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First Race Tonight

engyengy Posts: 131
edited May 2014 in Amateur race
Over the past few weeks building up to my first race, I scoured the forums looking for advice.

I thought I would put down my first experience.

Well first things first, I was extremely nervous before I even got there, I woke up this morning nervous. :x
In hindsight looking back there is absolutely nothing to be nervous about, apprehensive maybe but not nervous. Im sure this had an effect on my performance, as my mouth was dry from the start despite hydrating for the last two days.

Anyway the race.

Well manage the first lap really well, Pace was 22-23 MPH and in the bunch I was never struggling at his pace. My rides on my own I have been averaging 20-21 mph over 25-30 miles. I got dropped after lap 1, not because I found it hard but because I found the riding so intensive with concentration, my cornering was leaving a lot to be desired and I was nervous in the pack. If you mind wonders then your off the pace straight away taking all this into account I got dropped due to my technique and lack of experience.. With such and nasty headwind around half the course my average dropped to 20.5 mph for he rest.

Disappointed, as I could/should have done better, importantly i'm in one piece, I learnt a lot of lessons and I enjoyed the experience.

So my advice is

1. Be comfortable in a bunch
2. Cornering well can make a big difference
3. Don't get dropped if you can, especially when there is a nasty wind.
4. Fitness is important but not the be all, technique just as important.
4. Jump on that train, go for it, don't be to worried, enjoy it !!!

Well roll on next week..... onwards and upwards. :wink:

Posts

  • pan280pan280 Posts: 81
    was this the SEERL series in cyclopark?
  • engyengy Posts: 131
    no mate, in the Midlands
  • pan280pan280 Posts: 81
    ok cool, just had a similar experience as you but in kent…
    overall i enjoyed it, wish i was there earlier to do a couple of laps to familiarise my self with the circuit.

    i arrived a bit late, was a handicap race & did not start with the cat 4 riders, so i was dropped almost immediately.
    but it was a good workout and finished with the rest of the dropped ones … oh well
  • engyengy Posts: 131
    Well done, its a big lesson, im sure as it goes on we will improve ;-)
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    I agree that fitness is not the 'be all' although it is obviously critical to a good performance - and beyond a certain level it is probably the only thing that differentiates competent riders.

    If you can analyse how hard you were working and how/where you were riding when you got dropped, it might help for next week. Being able to hold a constant average on your own rides is no guarantee of being able to mix it in a race group - you need to be able to cope with changes in pace, some of which can be quite fierce...
  • engy wrote:
    my mouth was dry from the start despite hydrating for the last two days.

    Ha! I started racing this year and had exactly the same thing! I now carry half a bottle of juice for the race and sip it every couple of laps and make sure it is empty before the end of the race.

    Best wishes for race number 2.
  • engy wrote:
    my mouth was dry from the start despite hydrating for the last two days.

    Ha! I started racing this year and had exactly the same thing! I now carry half a bottle of juice for the race and sip it every couple of laps and make sure it is empty before the end of the race.

    Best wishes for race number 2.

    I don't think the dry mouth is anything to do with hydration. It's a nervous reaction which can be ignored over the typical 60 to 90 minute races in coolish weather. If you're not properly hydrated when you sign on then a bottle during the race isn't going to be much help. I had a bottle on my bike during my race last week (to sooth the expected dry mouth) and was too scared to take my hands off the bars to use it!

    Anyway, good luck to all race virgins and novices. If you're anything like me, then a bit of luck wouldn't go amiss. What price a bolt of lightening taking out the lead bunch on the last lap, leaving the stragglers to take the glory? :D
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    Fwiw I've been competing at sport in some form or another for over 30 years and I still get nervous before EVERY race -- big or small, and even before big training efforts like FTP tests. Some people are just built that way. I actually think that despite it being a bit uncomfortable (dry mouth, nervous stomach, etc.) it is a good thing, you can draw on those hyperaware feelings and the hormonal reactions to competition and make it work for you rather than against you. as long as you're not the type to experience crippling stage fright or similar!
  • maryka wrote:
    Fwiw I've been competing at sport in some form or another for over 30 years and I still get nervous before EVERY race -- big or small, and even before big training efforts like FTP tests. Some people are just built that way. I actually think that despite it being a bit uncomfortable (dry mouth, nervous stomach, etc.) it is a good thing, you can draw on those hyperaware feelings and the hormonal reactions to competition and make it work for you rather than against you. as long as you're not the type to experience crippling stage fright or similar!

