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  1. #1
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    27 mile road race on 4 mile course...questions

    Newbie CAT5 guy here only two races under my belt (32mile and 58mile).


    So I have entered a 27 mile race. The race is routed on a 4 mile course doing laps. I made a quick call to the race organizer as it seemed to me more of a crit than a roadrace. He confirmed that it is a roadrace, roadrace rules and all apply it does run a bit different, but not really like a crit. The course does have some pretty good hills im told, if that matters or makes a difference. CAT5 average speed was fairly slow last year according to the race organizer. Being the hills..21mph or so.

    Anyhow.....has anyone done a road race like this? Im wondering what to expect. I am not a rider who is blessed with a lot of power and rapid acceleration is not my strong point. I do well in the long stuff, hills and a constant but pretty good clip. 37yo CAT5 just finished the TCTP.

    Any adjustments to the standard road race theme ive been exposed to thus far be of a benefit?

    I do think it will be fun, just lookin for a heads up if one exists.

  2. #2
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    A lot of road races in my area are ciruit/loop courses. Nothing dramatically different, other than you'll know that loop real well. ;) For cat 5 I would expect more of the same unless there is a serious cross wind or a mtn/hard climb.

  3. #3
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    Usual advice applies. Expect it to be one lane (centerline rule) so difficult to move around the pack. Also with the hills this means the accordion effect will be exaggerated - so the leaders can roll into the bottom of a climb with speed, then gun it, while the riders behind will have to slam on brakes then sprint. This is tough to do repeatedly and it also leads to crashes in the pack. Solution: stay at the front.
    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  4. #4
    Converted Runner
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    Yes stay in the front 1/3 of the group. Makes it much easier to avoid getting caught out by an acceleration from the front. It also helps to start off climbs near the front to a) cover attacks and b) if you struggle to follow an attack you can slowly slip backwards and latch on to the rear of the lead pack near the crest, so you're still in the race!

    What will the corners be like? Is there one close to the finish? Be careful on those because they could be used in a crit-like style to cause separations.

  5. #5
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    thanks guys, exactly what im looking for.

    My first race i was intimidated as hell to go up toward the front. Second race i started up front but slipped toward the back....again sort of intimidated to stay up there though i was physically capable.

    This race.....im gonna make it a point to stay up front.

  6. #6
    More Cowbell!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergundog View Post
    This race.....im gonna make it a point to stay up front.
    7 laps, right? Make sure you make very good mental notes about what the pack does where each lap and how you feel in certain areas each lap. Use that to your advantage the final couple of laps.

    Don't waste too much effort the first 5 laps.
    Pro rep, yo!

  7. #7
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    Don't be intimidated about staying up front. It's a cat.5 race, right? No one is a veteran in that race, so everyone is new. You probably have just as much race experience as the other riders.

  8. #8
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    I wish everyone were new to racing as i am. in talking to guys in the last race some had been racing in different club series for awhile and can roll along with the 1-2 guys and some the CAT3. i have a feeling my area is full of sandbag'n CAT5's. I on the other hand want to move out and up to CAT4 as soon as possible.

  9. #9
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    I just did a Cat 5 race called the White Mountain Classic, a 25.8 mile circuit race with 6 laps including two short climbs. This race had some of the worst bike handling I have seen. A junior nearly forced me into a gate post as we passed through a technical section that passed through a gated community. The race organizers actually stopped the race after lap one to warn the field about the many yellow line violations. At this point I had already decided to ride up front as much as possible. If anything has convinced me I need to Cat up, it was this race.

    The approach to the finish was all about positioning. Two 90 degree turns just before the finishing sprint. As we approached the turns I was ready to jump when someone else beat me to it. I hopped on his wheel and he immediately popped and sat up like an untrained rider, blocking me as the whole field went by. Yes, it's racing and it was my own fault for choosing the wrong wheel.

    Still, based on this experience, my advice would be to try to force or get in a break if at all possible. Cat 5 fields often chase anything that moves, so that this might not work. Otherwise, ride in the pack, close to the front, but as conservatively as possible. Read the field right from the very beginning. Identify the strong men and try to figure out whose wheel you'd want to be on, assuming you finish with the main field. As you finish each lap, look at the course and plan your approach to the finish, since positioning will likely be critical.

