First Road Race

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by blayne13, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. blayne13

    blayne13 New Member

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    I'm doing my first road race this weekend. It is a category 4 ABR event. The race is 6 laps (51mi) over a course that is an 8.5 mile loop that is relatively flat. Mainly I'm curious about what to expect as far as racing in the pack, and what speeds/accelerations to expect. Any other advice would also be helpful. My main goal is just not to get dropped.
     
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  2. vancelot

    vancelot New Member

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    :)

    I just want to wish you the best of luck. I've still not entered my first road race. I'm sure you'll get some great advice here. Post your results and how it felt after the weekend. Again, good luck!
     
  3. filtersweep

    filtersweep New Member

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    It is anybody's guess what will happen. Don't be intimidated by speed. If I said you'd average 25-26+ mph, it might sound insane- but you will be capable of riding beyond anything you've done in non-race situations... and it is very possible you could comfortably avg. 25-26 if you have a large pack. Since it is not a crit, acceleration probably isn't such an issue. I wouldn't invest too much energy in setting pace if this is your first race- unless you are working with a smaller group and trying to chase, etc... If it is a flat course, I'd try to stay near the front. I'm sure people will try all sorts of stunts to break up the pack (and there are no hills to do it).
     
  4. blayne13

    blayne13 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice, just finished the race the pack was moving 24-28 mph on the flats (slower for the climbs). The course was a bit more hilly than the organizers let on. I stayed in the main pack for the first 3 laps and finished solo for the final 3. I achieved my main two goals: didn't crash and didn't finish last, plus I learned a great deal about racing in the pack. I did get dropped and in the future I will work much harder to stay in the pack. Although it sometimes it can get difficult in the pack (climbs/accelerations), once you are behind things are MUCH MORE difficult! Anyway I had a GREAT time and will be looking to enter many more road races in the future.
     
  5. Chaologist

    Chaologist New Member

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    Congrats!
    You said a mouthful: once you're off the back, life gets a lot harder. Do the work you need to do to stay in the draft.

    Annecdotally: at 20mph 90% of the work you do is just overcoming wind drag. If you're sitting behind another rider, your total power output drops by about 30%: same speed, less effort. In a large pack, the effect is much more pronounced...but once you're off the back, you're on your own!
     
  6. blayne13

    blayne13 New Member

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    The weekend after my first road race I had already paid for and planned to do a century. I've ridden over a hundred miles in a day before so the distance was no big deal. I also found out that the same group that sanctioned the first road race was putting on a stage race (road race, time trial and crit) the same weekend as the century.

    My plan was to do both (or at least part of the century so I could wear the t-shirt I had paid for). Tthe kicker was that the century was about 60 miles from the stage race!

    Early saturday I woke and drove the hour to the road race. The race course was a 2.5 mile (4km) loop with an uphill (~100ft on one side and a downhill on the other). Due to the timing of the century I did the citizens race this time (earlier start time). I felt really good in the pack and spent a good portion of the time near the front of the race. On the second to last lap I was moving up (to prepare for the last lap) on the outside of the course when someone moved over on me and I was FORCED OFF THE COURSE onto the gravel shoulder! (keep in mind the gravel shoulder is only a few feet from trees) People behind me reacted and it sounded like mayhem, pedals clicking out, etc. Later I found that only one person had actually crashed. By the grace of god I didn't flat or fall and made it back onto the course to find myself 30 meters behind the race. I made it back into the pack thanks to some corners and downhills. On the final lap I again tried to move through the pack and ended up with a decent sprint and finished 13th out of about 30 riders.

    After the race I packed up and drove 60 mi back home to run 39 uneventful, easy miles of the century. Jumped back in the car to drive 60mi back to the stage race to compete in the time trial. Compete may be too strong of word here, I have never run a time trial or have any time trial gear (not even aerobars). Thankfully it was a short 5 mi time trial, only a few minutes of suffering to end my day. And yes, I had to drive 60 mi home afterward.

    Again on Sunday I woke again (early) to drive 60 mi back to the stage race for the criterium. I had never run a criterium before so I was quite nervous (nevermind I had only been bike racing for about a week!). The course was a 1.5 mile (2.4km) loop with about 11 turns a couple of them quite narrow and tight. We were to ride 45min + 2 laps. Started off and spent some time at the back, but I did move around a bit in the pack for the first half of the race or so learning where I was strongest on the course. I learned there were a couple of places I could pass other riders. I spent the second half of the race in the last 4 or 5 riders in the pack, just waiting. In the last lap I was able to use what I had learned earlier in the race to pass about 10 riders in the middle of the last lap. Actually, I thought I started my final sprint way too early because I thought I was maxed out (speed and HR) when I was about 100+ meters from the finish. Somehow I was able to continue and maintain my position in the pack and maybe pass a few others. After I crossed the S/F line I only counted 5 other riders in front of me, I finished 6th.
     
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