautious there
6. Don't look back when people crash (I've seen idiots do this and almost cause more crashes -- duh)

re #6lonefrontranger
Feb 4, 2003 6:44 AM
I've seen more than my share of wackos who do that and crash THEMSELVES.

Corollary to #6 - if it happens behind you, it's none of your concern. Assuming it's not a teammate. Even if you think it was, especially don't bother in a crit.

A woman in a local crit took out a number of remaining upright riders in the field last year by slamming *hard* on the brakes when she realized her teammate had gone down (by overlapping someone else's wheel). As an aside, this team is none too popular owing to their unique approach to pack skills. It's a crit fergawdsakes. They're either going to get up and take a free lap or go home in the ambulance. Either way, crashing the whole field won't make it better.
#6 redux...merckx56
Feb 4, 2003 7:31 AM
If you hear a crash behind you, ATTACK!
why doesn't anyone use a mirror in racing?DougSloan
Feb 4, 2003 7:39 AM
On some local training rides/quasi-races, I've used my mirror, just to see what a difference it makes. People are missing out. I could clearly see someone coming up from behind way before they got to me, then increase my speed to latch on as they went by. No surprises. I also could see if I was pulling away in front, and let up if I did not want to be alone (e.g., like working with someone to catch a group). All this without taking my eyes off the road ahead.

I looked, and couldn't find a rule against it. Other forms of group racing use them, so why not cycling? It makes so much sense.

Good tacticMR_GRUMPY
Feb 4, 2003 9:37 AM
When you pull up to the line, at least two or three riders will fall off their bikes and not be able to start. The rest of the riders will be very silent.
why doesn't anyone use a mirror in racing?No_sprint
Feb 4, 2003 10:19 AM
I just can't imagine taking my eye away from right in front of me for even a split second when packed in the middle of 110 dudes banging shoulders, hittin' knees and theighs, rubbing wheels, doin' 30mph +. Completely hairball scary as it is, no possible way...
Feb 4, 2003 3:02 PM
You don't really need to remove your eyes from what's ahead. Sort of like the review in a car.

Also, you wouldn't be using it in the middle of 110 guys. You'd use it if you were out front, or maybe about to get gapped and want to see if there is help behind. No reason to use it packed in with a bunch of people.

Let's say you are in a break. There are 2 guys ahead, and you are hammering at maybe 32 mph (that's fast for me, don't know about you guys). You are probably not going to be in a position to do a complete head turn to see who's behind. With the mirror, you can easily see, even without taking your eyes off the wheel in front of you. Wouldn't it be nice to easily know who or how many are behind?

Or, you are on a break, and you are leading near the finish. If you could easily see behind, unlike Lance's "the look" full body turn, you could maybe detect some horrible suffering and really push extra hard. bla bla bla...

So, I don't think it is as scary as you might think.

shhh, that's a FastFred trick (nm)Mike-Wisc
Feb 4, 2003 11:15 AM
because I don't want to think of the ramifications...lonefrontranger
Feb 4, 2003 1:33 PM
If I happen to come down hard on that side and run the protruding armature into my eyeball / temple.

I'm sure they're safe and crash tested, it just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. I could care less about looking like a dork, either. IME some strange things can happen in crashes. I've seen people's legs get core-sampled from unplugged bars (this is why the official will stop and possibly DQ you on the line if you're missing an end plug), and I've seen someone nearly lose a leg below the knee from putting it through a Spinergy Rev-X.

Peripheral awareness is about way more than vision.
I seem to remember one that goes on the inside of the glassesbrider
Feb 4, 2003 2:34 PM
Didn't work with Oakley sweeps, but other brands worked well. You could put one on either side of the lens (left or right, not inside or outside), or both for full view. And they were about 1/4 inch in diameter. I never used them (I always wore Oakleys), but I know of people who did. There was one company that made them specific to a particular brand of glasses (to match the angle of the lens), and another one that was adjustable. Don't know if they're still on the market.
Aren't they illegal for mass start races like spinachi bars?jhr
Feb 5, 2003 6:07 AM
Not the fact of a mirror per se but wouldn't most of the mounting systems (bar plug or helmet) violate uscf rules (like forward projecting bar attachments)? Most crits they will make you remove your pump and seat pack for "safety reasons."

