Entered my first race...my ego nosedived

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by LS17, May 29, 2006.

  1. LS17

    LS17 New Member

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    well i entered my first race of the the year and boy did i suck. i was second to the last. i could not keep up with the pack-- i got lapped! this is just cat 5 racing, nothing extremely competitive.

    what can i do to improve my power? i have no speed. i couldn't muster any strength to go faster. i felt i could do a couple more laps (crit) but i just had no power to keep up with the pack. what can i do to improve my training? I'm just cycling 20 miles every other day at medium effort. i thought i could at least hang with them for a while but i got dropped after two laps. those guys even at cat 5 were flying! [​IMG]
     
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  2. robbielg

    robbielg New Member

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    Just keep riding, and do specific training for your weaknesses. You will improve especially if you are a beginner. You will be amazed at how much you improve in the first 1 to 2 years.

    go on group rides with a group that rides slightly faster than you do and try to keep up. When you have matched thier pace pick a yet faster group...

    I remember the first mountainbike race i joined when i was 36, even the girls were passing me!, hows that for your ego ,.and they werent really serious athletes too, just students and office girls.

    Maybe you could try mtb racing which i feel is more fun and when you get fitter you can go back to road racing. Its easier to do if its fun.
     
  3. Bobby Lex

    Bobby Lex New Member

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    Don't fool yourself. Nowadays, Cat. 5s are extremely competitive. They join teams. They train, not just ride. They buy high-end equipment. They use expensive recovery powders and electrolyte forumulations. They hire coaches or sign up for CTS online coaching. I even know a Cat. 5 who does LT testing (blood draws, etc.) on a regular basis, and adjusts his training accordingly.

    I'm not saying all Cat. 5s do this. But a surprisingly large number do.

    The best thing you can do if you are serious about racing is to come up with a race-training plan. Then follow your plan. You will see improvements, but they will come in small increments.

    The best way to come up with a race-training plan is to read a book like Joe Friel's Cyclist's Training Bible. He helps you develop a training plan based on the number of hours per week/year you are willing to commit to training. He explains what "periodization" is, and how your training plan changes depending on the time of year, when your important races are, and
    how you are responding to your training. He helps you do a "self-test" so that you learn to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. You race your strengths, but you train your weaknesses.

    You should also realize that bike racing isn't only about fitness. It is also about bike handling. You should find a fast group to ride with and practice drafting, riding in the drops, cornering, smooth shifting, and maneuvering in a pack.

    Lastly, you should learn some basic tactics and strategies for bike racing. A good source is Wenzel's Bike Racing 101.

    Stick with it. Be patient, because improvements often come frustratingly slowly. Map out a training plan and follow your plan. A year from now you won't believe how much improvement you will have made.

    Bob
     
  4. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    The distance is fine (for crits, ayway), but I'm guessing that the race pace didn't constitute 'medium effort?' If you want to be prepared for racing, you'll need to make your training more reflective of the demands of the race. I'd suggest adding 1-2 days of intervals at 'high effort' and searching the forum for the many threads on interval training.

    Oh, and I should add that we've all been dropped and quickly lapped at some point in our racing. Sure it bruises the ego a bit, but it also serves as a wake up call if racing is something that you want to continue. Even in Cat 5, there will be guys who show up with their eye on that trophy, and your training needs to be a notch higher if you even want to hang with them, let alone compete.
     
  5. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    Most cat 5 races are just as fast as cat 4s, just containing less experienced riders. Don't dispair, we all had to start somewhere and all have been lapped at one time or another. Big plus is you survived your first real race. Congrats, the cherry has been popped. The advice to get involved with groups rides is excellent, you will soon learn how to ride in a group and the benefit of pacelines will increase your speed. Call your local bike shops. Many have organized weekly rides. Be honest with them though as to your abilities, some shop rides do not contain an A element and a B element and the single A ride can be blistering fast. Also, when you do race in the Cat 5s seek out other local riders and see if you can hook up with them for informal rides. Bottom line is to just keep riding to increase your fitness and speed.

    Also, races like cat5 crits because they do have varying levels of riders can get strung out real fast. If you're hanging off the back you'll need to work real hard to maintain the pace because of the elastic effect of the accordian-like field. In a 50 man crit, try to stay in the top 15 spots to avoid this phenomenon.
     
  6. palewin

    palewin New Member

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    All of the prior posts are correct, you are getting advice from a bunch of very experienced riders. The only addition I would make is that criteriums are a very specialized form of racing (kind of sadly, due to the problems with road closures, here in NJ we kind of live on a diet of crits...) It isn't only that the effort level is higher, it is incredibly "peaky" - meaning that you are slowing down for, and accelerating out of, corners roughly every 30 seconds. The ability to put out high power at such short intervals means you have to practice that skill, since you rarely have enough time to fully recover. The very front of the field has the easiest time, since they usually don't even touch their brakes, and accelerate more smoothly, but while the recommendation to stay near the front (or in the front 1/3rd, etc.) is technically correct, its very hard to do. So ... do all of the stuff in the other postings, and recognize that if you can find a road race instead of a crit, you will probably do your ego a favor! Crit racing just magnifies all of the individual skills (bike handling/cornering, positioning, moving up/down through a field, and lots of "mini-intervals") more than any other form of racing.
     
