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1st Criterium - What to expect

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm taking part in my first Criterium race in a couple of weeks 10 laps of a 2.5 mile circuit. I'm not sure what to expect, anybody got any hints & tips?
post #2 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

Stay at the back of the pack and learn. EXPECT to be punished........
post #3 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

I agree with the last poster that you are in for a tough learning experience. I think the toughest thing about crits is hanging on through the turns.

A couple of tips:

1. If you can avoid it, don't stay in the back. If you are in the back, you will get yo-yoed around the corners. Those at the front of the corner come in fast and as you go toward the back, riders slow. It takes a lot of energy for those in the back to get back up to speed. Also, if the pack splits, you will find yourself on the wrong side of the split. And, if there is a crash, you are more likely to get caught up in it.

2. Don't overlap wheels with the guy in front of you (i.e., make sure your front wheel is not next to his rear wheel). This way, if he makes a sudden movement he will not hit your wheel and possibly cause you to go down.

3. Into the corners, follow the line of the person directly in front of you.
post #4 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

I agree that being in the back of the pack has it's disadvantages, but I think the fact it's his first crit outweighs those disadvantages. My first crit race, I wasn't worried about getting in a breakaway or being on the right side of a field split. My main goal was to just finish, even if way off the back.

My tips:

1. Make sure going into the corners that you are in a gear you can accelerate out with. My first crit I made the mistake of going into a corner in 53x12. I fell way off the back because I couldn't accelerate in this gear. The chain was under so much tension, that shifting to 39x12 was impossible.

2. Don't forget to drink water. Also, don't swerve when you take a drink.

3. Make sure you put your number on the correct side. I've seen more than one person put it on wrong.
post #5 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFred
I'm taking part in my first Criterium race in a couple of weeks 10 laps of a 2.5 mile circuit. I'm not sure what to expect, anybody got any hints & tips?
I don't race, but I have a tip...

You might get more responses by asking this question in the Road Racing subforum.

Good luck in your race!
post #6 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

I did my first crit a couple of weeks ago - it was actually part of a stage race and I was trying to stay in 11th overall so it was pretty important to me. What I learned:

Warm up - lots make sure you are good and ready to go from the first lap. Drink during your warm up - you probably won't have time to do it during the race you will be too busy being careful and keeping up.

If there is the opportunity to pre-ride the course with some experienced riders do it. We in the women's community are a bit more close knit than the guys. I was able to go out in the morning with some of the higher-cat women, ride the course and get instructions on how to take the corners. It was really really helpful. Crit cornering is a bit different from typical road race cornering, so if you can't practice try to at least watch another race and when you do get out there definitely follow the wheel in front of you.

Stay off of your brakes - someone right beside me went over the handlebars because she panicked and hit her front brakes. If you must brake do it very very gently - feather feather feather.

Best advice I got - the first 5 min are usually torture, but if you can hang onto the pack for that long you will likely be able to finish with the pack - stick it out and it usually will ease up a bit. It will heat up again for the last couple of laps.

good luck!

(btw - I finished with the pack and kept my 11th overall!)
post #7 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

Make sure your hands are on the STI levers into every corner in case you need to brake. Try to draft.

I didn't do these two things and did terrible in my only 2 criterium races. I quit racing.
post #8 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTE83
Make sure your hands are on the STI levers into every corner in case you need to brake. Try to draft.

I didn't do these two things and did terrible in my only 2 criterium races. I quit racing.
In fact in a crit the safest place for your hands is in the drops - you will be very close to others during the race and hands in the drops can prevent hooking handlebars which is very dangerous.

Safe places to be beside another rider are shoulder to shoulder and sholder to hip - avoid 1/2 wheeling.
post #9 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

The back of a Crit sucks

If your going to sign up, you would be better off trying to stay up front as long as possible. If you find yourself mid pack without being able to advance your position, then consider going to the very back for safety. Your not going to learn a whole lot if you stay in the back right from the start. About the only thing you will learn is how many matches are in your book. Believe me, it will be obvious.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

Thanks for the advice guys, i'll let you know how I get on.
post #11 of 12

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

Well, a 2.5 mile lap seems more like a circuit race than a classic crit. Still, 10 laps, that will be 40 corners; so you want to stay in the front if you can.

I read a good snippet of advice recently: if you have to brake coming through a corner, then you're not far enough to the front.

My only other bit of advice would be to pre-ride the course and make sure to pay particular attention to the finale. Know roughly where you're going to start your sprint, and in what gear.

Good luck and have fun!
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: 1st Criterium - What to expect

Well that was an interesting Experience. The format of the the race was going to be 2 10 laps races with 2 divisions, A & B. We were allocated into a division based on past performances in other races. There were 9 People in the A Division, On Lap 4 whoever was last would be pulled and this would continue until there were 3 people remaining. Anybody who was pulled would be in Division B for the 2nd race and the top 3 finishers from Division B would be in the A division for the 2nd race. This meant that the 2nd race would only have 6 riders!

Anyway I was in the A Division.

The format meant that everybody was riding to not be last over the line, so the laps were ridden slowly with a mass sprint at the end of each lap to aviod being pulled.

It turned into a very negative race, but In the end I managed 4th.

By this point the traffic was getting heavier (we can't close the roads for events here) so the next race was to be shortened to a 5 lap race, with no one getting pulled.

To keep up numbers I wasn't relegated so started the 2nd race in the A group. There was an initial breakaway which we managed to reel in and the a slow reaction to a 2nd breakaway caused me to be dropped. The breakaway pair started to slow down and I was catching them when I got to the turn. Where I'd got the gap down to about 7 seconds.

The police weren't really paying attention to what was going on and didn't see a car pull onto the roundabout, I saw him and shouted for him to get out the way which he did, but the 2nd officer shouted at him to stop which he did. I didn't and ended up on the lid of his trunk!!!

So race 2 over for me, luckily my Bike wasn't damaged and I wasn't hurt (well nothing that the chiropractor won't fix). However as I ran into the back of the car the Officer wanted to press charges against me!

Until I pointed out that as she was directing traffic for the race and if she hadn't stopped the guy in the car I would not have hit him it was probably her fault. Luckily by then another officer arrived who agreed with me.

I love living in the Caribbean.
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