2019 Road Racing (non pro)

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  • 2019 Road Racing (non pro)
  • nathb
    Member

    Following 2018’s thread: https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/2018-road-racing/

    This year the house is almost finished which means I have more time to cycle. Joined the local club for a group ride last week so looking to race for them starting from the end of next month.

    Currently at 326w FTP at 75kg – aiming for 340-50 at 74kg when this block of training has finished (8/9 weeks).

    Aim: aside from the above; micro only – going to concentrate on pack riding and using the least amount of energy possible without worrying about the result. It’s in black and white now so will see how that goes 😆

    So who’s joining in? What are your aims?

    Haze
    Member

    Gap year for me following my off last year, will be avoiding this thread as much as possible as I’ll be missing it too much…

    Have a good season folks!

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    I’ve had to come to terms with the fact I’m too fat, old, slow

    But I really look forward to the thread!

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I didn’t race at all in 2018 in spite of having occasional thoughts of “ooh, that looks good, I might enter…”

    Anyway, was down in London the other week so I nipped up to Lee Valley on Saturday 19th for the 2nd & 3rd cat race. It was bloody freezing and the velodrome next to the circuit funnels all the wind right around a corner so the entire back straight was into a headwind. Only about 20 riders in the race so it was pretty calm. A few early digs, nothing stuck and then with only about 10 minutes to go a slight gap opened up mid-bunch as someone just let a wheel go by a few metres. That was all it took, the bunch split and naturally, having spent most of the previous 35 minutes in the top 5-8 riders, I was behind this split. 🙁

    We nearly caught it at one point but then they started winding up for the sprint and by this time It was down to 10 riders in front, me and 2 others in a little group and then a gap to the final group of about 6. I ended up 12th which considering how little racing I’ve done recently, the fact I’ve never raced on that circuit before and the presence of several 2nd Cat riders (I’m a 3rd cat…) was actually about what I expected.

    Plus I got 2nd overall on one of the Lee valley strava segments which given it’s been ridden nearly 10000 times isn’t too shabby. Must have been that daft attack I launched!

    stevious
    Member

    Had a ‘gap year’ last year due to new parenthood, but dipping my toe back in this year.

    I’m interested to see how I go on (significantly) reduced training volume. Seeing as I’ll mostly focus on crits, I’m hoping that working on short power and repeatability will do me well.

    My aim is to work on moving up the bunch and staying there efficiently. IN previous years I just used big efforts to do this and I doubt I’ll have the legs any more.

    Also going to look totally cool while doing it, obvs.

    pedroball
    Member

    I tried a couple of Castle Coombe 3/4 summer series, with 100 riders in each. I do quite fancy having a go at a Cat 4 with smaller numbers.

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Crikey, it’s only January!

    I won’t be doing any until later in April. I didn’t do any last year either having broken my hip back in January, it didn’t seem worth the risk even late in the season.

    tomvet
    Member

    First race coming up on Saturday since 2017 and a big gap off riding due to first child arriving.

    4th cat crit at Abingdon, pending snow I guess. FTP sat at 305w and weighing in a bit heavy at 84kg. Just hoping I will be able to hang on to the bunch and stay upright!

    alwillis
    Member

    Wish I had the time/ conviction to have a go, but I’m too scared of crashing and or being dropped, and I worry the combination will mean both happen!

    Will be following everyone’s exploits with interest though!

    Premier Icon gray
    Subscriber

    Lordy, I somehow managed to miss that entire 2018 thread. I have some catching up to do! I rode past Hillingdon this morning on my way to work. Was bloody cold!

    Haze
    Member

    If you get dropped you’re unlikely to crash!

    eskay
    Member

    @pedroball – try Odd Down (Bath) much smaller fields.

    nathb
    Member

    @weeksy if you used race craft and hid in the bunch you’d be fine! If it’s somrthing you wanted to do then some structured training would have you there in no time 🙂

    Lots of gap year(s) like me then 😆

    stevious
    Member

    I forgot to mention my number one goal for racing this year:

    Remember that this is my chosen leisure pursuit and just *enjoy* riding a bike as fast as I can.

