4th cat races

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dbjockey
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby dbjockey » Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:35 am

I've raced three times in basement races.
4th cat - 24th in the bunch
3/4 - dropped 2 laps in
4th cat - 20th in the bunch

I would say that its very important to be comfortable riding close to others which is obvious, but keeping your line, not slowing or changing direction too sharply is also very important. Also if you see a wayward rider then make a mental note to avoid them and not to get stuck behind them!
Get out of the way of the peloton if you're dropped too, this is something I wasn't told but can wee-wee people off.
There are a lot of angry riders amongst the majority having fun so just ignore those muppetts. Shouting and swearing really doesn't help.

Its all about riding safe when getting experience I think, just my third race but already I think I've a better idea of how to maintain an even effort and hence not end up going back and forth as much. Next race I hope to actually start paying some attention to what's going on up front, and maybe get in a break or attack, as I cant sprint for sh..

andysol
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby andysol » Sat Jun 16, 2012 17:32 pm

Ive started racing this year and loving it! started 4th cats trying to staying in the bunch. But its taken me some time to get my feeling in both for the changes in pace and When to work, when not to work. My best results have been in the last 4 races where i had points in every one before winning the last one. (Therefore moving to 3rd cat).

My early races i struggled and hung around at the back but its easy to get dropped when the pace quickens and crashes can easily happen.

In the race i won, i tried not to work at all! Much to the dismay of the riders around but I stayed 3rd to 4th all the way and positioned myself in 3rd for the last corner. Picked a wheel for the drag and sprinted in the last 100m to victory. My conclusion for 4th cat, work as little as possible if you want to place + points. Or do as much work as possible + try attacks to improve your training but you probably wont place. But you will be better next time. If you do a load of work during the race you sprint will be crap like me!

Now onwards + upwards. Above all have fun, im loving the competition even when im sh*te.

I also found TLI races good training, handicapped, cheaper, mix of all abilities, and harder. As you are trying to hang with the big boys sometimes. But i also have the desire for BC points!
Andy
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indjke
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby indjke » Sun Jun 17, 2012 09:20 am

andysol wrote:In the race i won, i tried not to work at all! ... My conclusion for 4th cat, work as little as possible if you want to place + points. Or do as much work as possible + try attacks to improve your training but you probably wont place. But you will be better next time.

Oh, nice said!
That is exactly that I've done yesterday :)
Finished with the main bunch in small regional championship. Totally cracked in last 400 meters only, had no power after huge turns in the middle of the distance. But I'm delighted with the race :) I wasn't dropped for the first time (it was my 3rd race). Will try to save more energy next time.
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Wrath Rob
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby Wrath Rob » Mon Jun 18, 2012 15:23 pm

indjke wrote:
andysol wrote:In the race i won, i tried not to work at all! ... My conclusion for 4th cat, work as little as possible if you want to place + points. Or do as much work as possible + try attacks to improve your training but you probably wont place. But you will be better next time.

Oh, nice said!
That is exactly that I've done yesterday :)
Finished with the main bunch in small regional championship. Totally cracked in last 400 meters only, had no power after huge turns in the middle of the distance. But I'm delighted with the race :) I wasn't dropped for the first time (it was my 3rd race). Will try to save more energy next time.

Agree with both of these. Last Friday's race (Dunsfold) I sat in, mainly top 5-10, did a couple of small stints on the front, worked on a reasonable position for the sprint and ended up coming 2nd. Race was pretty boring though. One of the previous races I'd had much more fun, attacking the field, organising a break away and chasing others down but only finished 7th.

Ultimately, its what you make of it. It will be interesting to see what 3rds are like!
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jopari
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby jopari » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:49 am

CakeLovinBeast wrote:It's also worth mentioning that if anybody is looking to get into racing, and there are any BC "Go Race" events near you, then they're well worth checking out. You don't need a licence, you don't need to be a club member and because there are no points on offer, it tends to mean that the field is reduced in size and better mannered. There are still crashes and don't think that the level of skill will be any lower, but it's certainly worth investigating if you have the opportunity.


