Moderator: Moderator Team
I have my first race next weekend as a CAT 4 rider. The course is a 3.5mile narrowish circuit and the race is 1 hour, there are 100 starters. I think it is going to carnage, 100 novice riders all trying to get to the front to avoid trouble and only room for 4 riders side by side! Any advice?
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to crit racing
Don't blow yourself up, but stay in the top 5 even if you feel like you are really on the edge. Just remember that no matter how hard it is at the front, it is going to be 10X harder in the back with all the braking and accelerating out of corners. Drafting is only a big advantage when there isn't constant breaking and accelerating.
Easy to say....hard to do.
But you will see that once you start slipping back, your life becomes hell and you are hanging on by your fingernails.
Edit: I see it is "narrow" but you didn't really specify how twisty it is. Sit in if you can safely and not have to brake/accelerate a lot. It is always better near the front though; and although everyone wants to be there, that is why they want to be there.
"Sometimes you don't need a plan. You just need big balls." Tom Boonen
If you're not mentally prepared to start real hard and bring the engine to "red" for the first, let's say, 10-15 minutes, and still be comfortable to pilot the bike securely, then maybe you're not ready to fight for a front spot yet in narrow circuit races.
Or I'd suggest stay behind if you want to avoid crashes. Go up the shredded peloton (pelotons ?) progressively, as you gain confidence. And use this race as a new experience.
Don't use your HRM, or you'll stop after 5 minutes. In a race, your HR will easily be +10 from your best efforts.
I started in the 80s, before cat 5, and there were a lot of crashes in cat 4.
What Louis said about the HRM. Turn it off or put a piece of tape over it.
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