How long to be a credible Cat 4 or am I just crap (road content)

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  • How long to be a credible Cat 4 or am I just crap (road content)
  • oldgit
    Member

    My first thought was what a crappy time of year to start.

    Anyway all good advice, have to say that don’t I πŸ˜‰

    I’d just add ignore the correlation between Sunday rides and racing. My old club, a new club? built it’s race team around who was fast on Sunday but come race day 95% of them were shit.
    It’s not all about speed, sometimes you go very very slow. It’s much more, of course you need it, but you need knowledge as well. For example you’ll probably see the same blokes over the season, you’ll get to know who will do the work that counts. How many ‘pop’s’ they’ll make. It can get quite predictable, even I have a signature move that everyone expects.
    Then there’s finesse. There’s trust in others, you can’t be worried about anything. And be an ambassador of your own riding, all racers like a good rider wether you win or lose. Good riding is always welcome and will get you far, quite literally.

    TiRed
    Member

    Come on, look at this photo and tell me you don’t want to get out there this weekend πŸ˜‰ . Report on last Saturday’s race here.

    Kryton, have you heard of “Race Tapering”. Seems not. I normally wind down with an easy commute on Friday, a lie in and big cooked breakfast, then a ride out to the race on Saturday. It took a year to become properly competitive, even in Cat 4. In the Imperial Winter Series the level is very high and the races over-subscribed. Immense fun, good quality riding, but not a place for nerves. Intervals, lots of them, but not nerves.

    Come down to Hillingdon, say hello (I’m on the front for TCC) and get racing.

    EDIT :

    The problem with 4th cat – as Crazy_legs said, is that it’s every man for himself, and it’s carnage!

    Not at Hillingdon. Clubs like ours, Kingston and London Dynamos do have team plans and we do try and put them into practice. We’ve had breakaways succeed in a couple of races, with blocking and lead-outs.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Kryton I seem to remember you saying that you had a bit of an anxiety issue with all this stuff .
    I would have to say after years of doing races that you won’t do well unless you are happy and relaxed.
    Did you enjoy it or was it just stress ?

    Nervousness is fine but only if it is a positive exited sort.

    Have a think about it , I trained myself not to give a toss.

    Not just this, everything. But I have used Obree’s methods pre race to success on a longer event and from an anxiety perspective I’m following some guidance in a book advised in the Chat forum, within one of my anxiety threads πŸ˜€

    TIRed – I’m aiming for Hog Hill as it’s close to me – some if ours ride at Hillingdon though. I have heard and used Race tapering yes, but I am following the Time Crunched Training Plan which schedules intervals on Tuesday (light) and Thursday (sprints plus just over and just under Lactic threshold). I appreciate I need to learn what’s right for me I’m just trying to follow some generalised advice. With a bit of luck I may have some colleagues in the 4’s on Saturday but those competing were competing in cat 2.

    So lets get this right you did a 10 mile TT, then 90 mins of hill intervals and then a road race? And you know wonder why the road race didn’t go well? You sound a bit lost to me, I think a better evaluation of goals and priorities would be smart.

    Out of interest what was your 10 mile TT time? It should be noted that this was a coincidental scheduling of a paid training course and inter club event. I was going to sit out the TT but one of the chaps was missing a partner…

    As for this week, I’d interval Wednesday, easy spin ether Thursday or Friday (1-1.5 hrs max). All the books tend to recommend an easy spin the day before a race, but I never found it worked for me.

    I think I’ll do that. FWIW actually it was 7.5miles two up TT and my/our time was 14mins.

    Premier Icon flange
    Subscriber

    Not at Hillingdon. Clubs like ours, Kingston and London Dynamos do have team plans and we do try and put them into practice. We’ve had breakaways succeed in a couple of races, with blocking and lead-outs

    It was an absolute smash fest last time I went. Ambulance, the lot…

    Don’t train/tt/sprint on the morning of the race. Or the day before. Or the day before that. Jesus….it’s not rocket science..,

    TiRed
    Member

    The best training for racing is … racing. That’s why 60 of us are out every Saturday and not all chasing Cat 3. I’ve also followed the Time Crunched Cyclist in parts, but essentially my training is:

    Tuesday evening club ride, Five day commute with some intervals and a Thursday Sufferfest. Saturday is 1hr race – read intervals. Or when this series finishes, longer club ride.

    I never ride on a Saturday morning, much as I would like to take out our beginners on a steady ride for coaching, I just know I would be finished for the afternoon race at 1PM. The 10 mile steady ride in is, however a good warm up.

    And I too was off the back in my first Cat 4 road race on a windy circuit. Get over it and get on. Getting dropped is as much as racing as winning.

