Criterium Race Advice

I have a “C” race coming up. Racing Cat D and in my 3rd year of racing. I was 245lbs during this race last year and I am now 229lbs. I really suffered last year and I was pulled from the race as I was lapped by the leader. My fitness seems 100% better this year, the loss in weight helps but the training is helping even more. I really suffer on the back end of the course towards the finish line. Hills are not my thing, Flats and Power is my thing.

Here is a link to the one I did last year, it was also pouring down rain.

What should I do to improve my placing? Give it everything on the straight away and flatter sections and let up on the hilly portions or should I give the hills hell and let up on the straights?

Just wanted to also note the power you see here is from a PowerCal HRPM so expect a 20% variance in actual power output. I do not trust it but this was before I had a real PM.

Start at the front, stay near the front. Be at the front approaching the hill, maintain consistent effort on the hill so you reach the top in the middle of the pack.
If the flat is longer than the hill then I would say ride to your strength and make the smaller guys hurt.

Does the race typically finish in a sprint? If so, you may want to stay out of the wind and conserve your legs until it really matters. If you think there’ll be a breakaway things’d be different.

Either way, play it smart and don’t come out with both guns blazing.

My blog:

I started at the end, last year. I didn’t give it everything as it was raining and tight corners aren’t fun in the rain. There are two hills one after the start line with a nice descent to a sharp corner, rest is flat until the final small climb to the finish.

The problem with this race is that there are a lot of racers down catting for it as they have never raced before and not sure what cat to race in. I know for a fact there will be much stronger and younger guys racing D when they should be in C.

I will try to stay at the front for the first (Free lap) and make them pay on the flats.

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I think that’s a bad idea and not what racing your strengths means.

You will need to conserve as much energy as possible to stay with the group on the climb. I’d stay as protected as possible on the flats staying more forward in the group to sag the climb (start near the front and drift back). How much power on the climb? Whatever it takes to stay on the group over the top and not get gapped/dropped. Use your weight/momentum/power on the descent and flat to move towards the front of the pack with enough time to sit in a rest before the next climb.


So I screwed up lol. I did so much better than last year but I went too hard when I shouldn’t have.

Here is a short video:

My issue is, I see the gap and my mind wins over figuring I can’t catch up. There were a few people who down catted I am sure as it was the first race of the season.

This sunday is a provincial race with a 13% finish line! :open_mouth:

I do a local a biweekly training race series on a course that looks to be 1/2 the length of yours and the hill is half as high, but we hit it twice as often.

I’m north of 200 pounds and here is how I try too deal with the hill. Be at or near the front and drift back. Maintain momentum and pick a line or wheel to follow which is never ever going to make you coast or hit the brakes.

Biggest tip - HAMMER the down hill, or at least the start of it. Most people will coast as soon as they come over the top. Big people can’t climb but we can go downhill like demons. You hauled all your weight up there so make use of it on the way down! You need to come over the top with the power on and keep it up longer than everyone else so when you do start coasting, you’re at a higher speed than everyone else. Do not settle for just getting back on on the downhill, you need to make up positions. 15 seconds of effort can make up a bunch of places on the down hill. From your data file, It looks like you are not doing that.

Of course, that is not going to help you on the up hill finish but at least you should be fresher on the final climb.

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Judging from video, is drafting not allowed in this race? Looked like everyone is just hammering it down deliberately solo without sparing any energy. There were so many opportunities to save the legs, in my eyes.

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This is a Cat 5/D race. Most of these racers it’s their first race. We race with the Cat C women and U17. At the first I saw a paceline and said I was going to sit in. Then it broke up and just gave it. That’s the issue with this Cat here. It’s all over the place. I am trying to get some teammates out for rides to practice breakaways and pacelining.

Thank you very much. I am still learning this. The tight corners there are crazy. Need to trust my bike in the corners. I wiped out hard last year and trying to shake the nerves. My tires are new. The gp5000s. They hold corners so much better than my rubinos.

Wow looks like a funky race, everyone just riding their own race all spread out. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.
If it was me, I’d bridge during the downhills and flats and sit behind someone on the uphill, looks like you’re still going 25mph so will get a benefit of drafting.
But it’s hard to work out honestly what’s going on with people just all over the shop.

Yep, I thought exactly the same thing. Riders all over the place and no-one drafting so thought it wasn’t allowed :joy: @JeffActive my advice would be to follow the strong riders. You need to get much closer to benefit from the drafting affect. Pay attention to the direction of the wind. Are you more sheltered behind or to either side.

I’d recommend checking out this article for some insight on becoming a better crit racer :+1:

Tough course! That combo of 30s of -6% gradient, 1min of 5% (max. 8%), 1min of -3% then 2-2.5min of 3% (max. 12%) would be killer.

This is type of course always going to be tough for anyone over about 75kg. As a fellow clydesdale, I feel your pain!

For this type of course, your best bet will probably be to sag climb the 2-2.5min climb on each lap. I’d aim to:

  1. Lead into the first descent,
  2. Maintain momentum as much as possible and go for high power to punch over the first 1min rise without loosing too many places.
  3. Recover from this punchy effort on the 1min descent and get to the front again.
  4. Enter the last climb at the front and hold steady, high power, while the others go past you up the 2-2.5min climb. Hopefully you’re still in contact over the top…
  5. Keep the power on for a few seconds longer and use this with your weight advantage on the downhill to get back to the front in order to do it all again.

Good luck!