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 Post subject: How to start racing.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:50 am
Posts: 518
Location: Maui
After reading the post at http://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12698 I feel encouraged to race. My watts/kg at LT is about 4.7 and my 5s is at about 16. This puts me at mid cat1 for LT and low cat2 for sprints, and these are my figures right now after 1 month of real training. I have three questions:

1) How do I actually get involved in racing? I take it I have to join a team/club and train with them for some time? Any words of advice here? I've been bicycling for a long time but pretty much in total isolation from the cycling community at large. Never been on a club ride, never ridden in a group of more than 2!

2) Based on these scores, is it reasonable to expect I could actually race at these higher amateur levels? I only weigh 60kg down from 65kg last year after I stopped rock climbing so much and lost my arms. Will I really be able to push enough watts to keep up? I understand you have to start at cat5 but what should I expect in this race if my physiology is much higher than the norm. Will technique mean I still suck?

3) I realize everyone is different, but is there any generalization that can be made about the benefits of training? Can I expect to gain 5 or 50 watts at LT after a year of training?

I welcome all advice. Thanks.


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 Post subject: How to start racing.
Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:50 am 


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:47 am
Posts: 1292
Location: Tokyo, Japan and Adelaide, Australia
My advice is to start racing ASAP - racing is he best training, and it sounds like you've been doing plenty of that anyway. You'll be put in an easy group for your first race - and you'll learn loads if you've never trained with a group before. Plenty of super fit people get nowhere in races because they don't know how to read a race. If you turn up to a race you'll be racing against lots of old guys - watch what they do, they don't necessarily have the legs anymore but they've got the tactics nailed.

Also, try to do some track racing if you can - it teaches you about tactics and how to ride a wheel 10 times faster than the road.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:28 pm
Posts: 1143
Location: Australia
Your main priority should be learning to ride in a bunch.. given that you have not done this at all I think you should do some group rides before you start racing. Theres a completely different feel to riding in a bunch and it takes a bit of practise to be confident in it. It would not be ideal to start racing immediately because in a competitive environment you won't find people going out of their way to help you learn riding skills.

Once you have the basic skills to be able to ride comfortably and safely in a bunch, then by all means get into racing!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:52 pm 
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in the industry

Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:32 pm
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Whoops!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 4:33 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:17 am
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If you don't mind me asking, how did you get these figures for your wattage?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 5:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:50 am
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Location: Maui
I have a powertap sl. To figure out my LT I pretty much did max sustainable exertion for ~45 minutes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 6:25 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 3:34 am
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Location: Northern California
Please do not start racing if you have never ridden in a group! :shock: I've done four races so far this season - 3 of 4 had serious crashes, one race even had 3 crashes including one that took me down and sent somebody away in an ambulance. All of these crashes were due to people who did not have sufficient pack skills and/or over-reacted.

Hook up with a club, get used to riding in a group first, please. Give yourself at least six months of learning how to follow wheels, paceline, react calmly if someone leans on you, not swerve around potholes or traffic dots, etc. In NorCal, we have an excellent series of skills clinics and training races at the beginning of each season, maybe there's something similiar in your area. If you must race, do a time trial or hill climb or some non-mass start race.

As for your specific w/ kg numbers - lots of people have numbers well above where they actually are - I'm one of them. :oops: But, unless it's a time trial, watts are only 50% of the game. The tired cliché is that bike racing is like running a marathon then playing a game of chess - sounds like you have the capability for the running part, but it takes years to get a good chess game down.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2005 10:56 am
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Location: New Zealand
Hook up with a club, get used to riding in a group first, please. Give yourself at least six months of learning how to follow wheels, paceline, react calmly if someone leans on you, not swerve around potholes or traffic dots, etc.

6 months???? are you kidding??? ummmmm...sorry to hear you have had a really awful start to this season peterpen, ...but that's racing dude. You should be having a real go at your race director/handicapper, for putting bunnies with the quicker guys, not discouraging someone from racing IMO. I agree that joining a club is a great 1st step, but racing is the way to go, and the quicker he starts, the better.

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Used to race....got too wrinkly and old ;) Updated: Racing again! Thought this was unlikely! Eventually, I may even have a decent race!
Edit: HAD a decent race! 16/08/2014 :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:34 am 
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Location: New Zealand
Hook up with a club, get used to riding in a group first, please. Give yourself at least six months of learning how to follow wheels, paceline, react calmly if someone leans on you, not swerve around potholes or traffic dots, etc.

