First race report...
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  1. #1
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    First race report...

    I did my first crit this past Sunday. Actually, it was my first road bike race. My only other race experience was a cyclocross race this past December. Sunday's race was the last race of the Bethel Spring Series, Bethel, CT. The CAT5's were broken down into two heats, and since I was given an odd race number I was part of the 1st race at 8am. I really only had time for one warm-up lap but it seemed to suffice since, to my surprise, the first 1-2 race laps of the race were basically warm-up laps. The race was 35 minutes plus 5 laps, bringing my total race time to 46:07. My average speed was 23.3mph with a max of 31.3. Total mileage was 18 miles. Considering the course is a wide, 0.90 loop with one small hill, we must have gone around it 20 times.

    In the beginning I tried to stay towards the front to avoid the possibility of getting caught in a crash. Fortunately, there were no crashes - just some close calls from what I heard post race. Before the race started, I was a little skeptical about riding in such close quarters, as not only was this my first crit, but I haven't yet done any significant group riding/pacelining either. I was also a little unsure about my road bike handling skills as far as cornering but I can't say I ever felt very uncomfortable around any of the corners. There were no right angled corners, but rather smooth, rounded corners. I had no problems hanging with the pack and initially was trying to stay out of the wind. I then took my turn pulling for a few brief times. As the race continued, I noticed there were quite a few times where I kinda felt I was somewhat pushed to the outside or inside of the paceline - taking the wind on directly. This was commonly happening on the back straight, where there was a significant headwind. This was almost as bad as pulling and I realize it is an area I'll have to work on for my next crit - widdling my way back into the paceline. At one point in time during the race, down a very slight hill, I misjudged the speed of the 1 or 2 riders in front of me and, instead of braking, chose to go around them. Well, now I'm unintentionally back in front as they all slide in behind me. I slow my pace slightly in hopes that they'd come around and they do. The one part of the course where I thought I had a slight advantage over some riders was on that small hill. I'd downshift a gear or two in hopes of not burning out my legs, then just put a little more pressure on the pedals and ascend it with relative ease (well in the beginning of the race anyway!). In looking at some race pics that my fiance took from the sideline, I noticed I maybe a bit too hunkered down on this small ascent. It probably would have been better off to keep my torso further back. On one lap I lost a little bit of time getting caught behind a slow ascender on the outside of that hill (I had nowhere to go) and, from that point onward, chose to take the outside line initially, which turned into the inside line as the hill made it's "S". There was one prime lap in which one rider went all out for a pair of socks and a video. It was kinda funny, as he knew he'd kill himself trying to do so, but figured it would be worthwile for those new socks! =) Naturally, we came right by him as he was probably trying to recover. The bell then went of for the last lap and the pack picked up it's pace. I managed to hang with them, although it became increasingly harder to do so. In the end a decent amount of riders came around me when I decided it was time to muster up any last bit of energy in my legs and sprint up that small hill one last time. I was practically gasping for air as I crossed the line, but am confident I finished in, at least, the top 1/2 of the pack. Only the top 9 results have been posted. After the race was over I thought to myself "Hmm...you could have/should have given it a little more earlier on in that last lap". Oh well...guess I need maybe a little more experience pacing myself and knowing how much more I have left in the legs/lungs. I'm glad I aired on the side of finishing w/the pack and *maybe* having a little more left then getting dropped because of going to hard too soon, etc. Overall, I'm satisfied with these first race results and I now have a little more confidence going into my next race. I don't know how accurate this max heart rate figure is (below, at bottom), but here is some additional personal race data (not sure if my heart rate zones are configured perfectly):

    89 RPM avg. cadence
    129 RPM max cadence
    26:36 spent above 175bpm, averaging 180bpm
    19:26 spent in target heart rate zone, averaging 169bpm
    0 time spent below 133bpm
    175avg. bpm
    223max bpm

    Here are a few race pics. I'm in the red top w/black bib knickers, and on a white bike...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by jtferraro; 04-20-2004 at 07:08 PM.
    -Jeff

  2. #2
    NeoRetroGrouch
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    Try it with those sneaky masters...

    "At the race continued, I noticed there were quite a few times were I kinda felt I was somewhat pushed to the outside or inside of the paceline - taking the wind on directly."

    In a 50+ race, I end up on the upwind side of the pack without even realizing I've moved. It's amazing the first time you realize what is happening.

    "I was practically gasping for air as I crossed the line,..."

    You mean the first lap, right? I'm sucking air from the time I get clipped in.

    Good repoert. You're hooked.

    TF
    "Don't those guys know they're old?!!"
    Me, off the back, at my first 50+ road race.

  3. #3
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    Nice!

    haha yeah buddy =D

    Nice job and great pics. Perfect introduction for your first crit. Wish I had the same luck LOL but you know that story. Hope you carry your success through the rest of the season =)

  4. #4
    The Riddler
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    great report...

    maybe i'll try a road race sometime...Or maybe i'll stick to the mtb racing. what's up with the MHR; 223? Is that for real, or just what the HRM said.
    "Those that know endurance, are they who call the world brother."--Charles Dickens

  5. #5
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    Good job!!