    EDIT:

    It was an absolute smash fest last time I went. Ambulance, the lot…

    Some Cat 4 races in the summer have been terrible. But… the E123 races have been crashing regularly and had the air ambulance a week ago 😯 . Cat 4 has been almost crash-free (one in seven races) and showing the experienced racers how to handle a bike πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    I know that flange, as I’ve said, it was a coincidental arrangement of some training I’ve paid for and a club event. Everyone rode the TT so it’s a level playing field with the exception of the Training.

    Premier Icon flange
    Subscriber

    It’s not though is it. Did everyone put the same effort as you into the tt and reps? Knowing that they had a race afterwards? Seriously, even if you’ve paid for it – if you had to pay to race you’ve wasted your money.

    You’re a new 4th cat rider trying to do well in what is essentially a crit. Don’t do anything much from Wednesday onwards. On the day Have a decent breakfast, a light snack for lunch and warm up on the rollers or turbo. Sit near the front but not on the front, don’t chase down groups and don’t be out psych’d buy people shouting, flash kit, fake tans (there will be a lot this time of year). Be assertive, hold your line and shout if you need to. Lean on folk too, think about if you’re on the m25 at rush hour – don’t let lane jumpers push in but if they do, don’t be rattled by them.

    My mates a decent 1st cat. He gets his mrs to drive to the race so he puts minimal effort in prior to getting there..

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    I didn’t pay for the race. And I “won” all my hill sprints in the training, obviously a mistake but difficult to fake with a Shane-Sutton-alike swearing at you – this was a general field not the club attending.

    But thanks for the second para, advice noted. I have a turbo based warm up plan (learned and given from BC) and I’ve a year of group riding with club but appreciate it will be much more aggressive.

    Premier Icon flange
    Subscriber

    Dude – You’re on a wind up surely? ‘Winning’ hill sets? I’m pretty certain the bloke who crossed the line first in the race didn’t think ‘ah, but it’s not a real win as I didn’t clean up in the intervals this morning’…it’s like being fastest on a track day…it doesn’t count! EDIT!! Just read yours! Fairy snuff

    On a serious note, be careful pushing yourself this early on in the season. If you want to gain your third cat (I’m thinking you might), maybe ease off a bit and pick some more competitive races. If you can get across to dunsfold on a Friday they have a fourth cat only race there, starting around Easter time. Added bonus, it’s the top gear test track.

    As mentioned, the best training for racing IS racing. Don’t over think things and don’t over train. The last bit is key…

    clubber
    Member

    TiRed – Member
    The best training for racing is … racing

    Well that may not actually be true… It really comes down to how well you plan your training and how effectively you stick to that.

    For example, a 4th cat might go to Hillingdon, sit in the bunch the whole race doing little work and then sprint for the line. Compare that to doing an effective training session…

    trickydisco
    Member

    Some Cat 4 races in the summer have been terrible. But… the E123 races have been crashing regularly and had the air ambulance a week ago . Cat 4 has been almost crash-free (one in seven races) and showing the experienced racers how to handle a bike

    and this is why i love cross so much. I got so tired of witnessing crashes and dodgy handling every week at castle comb and it always finishing in a sprint.

    umop3pisdn
    Member

    Thursday sufferfest would affect your Saturday race performance IMO. If I was racing (time trialling) on Saturday I wouldn’t do a full interval session after Wednesday.

    Ramsey Neil
    Member

    I think I’ll do that. FWIW actually it was 7.5miles two up TT and my/our time was 14mins.

    Are you sure ? That’s bloody quick even for a 2 up if you can time trial at that pace there is no way you should be getting dropped in a 4th cat road race .

    clubber
    Member

    7.5miles two up TT and my/our time was 14mins.

    That’s 32mph! If you can do that, you should be finding 4th cat races a doddle.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Are you sure ? That’s bloody quick even for a 2 up if you can time trial at that pace there is no way you should be getting dropped in a 4th cat road race .

    Unless of course, you do that and a hill sprints interval session on the morning of the race… as has already been pointed out several times. πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    7.4KM actually about 8.8 I forgot to switch on the garmin at the start. Strava says 28.8 average. Actually slower than the 29.9 I averaged for the race so I was saving myself, see…..

    Sorry.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    I would like to add I KOM’d a corner at 47.8kmph, probably the highlight of my day πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    Balls – my xc training now feels very inadequate.

    crikey
    Member

    Takes time to learn how to race, and it’s less about out and out horsepower than people think.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    adsh – Member
    Balls – my xc training now feels very inadequate.

    . I’m doing 150k a week 80 of which is on a Turbo intervals around family and work to achieve that. 😐

    Thanks Crikey. On Saturday my goal will be to stay with the bunch. If I’m feeling good with 2 to go I might attempt to bridge / sprint just to join in the fun but hanging on to wheels is my main priority.

