First 3/4 Crit race (Armed Forces Boeing Classic)

Hey so I was a category 5 rider last year and this spring and I want to do races with my friend so I upgraded to category 4… and my first non cat 5 race is the Boeing Airforce cycling classic in DC in 2 weeks.

I have no real expectations. My performance in my first race in the spring was sub par, even though I never did structured training. Ever since late April I have been doing structured training. My FTP is around 250 and I am 55kg so a little over 4w/kg. While that is “good” I am just super light/small. I don’t think I am as good shape as i was for the Pottstown race I did last summer where never really had to burn a match I feel much better than April and I am actually pretty good at cornering.

I have no expectation to win this race as finishing the the lead group and NOT crashing would be AMAZING. I think based on watching this (2019 Armed Forces Cycling Classic (Crystal City Cup - Saturday) | Men 3/4 - YouTube) my game plan is to burn however many matches needed to be at the front 25% of the race and the beginning will be the most sketchy because of the 130 riders trying to get to the front.

My only goal is to not get dropped and if I can form a brake (I would absolutely NOT win in a sprint) and I think a brake is more fun. I am still targeting pottstown PA as a race I want results because of it being just cat 4 and more less people in the field and not as many teams. (I just have 1 teammate)

I am sure people here have done this race before. Do you guys have any advice for the race and/or my plan? Thank you! 2021 Armed Forces Cycling Classic P/B Boeing Pro/Am Races Online Registration

Whilst not specific to the race you’ve mentioned, you can find a wealth of great racing tips here: TR Race Analysis

Am I right in thinking you have at least one previous race under your belt? I ask because a field of 130 riders would blow my mind! That’s a lot of moving parts.

If the course has a few lumps and bumps, being light and nimble could be to your advantage. If it’s pan flat, you’re going to need to race smart. Very smart.

Personally, I’d focus more on the NOT crashing than getting into the break. With 130 riders, I’d expect it to be hectic for the first 15-20 minutes. Everyone is going to want to be at the front or in a break. Saving a few matches wouldn’t be a bad thing. Unless you’re exceptionally gifted and comfortable riding and moving up within a bunch. You’ll find yourself having to put in a few short, sharp digs when positioning has let you down and an effort is required. That can be the difference between being in the bunch, recovering and being in the race or shooting out the back.

Above all, stay safe, try and keep others safe and enjoy yourself :+1: