Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Any advice for a Crit Rookie?

I think I might jump into the B race tomorrow night. I love cyclocross, that first lap feeling where you are all cattle herded together and you weave your way through people — but that is twice as slow... The road makes me a little weary, and that makes me a worse rider. I have shied away from road racing since last year but I think it is time to conquer my fears and have some fun.

What I learned from my lame Cat 5 road race last year:
– Be closer to the front
(If I have the legs I will try to do some work, maybe cover a break)
– Don't race in the middle of the pack if you are not comfortable
(I might race on the outside until I feel safe)

I might ride up to Ault Park tonight and recon the course so I feel all the more comfortable. I also need to get a bunch of junk out of my legs — I did two straight days of hilly centuries last weekend.

1 comment:

  1. A few tips from my mentor:

    Good luck at Ault tonight. Eat something around 4-5p. Sunscreen. Hydrate. No gay lights, tubes or seatbag. Tuck a Gu in your pocket. 1 small water bottle ¾ full. That’s it.

    The race. Every 5 laps is it’s own race for points 1st-4th. The winner of the night’s race is the one with the most points at the end of the night, not the one who crosses first after 20 laps.

    If there’s other Bio-B’s, talk with ‘em before the race. Assign some roles. Maybe 2 guys can try for sprints the other two breakaways. Keep it simple. Look for teammates in the race. Talk it up. Let teammates know if there’s guys up the road and how many. Get in cahoots and tow teammates to the front. Let the other big teams do the work before you. I’m sure Michelob/Dayton, Darkhorse and 7-Hills will have a ton of guys. A breakaway isn’t going to stick without those teams represented. So if you have a Darkhorse and a Dayton up the road, take the wheel of the next guy who tries to bridge.

    You have two choices: sprint or try for the breakaway. Your best chances are on the same lap.

    SPRINT: Try to pirate another team’s leadout. They’ll start with about a ½ lap on the backside before the bell. Look for other teams all in a row. Get up front in first 6-7 riders. When you hear the bell, try to get up to 4-5th spot. On the back side claw up to 3-4th. You’ll constantly have to fight for position. You’re not just gonna get to the front and stay there, guys will constantly be coming around. There’s a light pole at the bottom of the hill just as the road starts to rise. About 10 meters past that, you can easily take it from there to the line solo. I’ll try to show you where it’s at. DO NOT SIT UP on the hill before the sprint! Be on the lookout for idiots who do. Always be on the gas to the line, even if you’re not going to make the top 4. It’ll save you from carnage. The inside line is best, fastest and safest. Simple math, it’s the shortest distance to the line and tired guys will pull off the front to the right/outside.

    BREAKAWAY: (note: Attack when it’s hard. Breakaways are more likely to stick when started just after the sprint when everyone is gassed or if the pack’s been strung out for a while, less likely to stick after the bunch has had a lap or two to rest.)

    A: Start your own. Similar to the sprint, but be a few more guys back on the sprint lap. Maybe top 15 at the bell, top 10-12 on the backside, top 8-10 up the hill. Stay on a wheel, till the sprint is over. Launch hard as you can when you cross the line, sprinters and leadout guys will be gassed. Outside of the sprint, if attacks have been going and the pack’s strung out, that’s another good time to go, especially just after someone else got caught. Counter. Hopefully a few guys will come with you or bridge and you can stick it for the next 5 laps. Keep in mind, breakaways don’t happen all at once and it’s nearly impossible to stick it solo…you need help. What you’re trying to do is split a few guys off the front. You may look back and see guys behind you. Let ‘em catch, flick the elbow. Hopefully there’ll be a gap and you can latch on and keep driving it. If you’re off solo, look back to see if anyone’s bridging with a gap to the group. If they are and they have a gap, you want them to join you, so moderate your speed…fast enough to stay away, but just easy enough that they’ll latch on eventually. Then work together with hard short pulls.

    B: Go with someone else. Same thing, just don’t be the instigator. Be ready and in position after the sprint and follow someone’s attack.