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Need Crit Cornering advice(7 posts)

Need Crit Cornering adviceRockyMountainRacer
May 27, 2003 6:59 AM
Well I still suck at crits. I think I have the required fitness (though it is still mainly mountain bike racing fitness), and I think I have the necessary bike handling skills. I've practiced cornering skills a lot on my road bike, and I can go through a corner at just about any speed on most any line.

The problem happens when I have to corner in a large field of squirrelly cat 4's. Every time I go into a corner with guys on either side of me, I just can't trust them to hold their lines, so I let them get in front of me, and before you know it I'm on the back of the pack. Once I'm there I ussually have the fitness to hang on despite the accordian effect, but I waste all my energy chasing back on after people in front of me blow up and get gapped off. It's impossible to win that way!

So I really need advice on how to corner properly in a big field. What are some tips and tricks you can use to get through the corners ahead of others without crashing everyone (or getting crashed yourself)?
Be in the top 10..Spunout
May 27, 2003 8:28 AM
that is the best place to be. No accordion effect, just follow the wheel in front of you and pedal smooth.

Now, above is not always possible. Don`t fall back on the corner, keep pace with everyone. If you are going a different speed than the riders around you, YOU are the reason for the crash. Maintain speed, bump them with your elbows (in a friendly way) to let them know that you are there and you will hold your line.

It always feels good on the inside, but that inside line is slower on exit and will need a big jump. I`ve scooped 10 places on the outside of a corner.

Be a bit more agressive, hold your line, make the riders around you respect that. They will if you show your power into the corner without braking.
Inflamatory advice: stay on the backshirt
May 27, 2003 12:52 PM

As you know, I would never lead you astray.

Here's my little secret: hanging on the very back isn't a bad place to be in a lower Cat crit. Here are my reasons why:

1. First, you WILL be susceptible to the accordion effect. However, consider the actual scenario. When the front of the group is slowing for a corner, you're still barrelling along on the straights. Prepare for this and take a breather. 5-7 seconds per corner of no work whatsoever helps me keep my HR down. Time it so you're just about to cornhole the guys in front of you as they're exiting the corner. If you need to get out of the saddle to catch up, big deal. I'm better at intervals than holding a killer pace for a long time, so this wait/catch up scheme suits my style.
2. Keep a good bike length between you and the fodder in front of you. You'll be able to react better to crashes that way. PLUS crashes never happen in the very back of a pack, they happen in the front or the middle. Being at the very back means you have some time to get around it.
3. Attacks almost never work in Cat 3,4,5 crits. Why do you need to be on the front driving the pace? The crits I've won (yes, I've actually won a few) generally saw me loafing in the very back the way I've described here for at least the first 20 minutes, doing everything I can not to expend energy.

This advice flies in the very FACE of conventional wisdom which MUST mean I'm wrong, but I nevertheless thought I'd share my experience.

i completely agreeYoungRcR
May 27, 2003 5:09 PM
I race cat. 3 and havent finished outside the top 10 all season (roughly 12 races including athens)

Pretty much every race i do, i camp around the back until about 15-10 laps to go then i start to move my way up, the easiest way i have found is to accelerate into a corner on the WIDER CLEARER OUTSIDE line, hammer a few strokes into the corner then coast out and u will fly around people, but dont steal somebody's exiting line from the corner but u do need to leave yourself some room.

Taking the inside line can work, but its slightly harder to gain positions in the corners on the inside (corners are the easiest place to gain positions because the speed is low but dont be an idiot!) If you take the inside for example you have a left hand 90 degree turn. You will likely start way over on the right side of the road, leave some room between you and the rider in front of you, then give it 2-3 hard pedals entering the corner, cut it real close (if your the most inside rider) and immediately get out of the saddle in the drops and accelerate past people. Its real easy if you have the strength and smarts to do it :-)
i completely agreeraptorUW
May 30, 2003 8:12 PM
the wider, clearer lines mentioned above are sometimes a good choice,but they come with one caveat. the rider taking the inside line usually has the most control in a corner. that is to say, if i'm on the inside, and i notice that you're coming around wide every corner and passing me, well, sooner or later, i can stray from my inside line and push out leaving you with two choices - crash or brake. maybe this sort of pack-knowledge is only an issue in cat p/1/2, but outside lines are not always the best choice.
Inflamatory advice: stay on the backkenyonCycleist
May 27, 2003 6:49 PM
if i would have followed ur advice thee other week i would have ended up in a big pile up rather than getting 7th place and staying healthy
re: Need Crit Cornering advicebrider
May 27, 2003 1:15 PM
If you're afraid of what others are doing in the corner, you'll get tense, and that will affect your ability to respond to what might happen, will slow you down, and will generally make your racing experience suck.

First, establish your real estate on the road. Stick those elbows out (but keep them loose). This will serve two purposes: (1) you'll take up more space, which others WILL give you (they're more nervous about it than you are), and (2) they'll act as "cat's whiskers" to what other people are doing around you. Don't be afraid to change your line in a corner, just stay off the brakes. If you're on the outside, about the only thing that can derail you (literally) is some one sliding out beside you. Not likely unless there's wet grates/paint or they hit their brakes. On the inside, the only thing that could do it is some one closing off your line in front of you. Leave a little wiggle room to the inside, but not enough for some one to creep in from behind, so that if some one closes in front, you have somewhere to go.

And you said something that's a bit bothersome to me: What are some tips and tricks you can use to get through the corners AHEAD [emphasis mine] of others without crashing... I think that will get you in trouble. Really you don't want to look to get ahead unless you're already at the front and it's the last corner. You want to make it smoothly through the corner with every one else.