    Retain Cat 2 licence.
    Get some points in a Nat B.
    Finish the Tour of Rhodes.
    Go sub 19 for a 10m TT.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    If, by the end of 2019 I can be back to where I was before my crash at the end of October 2018, I will be a very, very happy man.

    That is, cycling with my new club, getting my track accreditation, able to keep up with the club ride. Those sorts of things…

    globalti
    Member

    Anybody getting into racing would enjoy The Escape Artist by Matt Seaton.

    nathb
    Member

    Trying to decide between a local road race (50 miles I think) and Preston park.

    The road race would be more interesting, but the crit a lot safer for me and others around me 😆

    I have no expectations other than finishing in the bunch…

    stevious
    Member

    Interested to hear why you’d find the crit safer than a road race? That wouldn’t mirror my experience at all.

    nathb
    Member

    Not as many corners, it’s basically a squircle track. Feel I could concentrate and anticipate things more than on an open road.

    stevious
    Member

    Ah, fair enough. All of our crit courses have got haripins, chicances and (in my imagination) loop-de-loop sections.

    That said, even on a fairly technical course, much of the riding will be a bit more civilised in an 80km road race vs a 45min crit. Nobody can keep that level of madness up for that length of time.

    Haze
    Member

    Yeah our local crit circuits are the same, frantic for 45 minutes…road races are much nicer

    tomvet
    Member

    4th cat today at Abingdon, first race of the season for me as the last got snowed off. Was pretty nervous heading there having not raced for 2 years and wasn’t sure on my form.

    Ended up sitting in comfortably midpack, had to bridge a couple of 20/30 second gaps that opened up down the tail wind side, however things bunched up anyway going into the head wind. With three to go I went to about 6th wheel for two laps then got swamped on the last lap on a bend, ended up dropping right out the back when I got boxed in and was on the outside of the bunch going towards the penultimate bend. Overtook a few on the outside of the bend and then went full gas for the last 500m and managed to go around a bunch of people thanks to the wide circuit and end up 4th (I think) on a lunge for the line. Last 30secs heart rate averaged 191!

    Pretty pleased to get some points finally, think that might be it for racing for a while as too many other commitments. My trusty old caad8 didn’t skip a beat.

    Good luck to everyone else.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    Oh wow, that’s brilliant! Well done indeed

    Premier Icon smogmonster
    Subscriber

    Just did 3 of the 5 Velo 29 winter series race at Croft Circuit Cat 4s, managed a Top 10 in one of them, which i’ll take. Concentrating more on the TT season thats coming up, but then trying to mix in to that i need to up my running as doing the London Ultra Duathlon (21k run, 70 something km cycle, 10k run) and will need to lose around a stone for that, get down to under 80kg if i can whilst trying to keep my FTP, which generally sits around 300W (i would love the OPs FTP!). No more upper body weights for me…..

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Back in London for a bit so rode up to Hillingdon for the Full Gass Winter Series race.

    Quite a big group – probably 45 or so as there was no race over at Lee Valley and the weather was lovely. Racing clockwise and there was a block headwind down the back straight. The first few laps were pretty steady, everyone just sort of wondering who would commit to any sort of attack. Suddenly it went, 6 of us in a break but it lasted all of about 3 laps before being shut down. I went back to mid-bunch to recover and meanwhile another break went, this one looked a lot more organised and it lasted about 8-10 laps before being brough back. By this point it was about 7 laps to go so it became quite cagey, the group bunching up a lot and suddenly 2 guys disappeared up the road. That made the bunch even less inclined to be organised, no-one wanting to commit to sitting in the wind to haul it back.

    Eventually it became clear it was going to come to a bunch sprint for 3rd place downwards and the pace just naturally started going up which brought a corresponding increase in the occassional wafts of carbon brake smell and yells of “hold your line!”.

