Forum home Road cycling forum Amateur race

Tips for Your First Criterium

bruceleebrucelee Posts: 19
edited February 2014 in Amateur race
Hey guys. I wrote a post recently on some tips for riders looking to race their first criterium.

Here's the article: http://bit.ly/1euQfiD

Does anyone else have some first time criterium tips?

Posts

  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    Yep, don't try and take a hairpin bend from the inside , realise you're going way too fast , brake, skid, fishtail and almost take out your club mate who's on your wheel :oops:
    25% off your first MyProtein order: sign up via https://www.myprotein.com/referrals.lis ... EE-R29Y&li or use my referral code LEE-R29Y
  • macroadiemacroadie Posts: 172
    brucelee wrote:
    Hey guys. I wrote a post recently on some tips for riders looking to race their first criterium.

    Here's the article: http://bit.ly/1euQfiD

    Does anyone else have some first time criterium tips?
    Good informative read since i plan on doing my first crit in May 14'
  • olake92olake92 Posts: 182
    Warm up well and start at the front! (EDIT: try to stay in the top 12 riders the whole race as well) If you're not fit enough to win (and even if you are I wouldn't advise it), starting at the back will mean a ridiculously hard fight to get to the front before you blow up. If this is a normal UK crit with plenty of sharp corners - unlike the some crits where I see whole courses where you won't touch the brakes - being at the back of a 60 rider field may spell the end of your race.

    A nice example of this is a kermesse I raced on a very twisty course; starting at the back of a 200 rider field meant it took 40km to get to the front(!!!!), just in time for the race defining split. I made the front group but blew as getting to the front had wasted me.
    I'm on Twitter! Follow @olake92 for updates on my racing, my team's performance and some generic tweets.
  • olake92olake92 Posts: 182
    Don't dive bomb either. This is where you shoot up the inside as everyone lines out to take a corner; seeing the open road on the inside is very tempting, but will earn you no favours.

    It usually results in one of 3 outcomes:
    - A crash
    - Getting put in the gutter by someone shutting the door on you
    - Having a huge gap to make up as you cut everyone's line up in the corner.

    This was the first thing I was taught by the manager on joining a team (probably because I did it a lot :wink: )
    I'm on Twitter! Follow @olake92 for updates on my racing, my team's performance and some generic tweets.
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    olake92 wrote:
    Don't dive bomb either.

    I know I shouldn't quote the previous post but this does need repeating to 4th Cat racers (and occassionally not just them...).
  • olake92olake92 Posts: 182
    olake92 wrote:
    Don't dive bomb either.

    I know I shouldn't quote the previous post but this does need repeating to 4th Cat racers (and occasionally not just them...).

    I got all the way to my Elite licence before I stopped it! Then, upon riding my first Tour Series, I was told by a much more experienced rider to 'flick or be flicked'. C'est la Vie. I think we should settle on not dive bombing!
    I'm on Twitter! Follow @olake92 for updates on my racing, my team's performance and some generic tweets.
  • kingstoniankingstonian Posts: 2,374
    olake92 wrote:
    Don't dive bomb either. This is where you shoot up the inside as everyone lines out to take a corner; seeing the open road on the inside is very tempting, but will earn you no favours.

    It usually results in one of 3 outcomes:
    - A crash
    - Getting put in the gutter by someone shutting the door on you
    - Having a huge gap to make up as you cut everyone's line up in the corner.

    This was the first thing I was taught by the manager on joining a team (probably because I did it a lot :wink: )

    Haha, I raced in France a lot when i was 16-18 yrs old (long time ago now) and it was a favourite stunt of mine, it was only when i was put in a ditch as a consequence that i changed my ways !!!
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    brucelee wrote:
    Hey guys. I wrote a post recently on some tips for riders looking to race their first criterium.

    Here's the article: http://bit.ly/1euQfiD

    Does anyone else have some first time criterium tips?

    Just a comment about this;

    "Look Before You Move. You can quickly and easily look under your arm to the right or left for other riders. This should become instinct when you’re thinking about moving forward in the pack and help you avoid collisions."

