First time crit UK

Hi.
On Saturday I’m doing my first ever crit. It is in UK and carries British Cycling points. Its a men’s 3/4 race that has sold out, 60 starters. I’m a cat 4 as a newbie. Any suggestions on what I need to take along with me as I say, it’s all new to me. I was going to take my racing license but what else would be a good idea/necessity and what’s going too far? I dunno!
So far I had on my list:- bike (obviously), helmet, Garmin, recovery drink for after race, bottle to sip nervously beforehand? Race license, turbo to warm up on before? Or is that going to far? Spare tube and tools (not carrying during race but taking along in the car). Safety pins for number although I have 3M spray I don’t know if that’s allowed, it does hold well and doesn’t leave residue or make holes in my jersey. Talking of jerseys, I am not affiliated to a team so Is there any rules stating what I can wear/not wear? I wouldn’t wear a pro team top anyway as I don’t have one :joy:.
Any suggestions appreciated.
Cheers

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Congrats on signing up for your first crit!

I think a lot of the things on your list look good. I did my first crit last year, and I considered bringing a turbo. I’m glad I didn’t. There was quite a bit of sensory overload and I think it just would have added an extra stress point. As long as you have a place to warm up adequately, I’d leave it at home for the first race. Others may think differently.

Good luck! Report back on how it went.

Hey there @TitanicClown!

That’s so exciting! Here is a list of what I always brought to races:

  • Racing Lisence
  • Cash
  • Extra water
  • Extra food
  • Maintenance Tools
  • Spare parts
  • Nutrition for race day
  • All your gear (obviously)
  • Clothes to change into after the race
  • Whatever you use for recovery

We also talked about this on the last Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast episode which you can check out here:

As for taking your training and warming up on it, this is really personal preference. Some people like to warm up on the road and some prefer the trainer. Personally, I like to get moving before my race.

I’m sure everybody will be able to give you more tips on what helps them on race day as well!

You can wear any jersey you like as a 4th cat.

Where are you racing?

Ps shoes :grinning:

Regarding bringing a trainer:

I did a road race a couple of years ago and 3 crits this year. The road race was a big one. While you get get some level of warming up on the road, such as light spinning, it wasn’t practical to any sprints (critical for prepping for a crit). So virtually every rider, myself included, brought a dumb trainer to warm up on.

For the crits, there were a few stretches of long road closed off to the public, that we could warm up on. As such, while there were a few racers that brought their trainers, most of us used the road itself. It worked well for me.

Bottom line: I think, you really need to know about the warm up area and just how available it will be to you to warm up. As a precaution, you could bring your trainer and evaluate when you get there.

A couple of final comments about preparation: Have EVERYTHING laid out ready to go the night before. Other than your basic morning routine, there should be no thinking required. Given that it is your first race, I would also lay out a detailed schedule for yourself and include everything in it, including pre-race jitter bathroom break. Things take longer than you think and being able to feel in control will help for a great experience. Good luck!

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Good luck man.

I have never taken a trainer as I prefer to warm up on the road or a quick loop of the track. However if you have a dumb trainer having it with you gives you an option if you cannot do that. Get there in good time and have a laugh.

@Tom_Dean the crit is in York.

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Thanks for replies everybody. All appreciated no matter how little it maybe. My aim is to finish the crit in one piece and enjoy the experience. So long as I mange that I’m sure it will be a great learning experience. And whatever happens I’ll be stronger than I would have been without TrainerRoad :blush:.

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I;ve raced York a few times. Plenty of the uni roads to warm up on and the car park is big enough to get space for a Turbo too.

Twisty course so ensure you stay near the front so you’re not caught out when they sprint out of the corners.

If you have a 2nd set of wheels take them too. At least in the US, at crits you can get a free lap and get back into the race after a flat if you have spare wheels in the wheel pit. Plus I have seen people on several occasions have a flat or wheel issue shortly before race start and swapping in a new wheel is way nicer than dealing with the stress of making a fix under pressure or worse, have to miss the race.

Did you specifically put shoes and helmet on your list? Those seem to be remarkably easy to forget, especially if you are not used to driving to rides :wink:

If your first crit experience is similar to mine was, you will be pleasantly surprised at how the TR training will have given you the fatigue resistance to hang with the pack, if not the lead group, for the entire race. Have fun!

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Urgh, yes. Drove 90 minutes to a sportive only to remember as I pulled into the car park that “No helmet, no entry” :man_facepalming:

Agreed - raced and podiumed there a few times and you can warm up on the circuit with ease.

Going into the bend before the hairpin, it pays to be at the back of the pack - it always slows to a standstill at the hairpin and if done properly, you can pretty much stop pedaling half way on the top straight and cruise up to the pack when they drop anchor at the corner.

Last race I did there, I employed this tactic and coasted for pretty much 1/3rd of the lap every lap. Key is not to do this in the last 10 laps or so as you’ll get caught out!! Came second owing, in part, to tailgunning the vast majority of the race.

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That list looks good to me. Just remember to check the weather. It’ll help ensure you pack the right kit without taking everything you own.

Other than that, smile and say ‘Hi’ to the other riders. Your going to have a blast and I doubt you’re the only first-timer in the race. A quick chat really can calm the nerves :+1:

I’d add some scissors/snips/nail clippers for trimming off the zip ties for the timing chip.

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Where can you find crits in the UK?

All of the above, plus : Olbus oil to put a few drops on your track mitts or on your gloves to clear the airways. I would also take some vick for the chest, and dry cough medicine as one thing is certain, your lungs will feel like they’re exploding after a minute or so with a fast start.
Crits tend to start fast for positioning into the first corners and faster riders dont want to be stuck behind slow cornering riders .
I hope you’ve been practising fast cornerring out on the road or closed roads -industrial estate etc. If not get some fast, or else start at the back and be prepared to find your feet at YOUR pace- it will be a rude awakening otherwise.

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They use timing chips for crits in the UK?? We just get a number.

You’re getting a lot of great advice here. The turbo is clearly a personal preference item. I like to warm up on the turbo for the most part, and then get on the course for a couple of laps just to get a feel for it (turns, wind, etc.). I have several teammates who vastly prefer warming up on the road. Everyone has personal requirements for warmups, too. I need a longer warmup; other teammates prefer a shorter one. You should have an idea based off how your TR workouts go.

Your list looks pretty good to me. Don’t forget shoes!
For the number, you probably want to have at least one pin in there just to make sure. Some places require one pin; others don’t.
For the jersey, I don’t know the UK rules. For US, as a lower level unaffiliated rider, it doesn’t matter what you wear (although I wouldn’t wear pro kit…).
Definitely have everything prepped the night before. You don’t want to have to think about stuff that morning.
Leave yourself far more time than you think you need.

That day, take a few deep breaths. It will be nerve-wracking but exhilarating. People will go out much harder than you think they should. Keep the rubber side down, watch out for unsafe wheels, and have fun!! And, please report back!!!

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