    I hate bunch sprints anyway, I’m no sprinter at the best of times so I just allowed myself to drift backwards to allow the ones who thought they were sprinters to battle it out. One minor incident as someone’s Di2 rear mech disintegrated at 250m to go which caused a reaction in the bunch of people swerving but basically it was all alright. I drifted over the line right at the bcak of the bunch. Fast race – average 27.5mph

    trail_rat
    Member

    I’m toying with doing our local summer evening series

    How ever I have dusted down the old TT bike and BC license and have committed to some early season 10s . Looking for a localish 25 and hoping they have just not been released yet as I refuse to TT on the a90 …..which is where the Dundee thistle 25 is this year:(

    nathb
    Member

    Congrats @tomvet – think I raced with you at Abingdon back then!

    I raced at Brighton last weekend in the 2/3 race. The course itself is pretty boring but this means you can concentrate purely on tactics, so in that respect it’s pretty fun.

    So I turned up with 30 mins to go, pinned on my numbers and did a couple of laps before the start. BIG mistake. My legs had nothing and pace was high from the get go, if you left a gap you knew about it! I was tailgunning getting used to racing again, big mistake again. People in front kept literally dying, meaning I had to go around them and bridge which was taking a good 700w+ sprint to get back on. This meant after stupidly letting this happen 4/5 times I didn’t really fancy my chances at sprinting. Plus the 2s seemed to know each other and just rode off the front as a mini bunch leaving us 3s to fight over 9th & 10th, I would have at least tried to wheelsuck them if I wasn’t tailgunning…

    So to summarise my fails were:
    – no warm up
    – didn’t eat enough
    – turned up in thermals on a hotish day
    – only took water
    – tailgunned to much which isn’t an option on this circuit (there’s no slowing down on corners)

    But on the plus side:
    + 3s didn’t drop me
    + didn’t feel uncomfortable in the pack when I did move through
    + no mechanicals
    + bloody good benchmark workout
    + lessons learnt

    I finished 18th out of 35. https://www.strava.com/activities/2171704287

    Think I’m going back on the 10th to have another go…

    About 24 hours ago I was lining up in Rhodes old town with 150 other riders for the start of the Rhodes GP, a UCI 1.2 open to National Teams, UCI Conti’ teams, some pro teams but also randomly some small domestic club teams that the team I race for in the UK was lucky enough to be included as an invitee.

    It’s basically a 190km lap of Rhodes with one significant climb along with a few smaller punchy leg testers. I knew it was going to be a tough day when I turned to my team mate to note that we were doing 50km an hour in the neutralised first 4km!

    I’m a 40 year old 2nd cat in the UK so really have no business in this sort of race but as the cars moved off and the racing started it seemed I could hold my own with some clever positioning in the pack. The sight of 100 plus other riders up the road, the etiquette of feeding, peeing on the move, the pelaton splitting either side of central reservations on fully closed roads, a cavalcade of 40 cars… it was amazing to be experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity with such a stunning backdrop.

    Such joy was short lived when we hit the main climb, 5 mins at 190 bpm, 10 at 190, I’m a few kilos too heavy to cut it with the big (little) boys it seems and after keeping with the pack for the first two thirds of the climb found my self slipping off the back to the grupetto. In the UK this is when I’d be considering pulling the plug and heading to the pub, but at the far end of the island it was broom wagon or crack on. A group of 10 of us had formed and we began sweeping up other stragglers, chopping along at 40 to 50 kph with full outrider support was incredible. Okay my support car had long gone to follow our key rider and I was facing a 5 hr ride with 1.5l of water but the camaraderie of the grupetto kicked in and drinks and snacks were shared (or stolen form roadside hand ups) and we pressed on in a vain hope of catching the pack.

