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)
  • Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Mtbmoto your training is pretty much the same as mine as my time is dictated by work/ family. I’ve 120k with the club tomorrow, first time for a while so I shall be putting my new skills to the test against some friendly competition. πŸ˜€

    Re the Crits – no not really. I find myself located to ride either Hillingdon on Wednesday or Cyclopark on Thursday. I’m going Wednesday to meet Tired and experience Hillingdon for the first time . I shall go at it from the start as a crit and if I find I’m in some way competitive I shall carry on, if not drift off and save my powder for Thursday. If I do end up racing proper on Wednesday then Thursday will depend on how I feel. I’m not sure that I couldn’t do 2 in 2 days though?

    It’s important for me to experience Hillingdon in a race scenario as it’s profile should suit me – but I need to find out.

    In anticipation I’ve put the entire Tuesday series in my diary until September πŸ˜€

    Tired the Tuesday BC entry says that 4th cat isn’t “ranked” – I assume this means ranking for the series and BC points for 1-10 are actually still available right?

    oldgit
    Member

    Tired the Tuesday BC entry says that 4th cat isn’t “ranked” – I assume this means ranking for the series and BC points for 1-10 are actually still available right?

    Might be worth checking, most sub one hour 4th cat races don’t carry points.

    TiRed
    Member

    The 3/4 race on Tuesday is for cash prizes only. The E123 is for self-flagellation 😈 . If you race hard on Wednesday at the Masters race, you won’t be racing on Thursday, trust me!

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    Sigh. At my level is there any point entering the Masters? 27mph!

    Kryton have you no fast chaingangs of that speed to try instead of turning up to a race? My local chaingang averaged 27mph, I did two turns in 4 mins then died going uphill at that speed πŸ˜€ A month of this & it’s getting easier.
    Depends on what you want out of the race to answer your question…much harder to hang on in a crit at that speed than a road race but if you can work on a few things then it’s not all bad.

    I was racing today, proper torrential rain. Glad I was in the break as I couldn’t see a thing!

    legend
    Member

    these just popped up on facebook….

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Legend – is that a ‘bunp’ for the evening crowd πŸ˜‰

    Or just the wrong thread?

    Look, this is serious racing discussion, we don’t need distraction πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Kryton have you no fast chaingangs of that speed to try instead of turning up to a race?

    Our club has two chaingangs a week, but my work & family situation means I can’t get to them.

    mtbtomo
    Member

    So how’s it going Kryton, any improvement?

    I’ve alternated between getting pinged off the back at some events to hanging with the bunch and then after trying again to take all the advice and stick near the front, I got a 2nd in a 4th cat race last week. Got dropped and lapped at Horwich Festival of Racing on the town centre crit (cat 2/3/4), but then did another crit last night and got another 2nd – had to sprint to take 2nd on the line.

    Can’t believe its any great improvement in fitness, so whilst I have been doing chaingangs and intervals, I think I’ve just really been watching the moves, covering every break, working to be in the top 5 at hairpins and really trying to minimise the effort to keep with the bunch.

    2/3/4 races looks like a somewhat more brutal proposition….

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Kinda.

    My work schedule and a move to Beastway MTB series means I only completed 2 crits since March. One at Hog Hill within which I hung on for half the race, the other at Cyclopark withing which I has a much better races hanging in with the second chasing group and work well together.

    Since then though, my measurable performance has been going up (ftp), I’ve been contributing to rather than sitting in club rides and have completed the Chiltern 100 in the top 25%/6.30, bearing in mind I’m not a climber.

    I’ve a couple of crits in mind from mid July to Sept so I guess I’ll find out more about myself there, but I reckon next year is the “proper” start for me in terms of road racing, this year has been a voyage of discovery…

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Sounds good, this year was pretty much an unknown for me too – I never would have believed that drafting / riding in a bunch could have so much benefit – having competed in mtb events and running races before now where its often not much more than an individual time trial.

    I got my two results at the same circuit, and have consistently been binned off the back at another venue….but only recently realised this one is 3/4’s and not just a 4th cat.

    I think its helped (aside from reading this thread in detail!?) turning up most weeks to one crit or another because as well as getting to try and improve tactically with last week’s race still in mind, you start to see the same riders and pick out the ones you think you can stay with.

    I need to start seeing/measuring that fitness improvement that you’re seeing cos thats what I think its now going to need….

    Stick at it and report back!

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I did my first crit race of the season (yes, I’m a late starter!) at Lancaster a few weeks ago, a 2/3/4 race. It’s a circuit I know very well, used to live up there and raced it regularly.

    Lovely evening, just the tiniest bit of wind. Never one to make life simple, I was using my singlespeed with it’s 48/17 gear so it got very spinny above 30mph.

    Anyway I stuck with the bunch just fine, stayed up in the top third of the race and had a brief dig off the front – I knew if I could get into a break it’d be alright but I had no chance in a bunch sprint with a gear that low. That didn’t work out so with 3 laps to go I started drifting to the back so as not to get in the way of the sprint. With half a lap to go, everyone was looking at each other, some dickhead made a dive for a gap that didn’t exist and bang, the entire middle of the bunch exploded. The front 20 got away to contest the finish, the middle 10 hit the deck and the 8 riders or so at the back all slammed on, I just managed to avoid it all. One poor girl broke her collarbone. πŸ™

    Apart from that, the racing was really good. Being on an SS forces you to look at the tactics rather than the brute force approach of so many riders. Also, it’s amusing watching everyone get really wound up by the fact that someone on a SS can stay in the bunch. πŸ™‚

    Good luck with your summer crits Kryton, keep us posted!

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Hey CrazyLegs – is that the track at Salt Ayre?

    I can well imagine that some people would think you were trying to antagonise people rolling up on a singlespeed. I bet its quite good fun though.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Good to hear your results / improvement Mtbmoto well done.

    I had a good time at Beastway on a long mtb course tonight – 1:20 ridden at race pace so definitely getting stronger. I need that pack race experience but time isnt on my side this year. It’ll be interesting how my new fitness/form translates to the road crits. I will post up when done.

    TiRed
    Member

    Well done all. My first crash was in a 234 race, going into the last lap. And racing on a SS on 48×17!!!? I can imagine 48×15 as I raced this at the Nocturn fixed. Chapeau indeed. I find spinning a far better acceleration strategy than honking. SS can only help with that.

    I placed 15th in the National Masters and 21st/Lots in an E123 at Hillingdon yesterday, 5th of the 3rd Cats, which is probably my best finish. Slower than the ridiculous 28.8 mph average of two weeks ago 😯 . Working on my “bridging to a break” milestone, and it is a killer – spent two laps acting as a bridge yesterday after I bridged, died and fell off the back.

    Kryton, I’m still hoping you can make it down to Hillingdon for the Tuesday 3/4 or the Wednesday E1234 Masters races. I will be racing there again next Wednesday. All welcome. The 3/4 looked more competitive yesterday.

    I think its helped (aside from reading this thread in detail!?) turning up most weeks to one crit or another

    It certainly has. You are learning race craft and your fitness is increasing to boot! I never train as hard as I race. Following a wheel on an attack is much better than sitting on a turbo wishing time would speed up. In fact, I barely look at my power meter when racing; A few glimpses as Normalized Power is enough to confirm how hard I’m working.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Well done Tired. Still trying to get there by work is an issue – for instance I’m in Glasgow Monday and Tuesday next week. I favouring Beastway on Wednesday as I want to compete the series I have abetted Hillingon post 8th July

    Yours ears must have been burning the other week as I bumped into (and went past πŸ˜‰ ) some of yours at the Chiltern100. They knew of you as I asked if you were there on the day.

    mtbtomo
    Member

    TiRed – good to know I’m not the only one struggling to bridge to a break. It doesn’t seem to happen that much in the 4th cat or 3/4 races I’ve done, but even when someone sprints off the front I’m normally reliant on other riders keeping it together.

    How do E123 races work out – whats the point in racing these as surely the Elites and 1st cat dominate by a considerable margin?

    28.8mph? It was barely 22mph in the 4th cat on Tuesday night at Tameside. Some way to go to make the pace methinks!

    Premier Icon Kryton57
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    Blimey mtbtomo, I need to come up your way. 22mph is the average 100k Sunday club ride here πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    28.8mph? It was barely 22mph in the 4th cat on Tuesday night at Tameside. Some way to go to make the pace methinks!

    Hillingdon is a very fast flowing course.
    Tameside is much narrower and with lots of corners so much slower.

    Fewer riders too at Tameside (I think the circuit limit is about half that of Hillingdon) which again makes it slower. More riders = faster.

    FWIW the crit I mentioned above (and yes, it was the Salt Ayre track) averaged 27.8mph

    grahamg
    Member

    Thanks all for posting updates – was following this with interest earlier in the year. I don’t quite have the stones for bunch racing so will stick with TT’ing.

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Bunch racing isn’t that bad Graham. There is going to be the odd crash but you minimise this risk by holding your line, staying alert, shouting at riders who are riding dangerously or not paying attention and away from any riders who don’t look like they are able to do the same etc. And once the race starts you don’t have time to consider the risks….mind, the very first time you bump bars/shoulders etc with someone, it does seem a bit brown shorts time πŸ˜‰

    It might be more hairy with more riders around, but getting dropped of the back and it becomes just like a time trial!?