    Congrats on your first crit. One general tip, don't beat yourself up for tactical mistakes. It's easy to get sucked into playing Monday morning quarterback, but during the race you can't tell what may or may not work out like you want. As you gain experience, you'll get better at knowing when to sit in and when to be more aggressive, but even then there'll be a huge element of chance.

    Good Luck!!

  6. #6
    flinty-eyed moderator
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    Nice job. Now you just need to find a nice road race and a time trial.


  7. #7
    hi, I'm Larry
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    Sounds like an excellent first crit

    You finished well and stayed towards the front for most of the race. You can't ask for more from a first race.

    Remember the tactical problems and replay this race in your head before the next one. As you did this time, learn something new at every race. There is always something there new to learn.

    Train for the last lap by doing some interval training. Run sets of intervals simulating the last lap, (ramp up to zone 4+ for a few minutes followed by an all out 200-300 yard sprint) recover for about 10 minutes and and do it a couple of more times. In most flat crits the field takes it easy until the last lap where all the stops are pulled out. (however there are exceptions where there is a successful attack at the start or middle of the race.)

    Work on getting comfortable around the other bikes and maybe get a little more aggressive, don't let the other riders push you out of your choosen spot. Once you get more comfortable you can start "forcing" your way into holes when your left out in the wind.

  8. #8

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    used to live in hamden and now i'm stuck in minnesota...god your pics make me miss the north east and the fab rides/races in ct in particular! at least it looks cold there...for our first crit last night it was ~50 and pouring...fun!

  9. #9
    PMC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonked
    used to live in hamden and now i'm stuck in minnesota...god your pics make me miss the north east and the fab rides/races in ct in particular! at least it looks cold there...for our first crit last night it was ~50 and pouring...fun!
    You rode OPUS last night? How was the turnout?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMC
    You rode OPUS last night? How was the turnout?
    I also rode Opus- and it was more like in the 40s. I was completely soaked- but there were way more crazy people show up than I expected, considering the weather. I'm guessing 40 racers showed up? The course isn't very clausterphobic and tight, so the rain didn't really matter- and to my knowledge, no one had any problems, even though there was standing water on the course. As one guy said, at least it didn't snow ;) My wife thought I was completely insane- but I don't regret it.

    Bonked- which race(s) did you ride last night?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurboTurtle
    In a 50+ race, I end up on the upwind side of the pack without even realizing I've moved. It's amazing the first time you realize what is happening.

    TF
    Hmm...interesting indeed. I guess that's why they call them "masters". Hopefully I'll be that sneaky in the future too. Definitely cool.
    -Jeff

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaparzo
    maybe i'll try a road race sometime...Or maybe i'll stick to the mtb racing. what's up with the MHR; 223? Is that for real, or just what the HRM said.
    I don't know what to make of that figure. I think it is probably off a bit but ya' never know. I have seen my hr get up and just barely over 200 bpm before (my first few spinning classes, over a year ago). I certainly won't be figuring out my hrz based upon THAT max HR! ;-)
    -Jeff

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedi Pig
    Congrats on your first crit. One general tip, don't beat yourself up for tactical mistakes. It's easy to get sucked into playing Monday morning quarterback, but during the race you can't tell what may or may not work out like you want. As you gain experience, you'll get better at knowing when to sit in and when to be more aggressive, but even then there'll be a huge element of chance.

    Good Luck!!
    Thanks
    -Jeff

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolhand
    Nice job. Now you just need to find a nice road race and a time trial.

    Thanks Coolhand - it's in the works! =)
    -Jeff

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bimini
    You finished well and stayed towards the front for most of the race. You can't ask for more from a first race.

    Remember the tactical problems and replay this race in your head before the next one. As you did this time, learn something new at every race. There is always something there new to learn.

    Train for the last lap by doing some interval training. Run sets of intervals simulating the last lap, (ramp up to zone 4+ for a few minutes followed by an all out 200-300 yard sprint) recover for about 10 minutes and and do it a couple of more times. In most flat crits the field takes it easy until the last lap where all the stops are pulled out. (however there are exceptions where there is a successful attack at the start or middle of the race.)

    Work on getting comfortable around the other bikes and maybe get a little more aggressive, don't let the other riders push you out of your choosen spot. Once you get more comfortable you can start "forcing" your way into holes when your left out in the wind.
    Great advice - thanks, I appreciate it.
    -Jeff

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonked
    used to live in hamden and now i'm stuck in minnesota...god your pics make me miss the north east and the fab rides/races in ct in particular! at least it looks cold there...for our first crit last night it was ~50 and pouring...fun!
    Small world - I went to college in Hamden, @Quinnipiac and also worked in both Hamden & Cheshire. Ever been to AcTion SporTs in Cheshire? I used to work there...years ago. Anyway, I grew up in New Haven county and now live in Hartford county.

    Sorry to hear about your 40-50 degree and RAINING crit.
    -Jeff

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