Crit Racing - beginner tips

This is a great channel for those interested in criterium racing. It has very helpful videos of real races with commentary from the racer himself!


came home to find Garron watching the womens final yesterday… i said, imagine just imagining this type of race 5 years ago… it was super cool. saw you and some of the girls commenting… great fun. the computer hijacked the dinner table which is not normal!!

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Here is an insightful podcast about crit racing (@meganherzog, @Stefanie):


Random stuff from Dean:

Most important tip is to stay safe! Don’t make big passing moves on the inside of a corner rather just maintain. Also be careful on the outside of a corner same as if the person on your inside slides out, they take you out. I’m a fan of minimal aggression during the corners and helping others have extra space. Give others the spot in front of you don’t fight for it and beat them later. On the straights, hey make your move. Also in a bigger group I’m not a fan of being in the middle near the front. Either be one of the very few right on the front or off the middle a bit so again you not pinched in. When in close quarters, keep you elbows out just a tad to hold your space and watch that your neighbors knees don bump your bars.

Be wary of people who stand up as mentioned by Jason and Ian in Coaches Corner Podcast. When they stand they may throw their bike back into you. Also when you stand learn to gently come up and down and not lunge you bike back. In other words be super smooth. Don’t translate an attack by standing also from CC Podcast.

Shifting: Learn to shift quietly by being in harmony with your drive-chain. There are subtle tricks like click your shifter but don’t release till you want to with mechanical shifting and now I’m seeing they don’t apply to electronic, but still practice quiet shifting. Nothing like a loud shift from behind letting you know the the attack is coming.

That’s just me. I only like smaller groups anymore and always err on the conservative line even it I have to spend more power. I find in the end, the strong and smart win and the petty inexperienced riders are more prone to danger.

Be safe, Enjoy!

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@Dean great advice! I’m hoping to try my very first TT this summer just using a regular road bike as there really isn’t any other racing near me and I think I’d prefer it as a way to start racing. I know you do these weekly and was hoping you could offer some advice. Thanks.

TTs are a great way to start racing! It will be important to know the course (hilly and flat areas, etc), as well as wind direction so you can plan. We can bring this topic into Coaches Corner this week as well.

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OMG yes and not just in races either! I did a gran fondo last weekend and there was a guy right in front of me who kept standing up at the oddest times and every single time he stood he would throw is bike back. I gave him a lot of space and passed him as soon as I could!

Thanks for the crit advice! I am still so new at it (3 so far!) that I am sponging up as much information as I can. The Cat 4/5 women are small fields of 15-20 but holy cow, the cat 4/5 men have upwards of 75! From the look of it on the sideline, it appears at times to be barely controlled chaos and makes me glad for the smaller women’s field!

@Stefanie how nice to be in a smaller group. Yes my days of cat 4/5 are over and I’m really just in for a local masters race or a cool local training race now. Some are Crits and some are track events a different animal but with similar goals. Stay safe and have fun and yes place well if things go well. Good job recognizing the guy in front is throwing his bike back and you and getting past him. Another clue to read a persons signaling is to watch their hips. Much body language comes from this, be it standing sitting, moving forward on the seat etc… A good hockey player gets around their opponents hips and the rest follows (hopefully with the puck). My claim to fame is top 10 and or top 7 (lucky 7) of better in races I care about. That seems to be my realistic goal over the years. Wish I had endurance labs coaching 15 years ago!

TTs @Lindsy I’m only average at it in my age group. But average in a small group of masters that is 100% focused on TT racing for decades is really not that bad at all and when you take that skill back to the road, you find you can pull away from a lot of people. I do 4-5 TTs per year, not the whole 12 race series here in NJ. I lose my urge to race all weekend come summer as I live near the beach


Thanks @Dean! I am old enough to be the mother of most of the women I am racing with! :older_woman: My goal is to have fun, improve my bike handling skills, and someday score a point. Thanks for the tip regarding hips! Super helpful to know that!

Here is my lesson learned from yesterday’s crit - be at the FRONT of the group at the start line! I made the mistake of doing the one lap course recon and ended up at the very back at the start of the race-- behind lots of slow riders… with that, the peloton slowly got away from me. Never again!!

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