6 months???? are you kidding??? ummmmm...sorry to hear you have had a really awful start to this season peterpen, ...but that's racing dude. You should be having a real go at your race director/handicapper, for putting bunnies with the quicker guys, not discouraging someone from racing IMO. I agree that joining a club is a great 1st step, but racing is the way to go, and the quicker he starts, the better.

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Used to race....got too wrinkly and old ;) Updated: Racing again! Thought this was unlikely! Eventually, I may even have a decent race!
Edit: HAD a decent race! 16/08/2014 :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:36 am 
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Location: New Zealand
darn...double post. Moderator, would you please remove this and one of the posts Cheers :)

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Used to race....got too wrinkly and old ;) Updated: Racing again! Thought this was unlikely! Eventually, I may even have a decent race!
Edit: HAD a decent race! 16/08/2014 :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:14 pm 
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Location: Northern California
theremery wrote:
6 months???? are you kidding??? ummmmm...sorry to hear you have had a really awful start to this season peterpen, ...but that's racing dude.


What's the rush? jeffr has never ridden in a group of more than two! Fields may not be quite as large in Seattle, but around here Cat 5 fields always fill to their max of 50 and at crits are often run as 4/5 with a field of 75. Sure crashes happen, but I think it's nuts to suggest that someone who has never ridden in a pack should go race. Join a club, do group rides, go watch some races, work on his pack skills, and then start racing in the second half of the year. It's only six months. He'll have a better time racing, get better results, and stick with it longer if when he starts he is confident and able to put his skills (and apparent ability) to work, rather than just hanging on for a white-knuckle ride or possibly causing wrecks.

@jeffr: One other bit of advice is to start with some road races before doing crits. RR courses are by nature usually more selective which thins the pack, and those nice, high w/kg #'s come into play much more than during a flat crit. I'm definitely not discouraging you from racing, just think you (and your fellow racers) will have a better time with some more skills to complement your ability.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:10 pm 
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Location: New Zealand
ahhhhh...re-read the info...i see the "only ridden with a max of 2 people" bit, so now understand the advice to get a bit "pack smart" before riding mass starts. Apologies :oops:

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Used to race....got too wrinkly and old ;) Updated: Racing again! Thought this was unlikely! Eventually, I may even have a decent race!
Edit: HAD a decent race! 16/08/2014 :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:45 am 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
I agree with Themerry.

Your race officials have a duty of care to ask quickly about their riding background and place them in a suitable race.

We tell them to follow a few races until they're ready.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 2:56 am 
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Location: Northern California
Bruiser wrote:
I agree with Themerry.

Your race officials have a duty of care to ask quickly about their riding background and place them in a suitable race.

We tell them to follow a few races until they're ready.


May be how it works in Australia, but not here. Start as a 5, after 10 races you can be a 4. From there on you need points to upgrade. I don't know how many people show up for races there, but it's usually >500 here - officials are not chatting w/racers much. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 23, 2005 11:42 am
Posts: 295
Location: Canberra, Australia
Basically the way it works for most club races in Australia (in Canberra anyway) is if it's your first race you will get put in the lowest grade (D grade or Cat 4 in our case) but if you blow everyones doors off in your first race you will get moved up a grade the next week if they think you should.

If you win easily and have to stay in the same grade for another 9 races seems pointless IMO and not very fair on the other guys/girls racing that grade to have a chance to win when that person is obviously a level above.

Agreed with everyone else though, get some bunch experience first, that way you get some experience with a pack and potentially meet guys you will be racing with which comes in handy when you need favours.

Heres a good test to see if your ready to race, practice cornering at 40-45km/h by yourself (sharp crit like corners), if you can do that comfortably, ask yourself if you could still do it with people either side of you and in front and behind you comfortably and still hold your line through the corner.

If the answer is yes, get out there and do it, racing is the best way to learn the skills but remember, there is no way of matching the intensity of a race in training so don't get your hopes up in the first few or rely on power figures and average speeds to give you false hope, it's bloody hard!

Also I was interested in the reason, if you don't race, why you moniter your power with a power tap? Just curious, thats all.


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Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:07 am 


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