    TiRed
    Member

    In E123 circuit races, the top ten places get the points. The rest of us make up the numbers and hope for top third (#4) πŸ˜‰ . In the Winter Series there are separate points for the thirds in the one race. So a point gained in a pure E123 race is a very fine thing indeed.

    Hillingdon is fast and flowing, as crazy says. You never get off the gas, even through the bends. The pace is fast but a lot of people sit in. I try not to because I know I won’t improve and I am not a sprinter – hence the bridging and attacking. Groups do get away fairly often in higher categories. In 4th cat races they chase everything every time. The E’s and 1’s put the hammer down on every lap, so it is very good interval training. We lapped riders on Tuesday, and that is a first for me (normally I’m the one being lapped).

    mtbmoto, you are progressing well. You’ve found that you are suited to some courses and not others, and two second places is promotion. Although 22 mph sounds slow, it’s not about the average speed, but the standard deviation. Sharp corners will reduce the average and increase the variance. Hillingdon has low variance (unless the front decide to ease off for the final sprint laps). Well done.

    Keep at it everyone. I’ve gone from commuting/mtb fitness to competitive 3rd Cat in two seasons and am racing people who’ve done it for years or are as young as my son. If I can, anyone can. But starting late means you have to put in the hours in the pack. There really is no substitute, I’m afraid.

    monkeyfudger
    Member

    Timely bump, short road race for me tonight. 40 miles, have been a bit slack lately (cancelled my TrainerRoad sub and not been on turbo in months, just too hot) so we’ll see how it goes.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    monkeyfudger – Member
    Timely bump, short road race for me tonight. 40 miles, have been a bit slack lately (cancelled my TrainerRoad sub and not been on turbo in months, just too hot) so we’ll see how it goes

    Slacker πŸ˜‰ I’ve been sweating buckets over mine, over a 20% imprvement in “Trainerroad” ftp to date this year. Which reminds me, despite the fact that my legs are aching from last night, I have Threshold session to complete today… πŸ˜•

    mtbtomo
    Member

    I’ve gone from commuting/mtb fitness to competitive 3rd Cat in two seasons and am racing people who’ve done it for years

    This is what is exactly what is spurring me on – wishing I’d started this when I was in my 20’s (when I was more into my mtbing), but being thankful I’ve still got some time on the older guys….and competitive older guys at that…

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    This is what is exactly what is spurring me on – wishing I’d started this when I was in my 20’s (when I was more into my mtbingpissing my money up the wall), but being thankful I’ve still got some time on the older guys….and competitive older guys at that…

    +1 I thought I’d be done by 50, but at 42 I seems I’ve another 20 years of competitive cycling to play at yet πŸ˜€

    TiRed
    Member

    Which reminds me, despite the fact that my legs are aching from last night, I have Threshold session to complete today

    Over-doing it. My hardest week was two weeks ago;
    Sunday: Enduro Brass Monkey
    Tuesday: E123 race
    Thursday: Surrey League handicap road race
    Sunday: Nocturn track bike crit
    (With daily commuting 18 miles per day plus an extra 30 miles to and from the Tuesday race). I was not really competitive in the Thursday race.

    For me “training” is:
    Daily commute
    Tuesday alternating race every other week with club ride
    Wednesday alternating Masters race
    Occasional Thursday Surrey League road race – tonight but I’m, missing it
    Weekends: Saturday club ride 100km, or whatever race I fancy or track or mtb rides.

    Can’t abide the turbo, so prefer race training. Working 10 minutes from Hillingdon makes this pretty easy to be honest.

    EDIT:

    “but being thankful I’ve still got some time on the older guys”
    Time is no respecter, believe me. Plenty of over 50 Elites and 1’s to aspire to beat.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    The Chiltern 100 in the top 25%/6.30

    Fair dues, anything at / under 6.30 is a respectable time on that loop. I know it too well, it goes past where I live. Makes a tough ride out of a lot of small hills.
    (training tips lurker, no cat 4 here!)

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    Over-doing it. My hardest week was two weeks ago;
    Sunday: Enduro Brass Monkey
    Tuesday: E123 race
    Thursday: Surrey League handicap road race
    Sunday: Nocturn track bike crit
    (With daily commuting 18 miles per day plus an extra 30 miles to and from the Tuesday race). I was not really competitive in the Thursday race.

    That’s no more than I’m doing – 2 structured Turbo sessions against a plan and two rides a week plus or one of substituted for a crit. I travel around the country for work so am unable to commute.

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Time is no respecter, believe me. Plenty of over 50 Elites and 1’s to aspire to beat.

    Thats exactly it, I know that age is no excuse for not going faster or being able to get faster. Glad I have a little time to see if I can get faster!

