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advice on moving position in the bunch

SpaniardSpaniard Posts: 69
edited May 2012 in Amateur race
I did my first race a few weeks back. I'd been advised to try and stay at the front third of the race. I found this very difficult to do as I was boxed in and didn't want to cross anyones wheel by moving out sideways, consequently I ended up at the back of the bunch hanging on. I also wanted to avoid being either side of the bunch - in the gutter or the white lines. How do you move around in the bunch easily without everyone yelling expletives at you? Any advice appreciated.

Posts

  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    Look how other people do it.

    Do that.
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • SpaniardSpaniard Posts: 69
    Will do. In the meantime does anyone want to let on how they do it? Any tips?
  • ellerslierdellerslierd Posts: 266
    As a novice, I find that sucking it up and taking the wind around the side of the bunch gets the job done, plus makes you stronger of course. There are normally numerous others who are doing the same, and by following a wheel it is manageable. Then you just have to squeeze back into the bunch where you are, or wait for the rider who is inevitably following your wheel up to move over the top, giving you shelter.

    I've found that as long as you make it obvious what you are doing, lateral movement in the bunch isn't so bad, you just have to patient. Picking your moment, i.e. on a long straight section, is also important. This is something I am finding much easier/ I am more confident about the more races I have completed.

    On a technical course like I raced today in Bath, just sprint hard out of slow corners and you can make places up quickly whilst everything is strung out.

    I hope some of that helps, any advice would also be appreciated/much needed here too!
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    As you get stronger you will be able to gain positioning a little easier... so keep on racing... as you have just started out there is plenty to figure out
    When are you planning racing again?
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    It isn't easy. At the level I'm currently racing its possible to just ride up the outside of the bunch and pick your place, but that will not happen when I upgrade. So I too am hoping to get some more 'within bunch' movement practice.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    When there's a gap, slowly move forwards/sideways into it. It is usual for there to be times when there is no room to move around in the bunch, but these periods don't last for long.

    Communication is very important; if you're moving lane let others around you know, just looking to clear your path is usually enough to let other riders know what you're about to do.
  • Communication is key - although easier said than done. I heard tell from a local E123 race where the Rapha team turned up their riders were actually saying "can you let me get through - i'm going to go off the front" etc. However at that standard it's a bit removed from 3/4 racing where once the elastic has snapped and there's a gap of a few yards there are a lot of riders not strong enough to bridge across a gap...

    From experience I have found that at 4th cat level it is down to being strong enough not to loose position out of the corners/on the inclines and being fairly positive about taking a gap when it opens up rather than slipping down the field because you think someone else will ride into the avaialble space...
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
  • It's a balancing act between (controlled) aggression and caution. That's aggression as in aggressive riding by the way, not a full-on punch up.

    You need the guts to go for a gap that may not *seem* big enough, or that may get closed any minute; you need the sense to *not* try and go for a gap that isn't there, or that is being shut and finally, you need the experience to know which is which. Finally, having the strength to be close to the front and actually put your turns in will help: The further forward you are, the more exposed you're going to be, but you're going to need the engine to allow you to do that.
    Twitter: @FunkyMrMagic
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    If you get the chance to watch aerial shots of the pro peloton it will be useful. In general I would say:

    Don't lose position - be confident and make it clear with body language that you aren't moving
    Don't worry about physical contact - I don't mean hard pushing and shoving (although towards the end you often need both!), but just holding your line and position when someone is leaning on you
    Feel "big" on the bike, and act it. Anyone who seems nervous will be picked out by others who want to push their way about
    If you're likely to be racing with the same people a lot, deal effectively with any attempt to intimidate you (within the rules of course). If you get a name for being "hard" others don't try it on.
    Get to Belgium for a few weeks - nothing will ever seem difficult after that!
  • SpaniardSpaniard Posts: 69
    Thanks for the replies guys - some useful tips. One thing I notice is that everyone mentions 4th cat racing. My first race was a TLI that had some seriously fast riders in - several 2nd cat and some old elite riders too - well out of my league! I hadn't considered getting a BC licence as I didn't think there were enough local races to justify the cost - hence TLi and LVRC membership. However, after joining this forum it's become clear that most people seem to be starting their racing as 4th cats. Do you think I should get a 4th cat licence, or continue in the TLI LVRC races. Incidentally my next race is a TLI in just under a fortnight, followed by another toward the end of June. Thanks again.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    You'll learn more racecraft racing where you are than sticking in with BC 4th cat
    I know there are some who are sniffy about tli or lvrc but the racing is well organised and usually on excellent circuits .. and got to know a set of good guys who enjoy their racing.
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    It's true that in LVRC and TLI you'll be with more experinced riders, most of whom will be helpful to you if you ask.

