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Practice Crits(10 posts)

Practice Critsnoveread
May 14, 2003 12:38 PM
Last night were the weekly practice crits here in town. I want to do as many of these as I can as me and crits, well, we don't get along so well. I did the crits last week too, but only in the B category. This week I wanted to race the B and then see if I could hang on for the A race. B race was 25min the A race was 45 min. Prior to racing, there is one neutral lap than the racing starts.

The B race had about 30-35 riders. Since I wanted to see if I could hang on to the A race I just sat in. Crossed the line in 5th having started the final sprint from too far back. Did see 197bpm on my heart rate monitor after the sprint. Cool! That sets a new highest observed HR for the year (had been 196). With a painfully slow neutral lap, the B race averaged just over 23mph.

Then the A race with 50 or so riders, probably a few more. This race started blisteringly fast. After about 10 minutes, a gap opened a couple of riders ahead of me and I could not close the gap down. So I pretty much just sat up and waited for the group to come around. They did about 10 minutes later. I hopped back in and stuck in the group for the rest of the race. With the warm-up lap and my 10min soft pedal included, MY average speed for the A crit was 26.3mph. So figure the race was in the 28+ range.

An observation. The guys in the A race were on the whole, waaaaayyyy better bike handlers. Yeah, there was still some dodgy stuff, but the most noticeable difference was coming out of the corners. Even at the back of a large A field, the sprinting out of the corners did not seem much harder than in the B race. I attribute this to the A guys handling the corners at speed better so they were not jamming on their brakes. Good stuff. I did waaaayyyy better in the A race than I thought I would. Gives me some confidence and hope for the future!

Noveread
Opposite experience for me...PT
May 14, 2003 2:00 PM
I did a practice crit at Meade last night (a Colorado Front Range institution) and was spanked. My crit experience is 20 years old and it showed. There was one high-speed corner that was my undoing -- I just didn't have the nerve. Even though it was a good environment (you could keep hopping back into the field), my bruised ego could only take so much battering -- coming off on the same corner three times in a row (and right in front of the few spectators) was just too much, so I packed it in and went and spun on the county roads while my friend raced. With as slow a learning curve as I have, I don't know if I'm willing to drive 3 hours every Wednesday, plunk down my money, and get wacked time and again. I think I'll stick to the odd road race and long distance mtb racing...
if you come back to Mead...lonefrontranger
May 14, 2003 6:39 PM
you'll get to race with me :)

Seriously the only way you get better at it is to keep it up. I know you know this. I was flaky in the U-turn the first three laps last week, too. I finally managed to just relax and follow the wheels through. You'll get it.
Which races do you do?PT
May 15, 2003 8:55 AM
I did the 30+ race this week and at least felt reasonably safe. I did the 4's race last year just one time and was knocked down when someone was unable to hold their line through a relatively mild corner -- worst wreck of my cycling career. Based on my current experience I would probably be better off in the 4's race, at least in terms of fitness, but frankly I'm too old to bounce off the pavement. While I am a bit of a weeny when it comes to heading into a 110 degree corner at 35 mph, I'm a relatively safe/experienced rider and prefer the safety of the 30+ race, but If I can't hang with 'em what's the point?

Maybe I should find you before the start of the race and follow your wheel until I get comfortable...
I race with the Men 4lonefrontranger
May 19, 2003 8:16 PM
As a Cat 3 woman (and not a terribly good one at that) there's no way I could hang with any other field. At least with the 4s there's hope.

I'm the world's original headcase after crashing and breaking a collarbone last year, and even I didn't have any heebie-jeebies in the 4 field a couple weeks ago. It was small, which helped, but I just got in there, relaxed and did my business. Some poor dude even pulled a pedal on the hill right in front of me and came to a dead stop. I was so focused and in the groove I just threaded the gap around him without even braking, though I had to brush shoulders with the guy on my left to do it. My coach gave me the "homework" task of racing in the Men's 4s at Mead after I had head problems with the Women's 1/2/3 field being squirrelly.

Something my coach told me has started to make sense: you can't worry about everyone else, you have to tend to your knitting and focus on your own race. If you race tense and worry about everyone else's mistakes, then crashing becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

You want squirrelly crazy bike handling, just check out some of those helicopter shots from today's Giro stage. There was a whole buttload of argy-bargy going on in there. The difference is those guys expect contact and chaos, and know how to handle it. Now a crash did occur on the final corner, but it happened to be the Polsat dude who was being a real knucklehead about barging anyone and everyone for Cipo's wheel, and he maybe knocked wheels and shoulders one too many times. The amazing thing is to watch how calm and agile these pro guys caught behind the crash are at avoiding the melee. Maybe a half dozen guys fell down or got stuck behind it, out of a hundred riders in a 40mph shoulder-to-shoulder drag race with a guy wadding it up in the apex of a pretty tight corner; were that same scenario to occur in one of our local Cat 3 men's races, everyone behind would have panicked, the crash would have involved twenty or thirty guys and gone across the whole road.

But, that's why they're pros and we just suck.
Other evening race optionRockyMountainRacer
May 15, 2003 12:58 PM
You may want to check out the Wednesday night Worlds crits that are starting at Invesco field in a week or two:
http://www.wednesdayworlds.com
This looks like a pretty cool new series, and the course doesn't have any really nasty corners like Mead. Plus you won't have to drive nearly as far. Since I live in downtown Denver, I won't have to drive at all!
Other evening race optionp lo
May 16, 2003 8:07 AM
the pictures on the web site of them "pre-racing" the course look pretty technical and fun. looks like the race is on the wide sidewalk around the staduim.
Similar experiencehrv
May 15, 2003 7:11 AM
Last year raced the 4/5's in the practise crits (6 laps, 2 miles per lap on race car track). This year I've been doing the 3/4 group , 12 laps now, increasing to 18 in the summer.

Did 3 races so far, only was able to hang for 7 laps first one, 9 laps second one, and finished with the group last week! Actually felt I could have done pretty well except for getting caught inside on the last corner behind a group slowing way down to make it and had no chance of being a player after that. I don't care if it's longer - I'm taking the outside next time!

The 3/4's are a much smoother bunch than the 4/5's although still a few squirrly riders in it. Much less changes in speed, although the 3/4's actually seem to get faster as the race goes on whereas the 4/5's fade, even with only 6 laps.

And I think you'll agree - these are way too much fun!

hrv
Good practice: Train to race by...racing!Spunout
May 15, 2003 8:59 AM
Similar here, I did a B crit pretty wiped out and recovering. I got a few gaps, chased down some groups, took it easy.

Two juniors and I launched off in the second half and got 30 seconds and were lapping riders. I quit early (tender knees) and watched the two finish 1-2 without me. That's okay, we'll be upgraded next race. A bit more recovery, and I'll be in there for the finish.

Count this as good training, just make sure you make something positive about it. YOu'll never get faster without someone faster to chase, IMHO.
re: Practice Critsskip work to ride
May 19, 2003 8:11 PM
This year I started sneaking into the Pro-1-2 races.

I have noticed that if you are a more agressive rider in the lower groups you can do well compared to the other groups. Since the p/1/2's are better handlers and smarter with their energy consumption ou can rider harder and still be well placed.

The sad thing is going back to race with the lower cat's since there it is a different game.

Good luck to everyone the summer is just around the corner, and the strong will survive.