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First Cat5 Crit: Always this Fast?

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First Cat5 Crit: Always this Fast?

Old 06-16-21, 08:41 AM
  #26  
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When I race (rare) or do WNW (more often than not nowadays) or do a TT, the only fields I see on my gps are HR and power and total ride time. Speed is irrelevant. Even then, the wheel in front of you disappearing to drop you doesn't care what your HR or power says. Do or do not.

I will say I disagree a little bit with the talent and talk bit. Folks like to have fun. If you're not a dirtbag braggart running your mouth and just talking shop, have your fun. We've a guy on our team that's a 4 that does every crit in sight. The 3/4 and 4/5 every week he can. He is NOT a sprinter. It's a always a sprinter's venue. He's worked so hard trying to make breaks or late moves stick and recently has figured it out and gotten on podium. We always LOVE his fun race reports on the team Facebook page.

Also, I see his Strava posts every week. It's a coin toss as to whether his 3/4 or his 4/5 race has a faster average speed. So, ymmv on that one. Nobody can claim hard and fast that one of those two is always faster. Sure, the p/1/2 field will smoke. But around here a lot of 4's are really plenty strong enough to be 3's but don't race often enough to get points. Which fuels the anomaly of fast 4/5 races.
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Old 06-16-21, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
When I race (rare) or do WNW (more often than not nowadays) or do a TT, the only fields I see on my gps are HR and power and total ride time. Speed is irrelevant. Even then, the wheel in front of you disappearing to drop you doesn't care what your HR or power says. Do or do not.

I will say I disagree a little bit with the talent and talk bit. Folks like to have fun. If you're not a dirtbag braggart running your mouth and just talking shop, have your fun. We've a guy on our team that's a 4 that does every crit in sight. The 3/4 and 4/5 every week he can. He is NOT a sprinter. It's a always a sprinter's venue. He's worked so hard trying to make breaks or late moves stick and recently has figured it out and gotten on podium. We always LOVE his fun race reports on the team Facebook page.

Also, I see his Strava posts every week. It's a coin toss as to whether his 3/4 or his 4/5 race has a faster average speed. So, ymmv on that one. Nobody can claim hard and fast that one of those two is always faster. Sure, the p/1/2 field will smoke. But around here a lot of 4's are really plenty strong enough to be 3's but don't race often enough to get points. Which fuels the anomaly of fast 4/5 races.
This always reminds me of the quote I have on the back of my business cards: "Strange people, bike riders. They imagine a racing bike is made for going quickly. They're wrong. A racing bike is made solely for winning races." The same holds for races. They only go as fast as they need to in order to get the job done. Sometimes that's fast as F. Sometimes that crawling along.

We have a large women's team and a few years ago the fields here were so used to racing with each other that it became soooooo "negative racing". to the point where in a few races everyone slowed down so much you could almost walk along side and talk to them. That's racing.
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Old 06-16-21, 10:35 AM
  #28  
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Also the talk comments are for the ones...you know who they are. The rider who gets dropped a few laps in before it got really hard who spend the next 2 hours telling everyone how they were "right there" and how if they just hadn't of ridden the "long ride 3 days ago", or how they messed up their warmup that they would have been fine. "Looks like you guys slowed down too right after I left." "I totally could have been there in the sprint if that guy from ____ wouldn't have cut me off in the 3rd corner of the race"

No...you wouldn't have been there. You did better than me as I didn't have a number on today but you were still going to get chewed up. Embrace it and learn from it.
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Old 06-16-21, 10:36 AM
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Sorry to keep posting in this one but after our group ride last night I had 2 faster riders come up to me and ask about racing their first races up at ToAD this upcoming week. I think I brain and word vomited all over them so badly that they may not be interested anymore.

It's been a long time since someone new expressed interest in racing their bike.
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Old 06-17-21, 10:36 AM
  #30  
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I got dropped in many a Cat 5 crit until I finally figured it out.

Decent fitness is a prerequisite. When you make a mistake, like letting a gap open or following the wrong wheel, fitness bails you out.

If you're getting dropped in the first lap of a Cat 5 crit, which I have before more than once, it simply means your fitness isn't there, YET. Keep working on it.

Anticipating accelerations is the best way to prevent gaps from opening. Accelerating a split second before the guy in front of you does the same will save many seconds of hammering.

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Old 06-17-21, 10:57 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Also the talk comments are for the ones...you know who they are. The rider who gets dropped a few laps in before it got really hard who spend the next 2 hours telling everyone how they were "right there" and how if they just hadn't of ridden the "long ride 3 days ago", or how they messed up their warmup that they would have been fine. "Looks like you guys slowed down too right after I left." "I totally could have been there in the sprint if that guy from ____ wouldn't have cut me off in the 3rd corner of the race"

No...you wouldn't have been there. You did better than me as I didn't have a number on today but you were still going to get chewed up. Embrace it and learn from it.
Would "right there" be more like how I had 200 to go in a 3 man sprint (with a gap of 200+ yards to the field behind) and had a dude take out my front wheel sending me OTB?

