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1st Road Race == A$$ Whuppin' - Mine :((14 posts)

1st Road Race == A$$ Whuppin' - Mine :(crashjames
Apr 28, 2003 5:35 AM
So has anyone else suffered the humility of hanging ok in club rides for a while only to be blown off the back of your first cat 4/5 race?

I guess I am in need of a little encouragement. Training tips also welcome.

A big part of it...merckx56
Apr 28, 2003 6:32 AM
is the psychology. A lot of people get really keyed up before a race and tend to start thinking too much. Just like war, the best plan goes out the window when the first shot goes over your head! I used to be the same way. I found that the problem was that I would start thinking about the race a soon as I woke up in the morning and it would just ruin me. I know it sucks to be in that much pain, but it sucks for everyone around you too. I quit wearing a heartrate monitor during races. Looking down and seeing a big number bloews a lot of folks right out the back. They think, "188, I'm gonna die!" Trust me, you still feel that way, but I'd prefer not to know the numbers!
Racing is as much mental as physical. A strong guy may be able to hang on and make the race interesting, but a smart, strong guy will beat him everytime. It comes with time and practice. Don't get discouraged.
As for tips, a 4/5 race is sketchy at best. If you don't stay in the top 1/4 of the field, unless you're really strong, forget it. Once you drigt towards the back, the field tends to yo-yo. The guys on the front aren't hitting the brakes while the guys in the back are. As you move up, the races get faster and smoother. Work on sprinting out of corners. 4/5 races that do the yo-yo thing tend to require a bit of standing up out of a corner to get back up to speed. The higher cats carry more velocity into turns, thus requiring less violent efforts to get out of the corner.
Practice cornering too. I tell the guys I work with that if you're gonna win, you gotta turn! I'm not saying to do the Moto GP knee-dragging stuff, but learn to hang it out a bit! A) you'll get better and B)you may scare some people who are following you into slowing down beacause they don't think they can make the turn.
Get in a pre-race routine too! Breakfast, race prep, traveling partners, etc. That stability will help a lot. If you can find someone to travel with to races, it takes the mind off the matter at hand. Talk about anything but the race while in the car or hotel room.
Don't stress, you'll do better next time!
Agree 100% so much mental Psych involved:abicirider
Apr 28, 2003 11:09 AM
That is one of the biggest keys in my thinking dont get overstressed be keen but not to the point of about ready to explode. I really think of racing now as hey one of my group rides, so I just go out have fun dont stress and it usally(not always) works out.
Also experience and time will make all the difference dont know your age but The younger guys are the ones that seem to be so stressed.
In cat4/5 have to be able to sprint interval, or motor pacing is a must that is just my thinking.
Hang in there the bottom line have fun that is what it is about its not a life or death situation if you get or don't get dropped. Main thing dont get dischanted each race you will find yourself hanging with the pack a little bit longer.
Have fun and dont stress.
Be Safe Out On The Roads!!!!!!!!
Ray Still
Mooresville, NC
If your base is done, do intervals.Spunout
Apr 28, 2003 6:38 AM
Riding with the club is fine, but you have to do some solitary work with intervals.

That means, spend time riding much slower than you (or a group) and then faster than you (or a group would). Do you think Muscle Endurance (ME: long strong fast efforts) or Speed Endurance (very fast short efforts) are your limiter? Everyone works on ME intervals first, and they always bear fruit if you ride hard and rest harder!

Don't give up the races. The only way to race fast is to train fast(see above).
1200 miles this year so far - is that "base"?crashjames
Apr 28, 2003 7:42 AM
I checked my training log. Granted, due to the everlasting winter here in New York, only 400 of those miles are outside -- everything else is inside on a trainer.

I think my limiter is power/speed in the flats. I've generally focused on spinning and climbing over speed in the flats. I didn't weight train that much this off-season and wonder if that has something to do with it?
Check Friel/Burke for ME interval program...Spunout
Apr 28, 2003 7:51 AM
It is a bit detailed, but basically a long interval (10-15 minutes) pushing a big gear followed by three minutes spinning for recovery in a small gear(I mean small: 39/19!). Start with three reps, twice per week to start. A fast club ride or training criterium takes the place of one of these workouts.

You should be working hard enough so that you *cannot* do threshold work the next day. Recover with an endurance ride, very easy.

