First Road Race for MTNbike racer
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  1. #1
    Unrepentant Mountainbiker
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    First Road Race for MTNbike racer

    Hello all, I have taken leave of my senses and decided to try my hand at racing the road bike. The race is the "I Made the Hill" held in May in Bismark ND. It is a 25 mile race on a 5 mile long course. It's practically a crit.

    I have raced MTNbikes for years and even finished in the top three in the state at last years state games and fourth at the state MTNbike championships. Having said this, I know that I am not that fast on a road bike. I can drop guys on the trail that regularly drop me on the road.

    So, my questions follow.

    How does road racing differ from MTNbike racing?

    What type of things do I need to be looking out for in an amatuer race?

    I am not a sprinter, and only a fair climber (the race is five hill repeats) so my goal is to simply finish in or near the lead group. Any advice on how to hang out?

    I know from doing the Tues. night hammerfest in Wichita Falls TX (simulated race) that it is easy to get shelled off the pack after taking a pull. So for right now, I am thinking of just hanging back and wheelsucking as much as possible to try and keep myself fresh and out of the wind. Please pick apart this strategy and tell me of the pitfalls and benefits. Also any suggested alternatives are more than welcome. I will have a few friends in the race, but I doubt that we will have any "team tactics".
    It's no fun unless it hurts!

  2. #2
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    here's a tip for ya...

    ALWAYS, repeat, ALWAYS look before you make a lateral move in the pack. if you're in the middle, and want to move up on the outside, LOOK before you move over.

    if you've been riding w/ a group on the road, you probably know this. also, don't overlap wheels. be smooth. if you're not the greatest climber, try this. get to the very front at the base of the climb, hopefully you'll still be in contact as you go over the top.

    did i mention ALWAYS look before you move sideways?...

    oh, here's another one...don't come screaming up the inside of a corner yelling "inside, inside!". that's just plain rude, and all it'll get ya is pinched to the curb by someone who already had the line.

  3. #3
    For president!
    Reputation: SilasCL's Avatar
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    Your strategy should be fine

    You seem to have plenty of experience for a beginner road racer. I would suggest going to more of the local group rides, as many as possible, just so you can go from comfortable in a pack to extremely comfortable. My first ever pack ride was a race, and I'm sure you can imagine how that went. Since you already have some pack experience, you should be fine but more is always better.

    Now, for the tactics, I would say hanging back seems fine, just don't get stuck in the last row. Like the other poster said, get up near the front before the climbs. This makes such a huge difference, you'll be amazed. Expect it to be a race of attrition, lose a couple guys every lap, with a possible break going on one of the last two climbs. As long as you're not behind the guys getting dropped (or one of the guys getting dropped, but there's not much you can do about that tactically!) you should be able to stay in the front group.

    Last thing, go check out the course in the week leading up to it (if it's nearby). Get a feel for the descent, get some confidence on it (if it's at all technical) because you may need to hammer there to reconnect with the group. Go have fun though, and don't wear your camelbak!

    Silas

  4. #4

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    3 things:

    No Visors
    No camelbacks
    don't crash me

  5. #5
    Unrepentant Mountainbiker
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    Some clarification and thanks

    I just took the time to re-read my original post and feel that I may have unintentionally misrepresented my abilities. While I did place very high in the state wide races that I mentioned, I forgot to mention that it was in the "sport" class. This would be something like racing cat 4 or 3 on the road. Also, The state in question is North Dakota, not Texas. I lived in Texas in 2003, and moved to ND at the end of that year.

    So from what I have read so far, what I want to do is stay off of the front, but near the front. Pay close attention to what is going on around me so as to not cause a crash. Try not to get on the wheel of the people getting shelled, or I will end up getting shelled whether I meant to or not.

    I should also make it a point to not look like a mountainbiker. Does this mean that I will have to shave my legs

    As for getting on the right wheels, are there any signs that I should be looking out for that could tell me whether or not the guy in front of me is about to fall off of the pace. I would much rather get off of a wheel before a gap starts to develop.
    It's no fun unless it hurts!

  6. #6
    hi, I'm Larry
    Reputation: bimini's Avatar
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    Just try to finish in the middle of the pack

    on your first race. It sounds like a short race, so be prepared for some hard charging at the start and when hitting the hill. At the start get on it right away and try to make certain you are in the front half of the pack. Stay off the front and save your energy for the hill. I can almost guarantee an attack on the hill the first lap and probably every lap. Be prepared to go into the red zone going up. Once over you may have time to recuperate on the down side. Just try to stay in front of the splits on the hill.

    Circuit races with a big hill make for a good race for beginners. The hill fragments the riders into smaller groups where you will not be riding shoulder 20 or 30 rows deep.

    Don't be surprised if there is a split in front of you on the hill. You will need to decide when the split occurs if you want to charge around the bikes right in front of you and chase the lead pack or back off and stay camped out in the chase pack. The worst thing you can do is chase the lead pack and not catch on. Then you blew all your energy for nothing and risk getting dropped by the chase pack.

    Have fun

    Quote Originally Posted by freezin_is_the_reason
    I just took the time to re-read my original post and feel that I may have unintentionally misrepresented my abilities. While I did place very high in the state wide races that I mentioned, I forgot to mention that it was in the "sport" class. This would be something like racing cat 4 or 3 on the road. Also, The state in question is North Dakota, not Texas. I lived in Texas in 2003, and moved to ND at the end of that year.

    So from what I have read so far, what I want to do is stay off of the front, but near the front. Pay close attention to what is going on around me so as to not cause a crash. Try not to get on the wheel of the people getting shelled, or I will end up getting shelled whether I meant to or not.

    I should also make it a point to not look like a mountainbiker. Does this mean that I will have to shave my legs

    As for getting on the right wheels, are there any signs that I should be looking out for that could tell me whether or not the guy in front of me is about to fall off of the pace. I would much rather get off of a wheel before a gap starts to develop.

  7. #7
    Squirrel Hunter
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    Kickback

    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench
    did i mention ALWAYS look before you move sideways?...
    With the hill climb you also need to be sure you do not kickback when you go to stand. Often times as a rider goes to stand there will be a slight lapse in his speed causing him to go backwards in relation to the packs speed. To avoid doing this shift to a harder cog and plan your stand so that as your dominate foot comes over the top of the revolution you apply an extra surge of power when the pedal reaches one or two o'clock. This should allow a smoother transition from sitting to standing without kicking back into the guy behind you.

    Watch for others in front of you kicking back as they stand.

  8. #8
    Bike Addict
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    I'm an MTB racer that did my first road race last year nadi I really enjoyed it! I'll be doing a lot more this season. Everyones advise is great. I would just also say to not worry about if you look like an MTB guy, no one cares. Just be safe and stay out of the wind and try to have fun!
    Ride to eat, eat to ride.

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