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Advice for first criterium

MozBikerMozBiker Posts: 77
edited February 2017 in Amateur race
After a very long awaited time(more than a year) there is finally a crit that I am able to compete in. It is a relatively flat circuit with one hill in it. There are one or three very strong riders that I know that will be competing. So there will be some nice wheels to hang on to.

So this is my first race that I will be doing. I have been riding for a year now.

I have been reading a lot about criterium racing and what to expect and so on. But I would like to hear from others what advice they have. Any common mistakes I should avoid? Any tactical advice? Any beginners that have done their first races already, please feel free to share your experiences and any DO NOT DO's.

I am quite a tactical and calculating rider. I am not the strongest rider in my cycling group, but I am not the worst sprinter. I have managed quite a good success rate with some solo attacks I have made during our group rides and in some cases I have managed to bridge big gaps between group and breakaway on my own. Just to give a background on which to base comments and criticism on. Feel free to be brutal in your honesty. Humble pie is always the way to go when preparing for one's first race. My motto is, aim for podium, but expect second-to-last. Even if I finish second to last I will be happy. :D

Posts

  • Oh yes. And any advice on what to do in the week before and the week of the race with regards to training?
  • NapoleonDNapoleonD Posts: 18,632
    1 Don't ride like a chopper
    2 Don't cause a crash
    3 Don't crash
    4 Nope. I'm out.

    Regards training, knock the volume right down the week before, if it's a weekend crit, do a v short v high intensity interval sesh on the tues and thurs with perhaps 30-45 mins easy on the weds.
    E.g. 3x3min hard (so you are evenly paced but blowing at the end of each), 3 min recovery.
    Or 8-10 x 1min flat out, 1min v easy
    Have a good warm up on the day with some short hard efforts (<30s long)
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • Get a good warm up
    Don't start too far back
    Learn to breathe through every orifice
    Dont eat in the hour before the race
    You'll get a right kicking but will enjoy it.
    Dont be surprised that you really, really suffer
  • Omar LittleOmar Little Posts: 2,040
    If you can ride the circuit in advance then do that - get to know the corners and practice going round them and carrying speed.
  • Thanks for the good replies. Will try to apply it all where possible. Regarding getting a kicking. I am prepared to get my behind thrashed. But that's part of the learning curve. Just to get to race will be fun.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    MozBiker wrote:
    After a very long awaited time(more than a year) there is finally a crit that I am able to compete in. It is a relatively flat circuit with one hill in it. There are one or three very strong riders that I know that will be competing. So there will be some nice wheels to hang on to.

    So this is my first race that I will be doing. I have been riding for a year now.

    I have been reading a lot about criterium racing and what to expect and so on. But I would like to hear from others what advice they have. Any common mistakes I should avoid? Any tactical advice? Any beginners that have done their first races already, please feel free to share your experiences and any DO NOT DO's.

    I am quite a tactical and calculating rider. I am not the strongest rider in my cycling group, but I am not the worst sprinter. I have managed quite a good success rate with some solo attacks I have made during our group rides and in some cases I have managed to bridge big gaps between group and breakaway on my own. Just to give a background on which to base comments and criticism on. Feel free to be brutal in your honesty. Humble pie is always the way to go when preparing for one's first race. My motto is, aim for podium, but expect second-to-last. Even if I finish second to last I will be happy. :D

    We don't really have any indication of your relative fitness, but if you've never raced before, then anything you think you might be capable of based on some experiences in group/leisure rides is not going to have any basis in reality.

    Nothing wrong with aiming for the podium on your first event. But don't be surprised if you end up getting dropped on the first lap. Anything in between is fine.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    MozBiker wrote:
    Oh yes. And any advice on what to do in the week before and the week of the race with regards to training?

    Just train normally, without riding too hard/too long in the couple of days leading up to the race.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    What the others have said. I would just add, moving in the bunch in a race is likely to be unlike anything you've experienced in group rides. The speed, the surges, the shouting, the noise and general dynamics will feel weird to begin with. It might feel hairy for a few laps until you settle in and get a feel for it. But, it's really great and very exciting. So just enjoy it.
  • Imposter wrote:
    MozBiker wrote:
    After a very long awaited time(more than a year) there is finally a crit that I am able to compete in. It is a relatively flat circuit with one hill in it. There are one or three very strong riders that I know that will be competing. So there will be some nice wheels to hang on to.

    So this is my first race that I will be doing. I have been riding for a year now.

    I have been reading a lot about criterium racing and what to expect and so on. But I would like to hear from others what advice they have. Any common mistakes I should avoid? Any tactical advice? Any beginners that have done their first races already, please feel free to share your experiences and any DO NOT DO's.