I think that would qualify as close. Even then, I didn't really care how close it was. As that was a DNF and I was in an ambulance. And dnf's ain't worth jack. My teammate in the race with me waxed nostalgic once about the race. After posting my story and licking my wounds I'd rather forget about it. I'm glad nobody ever found video of the race, I don't want to see that.
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Old 06-17-21, 11:24 AM
  #32  
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There are multiple components to "crit fitness". You need the base fitness level to be able to hang in the pack at "cruising speed" (25mph is not uncommon at all). Keep in mind that this is not the same as doing 25mph solo. 25mph in a good-size pack is significantly less effort, but it's still a good amount of workload. You also need the ability to surge at higher power outputs, and recover quickly, while still being able to maintain "cruising speed". If you can't recover at "cruising speed", you need to keep working on building your FTP. The next level of fitness is being able to handle the ramp up in the last lap (typically a sustained effort well above "cruising speed'), and still having a match to burn at the end for the sprint. This is where a lot of newer racers struggle. Being able to drop a 1000W sprint effort is great, but can you do it after hammering at 400+W for a couple of minutes while fighting to hold your position near the front of the group? It takes time to build fitness, and there is definitely a learning curve to effective and efficient racing. Keep working at it.
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Old 06-18-21, 10:57 AM
  #33  
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So true. I had been a triathlete and could motor all day at a steady pace, but could not deal with the surges. And as you found out, the accordion effect at the back makes it even worse.
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Old 06-18-21, 11:08 AM
  #34  
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Crit Racing Tip #1: Do as little work as possible to keep yourself in a position to compete at the finish.

Caveat to CRT #1: It's a lot harder than it sounds.
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Old 06-18-21, 12:04 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Training advice I got years ago was that it doesnít do you any good to have good 1 minute power if youíre not around at the end of the race.
The one I was told was sprinters with no endurance donít win bike races.
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Old 06-18-21, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
The one I was told was sprinters with no endurance donít win bike races.
The flip side of that is that every racer needs to learn how to sprint. Even if you're a climber, you'll probably have to beat someone to the line.
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Old 06-18-21, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
And as you found out, the accordion effect at the back makes it even worse.
It can be bad at the front too if you don't pay attention.

You blast through a corner and hold all your speed, finding yourself alone at the front. Meanwhile everyone in back of you slows down and then reaccelerates.

Your speed begins to dip 1mph every few seconds. If you lose focus and don't reaccelerate when the the first few guys catch up, you might find yourself getting swarmed by the whole field who have been hammering for the last 10-15 seconds.
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Old 06-21-21, 06:35 AM
  #38  
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I'm surprised that nobody mentioned the initial surge. Its been a long ass time since I've raced a 4/5 crit, but one thing I do recall was that if I could hang for the first ~5 laps, I could usually make it to the sprint. New racers get EXCITED about RACING and when the gun goes off (or whistle) they GO really REALLY FAST until they're TIRED. Then they slow down until someone ATTACKKSSS THEN ITS TIME TO CHASE AGAIN. Thennn CRASH...
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Old 06-21-21, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
I'm surprised that nobody mentioned the initial surge. Its been a long ass time since I've raced a 4/5 crit, but one thing I do recall was that if I could hang for the first ~5 laps, I could usually make it to the sprint. New racers get EXCITED about RACING and when the gun goes off (or whistle) they GO really REALLY FAST until they're TIRED. Then they slow down until someone ATTACKKSSS THEN ITS TIME TO CHASE AGAIN. Thennn CRASH...
Accurate...
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Old 06-21-21, 05:00 PM
  #40  
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My 17 yr old son did his first crit (Cat 4/5 combined) last weekend. I warned him of the initial surge and told him if he is struggling, he should just focus on hanging on for one more lap. He said in this case, the start wasn't that bad, and that it just got gradually harder as the 30 min went on, with the last couple laps being really hard. And, there were zero crashes in the race (it was a wide open, non-technical course).
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Old 06-22-21, 08:55 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
My 17 yr old son did his first crit (Cat 4/5 combined) last weekend. I warned him of the initial surge and told him if he is struggling, he should just focus on hanging on for one more lap. He said in this case, the start wasn't that bad, and that it just got gradually harder as the 30 min went on, with the last couple laps being really hard. And, there were zero crashes in the race (it was a wide open, non-technical course).
That's super unusual, and the complete opposite of every cat 4/5 race I've ever done. Then again, the last 4/5 race I did was in 2010, so things might've changed since then. As for the technicality of the course, I've actually found that course with tight turns or bumpy pavement tend to lead to slightly safer races since it forces a selection earlier, though if its too tricky (Naval Academy Crit anyone?) then crashes will happen on the technical features. There was a race that used to happen every year in Greenville, NC that was flat, with four corners around downtown and it was a festival of crashing. Very impressive display of crashing abilities.
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Old 06-22-21, 10:00 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
That's super unusual, and the complete opposite of every cat 4/5 race I've ever done. Then again, the last 4/5 race I did was in 2010, so things might've changed since then. As for the technicality of the course, I've actually found that course with tight turns or bumpy pavement tend to lead to slightly safer races since it forces a selection earlier, though if its too tricky (Naval Academy Crit anyone?) then crashes will happen on the technical features. There was a race that used to happen every year in Greenville, NC that was flat, with four corners around downtown and it was a festival of crashing. Very impressive display of crashing abilities.
Yeah - I do think it was unusual that the race didn't start out super hard. I was just pointing out that there are always exceptions. And maybe it has to do with my kids fitness - he is pretty strong on short efforts, but fades on anything longer than 5 minutes or so. Maybe the early surges weren't that bad for him, but it caught up to him later in the race. Dunno. Another unusual thing about this cat 4/5 crit is that a rider broke away in the first few laps and soloed most of the 30 minutes to win. He is a really strong triathlete that has done this previously in Cat 4 races. The sprint almost caught him, but he held on to win by a wheel.
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Old 06-22-21, 10:41 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
That's super unusual, and the complete opposite of every cat 4/5 race I've ever done. Then again, the last 4/5 race I did was in 2010, so things might've changed since then. As for the technicality of the course, I've actually found that course with tight turns or bumpy pavement tend to lead to slightly safer races since it forces a selection earlier, though if its too tricky (Naval Academy Crit anyone?) then crashes will happen on the technical features. There was a race that used to happen every year in Greenville, NC that was flat, with four corners around downtown and it was a festival of crashing. Very impressive display of crashing abilities.
Land Park was like that. It's on a ring road around a muni golf course. When it was a big oval, there were all sorts of crashes. Then about ten years ago, they added a couple of chicanes. Seems counterintuitive, but it made things safer.
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Old 06-23-21, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Land Park was like that. It's on a ring road around a muni golf course. When it was a big oval, there were all sorts of crashes. Then about ten years ago, they added a couple of chicanes. Seems counterintuitive, but it made things safer.
Having a technical element always makes a race safer. Hill or corner, etc. It helps eliminate those that barely have the fitness to stay in the race...the ones who can't think straight when the sprint at the end comes up.
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Old 06-23-21, 04:09 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Crit Racing Tip #1: Do as little work as possible to keep yourself in a position to compete at the finish.
Yeah, this is good. It's essentially my go-to.

