First Race Questions
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  1. #1
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    First Race Questions

    Hi there! I am scheduled to do my first race this upcoming weekend and have a two part qestion. First, I am trying to decide which bike to use (I know, tough problem to have). I am hoping to have a Cannondale CAAD 8/9 frame ready to go; however, I may need to choose between a Colnago MXL - Centaur or Moots Vamoots - SRAM. This will be a road race Saturday, followed by a 3.5 mile TT (no aero bars or what-noy) and Crit on Sunday. Any ideas on which would be best suited? I am not sure it really matters at my level and I am comfortable on either one, although the Colnago seems to turn better. Also, the Crit is not very technical turn wise.

    My second question is what to look out for and keep in mind. I am obviously nervous, but have some experience dealing with that as I raced Motocross from my early teens to early twenties. I am average fitness wise, but still working on it. Recent VO2 test had my Peak VO2 at 42.4, max heart was 193 and anaerobic threshold at 176/91%. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Oh yeah, forgot to add, weigh 215 but should weigh 165-175.

  3. #3

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    Ride...

    Quote Originally Posted by cazdrvr
    Oh yeah, forgot to add, weigh 215 but should weigh 165-175.
    Ride whatever bike you feel most comfortable on, or have been riding the most over the winter. What you weigh is irrelevant to bike choice.

    As for racing itself, just sit back, and watch how things develop. I wouldn't get too excited, or attack too early, as you'll then get dropped more than likely. It's a rookie mistake that people feel great at the start, and then forget that there is a bunch of more racing to come and all. Just sit mid field, and roll with that.

  4. #4
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    That's interesting, because I tend to go too strong early in my group rides when my legs feel great. I mentioned my weight more from a power to weight ratio, or basically for my current strength, I am handicapped by about 40lbs.

  5. #5
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    Pin it on!

    Get to the race, sign up, pin the numbers right-side up, and don't crash if you can. It's your first race, just see how it goes. Don't be too nervous, though of course you will be some. Try to stay in the first 1/3 of the pack, since the crashes happen at the back.

    If you do group rides, you probably know about following a wheel, being smooth, etc. Keep that up. Learn to not hit your brakes if at all possible.

    It doesn't really matter what bike you ride. The CAAD would work, but so would the others, Cat 5 races are a mishmash of guys with really really expensive bikes and no experience, younger guys with old, beat up, 3rd-hand gear, and everything else.

    Just relax, let yourself get hooked.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the response! I am just sweating the possibility of seriously damaging the MXL or Vamoots, but I am ok risking it. I am going to use the components from the MXL on the C-dale when I pick one up. I have ridden some in the past and think it would be good for the Crit series races this year. None of the bike choices hinge on them doing anything for my lack of engine. :-)

  7. #7
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    Pick the more comfortable bike and ride like hell.

    Try to get a feel for the first few laps, and then experiment. Your results don't matter in the first 10 races you do, so just have fun and see what you can/can't get away with.

    Sitting in won't be fun. You might as well go on a group ride.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cazdrvr
    Thanks for the response! I am just sweating the possibility of seriously damaging the MXL or Vamoots, but I am ok risking it. I am going to use the components from the MXL on the C-dale when I pick one up. I have ridden some in the past and think it would be good for the Crit series races this year. None of the bike choices hinge on them doing anything for my lack of engine. :-)

    you going to sell the MasterLight.....What size is it???
    "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it." John Stuart Mill, 1866

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by physasst
    you going to sell the MasterLight.....What size is it???
    Yeah, I am seiously considering selling the frame and fork. LX11 color, 58cm (Colnago Traditional Sizing). 615 miles on it.

  10. #10
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    Ohhh

    Quote Originally Posted by cazdrvr
    Yeah, I am seiously considering selling the frame and fork. LX11 color, 58cm (Colnago Traditional Sizing). 615 miles on it.

    hmmm...that's a 56.8 TT right???If memory serves me right??

    Wow....might be very interested if you're waiting until the fall..just bought two more bikes last month, so the wife would KILL me now, but if I wait a little while...hmmmmmm

    Good luck with your race...and you might be surprised by the pace.....I know I was in my first race.....Unbelievably fast, and I had been riding with the faster groups in town and keeping up with them....Good Luck though...
    "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it." John Stuart Mill, 1866

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  11. #11
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    I know how it is justifying the purchases sometimes. I fully expect the pace to be a shock. I have been wanting to make the leap for a while. Good advice from ya'll on this board!