Had a look at BC website and can't see any Go Race events in the North :o(
Is this right, or does anyone know of any?

thanks.
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Keyser__Soze
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby Keyser__Soze » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:06 am

Wrath Rob wrote:...did a couple of small stints on the front, worked on a reasonable position for the sprint and ended up coming 2nd....
previous races I'd had much more fun, attacking the field, organising a break away and chasing others down but only finished 7th.


In a previous post you said you wanted to spend a bit of time in the 4ths, doing some work, learning racing experience and not getting 'easy' sprint points. Did you feel you've now gained enough experience from doing a fair few 4th Cat races that you were ready to move up hence deciding to go for the points needed to move up this time?
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okgo
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby okgo » Thu Jun 21, 2012 13:45 pm

There's no guarantee that if you sit in you'll come top five in a sprint every week, after all my results vouch for that, and it was the same people most weeks, and I was quicker than them but my placings were all over the shop. Also very few people have the will power to hold back if they're capable of placing, why would you its a race? Also the difference between 3 and 4 is negligible in terms of both skills, and pace if you're one of the faster 4th cats you'll not be out of your depth in a 3rds race, the only thing that makes a lot of 4ths races slow isn't the top 10 riders, its the rest, the first 10-15 are plenty quick enough to go with 3rds and will indeed go with the likes of Rob and others and get moved up quick.

My take is that if you're in a position to take the points, take them, as you might not get the chance next time round - crash/mechanical/boxed in/breakaway - the variables are endless, and I think over the winter series I experienced every single one.

All IMO, so Rob may think otherwise.
Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com

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Wrath Rob
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby Wrath Rob » Thu Jun 21, 2012 14:43 pm

I'd pretty much agree with all of that. 5 races in 4ths this year, points in 3 and I'm now happy to be heading to 3rds. I've learnt loads in each race, initial things like holding your line, holding onto a wheel and then on to defending your position, moving around the group during a race, trying to identify the real contenders, identifying and avoiding the muppets, positioning for the sprint and when to sprint. I've still got loads to learn like tactics (solo and with team mates), when and how to break from the field and so on.

I suppose the acid test is whether, given the chance, I'd take points in a 3rds race? I'd be a fool not to!
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okgo
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby okgo » Thu Jun 21, 2012 14:53 pm

Also, the gap to the next band of racing (if you chose to avoid 2/3 races like I did till I was upgraded to 2) is quite a long way, so you can afford to get 'cheap' points in sprints (BTW points in sprints are just as hard fought as anything else, despite what you may read on our forum - if you can get points from a break and a sprint, you're in a better position that most) here and there and you won't upgrade before your time.

The the next big learning curve will be the road races, open roads where cars are present (I think you've done handicaps, so you'll know about this, to a certain extent) the hazards that you get on open roads, holes, dead corners, gravel, and indeed riding at a hard pace for over 2 hours, that was quite a shock to my system, and my back ache issue was proof of that in the early races. Another thing that you'll find quite a shock as patronizing as it may sound is going downhill at 40-50 mph among other riders, quite unnerving at first, and some people it would seem have **** the size of footballs the way they move about at these high speeds!
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BigMat
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby BigMat » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:10 am

Can't believe people would consider not taking points where available! I have never actually ridden a 4th cat race anyway, they mainly seem to be 3/4 or even 2/3/4. Getting 3rd cat puts me in the same field, but at least I won't be classed as "noob" cat forever more (once a 3rd cat, 3rd cat or above for life!)

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PeteMadoc
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby PeteMadoc » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:23 am

There's a guy in our club who does some massive turns on the front all through the race then pulls up before the finishing sprint. I suspect he likes being a 4th Cat since he has zero points this season. Not exactly sure what that's all about.