Can't find a ruleDougSloan
Feb 5, 2003 6:56 AM
I did a word search in the USCF General Racing Rules and Road Racing and Stage Racing Rules for "mirror" and "glass", and got no relevant hits ( containers prohibited).

Any USCF officials here?

could come under this rule...DougSloan
Feb 5, 2003 7:00 AM
1J2. Riders are responsible for their selection of competition equipment and for taking reasonable
precautions to insure that its condition is adequate and safe for use in competition.
(a) To maintain compliance with these regulations, the equipment and uniform of one or more riders may be examined at any time to discover the use of items which are not allowed or which are obviously improperly adjusted, insecurely fastened, or which may present a danger to the rider(s). The chief referee shall prohibit the use of any such items discovered during the examination. Such examinations are conducted at the discretion of the chief referee. An examination of every rider's equipment is not required.

That would be a bit arbitrary, in application, though.

Thanks for info!jhr
Feb 6, 2003 9:46 AM
Sounds like they are or should be allowed. Also sounds like there may be local practices that don't match up with the rules. I know at most crits in my area they will make you dump your pump and seat pack. Maybe they don't want you to be able to jam you pump into a guy's spokes after he cuts you off!!

because people will make fun of youQ-Pro
Feb 17, 2003 9:18 PM
Yeah, there was this guy doin' the Wed Night Crits down here in Houston that wore a mirror in the cat 4/5 race.

He seemed strong enough, but everyone still thought he looked like a _______

a) Fred,
b) geek,
c) dork,
d) all of the above

I never even considered it because all I care about is my front wheel. I'm a sprinter and won't likely be in a break. I can listen for the telltale sounds of someone attacking or going early. You won't see the cat 1/2/3 riders using a mirror, although I have a teammate that wears one on training rides to watch traffic. I guess he wants to see who kills him before it happens.
re: Getting Crit experience with minimal damageMatt Britter
Feb 4, 2003 10:23 AM
DS, you have a good point with the mirrors. They just seem to have a Fred stigma attached to them.

Thinking about other forms of racing: Indy cars, NASCar, Grand touring all have mirrors, but the drivers are pretty strapped into the seat and could not turn their heads to see behind them.
Superbikes, MotoX, JetSki's do not have mirrors probably becuase the riders have more mobility for the look around?

Besides mirrors have blind spots.
Feb 4, 2003 3:06 PM
No mirror is going to give perfect view. No doubt about that.

But, a glasses or helmet mounted mirror turns with your head, so you can see what you want to.

I've driven formula cars. Yup, you are strapped in tight, and can't turn your head too much. But, the mirrors I had were slightly convex, so they gave a wider field of view, at the expense of depth. But, you really don't care what's going on 10 car lengths back. They are mostly for knowing who's right at your wheel.

re: Getting Crit experience with minimal damageoutofthesaddle
Feb 4, 2003 11:13 AM
As DS said – very important to protect your front wheel by not overlapping anyone's rear wheel.

Try to stay near the front if possible to avoid the "accordion effect" in and out of turns and to avoid crashes.

Don't drop your head. Late in the race - when you are really spent - keep your head up. (A corollary – if you see someone in front of you that has dropped his head – get out from behind him – he's likely to cause a crash.)

Pedal though the corners (and certainly don't brake in a corner).

Pay attention on the last lap - things get crazy. Lots of very tired riders combined with some very aggressive riding means lots can happen. Stay relaxed and aware.

Most important - have fun. If its not fun, its not worth doing.
re: Getting Crit experience with minimal damagebrider
Feb 4, 2003 11:41 AM
1) Keep your head up and moving around -- be aware of what's going on around you.
2) Keep passing riders and stay near the front. If you're not passing people, you're being passed and will soon find yourself at the back of the pack and suffering the accordian effect.
3) When pedalling through the corners, stand up and rock the bike sideways to lift the inside pedal.
4) If you flat or crash, go to the official first. You may get more than one free lap.
5) Don't be first out of the last corner (unless (a) you're fast, and (b) there's only 25 yards to the finish line). Learn how to slingshot off other riders.
funny crit story from a friendDougSloan
Feb 4, 2003 2:51 PM
This was an email to teammates from a local phenomenal woman racer from Sweden (she placed second over all in the FC 508 in 2001):

Do you remember your first criterium? Let me remind you a bit. I had only done one criterium 3 years earlier in women cat 4/4 and that time I just hung out on the side or in front of a little group. That time I rode my oversized canondale with downtube shifters. I did not know what preems were and could not understand why they kep screaming out things about socks, powerbars and other stuff. Thought they were just having advertisements on during the race. Every once in a while the other women would take of in a frenzy and I thought every time, that finally we were starting to race. But every time they passed the finish line, they slowed down. Finally I asked a woman what the bell meant she told me about preems. So the bell went off, they screamed something I could not hear, and I took of. I later found out that I had earned $25 and another $25 for second place. That was the highest salary per hour I have ever had. I had a big helmet that kept falling into my eyes with only three vents. My head overheated in the 90 degree heat and I remember running into a restaurant to cool of my brain after that race.

Well, that was Micky Mouse racing and 3 years ago. Ever since I have avoided tight crowds and the last 6 months I have not even been doing any group rides. Commuting on my mountainbike and riding niece leisurely centuries on my crossbike with a coffee thermos and bagels in the rack pack.

So, Sunday comes up. I start the day with a silent prayer to God that I will not become part of the pavement. First race Men's 40+. Lots of men line up at the start line. They look quiet intimidating. I have been practicing tackling under Chris excellent coaching the previous day, but am still aware of that momentum is proportional to weight. Of we go, I manage to clip in and start without crashing, first obstacle is overcome. We start going round in circles. The course is nice for beginnners, D shaped. I speak to myself as I do when I mountainbike. 'You can do it, Cat'. 'Just stay upright.' 'Look in front of you.' 'The other guys are more experienced, let them take care of things around you. ' 'Outside leg down, weight on the outside, lean' ' Just relax Cat'. 'They should remove that road drum in the corner, my back wheel jumps over it every time'. I stay on the outsides or the insides. Tries to avoid the middle. Suddenly I find myself up towards the front. Mike shouts "Attack'. I take off slowly, contemplating what I am doing. 'What am I doing?' 'Going around in circles'. Hands are get tired from holding on to the handlebars so hard. Suddenly someone yells at me. 'Did I cut someone of'. I wave a little excuse' Someone tries to talk. I don't answer back. Gotta concentrate on riding. I finish with the pack.

I did it. Stayed with the group. Did not fall and did not make anyone else fall. Pleased. Steve comes up. 'Did you shift any?'. 'No', I say, 'Didn't need to, no hills'. 'You should shift some' says Steve. 'I had enough just holding on to the handlebars. Next time'.

Next race Men's 30+. Field is even bigger. I am planning on just hanging off the bike, because I fear my hands and mind is tired on concentrating from the earlier crit and tiredness is a ticket to road rash. I hang in there. Find myself relaxing a bit more than in the previous race. Realize that the handlebars will stay on the bike, even if I don't hold them in an iron grip. Start looking around a bit more to watch my sides (Mike told me to). Shift a bit, just because Steve told me to. Round and round (average speed 26 mph). Have never gone this fast before for a whole hour. 'Hey, this is fun'. A lot of guys are just sitting there rolling around. Pretty nice in the pack. A very compact pack. 'Wonder how many laps in an hour?' Crash! Right in front of me in the corner. I swerve out. 'Good girl, you did not go down' I think. So
rest of itDougSloan
Feb 4, 2003 2:52 PM
...Someone pedalling through a turn. I check the next time through. Not alot of human gu on the pavement. Good, that would make the corner slippery. Good thing I only coast through turns. Sometimes really slowly. Guys behind me grumble a bit. 'If you don't like sitting behind me, move up', I think. I stay with the pack till the end.

Great fun. Sure different from a double century! I see the women race after us. Did not do the women's race because we want to go home. They go slower, smaller field. Looks Mickey mouse. I had much more fun in the men's race. This was fun. I learnt a lot.