  7. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    My sense is that your basic problem is fitness, not racing skills. If you are doing your 20 mile rides at a relatively consistent pace, you are not riding at an intensity that will result in an increase in power. You would be better off to do your 20 mile rides as 3x6 mile rides at a higher intensity with a 1 mile recovery ride after each 6 mile segment. Over time, this will increase your sustainable power such that you can handle the pace of racing. At this time, you're probably at least 50 watts short of what you need to stay with the lead group in a 1/2 hour crit. A good guide to training, with or without a power meter, is Andy Coggan's new book, Training and Racing with a Power Meter. It will help you understand the physiological benefits of riding at different intensities and how to do that based on a power meter, heart rate monitor or perceived exertion.
     
  8. dm69

    dm69 New Member

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    some wise guy once said ( I forget now :p) if you want to time trial whatever distance at 50km/h first you must learn to ride at 50km/h and above for as long as you can. no matter how hard you train at 40km/h you will never be able to ride a TT at 50km/h.I believe it was chris boardman?

    basically it goes like this, if you want to race in cat 5 comfortably you must train over and above the intensity you faced in your first race.

    No amount of "medium" paced riding will turn you into a respectable racer. Once you do intensity that "medium" paced riding will have its purpose but for now you aren't doing yourself ANY good as far as racing goes.
     
  9. teamhorus

    teamhorus New Member

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    First congrats on completing the ride. It doesn't matter where you finished just that you finished. You need find a group that you can ride with to build up stamina and go from there.
     
  10. Robb.Astro

    Robb.Astro New Member

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    wow, i had my first race ever last Sunday, and they stuck me in Cat 3 because I had a steller TT the week before.

    The race was a 70km Interclub race.

    I ended up placing 2nd overall!! I felt so good during the race, i focussed on myself and my own riding. Always staying near the front, taking my turns pulling. I had a mechanical after the first lap, my chain fell off!

    I got it back on, got in with the guys from Cat 2, and within another lap and a half, i had caught and passed my original grouping :D

    AS we came to the final climb, a fellow club member stood up and went for it, i just followed his wheel, and was strong enough to hold off everyone else!

    I am riding 250miles a week for at least the 3 weeks leading up to the race tho, with group rides 3 days a week for pracitce and experience purposes. I ride alone at 85% for 2hours as training.

    I suggest you up your intensity during the week, and you'll notice results on the weekends. Keep it up, and good luck!
     
  11. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    You got to hurt in training if you want to race. It ain't easy.
     
  12. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    First race as a Cat3? Not in a USCF sanctioned race.
     
  13. Robb.Astro

    Robb.Astro New Member

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    OCA sanctioned, i'm in Canuckland.
     
  14. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    It's quite normal to get dropped from your 1st race - I also got dropped in mine.
    I was actually riding with Cat 1 to Cat III riders, there really is no Cat 4 or 5 here. I got dropped from my first training ride too - it was embarassing, I had aerobars on my bike and when they decided to go they were out of my sight in 10 minutes despite me going onto the aerobars.

    My 2nd race I placed in the middle of the pack and satisfied a goal to come in with the main group.

    -bikeguy
     
  15. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    Dude - they let you have on aerobars on in a pack race - that is dangerous - do all of the guys you are racing with a favor and take them off.
     
  16. Robb.Astro

    Robb.Astro New Member

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    werd, I thought the rules were no aero bars in ANY mass start road race :confused:
     
  17. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    I was tired last night and mis-read the original post - looks like he was on a training ride when he had he aerobars on.
     
  18. Lonnie Utah

    Lonnie Utah Banned

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    A week ago today, I rode (I wasn't "racing") an uphill TT near my house. It was 35 deg F, when I headed out the door. I was talking to the officials and they said I'd have to wait about an hour before I could go, given the division I was going to race in (citizens). Given the temps and the wait, and the fact that I am a cheapskate and was reluctant to pay the $40 entry fee to ride something I can do on a daily basis for free, I managed to talk the race organizers into letting me ride the course on my own. I was just looking for a time relative to the lower level racers (Cat 4/5) and a few of the other groups. I was solidly in the middle of that group. There were a bunch of "standout" cat 5's with times many minutes faster than the rest of the bunch (who would have placed well in the 1/2/3 grouping.) I discounted them, as I figured they were destined to be moved up to higher groups. Bottom line, I felt good about my ride.

    Here are the times.
    http://www.tourofutah.com/pdfs/TPCStg5.pdf

    My time was 27:20 (you won't find it in there since I didn't pay), and was a personal best. I would have come in 3rd in the citizens div. This was after my longest ride of the year to date two days before with 3000'+ feet of climbing (all in 1 shot)). My heart rate never got above 90%, where is where it really should have averaged for me for this type of ride. So on top of everything, I don't think I was fully recovered from Saturdays ride. Again, I was pretty happy with how I rode. Could I have done better, most likely, but I can live with my results. Now to try a crit or two.....
     
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