    You should look no more that parallel with your shoulder, this will give you enough vision to see if anyones overlapping you. Don't look behind you and don't look under your arm! Many new racers don't have the core stability of bike handling experience so when they look over shoulders or under arms they swing out wildly and unexpectedly and I've seen a few crashes happen because of this!
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    olake92 wrote:
    Don't dive bomb either.

    I know I shouldn't quote the previous post but this does need repeating to 4th Cat racers (and occassionally not just them...).

    It was a 'dive bomber' that caused the accident where I broke my back and collar bone. Been unable to race since.
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    A good article. However, not much in it that a newbie can use. Most first timers get blown out the back inside of 2 or 3 laps making advise a moot point. Also telling a new guy how to get ready for the final sprint(and things like that) is advise that is meaningless and he will not even be in the mix, let alone on the same lap, for the final sprint.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    dennisn wrote:
    A good article. However, not much in it that a newbie can use. Most first timers get blown out the back inside of 2 or 3 laps making advise a moot point. Also telling a new guy how to get ready for the final sprint(and things like that) is advise that is meaningless and he will not even be in the mix, let alone on the same lap, for the final sprint.
    Not sure I'd say either of those statements is true, especially in the 4th cats at Hillingdon. Yes in an all-cats race in the middle of nowhere, probably the above would be true. But not in London at a non-technical non-taxing circuit like Hillingdon.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    maryka wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    A good article. However, not much in it that a newbie can use. Most first timers get blown out the back inside of 2 or 3 laps making advise a moot point. Also telling a new guy how to get ready for the final sprint(and things like that) is advise that is meaningless and he will not even be in the mix, let alone on the same lap, for the final sprint.
    Not sure I'd say either of those statements is true, especially in the 4th cats at Hillingdon. Yes in an all-cats race in the middle of nowhere, probably the above would be true. But not in London at a non-technical non-taxing circuit like Hillingdon.

    Name me one time that you actually saw a first time crit rider be in position for the final sprint. I'd even challenge you to find a newbie on the same lap as the leaders.

    And a "non technical, non taxing" crit is simply called a ride, not a race.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    dennisn wrote:
    maryka wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    A good article. However, not much in it that a newbie can use. Most first timers get blown out the back inside of 2 or 3 laps making advise a moot point. Also telling a new guy how to get ready for the final sprint(and things like that) is advise that is meaningless and he will not even be in the mix, let alone on the same lap, for the final sprint.
    Not sure I'd say either of those statements is true, especially in the 4th cats at Hillingdon. Yes in an all-cats race in the middle of nowhere, probably the above would be true. But not in London at a non-technical non-taxing circuit like Hillingdon.

    Name me one time that you actually saw a first time crit rider be in position for the final sprint. I'd even challenge you to find a newbie on the same lap as the leaders.

    And a "non technical, non taxing" crit is simply called a ride, not a race.
    I'll just point okgo to this thread... :lol:

    I should add that in 2008, as someone with a single crit under my belt (done in Holland in a women's race in 2007) I managed to finish in the bunch just fine in every Hillingdon 4th cat men's race I did. Even got 8th place on my 4th or 5th race. Lots of "newbies" in my club are fine at Hilingdon these days and in fact are also bunch finishers elsewhere too. I think you're underestimating the strength of beginner racers these days. It may have been in the past that someone new to cycling started racing relatively unfit, but no more.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    maryka wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    maryka wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    A good article. However, not much in it that a newbie can use. Most first timers get blown out the back inside of 2 or 3 laps making advise a moot point. Also telling a new guy how to get ready for the final sprint(and things like that) is advise that is meaningless and he will not even be in the mix, let alone on the same lap, for the final sprint.
    Not sure I'd say either of those statements is true, especially in the 4th cats at Hillingdon. Yes in an all-cats race in the middle of nowhere, probably the above would be true. But not in London at a non-technical non-taxing circuit like Hillingdon.

    Name me one time that you actually saw a first time crit rider be in position for the final sprint. I'd even challenge you to find a newbie on the same lap as the leaders.

