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2012Columbia

Columbia's Race

Race Reports

So either I missed them or nobody has posted any but where are the
Race Reports for Grant's Tomb. Or for that matter more than just
Nick's take on Steven's race. Here are some brief notes from the
weekend (though it appears that I'm not watching I am) and some things
to look out for this coming weekend.

  • Pre-riding a course: Most crits you won't be able to do this during

the races but as Dan heard me mention during the Intro clinic one of
the advantages of the intro clinic is that you get to ride the course
before racing it which means you can see what lines work for turns.
Some courses if you get there early enough you can ride the course
while they finish setting it up before the first race. I highly
suggest you do this. First, it will allow to see what obstacles are
on the course and which ones you can ride over. At Grant's Tomb you
can pretty much ride over everything including the grates in turn 3 (I
pretty much did every lap of the pro race). Joe has pointed this out
before on this list and I'll point it out again, you should be able to
ride over small bumps in the ride like what was in the road after turn
1. Just un-weight the bike a little and make sure you are relaxed on
the handlebars. The stiffer your arms are the more the bike will
react to your every move, so if your really tense going over a bump
the bike will be all over the place. If you are relaxed the wheel
will track better than the rough road and absorb the road vibrations
better. Riding over grates are something you can do with experience
(depending on the type) and what the weather is like. If its wet out,
its probably not the best idea but if its dry and the cuts aren't
parallel to the direction you are going you'll be fine. If you aren't
able to pre-ride the course you should at least walk around the whole
course and observe what the course is like. Another reason to
pre-ride is to figure out gears and where to shift. A Grant's Tomb
its a good idea to shift before turn 3 so that you can better
accelerate into the hill and have an easier time going up it.

  • Pack Positioning: I've mentioned this before, positioning in a pack

especially in a criterium is important. You want to be in the front
1/3 of a race for many reasons. First, on any course the rear of the
pack will have the weaker rides so it will be the people that aren't
as good at turning and might not be as fast. What this means on a
criterium course is that they will be making up gaps every corner
which will wear them down quickly and if you are on their wheel you'll
have to deal with continuous accelerations. Another reasons is
crashes. The front of the field is normally quite narrow and then it
grows to be wide before thinning out in the back. What that means for
you if you aren't in the front of the pack is that you'll have to try
to fit through a corner with more people than you would at the front
of the pack. This can lead to crashes which aren't fun but in a
criterium you do get a free lap which is the next point. Crashes can
happen anywhere in the field, so just because you're near the front
doesn't mean a crash won't happen especially if its a more technical
course or is wet out.

  • Free Lap: I'm not sure if I explained this to everyone, but there is

something called a free lap rule in criteriums. What that means if
you have a crash or a mechanical issue you can go to the pit (normally
located by the start/finish area) and you get a lap to correct the
problem and get back in the group. If you get a flat and there is not
neutral support than you can grab a team wheel (Brett and I normally
have an extra set of wheels with us that are in the pit). If you were
in a crash use the time to check yourself over, if your helmet is
cracked do not continue. You can get to the pit anyway you want
except riding backwards on course. The free lap rule will eventually
end with a couple of miles left in the race and should be announced by
the official when he/she gives instructions to the field prior to the
race.

  • Team Time Trial: The first TTT is this Saturday. This is a

discipline that you really won't get to do outside of the collegiate
scene (except in breakaways at races but those aren't your teammates
then). A good TTT team is not always the strongest riders all on one
team, its about getting the right set of people together that
compliment each other's abilities. A good team also will practice
together before the event and while race they can tell without talking
how everyone is doing. How you can get good at this is riding with
your teammates in a paceline and getting to know each other's
strengths and weaknesses. A good example that is
Joe/Stefan/Chris/Adam TTT team from a couple of years ago. They were
not the strongest riders in the field but when you put them together
they won B TTT's. Why it works was that Stefan was a good ride for
the flat sections, Joe would pull them up the hills, and Chris/Adam
would lead them through the technical parts. They would organize
their pulls so that if a hill was coming up Joe would be on the front.
They would just take the same length pulls, they would change it up
based on the terrain and the person pulling. I know there are only a
couple of days until the TTT but practicing now will also help for the
TTTs at PSU, Army and UNH.

  • Phlyer Circuit Course: Though this course may seem simple and not

too hard there are some things to be aware of. The first is the
Strawberry Mansion climb. You make a 180 turn onto the on ramp up to
strawberry mansion from West River which means that there is a sudden
change in speed. In every field someone will not shift there gears
before the turn and will either cause the riders behind them to
significantly slow or crash. Avoid being this person or being behind
this person by shifting before the turn and making sure you are open
near the front of the field before the 180. Descent from Strawberry
Mansion; if you get dropped on the climb up make sure you put all your
effort into getting back on the group before they hit West River Dr.
again because if you don't you probably won't catch back on to the
tail end of the group. Black Rd; you go up and down this climb so you
don't have the entire road which means you must be up near the front
prior to going up it so you don't get caught behind someone getting
dropped. You also want to make sure you are near the front after
doing the rectangle around Memorial Hall because there are some twist
and turns before you start the descent where people might get dropped
and once again if you don't catch on by West River Dr. you day might
be over sooner than you think.

  • Phlyer Crit Course: This is a traditional four corner crit which

means that its fast and not many people will get dropped. It is a
little shorter than last year which means that the sight lines aren't
as long as before. What this means is that it might be easier to get
away on the course because typically once you get out of sight of the
field you are essentially home free if you can keep up the pace. An
early break might not stick but attacking later in the race with only
a few laps left could lead to a winning move especially if you can
time it so its right after a prime and the field is tired from not
only the fast pace the entire race but from the prime as well.
Home Wins: Though it is a joint race, Drexel people seem to put in
more into this weekend than most of the other people on the other
teams (though there are riders on the other teams that are integral
into the race happening, just more Drexel people are than the other
schools) it would be nice to walk away from this weekend with a win or
a couple of podiums. You guys have been doing the Strawberry Mansion
climb for the past couple of months so you should know it pretty well
and should know that it is possible to split the group going up the
last part of the incline. If you can do this and get a group to go
with you on the last lap you could have a good chance at winning the
circuit. You guys have also been practicing long sprints on straight
roads out in front of Memorial Hall prior to last week so you should
be pretty good at coming around Turn 4 and sprinting to home in the
crit.

  • Intro Racing: Please don't cheer for me when I'm coaching the intro

field. I don't need cheered on coaching and its not nice for the
people actually racing, cheer them on instead they are the ones that
need encouragement so that they have a fun time and continue coming
out to races.

-Tim Manzella

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Page last modified on June 30, 2012, at 05:20 PM