In training, pedal as much as possible and put out as many kJ as possible (including group rides, which may necessitate riding at the front or off the back a bit as needed to continue pedaling, or even doing a workout before the ride to get in the necessary work...all depending on your fitness and the ride).

In racing, do the exact opposite. See how little work you can actually do when in the bunch.

Good way to approach things.
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Old 06-23-21, 04:32 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Yeah, this is good. It's essentially my go-to.

In training, pedal as much as possible and put out as many kJ as possible (including group rides, which may necessitate riding at the front or off the back a bit as needed to continue pedaling, or even doing a workout before the ride to get in the necessary work...all depending on your fitness and the ride).

In racing, do the exact opposite. See how little work you can actually do when in the bunch.

Good way to approach things.
The magic is knowing when it's time to burn matches and when it's time to chill. Where you chill is also important. If you're caught behind a split, or missed the winning breakaway, because you got comfy too far back in the pack, you just cost yourself the chance to compete at the finish. This is the stuff that comes with experience.
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Old 06-23-21, 06:11 PM
  #47  
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When I was a cat 5 we raced uphill both ways in the snow.
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Old 06-25-21, 03:53 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
When I was a cat 5 we raced uphill both ways in the snow.
Who you kidding? They didn't have cat 5 when you started.

I pulled my first annual license the year they started cat 5 which I believe was '91 or '92
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Old 06-26-21, 10:55 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Chris O View Post
I just finished my first crit. My goals of finishing and not crashing were accomplished. I expected to get dropped and even lapped, but I couldnít hang on to the bunch almost from the start. The winners/pack finishers average speed for the race was 25.5 mph. Letís just say my average speed was great for me but not near 25.5 mph (I donít have a power meter). There were teams and lots of guys from out of state.

I ride a fair amount and did interval training for a few months before the race. It was just so much faster than I thought a ďnoviceĒ cat5 race would be. Is this a typical experience for beginning racers?

Interestingly the cat4 race average speed was slower than the cat5 race. I mean, I can get a little more fit and drop some more weight but to get to that speed for a whole race seems like an unattainable goal for me. Maybe some cat5 crits are slower?

interested in feedback and experiences.

chris
You're in CT or MA?

Which Tues races are you referring to in your later response?
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Old 06-27-21, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
The magic is knowing when it's time to burn matches and when it's time to chill. Where you chill is also important. If you're caught behind a split, or missed the winning breakaway, because you got comfy too far back in the pack, you just cost yourself the chance to compete at the finish. This is the stuff that comes with experience.
Eh, that stuff happens to world tour guys all the time. Sometimes it's just part of racing.

Once you start getting in to p/1 races and beyond, there's only so much room at the front.
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