    And a "non technical, non taxing" crit is simply called a ride, not a race.
    I'll just point okgo to this thread... :lol:

    I think you're underestimating the strength of beginner racers these days. It may have been in the past that someone new to cycling started racing relatively unfit, but no more.

    As the local Club(Maumee Valley Wheelmen) official I'm at races on pretty much a weekly basis Spring thru Fall and would have to say that's it's very rare indeed to see any newbie in any ability group do well in their first race. It does happen but off the back is the usual story. Not that some of them don't progress rapidly over the season, just not in the first couple of races.

    Some of the new people who show up are very fit(triathletes, ect.)s as far as fitness goes, but are totally unprepared for Crit racing and, as usual, end up lapped or, at the very least, off the back.
  • olake92olake92 Posts: 182
    dennisn wrote:
    A good article. However, not much in it that a newbie can use. Most first timers get blown out the back inside of 2 or 3 laps making advise a moot point. Also telling a new guy how to get ready for the final sprint(and things like that) is advise that is meaningless and he will not even be in the mix, let alone on the same lap, for the final sprint.

    I personally think it's good to mention the finale; encouraging first timers with a knowledge of what to expect at the end of a race is just as important as making sure their expectations aren't too high. I can think of a few who have not just done well in their first crit but actually won them, especially with more fit cyclists coming from other sporting backgrounds.

    Further, I don't care if the first timer is only going to manage two laps, I want them to ride perfectly in those two laps and not cause a crash. The way someone rides can be 'programmed' from very early on.
    I'm on Twitter! Follow @olake92 for updates on my racing, my team's performance and some generic tweets.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    olake92 wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    A good article. However, not much in it that a newbie can use. Most first timers get blown out the back inside of 2 or 3 laps making advise a moot point. Also telling a new guy how to get ready for the final sprint(and things like that) is advise that is meaningless and he will not even be in the mix, let alone on the same lap, for the final sprint.

    I personally think it's good to mention the finale; encouraging first timers with a knowledge of what to expect at the end of a race is just as important as making sure their expectations aren't too high.

    The end of the race for first timers is almost alway the same. Off the back, or lapped, or DNF and watching the finish at the S-F line. I know this sounds cold but sports are not warm and fuzzy things. Hardly anyone, who is new to any sport, wins their first or second or even the third time out. It's pretty much strictly a fluke if someone wins a game of billiards having never played before and it's the same with cycling.
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    You're not listening are you dennis :lol:
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    Dennis, just because you were off the back and/or lapped or DNFed your first time out, doesn't mean everyone else has to do the same. :lol: I know it's years later and you're probably still smarting from it but don't worry we won't hold it against you.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    dennisn wrote:
    maryka wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    maryka wrote:
    dennisn wrote:
    A good article. However, not much in it that a newbie can use. Most first timers get blown out the back inside of 2 or 3 laps making advise a moot point. Also telling a new guy how to get ready for the final sprint(and things like that) is advise that is meaningless and he will not even be in the mix, let alone on the same lap, for the final sprint.
    Not sure I'd say either of those statements is true, especially in the 4th cats at Hillingdon. Yes in an all-cats race in the middle of nowhere, probably the above would be true. But not in London at a non-technical non-taxing circuit like Hillingdon.

    Name me one time that you actually saw a first time crit rider be in position for the final sprint. I'd even challenge you to find a newbie on the same lap as the leaders.

    And a "non technical, non taxing" crit is simply called a ride, not a race.
    I'll just point okgo to this thread... :lol:

    I think you're underestimating the strength of beginner racers these days. It may have been in the past that someone new to cycling started racing relatively unfit, but no more.

    As the local Club(Maumee Valley Wheelmen) official I'm at races on pretty much a weekly basis Spring thru Fall and would have to say that's it's very rare indeed to see any newbie in any ability group do well in their first race. It does happen but off the back is the usual story. Not that some of them don't progress rapidly over the season, just not in the first couple of races.

    Some of the new people who show up are very fit(triathletes, ect.)s as far as fitness goes, but are totally unprepared for Crit racing and, as usual, end up lapped or, at the very least, off the back.