  12. #12
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    Your "first" race is a stage race?
    Lots o' luck.
    I assume that your training has been in line, and I assume that the road race isn't too hilly (if my first two assumptions are wrong, you're in for a world of hurt), if so, just sit in and watch for breaks (try to let others close the gaps). In the last 10 minutes of the crit and road race, try to move somewhat near the front.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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  13. #13
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    the speed can be a shock, and it doesn't have to be. if you're comfortable in a pack, and get urself in the middle with at least, say, 3 or 4 riders in front of you, the wind will be eerily non-existant.

    on the other hand, you'll feel it a lot more if you're yo-yo'ing off the back from the natural flow of the race or on the sides. or if you're...ummm...in front.

    i'd go with nitro's advice, as it's what i did...go on some break-aways, sit in, lead a little, experiment. you'll get a feel for how everything works very quickly

  14. #14
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    That's how it was for me, and anyone who gets into racing via collegiate. All of our stuff is an omnium, RR one day, TT (actually, TTT here) and crit sunday.

    It is kind of a wake-up call for riders who do all three...

  15. #15
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    Luckily fairly flat road race, 30 miles. TT is 3.5 miles, and Crit is 35 minutes. Wind may be up somewhat. No big hills in this one, but some future ones if I survive!

  16. #16
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    Have Fun

    Quote Originally Posted by cazdrvr
    ...I am trying to decide which bike to use...
    Use your oldest bike for the races. Use your favorite bike for the time trial.

    Quote Originally Posted by cazdrvr
    ...My second question is what to look out for and keep in mind...
    Remember that everyone in your class is a beginner also. Don't let anyone give you any crap. If they dont like the way you are riding just tell them to not sit on your wheel or ask them why they aren't racing with the Pro1/2 field.

    Things can get way fast, but not for very long, so just tough it out and hold on with everything you have and the pack will slow back down in 60 seconds. Never lose touch with the pack or they will be gone, if you have to sprint to latch onto the back then do it as there is no reason to save anything for the final sprint if you are going to get gapped by the pack.

    Staying in the front third is good as you are less likely to get in a crash and also less likely to get dropped. Trouble is everyone else is fighting for those spots too. You can also stay safe near the back but then you run the risk of getting gapped and then dropped. Don't waste any energy unneccesarily and they do not give any prizes for the guy that pulls the most, this is a race, not a touring ride and you are under no obligation to take your pull.

    Don't panic if someone touches you, just stay smooth and keep riding.

    HAVE FUN - and post a race report next week.
    Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

  17. #17
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    40 - 50 lbs overweight in your first race.

    Prepare to get dropped.

  18. #18
    What? Me worry?
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    Sounds to me like you're biting off way more than you're going to be able to chew. 60 pounds overweight and wondering what bike to ride sure sounds like your're just not ready.

    Drop the weight, do a few club races with smaller fields and shorter distances. When you've done all this and have formed your own opinion about what bike to ride, then think about more serious racing.

    P.S. I know you're not going to take this advice, so when you're sitting by the road in a heap (hopefully not too scratched up and with nothing broken) just remember I told you so.

  19. #19
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    Fer crissakes, what's with the negativity? First, the OP admits that he's not sure bike choice really matters at his level. Second, he's asking for advice about what to look out for...he's not asking whether or not he should do it.

    Props to the OP for pinning on a number and getting out there, putting his butt on the line because he loves the sport. If there were more guys like him, I imagine cycling in this country would be much more popular than it is now...which would be good for all of us.

    For the OP: Ideally you would ride the frame that is going to cost you the least amount to replace in case of a crash. But in this situation, ride what you've been riding the most lately. Try to ride near, but not on, the front. But if you find you can't keep up with that pace, hang out at the tail end and just go along for the ride. Your goal in race #1 is to finish.
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  20. #20
    What? Me worry?
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    There's a difference between negativity and realism. Encouraging someone to try something for which he is obviously unprepared may be the polite thing to do, but in the end it's most likely cruel and counter-productive.

    The best outcome of an unprepared attempt could be that the OP gets dropped in the first mile, gets discouraged and quits. The worst could be that because of lack of pack skills he gets ridden into a curb, crashes and breaks his neck. Neither outcome is really the best for the OP or the sport.