    I am quite a tactical and calculating rider. I am not the strongest rider in my cycling group, but I am not the worst sprinter. I have managed quite a good success rate with some solo attacks I have made during our group rides and in some cases I have managed to bridge big gaps between group and breakaway on my own. Just to give a background on which to base comments and criticism on. Feel free to be brutal in your honesty. Humble pie is always the way to go when preparing for one's first race. My motto is, aim for podium, but expect second-to-last. Even if I finish second to last I will be happy. :D

    We don't really have any indication of your relative fitness, but if you've never raced before, then anything you think you might be capable of based on some experiences in group/leisure rides is not going to have any basis in reality.

    Nothing wrong with aiming for the podium on your first event. But don't be surprised if you end up getting dropped on the first lap. Anything in between is fine.


    Well said.
  • Alex99 wrote:
    What the others have said. I would just add, moving in the bunch in a race is likely to be unlike anything you've experienced in group rides. The speed, the surges, the shouting, the noise and general dynamics will feel weird to begin with. It might feel hairy for a few laps until you settle in and get a feel for it. But, it's really great and very exciting. So just enjoy it.

    Oh yes. I am looking forward to riding fast in a bunch. I love high speed groups. So the race will just be a much tougher version of going fast. The fun is the most appealing to me. My placing at the finish is second to fun.

    Will write a small report on how it goes. Event is 5th February. My brother is also joining me. So even if the peleton drops us it will be a race between the two of us. Unless I can convince him to be my domestique :P :wink:
  • ryan_w-2ryan_w-2 Posts: 1,160
    What sort of figures are you pushing out?

    w/kg
    ftp
    max power
    '17 Focus Mares Force 1 --- '19 Cervélo S5 Disc Di2

    IG: RhinosWorkshop - Check it out for all my custom builds...
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Ryan_W wrote:
    What sort of figures are you pushing out?

    w/kg
    ftp
    max power
    There is a time for those questions. Not now.

    Ride predictably. Hold your line. You'll probably get dropped in ten minutes, but still have a great time.

    Make sure you have the appropriate British cycling membership/insurance/licence to allow you to participate.
  • Ryan_W wrote:
    What sort of figures are you pushing out?

    w/kg
    ftp
    max power

    3.5 w/kg.

    270 watts FTP

    Max power 1 300 watts in a sprint
  • timothyw wrote:
    Ryan_W wrote:
    What sort of figures are you pushing out?

    w/kg
    ftp
    max power
    There is a time for those questions. Not now.

    Ride predictably. Hold your line. You'll probably get dropped in ten minutes, but still have a great time.

    Make sure you have the appropriate British cycling membership/insurance/licence to allow you to participate.

    I doubt I will require all that in Africa! :D

    I am in Mozambique and here we aren't that organized. We don't have racing licences and all that. Yet... But the sport has been picking up a lot in the last two years. So maybe things will start shaping up nicely
  • ryan_w-2ryan_w-2 Posts: 1,160
    MozBiker wrote:
    Ryan_W wrote:
    What sort of figures are you pushing out?

    w/kg
    ftp
    max power

    3.5 w/kg.

    270 watts FTP

    Max power 1 300 watts in a sprint

    Not bad. I assume you're entering a Cat 3/4 race (or equivalent)?

    I'm entering my first race this year (just ordered my silver license yesterday), so enjoying the input to this thread.

    I'm worried about the pace, but hope I can hold my own. The sprints are the fun bit!

    3.3w/kg
    302w ftp
    1700w max power
    '17 Focus Mares Force 1 --- '19 Cervélo S5 Disc Di2

    IG: RhinosWorkshop - Check it out for all my custom builds...
  • cgfw201cgfw201 Posts: 669
    I've done my first 4 crits in the last couple of months.

    Pace hasn't been an issue. Pretty amazing how easy it is to ride @ 40kph for an hour in a big pack.

    If you want to win, don't waste energy early on. But in a first race, just go with the flow and do what you want. If you see a chance and fancy attacking, go for it. Only one way to know if you're strong enough.

    I've written up my account of my start in the world of racing on my blog if you're interested, even includes one called 'How to win'.

    https://aridewithaview.wordpress.com/
  • Ryan_W wrote:
    MozBiker wrote:
    Ryan_W wrote:
    What sort of figures are you pushing out?

    w/kg
    ftp
    max power

    3.5 w/kg.

    270 watts FTP

    Max power 1 300 watts in a sprint

    Not bad. I assume you're entering a Cat 3/4 race (or equivalent)?

    I'm entering my first race this year (just ordered my silver license yesterday), so enjoying the input to this thread.

    I'm worried about the pace, but hope I can hold my own. The sprints are the fun bit!

    3.3w/kg
    302w ftp
    1700w max power

    Not sure what category! It is open to all riders. Just arrive and race. No entry fee. Mostly for fun.