    We didn’t catch the pack, and lost more riders from our little bunch than we swept up but I did finish inside the time cut so can officially say I’ve finished a UCI race and now have a profile on procyclingstats.com. Where the results can also be seen https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/international-rhodes-gp/2019

    Some of my stats from the day and an answer to what it takes to not keep up with pros;

    Duration 4:41
    NP 270w
    AP 238w
    5 min max 401w
    20 min max 335w
    90 min HR 173!!

    Next stop is the Tour of Rhodes starting Friday… so maybe not a once in the lifetime opportunity.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    That’s a brilliant write up ! fantastic ! thank you.

    pedroball
    Member

    yes, thanks for writing that up!

    Haze
    Member

    Brilliant, sounds like an amazing experience!

    Trying to get motivated to race this year. Power and endurance is fine after a steady winter riding, totally unstructured with zero hours on the turbo. Could do with losing a couple of KGs. First two local road races are brutal E,1,2,3s with 4 laps going over an 8minute climb on one and 10 laps of a twenty minute punchy circuit on the other. Think I will leave them to the young guns as I’m 55 this year.
    Trail Rat I will be doing the local evening road race series give me a shout if you want any info as I do them every year.

    In case anyone’s interested here are some ramblings about the Tour OF Rhodes at the weekend and what it takes to not make the time cut…

    Overall I’m really pleased with how the racing went. With a mix of UCI Conti, National Teams and packed full of riders who are on the ascendancy in Professional careers I never expected to be competing but it would have been nice to make it around the whole tour (missed the time cut on Day 2 by a couple of mins).

    On Day 1 I dropped my chain on the first climb (about 48 mins in) which required me to come to a complete stop to unwrap it from the BB and then required a huge effort to catch the grupetto, 12mins at 382w normalized, 359 average and HR avg of 188. Basically I did a 10TT effort (and some) followed by another 2 hours of riding. Once I’d had a chance to recover (after the descent and back on flat terrain) I was at the front of the group driving the pace on with the riders from the Conti’ teams who’d found themselves in the group from bad luck or having specific roles on the way to the climb. I think if I’d not dropped my chain I’d have had enough to stay with the peloton at least until the finishing circuit when the sprint trains formed. Woulda, coulda, shoulda…

    Day 2 saw an even tougher climb at a similar distance into the race as on Day 1. I held the pack reasonably comfortably until a couple of km from the top, my numbers were pretty similar to one of my team mates who made it to the top with the pack, my weight unfortunately is not and I probably lose out to him by 5kg. At this level I think weight is the key thing, especially on the sustained climbs. The effort to catch the group on Day 1 may have had some impact but if I’d been at my ‘race weight’ I’d have had a greater chance of surviving even the steeper bit of the climb here too. Having been ahead of all my team mates I was slowly picked off by them in the last 2k and then my team car came past me too. Sticky bottle not enough, I was told there were loads of riders behind me so I sat up a bit, conserved energy and let the groupetto catch me on the descent. The groupetto was weaker than the previous day and was left frustrated by their inability to make it up the climbs at any sort of pace. Relative to them it was obvious that I was stronger, especially up any incline but not strong enough to ride on my own for the remaining 100k of the day.

    It’d have been nice to have the chance to ride the final day as it sounded like it was an easier day albeit longer.

    At this level it seems that in each stage, or each race, theirs a decisive moment that splits the peloton. A pressure point where Critical Power over the specific duration is key and which in Rhodes was always on the climbs so weight was a real penalty. Less punchy than UK racing but with a real knock out blow each race is probably a fair summary.

    An incredible experience though, and phenomenal for training both physically and as a reminder of how hard I can push myself and what I’m currently capable of, the number of power bests or top 10 and 20 efforts I did amazed me. Hopefully we’ll be invited back next year, lighter and with a full year of structured training under my belt. If not I’ll console myself with the fact that semi-pro cyclists in their twenties have a way to go before they can match my beers/kg a the post race parties.

    Premier Icon beej
    Subscriber

    Thanks TSY, enjoyed reading that. Congrats on what you managed to achieve, commiserations on missing out on the final day.

    lodger
    Member

    quiet on the racing front this year.