    I’ve change the intervals from Turbo tonight to the track I’ll be riding Saturday for familiarisation.

    TiRed
    Member

    Takes time to learn how to race, and it’s less about out and out horsepower than people think.

    This (thankfully based on my FTP). And when I said racing = training, it’s not all intervals and cardiovascular, training can also be close group riding, cornering, taking food, pushing up in the last few laps. But if you are happy to attack, it’s a good workout too – I’m always caught πŸ˜‰

    ollie51
    Member

    Thursday sufferfest would affect your Saturday race performance IMO. If I was racing (time trialling) on Saturday I wouldn’t do a full interval session after Wednesday.

    Not to any considerable degree, if you stopped doing any proper training three days before a race and you raced regularly you’d never get any proper training in. You can’t taper for everything, you won’t get fitter that way. Although intense training on the same day is not such a good idea. If you’re doing sessions that take longer than 48 hours to recover from, either they’re too hard, your recovery procedure is poor (food/sleep) or you’re being a pansy.

    You’ve just gotta remember 4th cat racing is all about making it to the end and having a decent sprint in most cases. I’ve got instances where I didn’t even have to average 170 watts (that’s jack all even at my weight) to sit in a 3/4 bunch (I suspect they go a bit faster than a 4ths only), you just need to learn to position yourself well.

    crikey
    Member

    Thanks Crikey. On Saturday my goal will be to stay with the bunch. If I’m feeling good with 2 to go I might attempt to bridge / sprint just to join in the fun but hanging on to wheels is my main priority.

    Everyone new to racing thinks that the only way to win is, to quote Joe Parkin, to be the only guy in the photo.

    Lower cat racing in the UK is negative in the extreme; people will chase you down so you don’t win rather than winning themselves.

    The way to get out of this is to learn to sprint.

    You don’t learn to sprint doing TTs, you don’t learn to sprint doing hill repeats, you don’t learn to sprint doing anything other than sprinting.

    To be able to sprint, you train to be there at the end, then watch and learn how and when to sprint.

    There is no other way out of 4th cat unless you are an amazing physical specimen.

    Then, you learn to race.

    monkeyfudger
    Member

    My “training” looks positively slack as **** thanks to this thread!

    are these kind of road races fun

    yes, most fun you can have on a bike imo πŸ˜€

    Its a steep learning curve IME, you might find certain courses suit you better than others but you find this out the hard way through racing lots on a variety of courses. You won’t find out much though if you go in tired – rest day 2 days before the race, then day before spin out your legs easy. Decent warm up of around 20mins on the turbo or rollers, gel on the start line.

    With your intervals/TT etc before hand you effectively tried to do a stage race without the fitness/race knowledge and experience to back that up effectively.

    Depending on how long you’ve been training for, it might just be you aren’t fit enough at the moment (no bad thing if you are looking to race on a regular basis til September IMO).

    I think road racing attracts a certain type of personality too – you have to be able to pick yourself up from getting dropped and keep going back for more no matter how humiliating it is (my coach and i got my taper badly wrong for the British National RR Champs which had Lizzie Armistead and the Wiggle Honda team in it, i got dropped before i should have and raced the remainder of the race in a 2 up round Glasgow city centre with EVERYONE i knew watching, it was so humiliating for me as my legs were simply too rested to work but i learnt a lot from that experience and came out of it stronger in the long run). Try things out, make mistakes and learn, all the time.

    ac282
    Member

    Crikey, you just have to find a circuit with a reasonable hill and get a few placings….

    sl2000
    Member

    To be able to sprint, you train to be there at the end, then watch and learn how and when to sprint.

    A quicker way to learn how to sprint is the Monday / Wednesday evening training / racing at Herne Hill – you miss out the first 45 minutes of a road circuit and get straight down to the finish, so you get lots of finishes in an evening.

    They have people of all abilities (although I think all would be quicker than 30kph in a 7.5km TT).

    Once you’re winning at Herne Hill you should be able to apply that at the end of a road race.

    clubber
    Member

    The way to get out of this is to learn to sprint.

    I thought that. Then I won a race because the two guys in front crashed into each other (going up the Hillingdon finishing hill with no one else near… seriously), politely fell to either side of the road and I solo’d through to glory(!).

    So, actually the way to win is to not crash πŸ™‚

    oldgit
    Member

    kryton are you in a hurry to get points (as in I’ve ticked off the 3rd cat thing) Or do you want to be a good racer.