  10. #10
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    thanks for the input. Im going to do my best to hang toward the front 1/3 of the group and see how it goes. I enjoy hills so that part should be okay.

  11. #11
    Höchstgeschwindigkeit
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    Cat 5 races are scary. You get a huge range of rider strengths and ages. You can have stupid strong mixed in with weekend warriors giving it a go and then the serious risk takers. Stay safe and up front as others have suggested. If you are strong I like to go with the breaks. Lap 5 or 6 turn it up.

  12. #12
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    Okay so I did the race. I will openly say I want to move out of CAT5 asap. Brake check, brake check, yo-yo, yo-yo, brake check. I could actually smell the damn burning brakes!

    Okay so for the race report. Race was 6 laps of just over 4 mile loop. Dang near entire loop was up hills. No super steep hills, but some with double lifts. One climb was almost a mile up, others closer to quarter mile. Prob 2.5 miles of the loop was up hill with only one nice decent.

    So the start. Everyone is in team get-up....but me, ahaha. So i roll to the back. Race starts and off we go like out of a damn shotgun. I thought dammit dammit, this is gonna go like a crit afterall and im gonna be toast. Fortunately we hit the first hill within 1/2 miles and slooooow went the pace up the hill. But then the yo-yo affect brake, speed, brake speed...slow as dirt up the hills, fast down them....slow into the corners....fast as hell out of them. I had enough of this so the last mile of the lap is up a hill. I barely increased my effort...passed the whole group and took the lead. By the way I felt way over my head leading.....but it was cool. I lead for a half a lap going harder up the hill, thinking i was pulling away........nope. The whole group (about 30 riders) just got in a single pace line behind me. I thought "great"...hell no, so i slid to the left and decided to suck some wheel for awhile. For 2 more laps the yo-yo affect was insane and killing me. Problem being I knew I didn't have enough power to accelerate away from the pack and being up toward the front the yo-yo was still going on even from the leaders. So there i sat right about in the middle with my fuel guage dropping fast from every acceleration. Half way through lap 5 an acceleration out of a turn took off for a good 2 min and there went the top 6-7 guys....arrggg arggg argg i thought. Rounded off the start of the last lap with the lead group a minute up on me and 3 guys sucking my wheel. One guy wanted to help try to real them in while the others were just parasites...seeing we couldn't catch them with just 2 of us working we both sort of made a non-verbal decision and stepped it back a notch. Within a mile i was feeling recovered and ready to fire up the last few hills with the others in tow. Totally confident even though i was pulling the group i could snap away from them. So we round the last turn to make the last one mile climb up to the finish....i drop, catch some speed and away i go. I heard the others talking and looked back for a second. I seen them all spread wide across the road. I thought....WTF??? Oh...snap maybe since we all were more or less riding together they are gonna just group up to get the same time. Fair enough......i popped up slowed up a bit and got next to them....then dammmit at about 100m to go they gunned it and left me a bike length back to the finish. Come to find out the front group a minute or so up on us had a few get together and crash...these guys were slowing up for that, when they seen it was clear they throttled on.......mean while i could have prob been 30m in front of them......arrggg, oh well. Needless to say; i finished 10th......with a 7th place in my heart had i not assumed some cycling ethic situation was coming into play. Average speed was 24.7 mph and i finished the race in 57 minutes and found i can climb like a mountain goat

    My lessons: I need to move from CAT5. I need to stay up front. I need to exploit my strengths and drop my hammer with a mile to go as with anything under 400m...im gonna get toasted. Oh yea, and next year I think if im still a CAT5 i will try to find me a partner or two to plan a little break away so we can roll a constant speed.

  13. #13
    V3T
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergundog View Post
    Okay so I did the race. I will openly say I want to move out of CAT5 asap. Brake check, brake check, yo-yo, yo-yo, brake check. I could actually smell the damn burning brakes!