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Mikey23
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby Mikey23 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 13:56 pm

I must say it all sounds utterly terrifying having come from a background of road running which is very inclusive in terms of racing, I'm not sure I would ever have the courage to have a go

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Keyser__Soze
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby Keyser__Soze » Thu Jun 28, 2012 14:21 pm

BigMat wrote:Can't believe people would consider not taking points where available! I have never actually ridden a 4th cat race anyway, they mainly seem to be 3/4 or even 2/3/4. Getting 3rd cat puts me in the same field, but at least I won't be classed as "noob" cat forever more (once a 3rd cat, 3rd cat or above for life!)


Would've been nice to have won a race before moving up.
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Johnpsanderson
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby Johnpsanderson » Fri Jun 29, 2012 15:14 pm

Tom Dean wrote:
sportbilly1976 wrote:
MikeWW wrote: Also always look to be moving forward or you will end up at the back of the bunch very easily


...you can't emphasise how important this bit is....frequent small(ish) efforts will help prevent you making very large and ultimately self-defeating big efforts if you end up and the back as the pace increases.


Poor advice for first timers IMO. Get a feel for riding in the bunch first. No wonder there are so many crashes when all the inexperienced riders are fighting to sit in tenth place all race long.


Couldn't disagree more. The only thing you'll learn siting at the back is how bad the people in front of you are at riding safely. Crashes rarely happen in the front of the field, they are in the middle or the back - when riders are exhausted and loosing their concentration. It's also harder work to sit at the back than stay in the front dozen places - why waste your energy just to sit there and observe bad riding?

The only problem is having the confidence to make sure you stay in the right place - that's very hard to learn and, in my experience, only comes with time. But that is no excuse for not trying to do it as much as possible.
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springtide9
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby springtide9 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 23:05 pm

1st bash on Thursday night at Ilton @ racing (Cat 4)

1st lap my bar tape decided to unwind, so spend 2 laps at the back and keeping a safe distance to fix, but close enough not to get dropped.

After that, surprised at the easy pace TBH - It seems lots of people hold back for the final sprint.
What seems most important to learn is being in the right position relative to the wind - found myself many a time finding 'space' only to realise people were migrating because of the wind.

The middle section of the Cat 4 was very nervous. People riding close, but lots of calling/shouting about holding pace and not braking in panic. Seems to be a good position for shelter from the wind, but not so good for safety.

Had been wondering around for trying to find my feet for the initial laps near the back/side/middle/front so made a move on the last lap. Made my way up but found myself on the wrong side of the pack at the front. Only a 40 min race and with less that 7 mins to go I made the schoolboy error and went for it. Think someone mentioned I had 100m on the bunch at one point, but as soon as we pointed into the wind I went backwards. Had the PT, and previous lap speed had been 280watts, but solo lap ended up being 360 watts. The pack went past 3/4 down the straight before the final corner (been passed by a guy behind before that, but couldn't match his pace), and ended up at the very back. Managed a bit of recovery before the finish.. but most people don't bother sprinting unless they are not going to get points, so managed to get somewhere in the middle(ish) I think.

First time out so not disappointed. All I wanted to do was finish with the pack and not crash, which I did. Interesting were the tactics... it almost seems best to stick it out at the back looking out for major breaks (and jumping on them if more than say 4 go for it), until the last straight, and sprinting to the finish.

I guess as I learnt that unless the pack joins a break (if you make one), when you hit a headwind, they will more that likely catch you.

Think the winds were ~12-14mph, so I guess tactics would be very different in still conditions.

Oh one last thing..
Torque, frame flex, cross winds and high speed corners. Never noticed flex on the frame before, but pushing through high speed corners with a cross wind and pushing high torque through the pedals, really unsets a bike - really need to be smooth - I guess unless you have a very stiff frame.

and the Strava log: http://app.strava.com/rides/11979634
Simon

Yukirin
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby Yukirin » Sat Jun 30, 2012 00:15 am

springtide9 wrote:1st bash on Thursday night at Ilton @ racing (Cat 4)

1st lap my bar tape decided to unwind, so spend 2 laps at the back and keeping a safe distance to fix, but close enough not to get dropped.