After three weeks of that and one week of rest: You will hang on better. Stay on a good wheel!
re: 1st Road Race == A$$ Whuppin' - Mine :(MD80
Apr 28, 2003 9:48 AM
Hang in there. I hear ya. I am in the same boat. This is my first year racing and have done 2 road races in last three weekends. Both races I got dropped from the pack within first ten minutes of the race. I am a small guy and was amazed at many big 6 feet+ guys with huge quads are at these cat4/5 races. Both races were on a hilly and windy course which killed me. First race I was by my self for most of the race but the second race I had couple of other guys with me sharing the pain. When you get dropped and ending up by your self is tough because your motivation to push goes away after a while. Its lot better to work with someone because you keep pushing. Right now I am just hoping to hang on to the pack by end of June(wishful thinking?). You know what I love about racing? Its that first 10 minutes when Im with the pack racing. It would definitely be a blast to last the whole race. Thats what motivates me. I would also like to hear from guys who have gone through this in the past and offer any training tips.
re: 1st Road Race == A$$ Whuppin' - Mine :(DeadGame
Apr 30, 2003 5:54 PM
First Cat 5 race got dropped on first big hill. About 30 minutes later I hear "Lookout Race in progress" as three jrs come flying by. I yell back "I'm in the f$%^&g race!"
re: 1st Road Race == A$$ Whuppin' - Mine :(kenyonCycleist
Apr 28, 2003 3:38 PM
in 4/5 races u are already riding at your limit b/c u are not yet physiologically adapted to the demands of racing....the hard part is learning to keep up that intensity once you get in race form and can hang with the pack. i would rather be racing so hard that i get dropped than be just cruising in the pack...of course when u have the two together thats when things really start to get interesting.
re: 1st Road Race == A$$ Whuppin' - Mine :(flyinbowlofmilk
Apr 28, 2003 4:47 PM
I would have to agree with most of the replies that you are getting already. I have been there before crashjames. So don't give up dude. This is my 2nd year racing as a Cat5 in the Southeast(N.C.). In my 1st year I was just happy to finish a RR. Now I am starting my climb from dead last to staying with the pack for a while. Keep you head up and know that after a while it will start to come together. And like someone told me last year you have to pay you dues in racing.
Hey Flyinbowlofmilk you going to the Shelby Crit (Sat) nmabicirider
Apr 28, 2003 6:40 PM
re: 1st Road Race == A$$ Whuppin' - Mine :(JAishima
Apr 29, 2003 7:38 AM
I've been just a (touring) club rider since late summer and I've worked up from being with the pack to mostly at the front. I thought I might race this year, but just to see how I'm doing to prepare for next year.

This is how my first race went:

So I gave the Wente Vineyards road race a try on Saturday, kind of encouraged by some local racers who ride with my club sometimes. The race is 48 miles, 3 circuits of a loop with maybe half of the loop being fairly hilly (with a couple of steep climbs). Cat 5b had probably 50 riders and it was pretty awesome to hear the sound of 50 bikes going up the road through a narrow railroad tunnel. I'm kinda coasting at the back, then we hit the first steep hill and the field breaks into at least 2 parts, with probably 30 riders in the front group. That's why you need to start at the front, right?

Eventually, one of the riders with us makes us organize and start pacelining. We get a group of about 5 of us for about 2.5 laps and pick up a few stragglers here and there. Things are going great until the last 1/2 lap, when 4 of us (out of about 8 or 9 by then) realize that we're doing all of the work. The whole group slows down and we pick up maybe 4 more riders. The finish line is right after that first steep hill where the group broke apart.

Being annoyed with the hangers-on, I break away from the group for the last climb (at a speedy 9 mph) and end up finishing about 15th. Not bad for a touring club rider.

Next race: Berkeley Hills road race. Two even nastier hills (Mama Bear and Papa Bear).
Lessons: 1. Start at the front!
2. I can probably keep up with these cat 5 guys!
3. This racing thing is pretty cool!
Awesome baby!shirt
Apr 29, 2003 11:13 AM
That's a great first race...

We'll be doing Berkeley Hills and Cats Hill, too. Look for the white/blue/orange Redding Velo jerseys.

re: 1st Road Race == A$$ Whuppin' - Mine :(Thorman
Apr 30, 2003 4:50 PM
I can relate to your story. In my first real road race two years ago I went off the back after only a few miles in. Last year I managed to finish in the top 10 at the same race and this year I actually won a race on the same course.

The biggest thing for me was starting a structured program and doing intervals. I also dropped my weight from 190 down to 165.

My advice to you would be to start by creating a training program that is based on your biggest races of the year. I personally use Friel's program (, but there are others out there that work just as well.