    However, in the last couple of years I raced I could get placings as a 3rd cat in BC races, but very few with the LVRC - mostly you're racing with the same people who were stars when you were 25!

    One comment though, if I may. The gap between races seems very long. I found that at least 2 races/week was what I needed. The guys who are winning the TLI/LVRC events are likely to be riding 2 to 3 events /week. Like most things, the more you do it the better you become.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    giropaul wrote:
    One comment though, if I may. The gap between races seems very long. I found that at least 2 races/week was what I needed. The guys who are winning the TLI/LVRC events are likely to be riding 2 to 3 events /week. Like most things, the more you do it the better you become.

    This is very true. Minimum of a race per week, ideally 2 is what I need. If I have a break of over a week from racing I'm sh!t in my first race back. I had a good winter this year, but for a number of reasons I didn't get racing early enough. Consequence is that despite the fact that in training I'm actually stronger than last year (based on Watts), I'm struggling more in races because I'm just not race fit yet and I'm racing against guys with 10+ races under their belts already this year.
    More problems but still living....
  • SpaniardSpaniard Posts: 69
    Where are all these races happening?

    I'm in TLI and LVRC, but there are only a handful of races throughout the year in my area. Do you all travel big distances to get to these races each week, or do I live in the wrong area (Newcastle, Staffs).
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    Spaniard wrote:
    Where are all these races happening?

    I'm in TLI and LVRC, but there are only a handful of races throughout the year in my area. Do you all travel big distances to get to these races each week, or do I live in the wrong area (Newcastle, Staffs).


    Well, I live in mid Staffs, and found plenty of events when I was racing. I was also a poor climber, so I'd travel further for a race that might suit me. I did also used to find the same riders at events pretty well wherever I went, so they must have been travelling a bit, but rarely more than say 3 hours each way.

    So, for you, from 20 May it could be 20 May LVRC Stallard series RR Malvern, 22 May LVRC Milton Keynes Bowl, 26 May Halifax, with maybe Newcastle Track League as well? That's without TLI or BC racing (track league excepted).

    Then 27 May Coventry, 3rd June there are 3 races within a couple of hours of you, 10 June Shrewsbury or Doncaster both not far away.

    With a BC licence there's regular racing at Shrewsbury, Solihull and Curborough (Lichfield) as well.
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    If it's a circuit race with short laps you can experiment a little bit with your position on the circuit each lap (assuming it's safe to do so). You might find that by taking a certain line you can maintain speed better for little effort and move forward. Be wary though that the line you take on a course one race might not be as good another week with different conditions.
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    giropaul wrote:
    Spaniard wrote:
    Where are all these races happening?

    I'm in TLI and LVRC, but there are only a handful of races throughout the year in my area. Do you all travel big distances to get to these races each week, or do I live in the wrong area (Newcastle, Staffs).


    Well, I live in mid Staffs, and found plenty of events when I was racing. I was also a poor climber, so I'd travel further for a race that might suit me. I did also used to find the same riders at events pretty well wherever I went, so they must have been travelling a bit, but rarely more than say 3 hours each way.

    So, for you, from 20 May it could be 20 May LVRC Stallard series RR Malvern, 22 May LVRC Milton Keynes Bowl, 26 May Halifax, with maybe Newcastle Track League as well? That's without TLI or BC racing (track league excepted).

    Then 27 May Coventry, 3rd June there are 3 races within a couple of hours of you, 10 June Shrewsbury or Doncaster both not far away.

    With a BC licence there's regular racing at Shrewsbury, Solihull and Curborough (Lichfield) as well.

    Darley Moor nr Ashbourne is pretty close too. Check out West Midlands RRL http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events?series_id=260
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    To race regularly, unless you're very lucky, will probably mean being prepared to travel 50 miles plus to get to races some weeks. My limit is about 80 miles and that allows me to race every weekend (as well as doing the local TLI series - NMRRL
    More problems but still living....
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Spaniard wrote:
    Where are all these races happening?

    I'm in TLI and LVRC, but there are only a handful of races throughout the year in my area. Do you all travel big distances to get to these races each week, or do I live in the wrong area (Newcastle, Staffs).

    You have also got...
    tli Cheshire Series.. 2 more to go
    Macc Wheelers evening rave up
    lvrc Saighton, this Sunday
    tli Nat Crits Marsh Tracks , Rhyl but tli Saighton the following day and wont have the legs to do both justice.
    June is chokker wih 9 races and the furthest away being LVRC National rr champ at Henley
    July you wil have tli Audlem series , the Onimpex classic and the WONDERFUL High Peak rr
    August is quiet with a few races but then you can prepare for the tli national rr at Worleston in September. a
  • SpaniardSpaniard Posts: 69
    Thanks very much for all these replies - I really need to sort out my calendar and get on with it don't I?
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Just send me a pm if you want any further info on local events/training rides :D
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