Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby Pross » Mon Jun 11, 2018 14:25 pm

No one is going to do you any favours in a race. You have to fight (safely) for your position and without a good racing brain / positioning you are going to have to use far more energy to keep up. You need to plan in advance so that when you come out of a corner you aren't left on that exposed side of the bunch. You can either keep at it and learn from the experience or quit but I suspect most people who have raced experienced similar in their first few races. It took me a season before I got my first bunch finish. Also, most people start with crits as they seem accessible (and, in many cases, are the only regular 'road' racing available these days) but it is sometimes easier to hang in on a road race if you can find a flatter circuit as they spend less time strung out and you have fewer corners to deal with. They can also give you a better chance to warm up as they often have a decent length neutralised zone whereas crits you have to be warmed up and ready to go flat out from the gun.

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby philbar72 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 13:58 pm

Shirley Basso wrote:I think the standard now is surely higher than 2008?

it is. yes. since 2014 fitness levels have massively improved in races in the south east as well as UK wide. the OP should find a club where they do fast chaingangs, or just get out there and hurt himself and get stronger generally. also look at handling drills and work on his weaknesses.
if you can surf the wheels and use a monster 2200w kick at the end you'll be winning races rather than flapping around worrying about getting dropped.

also don't worry about FTP at 4th cat. follow the right wheels (even if it hurts a lot), and keep your position in the group.
concentrate on finishing a race in the bunch and then work up from there.

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby Imposter » Tue Jun 12, 2018 15:12 pm

philbar72 wrote:since 2014 fitness levels have massively improved in races in the south east as well as UK wide.

I personally don't see any evidence for that. Average speeds (such as they are) for circuit races don't seem to be noticably higher now than they were back in 2014, 2012, 2008 or even the 1990s, as far as I can tell. YMMV...

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby DeVlaeminck » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:34 am

dhp2 wrote:Thanks again for all the help!

Ok, I've checked back on my stats.

I now weigh 14 stone 2 (hadn't weighed myself in about a month)

The 2,200 watts was just once and may have been a false reading. I've checked back and I usually hit around 1,800.

I'm also going to try out intervals - I always figured that as it's so hilly round here I was kinda doing them naturally. But now I realise it's all about repeatable bursts in a short timeframe. I think this should give me better chances of staying with the bunch and learning some race craft - I realise I am a long way off competing for any wins.

1800 watts is still a very good number, I'm no sprinter but I'd be surprised if there are many 3/4 cats knocking out those sort of numbers so that's a strength right there.

If you can get some higher intensity training in (the racing will obviously count but it's an expensive way to get training) then with that sprint you may be closer to competing for wins than you think - if you can get in the mix you should have a shout.
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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby Daddy0 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 15:37 pm

My peak power is about 1450w and I have won a few bunch finishes with that.

Just stay in the bunch for as much of the race as poss. Don't let any breaks get away if you have the energy to chase. Be in the top 10 going into the last bend. Don't get jumped or blocked in the sprint. Job done.

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby DavidJB » Sat Jun 16, 2018 21:37 pm

Haha I can barely hit 1000 watts!

But I'm not known for my sprinting ....

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby lee_d_m » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:24 am

As others have said, you need to get fitter. Tailor your training to your racing. There’s not much point doing a 5 hour ride if your races last 45 minutes.

Lots of 30x30 intervals will help and just racing in general.

The standard at cat3/4 is very high. I can just about grab a few points in Cat3 and I’m 60kg with an FTP of 276w. Having a good sprint helps a lot but it’s no good having a good sprint if your spritning from 20th place on the final straight.

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby Cruff » Thu Jun 28, 2018 14:18 pm

I struggle to explain to people in my club that most improvement you make prior to racing is done by you, yourself - not in a group. In the past two years, as race captain, I've had more and more people ask me how to get 'faster' - but since the answer invariably involves 'ride more', 'ride harder', 'ride longer' and 'ride harder for longer' people invariably end up NOT doing this, then when they come out on a race training ride and get dropped, moan that 'the club' isn't doing enough to help them improve.