    Agree on the sprints. At the end of our group rides we always have a sprint to our finish point.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    I suspect there are few, if any, on here with any first-hand knowlege of racing standards in Mozambique. Consequently, the advice may stand, or it may not. Certainly, your average group ride in the UK has very little in common with racing, for all kinds of reasons, which is why I was fairly dismissive of your group riding comments earlier. The same may not be true over there though, I have no idea.
  • Imposter wrote:
    I suspect there are few, if any, on here with any first-hand knowlege of racing standards in Mozambique. Consequently, the advice may stand, or it may not. Certainly, your average group ride in the UK has very little in common with racing, for all kinds of reasons, which is why I was fairly dismissive of your group riding comments earlier. The same may not be true over there though, I have no idea.

    Will have to see how it measures compares. Will see after the race. I'm really stoked to finally get racing. Just gonna give it my best, wing it and see what happens. Thanks to everyone who contributed. All comments appreciated.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    edited January 2017
    Some good advice on the thread, its all true.

    Heres the write up to my first race.
    https://cyclejames.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/1st-race/

    Some advice in this article.
    https://cyclejames.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/getting-into-racing/
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Best advise is relax, oh and fit eye in the bqck of your head you'll need them.

    Thats the other bit of advise be aware of who around you.

    Dont worry about how much power you can out out maybe even chnage your garmin front page to show time only. I think that what ill do for races this year.

    Easy to say now i have done a few but once you have done a few you stop worrying. Also if you get dropped dont worry some races go that way.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • mac9091mac9091 Posts: 196
    My 1st race was a bit of a let down as it sort of never happened. I was due to start the support race (cat 3/4 equivalent) which was 40mins +3 laps and was sort of a team effort, 3 riders for each team were allowed to race (the championship race was 4 riders per team), which being a beginner was happy with to get the experience and 1st one under my belt aiming not to come last, knowing full well that despite having a 3.3w/kg was never going to some close due to only being 58kg so couldn't sustain 400w+

    Turned up and was told that due to 3 of the cycling team also taking part in the triathlon the next day, I would in fact be doing the championship race. censored dropped, these guys were considerably experienced (Cat 1 and 2s looking at being cat 1) and would be putting out a hell of a lot more power, plus it was 50 mins + 3 laps.

    The only plus points I could get were:

    I didn't finish last (and thats not including the guys who crashed out)
    After the 4th or 5th lap when i was being dropped, i gathered a team mate, one other rider and then another. Formed a small bunch and had almost caught the group back up before coming off a corner (and my turn on front) made the mistake of sitting behind a wheel that slowly was being dropped, when i noticed the gap was too big and i was done. I then proceeded to drop like a brick. My team mate however went on to complete (well sort of) in the sprint at the end, so i was well chuffed at my domestic duties. :D

    I was great though and looking forward to getting into a race series this year, but work always likes to throw things in the way.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    mac9091 wrote:
    My 1st race was a bit of a let down as it sort of never happened. I was due to start the support race (cat 3/4 equivalent) which was 40mins +3 laps and was sort of a team effort, 3 riders for each team were allowed to race (the championship race was 4 riders per team), which being a beginner was happy with to get the experience and 1st one under my belt aiming not to come last, knowing full well that despite having a 3.3w/kg was never going to some close due to only being 58kg so couldn't sustain 400w+

    Turned up and was told that due to 3 of the cycling team also taking part in the triathlon the next day, I would in fact be doing the championship race. ars* dropped, these guys were considerably experienced (Cat 1 and 2s looking at being cat 1) and would be putting out a hell of a lot more power, plus it was 50 mins + 3 laps.

    The only plus points I could get were:

    I didn't finish last (and thats not including the guys who crashed out)
    After the 4th or 5th lap when i was being dropped, i gathered a team mate, one other rider and then another. Formed a small bunch and had almost caught the group back up before coming off a corner (and my turn on front) made the mistake of sitting behind a wheel that slowly was being dropped, when i noticed the gap was too big and i was done. I then proceeded to drop like a brick. My team mate however went on to complete (well sort of) in the sprint at the end, so i was well chuffed at my domestic duties. :D

    I was great though and looking forward to getting into a race series this year, but work always likes to throw things in the way.

    quoting w/kg there in a flat crit ... not like Zwift is it, this proper racing lark...?
  • mac9091mac9091 Posts: 196
    jgsi wrote:
    quoting w/kg there in a flat crit ... not like Zwift is it, this proper racing lark...?

    Put the w/kg i had at the time due to it being similar with the OPs after the request from someone else. Meant to add that "W/kg doesn't really matter its the absolute power that wins out" but i was waffling on (like i do) and forgot.

    zwift is easy but the wife doesn't like the me using the 24v drill to power my back wheel, as she can't hear the tv. :D:D:D
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