    Sir Matthew Pinsent - quadruple Olympic rowing gold medalist - was renowned for such extensive pre-race nerves that he typically vomited over the side of the boat at some point during the warm up for major races. It got so bad that when he didn't vomit, he and the rest of the crew got worried that he wasn't really "up for it"!
  • damocles10damocles10 Posts: 340
    You need to have balls of steel to do well in races. I don't race now, but, when I did I had to tell myself I was going to win - it put's you in the right frame of mind. I remember my first race (Novice), around Eastway, I was nervous before but I realised quite quickly that the way to succeed was to attack,attack,attack...I actually won that one, which is a real confidence booster.

    What I learned was, it's best to hold your line while cornering and if the bunch is a bit scrappy try to create or jump to a breakaway group, which is not always easy. Also know your circuit, I did a lot of crits and I trained on them to know the best and fastest lines - to do this also helps to know the best point to attack. For me the best point to jump the bunch was after an intermediate sprint, the strongest will usually go for it, stay around 6th and when they cross the line they will most likely sit up - time to counter attack, sometimes it sticks.
  • ProssPross Posts: 23,787
    maryka wrote:
    Fwiw I've been competing at sport in some form or another for over 30 years and I still get nervous before EVERY race -- big or small, and even before big training efforts like FTP tests. Some people are just built that way. I actually think that despite it being a bit uncomfortable (dry mouth, nervous stomach, etc.) it is a good thing, you can draw on those hyperaware feelings and the hormonal reactions to competition and make it work for you rather than against you. as long as you're not the type to experience crippling stage fright or similar!

    I get this as well. I get seriously out of breath for a while too which I used to think was due to insufficient warm up but even going to the line sweating I get like it. I'm going to find out soon if it happens outside of sport too as I'm making my debut singing on stage!!
  • macmaywillmacmaywill Posts: 19
    engy wrote:
    Over the past few weeks building up to my first race, I scoured the forums looking for advice.

    I thought I would put down my first experience.

    Well first things first, I was extremely nervous before I even got there, I woke up this morning nervous. :x
    In hindsight looking back there is absolutely nothing to be nervous about, apprehensive maybe but not nervous. Im sure this had an effect on my performance, as my mouth was dry from the start despite hydrating for the last two days.

    Anyway the race.

    Well manage the first lap really well, Pace was 22-23 MPH and in the bunch I was never struggling at his pace. My rides on my own I have been averaging 20-21 mph over 25-30 miles. I got dropped after lap 1, not because I found it hard but because I found the riding so intensive with concentration, my cornering was leaving a lot to be desired and I was nervous in the pack. If you mind wonders then your off the pace straight away taking all this into account I got dropped due to my technique and lack of experience.. With such and nasty headwind around half the course my average dropped to 20.5 mph for he rest.

    Disappointed, as I could/should have done better, importantly i'm in one piece, I learnt a lot of lessons and I enjoyed the experience.

    So my advice is

    1. Be comfortable in a bunch
    2. Cornering well can make a big difference
    3. Don't get dropped if you can, especially when there is a nasty wind.
    4. Fitness is important but not the be all, technique just as important.
    4. Jump on that train, go for it, don't be to worried, enjoy it !!!

    Well roll on next week..... onwards and upwards. :wink:

    Congrats on your first race and you sound like me 3 weeks ago, although i got dropped on 5th lap and our average pace was 25mphr with 32mphr every corner. Damn CAT4 mixing with 5 and some 3's.
    Did you warm up?
    Also something i found helpful is to start at the front, you'll have more wheels to draft.
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    Hey well done on popping your racing cherry. I look forward to hearing about your next one. I love the fact you're alearady doling out advice already ;) Here's a few other point I would add
    Anticipation - expect those surges/attacks/changes in pace. Are you in a gear that allows your to respond quickly?
    Vigilance constantly monitor what's happening throughout the race e.g. up front are they riding hard or easing up/getting ready for hairpin turn; chasing down an attack
    Positioning Are you in the top third of the bunch - move up as people swarm around you or else. The more technical the circuit the closer to the front you wanna be. When there's lull in pace - quickly move up again; stay out of the wind
    Relax Yeah, easy to say but if you'll over tense it will effect your performance
    Big yourself up each lap you survive; line you get right; gap closing effort you make; wheel you follow closely draw energy from it and feel a bit more confident
    Follow good wheels Personally I'm not great at this but when I've done it successfully it makes things a lot easier; pick out a team or guy/girl who seems to know what their doing and follow them during the race
    Training Wether you can ride at 17mph or average 26mph in clude effort of 30sec- 3 mins where you go hard and try to recover while going along at a decent pace. If you can't respond to changes in pace Road Racing is probably not for you.
    Good Luck :D
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Congratulations on your first race :)
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