    Okay so for the race report. Race was 6 laps of just over 4 mile loop. Dang near entire loop was up hills. No super steep hills, but some with double lifts. One climb was almost a mile up, others closer to quarter mile. Prob 2.5 miles of the loop was up hill with only one nice decent.

    So the start. Everyone is in team get-up....but me, ahaha. So i roll to the back. Race starts and off we go like out of a damn shotgun. I thought dammit dammit, this is gonna go like a crit afterall and im gonna be toast. Fortunately we hit the first hill within 1/2 miles and slooooow went the pace up the hill. But then the yo-yo affect brake, speed, brake speed...slow as dirt up the hills, fast down them....slow into the corners....fast as hell out of them. I had enough of this so the last mile of the lap is up a hill. I barely increased my effort...passed the whole group and took the lead. By the way I felt way over my head leading.....but it was cool. I lead for a half a lap going harder up the hill, thinking i was pulling away........nope. The whole group (about 30 riders) just got in a single pace line behind me. I thought "great"...hell no, so i slid to the left and decided to suck some wheel for awhile. For 2 more laps the yo-yo affect was insane and killing me. Problem being I knew I didn't have enough power to accelerate away from the pack and being up toward the front the yo-yo was still going on even from the leaders. So there i sat right about in the middle with my fuel guage dropping fast from every acceleration. Half way through lap 5 an acceleration out of a turn took off for a good 2 min and there went the top 6-7 guys....arrggg arggg argg i thought. Rounded off the start of the last lap with the lead group a minute up on me and 3 guys sucking my wheel. One guy wanted to help try to real them in while the others were just parasites...seeing we couldn't catch them with just 2 of us working we both sort of made a non-verbal decision and stepped it back a notch. Within a mile i was feeling recovered and ready to fire up the last few hills with the others in tow. Totally confident even though i was pulling the group i could snap away from them. So we round the last turn to make the last one mile climb up to the finish....i drop, catch some speed and away i go. I heard the others talking and looked back for a second. I seen them all spread wide across the road. I thought....WTF??? Oh...snap maybe since we all were more or less riding together they are gonna just group up to get the same time. Fair enough......i popped up slowed up a bit and got next to them....then dammmit at about 100m to go they gunned it and left me a bike length back to the finish. Come to find out the front group a minute or so up on us had a few get together and crash...these guys were slowing up for that, when they seen it was clear they throttled on.......mean while i could have prob been 30m in front of them......arrggg, oh well. Needless to say; i finished 10th......with a 7th place in my heart had i not assumed some cycling ethic situation was coming into play. Average speed was 24.7 mph and i finished the race in 57 minutes and found i can climb like a mountain goat

    My lessons: I need to move from CAT5. I need to stay up front. I need to exploit my strengths and drop my hammer with a mile to go as with anything under 400m...im gonna get toasted. Oh yea, and next year I think if im still a CAT5 i will try to find me a partner or two to plan a little break away so we can roll a constant speed.
    Nice! Can you talk a little about what speeds you were hitting while climbing and on the flats when you were off the front? Thanks.

  14. #14
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    good read , good write

  15. #15
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    Well, as i learned from a good many threads on the roadbikereview.com average speed can be affected by a lot of variables, terrain, pace of the group, etc.

    For me, i was pulling along at 19-22 off the front on climbs and 22-28 on the flat areas and up to 44 n the decending side of the hills. Mind you the entire course was pretty much rolling hills with very little straight flat riding. Seemed to be either going up or down on teh whole lap.

  16. #16
    V3T
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergundog View Post
    Well, as i learned from a good many threads on the roadbikereview.com average speed can be affected by a lot of variables, terrain, pace of the group, etc.

    For me, i was pulling along at 19-22 off the front on climbs and 22-28 on the flat areas and up to 44 n the decending side of the hills. Mind you the entire course was pretty much rolling hills with very little straight flat riding. Seemed to be either going up or down on teh whole lap.
    Great, thanks for the info.

  17. #17
    Shea_Bird
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    Thanks for the info and story, im sadly not registered yet due to a recently torn ACL delayed my plans for this summer but i really can not wait for my first race

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