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The joy that is cat 4 racing...(6 posts)

The joy that is cat 4 racing...hammer_cycle
May 23, 2003 5:29 PM
I have recently gotten back into racing and I have a couple of comments and I'm curious if its true elsewhere:

1. Cat 4 fields almost always fill up or have a massive field.

2. There is always at least one crash, regardless of how easy the course is.

3. Everyone is willing to fight tooth and nail, crossing yellow divider lines to be at the front at all costs. Once they reach the top 15, they then decide that they are not going to do any work and try to 'hide' to avoid doing so. Often, these same people make very dangerous moves to get to the front of the pack on the final lap only to sit up and avoid sprinting.

4. Breakaways almost never work on anything but a very hilly race where it just shatters. In that case, often the people who win the hilly cat 4 races often have times comparable to a top 20 placing in the cat 1-2 field. Everyone seems to be able and willing to close down any break, but not one really seems to be willing to work in a break.

Anyway, these are just some observations I've made over the last year where I've slowly returned back to racing. I'm curiuos as to what youthink about this.
re: The joy that is cat 4 racing...weiwentg
May 23, 2003 8:24 PM
close enough in my experience. I just did a hilly cat 4 race where there was, in fact, no breakaway. no one tried hard enough. although I must admit that, when two riders broke off on a hill, I chased them down and sat on them. should have worked with them, but it was a bit far from the finish. as it turned out, two guys half lost it at the finish, and one hit me and bent my derailleur hangar.
May 25, 2003 6:35 AM
Cat 3,4,5 fields do usually have mroe people...but not all the time. I have found racing cat 3 races to be not harder except on short power climbs. when you race alot you will see everything happen. I have seen break aways in every cat race win. If you go to a race on a wet day or kinda cold day there will be alot less people. ALOT! The only time I am extra precautious is during the Feb. March, and April. Seems it takes people forever to get thier skills back. Its like no one thinks of going out and training on cornering, or sprinting out of corners, or getting comfortabe enough on thier bike to feed themselves without wobbling all over the road. Guys go to a parkinglot and set up some cones and do some skill drills for the rest of us !However, the diff. between cat 1,2 and the rest of us is..they dont chase everything down all day.
I think alot of this stems from the fact that people go to a race with no goal in mind. If your just hoping to do well in the back of your mind, thats the wrong start to begin with. If you have a plan saying .." my goal for this race is to finsh top 10,top15 or just to stay in the top 10 for the duration of the race and forget about placing just for the hard training...thats good too. There are not enough racers with specifics in thier training. I don't get nervous at races regardless of how long they are or how tough due to the fact I have a goal for every one, ok maybe I get nervous about that 55+mph decent down the 9 mile back of Middlebury gap in the Green Mtn Stage Race but thats just because I know some of the heavy guys I beat up the climb are going to be out of control comn down and don't know the course. There are some hairy corners on that baby! I guess what I am saying is, people should train not more or less just more specefic. Going to your Tues night crits and weekend group rides isnt much of training. My team mates have confessed to me that they get nervous about feed zones, fast downhills, moving through the pack and thinking while on thier bike. Should I eat now or wait? Is this a good place to drink from my bottle? How about when the guy in front of you turns his head fully around to look at the field, lets up on the gas and leans into the guy next to him LOL! Or how about the guys that are so paranoid they yell " HOLD YOUR LINE ! " to everyone who gets in front of them. haha Better yet, when you touch someone on the leg or on the butt saying..buddy Im here or Im comn up and they look at you like you just spit in thier face...cracks me up !
But alas, I must confess, I wouldnt do any of the specific training or practice my skills or be half the rider I am if I hadnt paid someone to teach me how...I would be just another guy frustrated out of my gord crashing into people and shaking at the start line LOL. Of course I share my experience to anyone interested :D
May 25, 2003 2:44 PM
So true!! Of course, its much easier and much more fun to just 'go riding' than to put some effort into learning skills and good bike handling. I'm amazed at the number of people who don't know how to ride with no hands, eat while on the bike, bunny hop, or do any number of basic things that are required to survive in a fast field.

As for people being nervous about feeding, fast downhills, cornering, etc, I mean, that makes a lot of sense. I must confess that I worry about it too much as well. The only way to get around those issues is to work on them in a race scenario (or ride in the top 10!). I just recently started racing again, and its sad to say that I've seen way too many nasty crits in the crash 4's for my taste. I'm always amazed at how people ride and the risks they take for nothing! Like you said, most people don't have a plan. Often, the only inkling of a 'plan' they have is to 'stay up front'. I geuss this is precisely why most people in a cat 4 field push and shove and take some serious risks to get into the top 15-20 without really doing anything about it. They won't take pulls, they won't launch an attack, and they certainly won't sprint. Crazy stuff!
the will to winclimbo
May 26, 2003 6:51 AM
just one race is maybe what drives people to ride like this. Wait and wait and maybe one day they will. The only way to fix this is to get better, win and upgrade.
Racing is racing...skip work to ride
May 26, 2003 9:14 PM
I think that this is the same gripping in all classes.

The Pro's b*tch about each other like school girls.

In 1/2's complain about the new guys, or the guys with no team, the guy that switched teams or the guys that don't pull...

In 3's it is the new 4's that were upgraded too fast and try too hard...

It is racing - the other guys are not there to follow the leader as well.

Be happy you can race. Some people can't even do that!