I agree - in a pan flat crit, 240w FTP should see you be able to get round with the bunch (provided you're not a COMPLETE diesel and only have one pace, so you can respond to surges (which will be constant for the first five laps in most 3/4 races as everyone sh1ts themselves when someone pings off the front)). Good news for you is that if your power numbers are even remotely accurate, 1800 watts for even 5 seconds should see you cream most 4th and 3rd cats in a bunch sprint

Training specifically for crits involves lots and lots of intervals. On top of whatever you're doing already, try incorporating three or four interval sessions a week - one of longer over-unders, one of sprint repeats, one of high cadence work and one 'race simulation' (big effort at 150% FTP, hold for a while then TT at FTP for five moinutes, followed by a couple of nasty sprints at the end). DIal the longer rides back until winter so you don't destroy your legs, and periodise your training so you have a three week 'build' followed by a week of 'down'

PS: I say all this as a cr@ppy third cat who has no sprint and can't make enough of a separation to win from a break :lol:
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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby mellex » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:17 pm

I entered my first race last year. Cat 2/3/4 Road race. To say that I got spat out would be an understatement! There were a few DNF riders but technically, I was dead last. Did I moan? No. I learnt, and bloody quickly.

After a very, very average winter of turbo sessions and base miles on the roads, I've gone from Cat 4 to Cat 2 in six months and I am nothing remotely special. You just have to dial your mind into what you're about to do. Accept that it's going to hurt. The faster/stronger you are, the more it'll hurt because if you race the same venues, you'll become a 'marked' rider. Everyone will want your wheel but no-ones going to help you.

Learn to wheel surf but give good clear calls if you're moving through the bunch. Why put your nose out front if you've got a sprint like yours? Play to your strengths. You're not racing to do your fair share of the work, you're racing to win.

In my experience, a good Crit bunch is like being in a music festival crowd. People are going to bump you, push past you and sometimes chat s**t that's no good to man more beast. Just keep your mind focused on what you went to the track to do, race.

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby Vino'sGhost » Sat Aug 04, 2018 20:57 pm

Llandow is a good circuit to race on but they he op is heavy and weak. Throw in the bit where you have two sharp bends before rejoining and 1 or 2 laps is his lot.

You might sit in better by traveling to castlecoome and getting used to keeping your position. They also have 4ths there frequently and large fields. It’s easy to stay in there. Build some confidence.

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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby OnTheRopes » Sat Sep 15, 2018 07:21 am

dhp2 wrote:Just got back from my second ever attempt at a crit race. I was dropped on the first lap and got ushered off the track.

The bunch was just building up speed to about 35mph as we turned a corner into the wind and I found myself getting pushed out to the exposed side of the bunch - quickly losing speed with nobody letting me back in. By the time the bunch had filtered past me and spaces began to open up I had lost too much speed to slot back in.

My first race (last week) wasn't much better, I kept with the bunch for about 2 laps before getting dropped. They let me continue last time and try to jump back on every time I got lapped. By the end I'd been lapped 3 times but thoroughly enjoyed it.

This week I was left feeling angry and cheated out of what was meant to be a beginner's race.

These are 50 minute races and there are about 50 people in each race. The 'beginners' race is for 4th, 3rd and Women. It's an old airfield track so pretty exposed to the wind but plenty wide enough with some nice chicanes.

I was on my own so after the race I just got in my car and went home. I saw another 4 leave the track as I pulled off so it must have been too quick for them too.

I want to learn race craft and build on my speed but crits just seem very clicky and like unless you're in a skinsuit with no hair on your legs you don't deserve a space in the bunch.

Please someone convince me I'm not wasting my time and money on this?

Not everybody is cut out for crits, they are fast punchy races accelerating hard out of corners and fighting to stay near the front. I was / am a pretty good road racer but I never did do very well at crits or short circuit races for that matter preferring the true road race.
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Re: Newbie Struggling with Crit Races

Postby cliobritt » Mon Sep 24, 2018 18:05 pm

I know it’s not great advice mate but keep pushing on. I’ve done 2 races now and notice a big difference in how I performed on the 2 different layouts.

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