    As said, I can name a fair few people not including myself that have been right up there in their first few races, its not that uncommon on certain circuits. However I would agree with you that on some of the technical circuits its a slightly different story.

    Do like how you imply all triathletes are very fit, though, :lol:
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    Tom Dean wrote:
    You're not listening are you dennis :lol:

    Oh, I'm listening all right. To people telling me that first timers do well or win at crits.
    Not in the world that I live in.

    I will admit that a couple of years ago I watched a girl win a cat 5 womens crit, but it only had 6 people in it and all it involved was 6 girls spread out all over the course and time trialing to try and catch each other. So yeah, I guess that a race with 6 newbies in it will produce a first time crit winner.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    edited January 2014
    dennisn wrote:
    win a cat 5
    Well, that explains it -- are you in the USA? A four-corner straight-road crit doesn't exist in the UK unless it's an elite-level town centre crit. Nearly all of ours are on purpose-built circuits closed to cars, many of which have no real gradient change, often all the bends are pretty gentle, or even on old car racing ovals or outdoor tracks. Hence the non-technical non-taxing crit I referred to earlier (to sit in, not to breakaway, and obviously the sprint is an effort from a bunch of 50-60 guys).

    Sitting in the bunch in a men's 3rd cat race at one of those circuits I think I averaged 160w... easiest race ever. http://www.strava.com/activities/924573
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    dennisn wrote:
    Tom Dean wrote:
    You're not listening are you dennis :lol:

    Oh, I'm listening all right. To people telling me that first timers do well or win at crits.
    Not in the world that I live in.
    Nobody has said all first timers do well or win at crits, nobody has even implied that most first timers do well or win at crits.

    Don't forget you don't even see 5% of the world you live in so what you see is pretty insignificant compared to the other 95%...
    25% off your first MyProtein order: sign up via https://www.myprotein.com/referrals.lis ... EE-R29Y&li or use my referral code LEE-R29Y
  • thegibdogthegibdog Posts: 2,106
    Don't force someone onto the grass by cutting up the inside of them and running wide on the final corner when racing for 9th place...
  • thegibdog wrote:
    Don't force someone onto the grass by cutting up the inside of them and running wide on the final corner when racing for 9th place...

    Haha I wonder which circuit you are referring too there ;-)
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    Criterium Racing Tactics Tips Carolina Cup
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C38Jp16FMtw
    He lost, but still.
    25% off your first MyProtein order: sign up via https://www.myprotein.com/referrals.lis ... EE-R29Y&li or use my referral code LEE-R29Y
  • I am hoping to do my first crit later this year, if I can simply finish I will be chuffed :)

    I think my issue will be pacing myself so I dont blow up too early.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,084
    khisanth wrote:
    I am hoping to do my first crit later this year, if I can simply finish I will be chuffed :)

    I think my issue will be pacing myself so I dont blow up too early.

    Pacing yourself is fine if you intend to ride around on your own. The hard bit is maintaining the pace that other people set...
  • khisanth wrote:
    I am hoping to do my first crit later this year, if I can simply finish I will be chuffed :)

    I think my issue will be pacing myself so I dont blow up too early.

    don't worry about pacing yourself because riding in a bunch is so much easier than by yourself and the pace will be by no means constant, so if its fast and you think this is too quick i'll ease up, then go out the back, the bunch may ease up 500m later but you will struggle to ever catch back up. Just sit in the bunch and don't ride on the front if you don't feel you can regardless of what people say, there is a lot of shouting in racing but it is just to make other people work instead of you, unless you are riding dangerously no one really means what they say.
  • bucklesbuckles Posts: 694
    Imposter wrote:
    khisanth wrote:
    I am hoping to do my first crit later this year, if I can simply finish I will be chuffed :)

    I think my issue will be pacing myself so I dont blow up too early.

    Pacing yourself is fine if you intend to ride around on your own. The hard bit is maintaining the pace that other people set...
    After telling someone at work I blew up during a race they said "just pace yourself, that's all it is" :lol:
    25% off your first MyProtein order: sign up via https://www.myprotein.com/referrals.lis ... EE-R29Y&li or use my referral code LEE-R29Y
Sign In or Register to comment.