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Tips needed-Cat 4 and large fields(9 posts)

Tips needed-Cat 4 and large fieldstrout_bum
May 5, 2003 10:44 AM
This year I started racing again as a Cat 4. I've done 4 races so far and I keep finding myself in the back half of the bunch. This past Sunday I got spit off the back the third lap of a race-the constant yo-yoing at turns and hills finally did me in. I feel pretty good during races and feel like I have some gas left for the sprint at the end-problem is the front of the race is waayy up the road. Although I'm probably not the strongest guy out there I feel if I ride a little more agressively and intelligently a top 10 or better finish would be possible. I definitely don't feel like I'm "hanging on for dear life" but I have difficulty moving up to the front and staying there-esp in large fields.(Road racing must be getting more popular because I don't remember the Cat 4 fields being so big.)
Any tips for getting myself in a better position at the front, navigating in a large pack, race starts etc.
As always, much appreciated.
TipsMR_GRUMPY
May 5, 2003 11:05 AM
1) Get to the line early (2nd or 3rd row)
2) Go hard from the gun
3) If you need to move up, follow someone else who is moving up
3) Never work when you don't really have to
4) Fight for your position
re: Tips needed-Cat 4 and large fieldsbrider
May 5, 2003 11:15 AM
What usually happens is that you get boxed in and end up getting spit off the back as a normal part of the pack dynamic. You need to do two things:

1) Always have a way to get around the riders in front of you. That can mean staying at the front and moving around riders that come around the sides. or staying toward the side yourself. Get aggressive about it.

2) Go off the front and get breaks going to thin out the riders you have to deal with.

I know that moving around in packs that fill up the one lane you have can be a daunting task. The problem is that once you get to the back, you're usually stuck around and behind riders who are timid about moving up, and look for gigantic gaps to move into. Get used to moving through small gaps. Keep your elbows out (but still loose) to use as "cat's whiskers" for feeling your way through the pack.
re: Tips needed-Cat 4 and large fieldsNo_sprint
May 5, 2003 11:29 AM
I believe LA has had a similar effect on road racing as Tiger has on golf. The bar keeps going up every year and at least around here, there are record number pre-registrations for races. Racin' 4s is tough, you're dealing with a huge spectrum of racer abilities. Cornering skills are weak enough for enough people to make the accordian effect horrific. You've got to stay in the front of the field for the first 1/3 of the race to minimize it and outlast the *go from the gunners* til the pace slows a bit. In my area, the field are sometimes 130+. Good luck.
re: Tips needed-Cat 4 and large fieldsYoungRcR
May 5, 2003 11:35 AM
Always try to start near the front. Once there, stay in the top 10 riders and if things start to bunch up around u move to the side and even into the wind if needed for a few seconds until someone comes by and u can hop back into the paceline.

Another trick is when things start to bunch up is stick your elbows out and flair up, you can be afraid to shoulder people or make contact with someone trying to push you off your line. Usually someone will tap you once with a shoulder or try to push you but once you hold ur line or lean back into them they buzz off.
CAT 4 field with 130+ riders! Where do you live/race?root down
May 12, 2003 12:48 PM
...
it can be tough, because typically the moves come from thebill
May 5, 2003 2:35 PM
sides, and then, when Joe Legs gets to the front and realizes that it's windy up there, he falls back through the middle. He then catches his breath and decides to move up again. It's an ever-collapsing pyramid. If you stay on that guy's wheel, your fortunes will be ever-changing. Pick your wheel carefully and change if you must.
If I have fallen back, I have found that I can gain a lot of ground by picking a line on a turn where I have some daylight, avoiding my brakes until it hurts, and coming out of a turn really strong. You can't do it every turn, but you can move up a lot in a hurry if you do it big. And sometimes you just have to get out in the wind on the sides. Pick the leeward side or a time when the pack has slowed down.
Then, you have to assert yourself. A 3 on our team always says that he can gain position sometimes just by asking for it. He points a finger or something, and people give ground. He lives by it. And he doesn't fall for it on the other end. We have 4's that are stronger than this guy, but he is aggressive about his position and he wins races.
Excellent Advice! Thanks All. (nm)trout_bum
May 6, 2003 10:18 AM
re: Tips needed-Cat 4 and large fieldsDeadGame
May 7, 2003 5:12 PM
Use the wind to your advantage. In a crit make your agressive moves towards the front with the wind to your back. In a cross wind make your moves on the protected side of the group. In a head wind suck the group and worry about moving up when you can be protected.