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Advice for getting into crits (and general racing)

Tower.IITower.II Posts: 4
edited June 2015 in Road beginners
Hi guys,

So I'm relatively new to road cycling (started in December) and was thinking of having a go at racing crits. I've got a sporty background and have been working on bike fitness (tabata's, FTP training, hills), can comfortably do 50 milers, but have no clue how to ride in a pack of racers, race strategy, etc. Watching videos and races can only teach you so much before you actually have to experience the real thing to learn.

My question is whether or not it's madness to have a go at the Crystal Palace Crits (I know it's wayy out of my league, but it's the only race series that seems to be going on right now within a reasonable distance). If it is a terrible idea, how should I get involved in the local crit scene? Any and all advice is welcome!

[I haven't joined a cycling club yet as their intro rides are the first weekend of each month and I missed June's]

Posts

  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    edited June 2015
    You might not want to hear this but..

    ...club club club club club club club club club club!
    Depends where you are but KW are doing their newbie run this Sunday.. just saying ;)
    http://www.kingstonwheelers.com/index.php/join-us/membership

    There are also race training sessions at places like Hillingdon, Cyclopark and Hog Hill.
    There is one this weekend for example at Cyclopark
  • angry_birdangry_bird Posts: 3,782
    Honestly, I'd join a club first if you have no clue or experience riding in a pack. That way you'll get some decent experience riding with others in close proximity at least. Without wanting to generalise too much but people turing up at races with no group riding experience can be somewhat of a liability at times. Racing is fun but does carry the very real risk of crashing and doing some serious damage to both yourself and others.

    Plus riding with a club is fun, don't just do it because you want to race and get some experience, it's a great way to meet new people and make new friends too.
  • Tower.IITower.II Posts: 4
    Haha, I was expect a deluge of "CLUB!" so that's fair. Unfortunately I'm out of town this weekend so I can't avail the club run or the cyclopark lessons.

    Thanks for the feedback though guys! I'm based in central London, near Elephant & Castle. Moved to the UK a few months ago and wanted to join a cycling club for non-race reasons actually (mainly just to meet people because I have no friends :cry: ) but just had trouble getting the timing right/making it to their intro rides. Any chance you can convince the Wheelers to have more than one run a month, Pete? :wink:
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    aint there an endless waiting list for these race focussed Laandan clubs ..? move up North mate.. friendlier clubs and more of 'em.. and lots of races .. but you better learn yourself quick ;-)
  • nammynakenammynake Posts: 215
    For your own safety and that of others you should be confident and competent riding at speed in close proximity to others (i.e. with 6 inches of the bike in front). Club rides are a good start but chain gangs are what you really need, with the added benefit of being a really good workout.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    If palace is near, then Hillingdon, Velopark or Cyclopark can't be that far away, go to one of those. Palace is not a place for the inexperienced.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Tower.IITower.II Posts: 4
    Thanks so much for all the feedback guys!
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    To echo the others - definitely a club. There must be a club in riding distance who welcome beginners every week ? You can't race a crit until you learn how to ride on a club run.

    Well you can, but it will be carnage.

    Time trials are usually an easier way into cycling and will give you a good idea of your fitness. Crits can be a bit fierce.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    You won't learn much about bunch racing at Palace as it's likely you'll be out the back pretty quickly (even if you are fit) as it's HARD, and so technical.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • GSVBagpussGSVBagpuss Posts: 271
    Look up Sprinter Della Casa on Youtube - loads of great advice of how to race in bunches
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Looking at a mates Strava from the 3/4 at Palace lat night the first 3 laps required an average 369w; that's not going to suit someone dipping their toes in for the first time! ouch.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    It does help if you can ride the bunch properly as my first 8 minutes in the E12 were only 315w
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,032
    Looking at a mates Strava from the 3/4 at Palace lat night the first 3 laps required an average 369w; that's not going to suit someone dipping their toes in for the first time! ouch.


    369 watt average ! How long are the laps and I'm assuming he's a big guy ?
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    2 minutes.

    It's a hard circuit.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • scott_w1987scott_w1987 Posts: 316
    Are there no free for all mid week chain gangs that you can just turn up to and ride?

    Local to here they run a 31 mile Tuesday chain gang with a slow and fast group, a 3x8mile Thursday APR(generally 3 groups) circuit chain-gang and a bunch of different Saturday morning chain-gang circuits varying in length, speed and climbing. Definitely the best way to learn bunch riding.
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