    TiRed
    Member

    One of our more experienced and successful racers said that “if you are serious about racing, then you won’t have much time for any other cycling”. I didn’t take him seriously, but am now coming round to the idea. I don’t really do the formal training stuff – but I do have to get to work. I have also stepped up to at least one race a week, possibly two. The above week was really too much, and I was tired by the Thursday race and too tired by the Nocturn – must be age πŸ˜‰

    It is however great fun, there is no feeling like it. Chaingangs don’t even come close. The funny thing is, I’m always dropped by our fast group but can now hang onto E123s in a race.

    Crashes do happen, and Spillingdon produces its fair share. But it varies from series to series. I raced 35 times without crashing, mainly 4ths, and the standard was unusually high. Then someone took down the peloton in a 234 race going into the final lap (I was fifth wheel too). At 32 mph. On my brand new bike in its first race πŸ˜₯ . You just have to get back on the horse.

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Just out of interest, how much attention do you pay to your diet and eating the right stuff TiRed?

    I’m 5ft 10 and 70kg, and last time it was checked at a medical for work 9% body fat. However, whilst I usually have a fairly healthy meal in the evenings, I have quite a liking for cake / chocolate /sweet stuff.

    Are all the serious lads keeping off the cake religiously, as well as doing shedloads of riding???

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    mtbtomo. At that % fat you just need to worry about quality. Avoid processed food and go natural.

    I’m 5′ 11, 70kg yet 19% body fat. I avoid process stuff like the plague, average 2100 cals per day using my fitness pal but do have treat day. The trick is to fill the cupboard with fruit and nuts a natural products, but guess what it’s much more expensive than buying biscuits cake and crips.

    Wish I could lose more fat but it never comes off!

    TiRed
    Member

    Just out of interest, how much attention do you pay to your diet and eating the right stuff TiRed?

    πŸ˜†

    Err almost none! I don’t drink more than three units a week. I always eat a big breakfast before riding to work. On race days I eat two hours before a race, take gel and then another in the race every 40 minutes.

    I’m a cm taller than you, 69 kilos this morning, and was apparently 14% adipose at a healthy eating day weigh in a few weeks ago at work. I’ve lost 2″ on the waist and about 4 kilos overall. If I lose any more Mrs TiRed said I’d look dead. Realistically, that’s probably light enough.

    However, the next marginal gain, a race skinsuit, makes its debut at tomorrow’s 9-up Team TT at Silverstone – cover your eyes kids, it won’t be pretty!

    mtbtomo
    Member

    Ha! That’s good to hear!

    I don’t drink much at all, its just the sweet stuff. There are probably better foods for recovery!

    monkeyfudger
    Member

    Well that was fun πŸ˜€

    Think I got a top 10 but will have to wait and see, went for it on the last climb as there were 2 ever so slightly ahead who I thought I could use to bridge over and crack on but just didn’t have the legs to pull it off, the group had me and I got a tad swamped! Hill just wasn’t steep enough for a lightweight like me! Lactic was rather large and it’s the most power I’ve done for a minute and a half so can’t complain. Standard 3/4 by the sounds of it, no one was getting away, I tried a couple of times just to see if I could make a gap. (wouldn’t have had the legs to really do a break justice, as I said, way to slack lately!)

    http://www.strava.com/activities/155632354/overview

    bob_summers
    Member

    Sorry to backtrack a bit but the guys above doing crits on SS, what was the circuit like? I’m trying to figure out gearing for a fixed gear crit next month, 20 laps of 1.2km with three tight corners.
    I’m thinking 48*15 but the rules state track bikes (ie no brakes) so a bigger gear will be harder to stop three times a lap. Better to run a shorter gear and assume I won’t need the top end speed? I’ve been training most of the year for a long hilly event next week (200km & 4500m) so my sprint is non existent.

    Link to crit here http://ibilbideak.euskadi.net/ibilbideak/view.do?id=23050 ( can’t see it properly on my phone but the profile is totally flat as it’s up and down the prom)

    mtbtomo
    Member

    What event is that Bob? I just read in Cyclist mag about the Red Hook (?) crits in America.

    TiRed
    Member

    I raced the London Nocturn Track Bike Crit on 48*15. It was perfect. Including some nasty corners. It’s geared for 22 mph at 90 rpm, which was how I decided on it. A 48*14 will be too tough to accelerate swiftly.

    Taking a smooth line will see you taking the corners full on the gas. Fit 25c tyres for better cornering confidence, it helps immensely. You won’t be “braking” much per se, just modulating speed with resistance.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Wish I could lose more fat but it never comes off!

    Partly genetic. I have a mate who eats normally, cake with his morning latte, dessert etc, but is skin, muscle and bone.

    My first ever road race is next wekend, but it’s flat so I’ve focused on recovery rather than weight loss lately.

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