    I’m thinking about trying a 4th Cat debut at Lea Valley sometime in the next few weeks. I’m not in great shape, with FTP about 30 watts down on last year due to time off the bike, but figured if I don’t get on with it, it’ll be another year wasted.

    I’m 40 in July, presumably I can try Masters then too? (although I’ve been told that’s generally harder)

    Only other racing experience is a duathlon, but I’ve done a fair bit of group riding so hopefully wont kill anyone.

    richardk
    Member

    First road race of the year tonight – PDQ closed circuit race at Odd Down.  Entered the cat 4 race, and haven’t been on that track before, so main ambition is not to get dropped…

    lodger
    Member

    I lined up at the Full Gas Cat 4 race at Lee Valley two weeks ago. It had been wet all day but was drying up. Quite a big field – highest number I saw was 45 I think.

    A few clubs with 2 or 3 riders lots of guys on their own. There were quite a few first timers like me. The pace was fairly quick – we settled into a 40 to 41kph average and stayed as a pretty tight bunch. A few half hearted attacks but nothing stuck. It was a nervous atmosphere. Lots of shouting and a bit too much swerving. One or two light wheel touches but thankfully no crashes.
    I found the pace ok so was practicing moving around the pack, trying different lines into the corners. I remembered some of what crosshair and nath talked about making up places with good lines and this was definitely true in this inexperienced group that seemed more interested in holding the draft.

    I started the final lap at the front and stayed in the first three for the next half mile or so. Coming into the back straight, a few riders jumped up the outside and into the home straight I was a bit boxed in. My brain didn’t properly engage and I realised a few seconds after everyone had started to spring that I wasn’t! Concentrated hard on holding my line and put in about 10 seconds of hard work and made a sort of half-hearted attempt at a throw to cross the line in 8th and my first 2 points. Only a few metres behind the winner and pretty pleased overall. 55 minutes racing at 260W average.

    One week later I decided to go in the E1234 Masters race. About 35 lined up. Very different atmosphere. No “hold your line!” shouting or weaving around. Three laps in, 2 riders jumped off the front and held about 20 second advantage. The shape of the track meant that they were out of sight and pretty much forgotten for the next few laps. The pace felt much higher – 47kph for a few laps – the group was more strung out and there were more little attacks. Some of these lasted a lap or two but were pulled back in. The pack weren’t working well together though and most of the work was done by relatively few people. I got involved and spent a bit too much time at the front chasing the attacks down.

    After about half an hour this was starting to take its toll on me and it was getting harder to hold the wheel. I put in a big effort to get back on to the chase group and spent too much time at >500W. A few minutes later I started to lose the wheel and the rest of the pack shot past me so fast I couldn’t tag back on to the back. I was really caught out and spent the next lap about 20 metres behind killing myself to get back on but it wasn’t happening. Demoralised, I ending up climbing off with a few laps to go. A bit annoyed now I didn’t stick with it and try to TT back on. The breakaway held on to take the win – the winner averaging 333W for the race. I averaged 281 – a step up from the previous week. Two really good learning experiences though. A couple of weeks off now then back to it.

    richardk
    Member

    Sounds like you had a better experience than me Lodger…  Didn’t meet my main ambition, and got spat out the back after 3 laps (and then lapped twice).  A few others got dropped, and we were occasionally able to work together, but spent most of the race on my own.  NP 234W, Ave 215W.  Winners look like they averaged almost 40kph, I averaged 33kph.

    I’m equal parts astonished and demoralised at the power level you need just to stick with the group at Cat 4 racing.  Sure, there’s some racecraft for me to learn, and potentially some cojones to grow in sitting in the bunch rather than tail-gunning, but it seems a long way away at the moment.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    I’m equal parts astonished and demoralised at the power level you need just to stick with the group at Cat 4 racing

    I know that one. I tried Abingdon and Thruxton, at the time I was about 280w FTP according to Zwift, it was embarrassing how bad I was. Really really.

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