After that, surprised at the easy pace TBH - It seems lots of people hold back for the final sprint.
What seems most important to learn is being in the right position relative to the wind - found myself many a time finding 'space' only to realise people were migrating because of the wind.

The middle section of the Cat 4 was very nervous. People riding close, but lots of calling/shouting about holding pace and not braking in panic. Seems to be a good position for shelter from the wind, but not so good for safety.

Had been wondering around for trying to find my feet for the initial laps near the back/side/middle/front so made a move on the last lap. Made my way up but found myself on the wrong side of the pack at the front. Only a 40 min race and with less that 7 mins to go I made the schoolboy error and went for it. Think someone mentioned I had 100m on the bunch at one point, but as soon as we pointed into the wind I went backwards. Had the PT, and previous lap speed had been 280watts, but solo lap ended up being 360 watts. The pack went past 3/4 down the straight before the final corner (been passed by a guy behind before that, but couldn't match his pace), and ended up at the very back. Managed a bit of recovery before the finish.. but most people don't bother sprinting unless they are not going to get points, so managed to get somewhere in the middle(ish) I think.

First time out so not disappointed. All I wanted to do was finish with the pack and not crash, which I did. Interesting were the tactics... it almost seems best to stick it out at the back looking out for major breaks (and jumping on them if more than say 4 go for it), until the last straight, and sprinting to the finish.

I guess as I learnt that unless the pack joins a break (if you make one), when you hit a headwind, they will more that likely catch you.

Think the winds were ~12-14mph, so I guess tactics would be very different in still conditions.

Oh one last thing..
Torque, frame flex, cross winds and high speed corners. Never noticed flex on the frame before, but pushing through high speed corners with a cross wind and pushing high torque through the pedals, really unsets a bike - really need to be smooth - I guess unless you have a very stiff frame.

and the Strava log: http://app.strava.com/rides/11979634


how was the corner at the bottom of the hill? Was that where most of the shouting about not braking happening?

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springtide9
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby springtide9 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:51 am

Yukirin wrote:how was the corner at the bottom of the hill? Was that where most of the shouting about not braking happening?


Most of the corners were ok tbh. The main issues were when facing into the wind, as people are very reluctant to lead (not surprisingly due to the increased effort) , with the leading people slowing down so that they were overtaken (causing the middle of the group to keep compressing). I am still very junior riding in groups (and obviously my first race), but found it ok, but did hide a bit towards the back or off to one of the sides (although tried to do a bit of a stint at varied locations to get a 'feel' of the different locations)

What's not clear is how this should ideally work. I guess if you rode as part of 'a team' you could get organised and rotate riders for the common good of the team - but with everyone out for themselves and keeping 'fresh' for the final sprint.

When I make the mistake of making a break on the final lap a guy followed behind, but even when I started slowing he just sat there and only made a break once I was really struggling (and almost made sure I couldn't tuck in behind him). The end result was that we both got overtaken by the group. Not blaming that guy at all, but wondered after the race that if there was more comradeship between us and we shared the load by switching the lead, we would have had a much better chance of keeping ahead of the pack.
It was a very learning experience and I'm sure every race is not the same. Need to do a few more and get to grips with the unwritten rules and tactics :-)
Simon

DavidJB
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby DavidJB » Sun Jul 01, 2012 18:01 pm

Go vocal and tell him to do some work then ;)

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springtide9
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Re: 4th cat races

Postby springtide9 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 09:16 am

DavidJB wrote:Go vocal and tell him to do some work then ;)


I guess I need to learn the lingo of racing etiquette :lol: (i.e. how to encourage without swearing!)
Simon


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