    I’m thinking about the way my crits usually pan out. If forty guys turn up only about twelve will be in it for the race.
    The majority are fit and fast enough, but would rather finish a race a lap down than test themselves and fail.
    Comfort zone in racing sounds odd, but if you don’t come out of it now and then you won’t improve.
    It sounds big headed, but I almost treat those that never do a thing with contempt, though I should add only those that I see month in month out never helping, working or really trying.
    What I’m trying to say rather badly is that you almost have to lose to learn how to win.
    Sort of?

    I did my first ever crit at Hillingdon this autumn. Attacked mid-way as I felt everyone was going too slow and saving themselves. Got reeled in and swamped in the final lap, but didn’t mind.

    Have got a new mantra for this season (a variation on my ‘Death or Glory’ mantra for last years’ xc racing)

    ‘I don’t mind going down in flames; as long as there are some flames!’

    Edric 64
    Member

    7.5 miles in 14 minutes equates to an 18.50 ten which would put you about 24th on the fastest of all time list for time trials.So as said above hanging in with the 4th cats should be easy

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Edric, it was KMH.

    Oldgit, I want to learn and be a good racer, I don’t see the point of not doing any work in cat 4, moving to Cat 3 and then being shat on for the rest of my life.

    My aim is to do well in the televised abercyclefest cat 4 crit in May, this and the LRVC are effectively pre-cursors to that.

    I’ve just done an 1:15 solo in the dark and rain at Hog Hill averaging 29kmph including warm up/familiarity laps. If I’m last on Saturday its that bloody hill’s fault, but I picked up some tips from the locals, and know I’ll race faster than that.

    ollie51
    Member

    Thursday sufferfest would affect your Saturday race performance IMO. If I was racing (time trialling) on Saturday I wouldn’t do a full interval session after Wednesday.

    Stay to the left up the hill, be near the front for the downs, you do not need to brake for any of the corners if you are in the first 10 wheels (assuming you are surrounded by competent bike riders). The hill really isn’t that bad when you’re in the bunch. If it’s wet, don’t run silly thin tyres, flint will probably end your ride early. It is my favourite circuit though!

    TiRed
    Member

    If I’m last on Saturday its that bloody hill’s fault

    Ride E1234 with the fast old men (masters/vets) in the summer – they don’t go up the hill. I must get over to Hog Hill, it’s the last SE circuit I have yet to race. Bit of a trek though when Hillingdon is a nice flat 9 miles away.

    londonerinoz
    Member

    I can’t speak from experience, but from what I’ve read and hear you do your dedicated training in the off season, and then either maintain or taper during the season depending on how seriously you target race results.

    If it were me I’d probably check my level by dropping to maintenance training to concentrate on racing for a bit, and then switch back to the usual training plan where any races attended are for the training.

    Being early season though many riders will still be training instead of even thinking of going racing. There’s always give and take between improving and performing, it’s just a matter of timing unless you only ever really maintain and go racing all the time.

    Maintaining is largely what I used to do, basically finding 1 or 2 races per week whenever available throughout the year, whether it was mtb, cyclocross, or road. It’s a slow and poor way to improve though, so it’s hard to ever be more than middling even with several years in your legs. I think you’re going about better for the long term but either training or results will probably have to give in your first season.

    As a side note, a road training camp overseas for a week or two sometime in the Spring is a fantastic tune up for getting in the miles. I went to Mallorca three times which was my only really serious training putting in 120-200km each day with a similar ability peloton.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Thinking about this a bit more, I’m going to swap one of my intervals for Tempo. My week should look like this:

    Sat: Crit
    Sun: Rest
    Mon: Intervals, 15 mins warm up, 4 x 2min powerintervals, 8 mins rest then 9 mins over/under (2 mins under, 1 min over x 3)
    Tues:rest
    Weds : Intervals, 15 mins Z2 warm up, 30 mins Tempo, 15 mins Z2 cool down
    Thurs: Rest
    Fri: Rest

    Thoughts? I’m wondering if I should swap Monday & Wednesday around? However, doing the Tempo on Wednesday is less damaging than doing the sprints before the crit.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    You’re never doing anything over an hour?

    Don’t do nothing in the two days before the crit – a gentle spin, either on the turbo or outside, with a couple of short (1 min) efforts will better.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    njee20 – Member
    You’re never doing anything over an hour?

    Saturdays and Sundays are all I’ve got for that, and the Crit takes away that time. Although I do at the weekend / during time off if possible (3h or 86k yesterday for example)

    I bought perhaps training in the sweet spot might go some way to alleviate that.

    Omar Little
    Member

    Does that training week include everything you are doing or are road miles on top of that? 4 rest days a week is too much.

    Edric 64
    Member

    That seems like very little riding with no endurance base mileage.I agree that 4 rest days seems a lot couldnt you get some road miles in then ,even if its only 30 or 40 miles?

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