    Better to take the time to prepare to race safely and competently with a reasonable chance of finishing.

    "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

  21. #21
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    Well, the OP stated he's been on group rides, so I assume he's got some pack-riding skills. He's got a decade of experience racing in another dangerous, two-wheeled sport. And he admitted that he knows he is handicapped by his weight, and that "none of the bike choices hinge on them doing anything for my lack of engine. :-)" Seems like the OP has a pretty good attitude about this.

    I see overweight guys in my races all the time, and some of them do pretty well on flat courses. Sure they are not 40 pounds overweight, but it seems like the OP has some pretty solid experience under his belt. Glass half-full, I guess.
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  22. #22
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    Plus and Minus

    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    ...The best outcome of an unprepared attempt could be that the OP gets dropped in the first mile, gets discouraged and quits. The worst could be that because of lack of pack skills he gets ridden into a curb, crashes and breaks his neck...
    The guy admitted to being overweight but I dont recall reading anything about him being inept in a pack. If he gets dropped he at least has a goal to work towards. If he tells us he lacks pack skills then he should just show up and do the time trial where the only thing that will get hurt is his pride if he is truly not up to the rest of the fields speed.
    Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

  23. #23
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    wtf

    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    There's a difference between negativity and realism. Encouraging someone to try something for which he is obviously unprepared may be the polite thing to do, but in the end it's most likely cruel and counter-productive.

    The best outcome of an unprepared attempt could be that the OP gets dropped in the first mile, gets discouraged and quits. The worst could be that because of lack of pack skills he gets ridden into a curb, crashes and breaks his neck. Neither outcome is really the best for the OP or the sport.

    Better to take the time to prepare to race safely and competently with a reasonable chance of finishing.

    "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

    sound like he is fairly prepared...I weigh at least 30 pounds more than I probably ideally should...so what? I raced last year, and in my first race finished 7th......It sounds like he has been doing a lot of group rides, so his pack skills should be fair at least.....you basing his preparedness on his weight alone is rather prejudiced don't you think....
    "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it." John Stuart Mill, 1866

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  24. #24
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    he didn't ask you..

    Quote Originally Posted by StillRiding
    There's a difference between negativity and realism. Encouraging someone to try something for which he is obviously unprepared may be the polite thing to do, but in the end it's most likely cruel and counter-productive.

    The best outcome of an unprepared attempt could be that the OP gets dropped in the first mile, gets discouraged and quits. The worst could be that because of lack of pack skills he gets ridden into a curb, crashes and breaks his neck. Neither outcome is really the best for the OP or the sport.

    Better to take the time to prepare to race safely and competently with a reasonable chance of finishing.

    "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
    for a realism check, so stay within the boundaries of the conversation....rude comments are not way to encourage new riders. if he does get dropped, then he gets dropped, and can think about his approaches to improvement down the line...but I know several big guys on my local circuit who power their way through all the races...do they win? no...do they finished...sure. do their teammates still cheer them on? absolutely.
    we understand your "concerns" about this person you don't even know, but if you race you had to start somewhere and you were as green as hell when you toed up to the line, so keep your mind on that fact.

    further advice to the OP could include what he might expect during a race...the small vacuum feeling while sitting in a group, the increased speed, the close proximity to other riders, the communcation, the yo-yoing (I hate the yo-yoing), and the fact that it will hurt like hell during the TT and crit.
    my advice would be to race the cheapest bike you have...leave the Moots at home safe., I've seen too many nice destroyed bikes on the smallest, most inconsequential of races...and their owners cursing themselves for bringing it.
    I would also suggest that if you feel at all uncomfortable in the RR portion, you might consider skipping the crit......crits are tight, fast, and unforgiving...but definitely do the TT..they are great building tools..

  25. #25
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    Wow, didn't envision getting this lively of a discussion! But I appreciate all of the advice. I have to start somewhere and I know that there are some very good riders even in my category. I base my ideal weight on where I was in my 20's, ie: college. Maybe not too realistic, but I was as high as 235. I am 6' 1" and medium build, certainly not 215 pounds of muscle. I will let ya'll know how it turns out. Also, I actually put alot of the weight on after a wreck at the motocross track left me with 2 compression fractures in my T8 an T9 about 4 years ago.

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