I need a pep-talk! (and a glass of wine)

Hey fellow TrainerRoad cyclists!

I just finished a series of 4 early bird criteriums. These crits were paired with clinics covering a variety of race skills. There were no official placements, but they count toward my cat 5 upgrade points.

I’ve been training (mostly) consistently since early 2019, first with Sufferfest, and now with TR since October (TR rocks btw). I completed a sweet spot base training section and with my 4 C races sprinkled in, I just finished a short build and specialization block. I have been 95% compliant with a mid-volume plan since October.

With all this training I was feeling pretty good about going into some cat 5 crits. Turns out I have quite a ways to go to even compete at this level.

In both the first and fourth crit, I just plain got dropped. Like a hot potato. Since these are practice crits, they allow you to soft pedal until you get lapped and then slot back in to get the practice time in the peloton. Today, in race four, I didn’t even have the legs to slot back in! OUCH!

Race two and three went ok, meaning I finished in the main group.

I am definitely getting faster and I’m pushing myself HARD. In crit 3 I set all-time records for my 10min power and 20 min power, AND the NP for the 50 minute race was above my last tested FTP!

Today, in crit 4 I had two 5 minute blocks where I set all-time PR for 5 min power. I was giving it 100% to hang on to that group, just to see them float away.

So, I’m obviously getting faster, but not fast enough to hang with cat 5 racers? It’s frustrating to train for basically a full year, and still not be fast enough to hang with beginners. (I have race experience from about 30 years ago which just adds to my frustration)

I know it’s still very early in the season, and my A and B races are in May and June. I will undoubtedly see more big gains. But… This is also true for all those guys who dropped me today…

Please tell me to stick with this and my fitness will improve enough to at least hang with these guys!

I am SO looking forward to my RECOVERY WEEK starting NOW! (and looking forward to seeing the results from a new ramp test after that.)

Ok, rant over. I’m off to have myself a burger and a glass of wine!

Cat 5 does not mean “beginner”. It means that they haven’t raced enough to not be in Cat 5. I’m a Cat 1 XC racer, but I’d be Cat 5 if I decided to race road.

Everyone gets dropped in the beginning. There is way more to racing than just power.

You are getting faster, you are learning how to race, and you are setting power PRs. You have nothing to be worried about and a lot to be proud of.


I think I got dropped the first 6 or 8 times I raced. By the 100th time I could ride in a large 80 rider crit and stay in the top 15 the whole time and sprint for a placing.

Just keep showing up!

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It’s quite possibly more learning how to ride in the bunch efficiently. I bet if you look at people’s Strava’s from the races, you were dropped by people doing less overall power than you. Once you get the hang of crit racing, you’ll be able to hang in there and put your fitness to good use.


Thanks guys! I’ll take my recovery week, let my body get stronger, and journal through lessons learned over the past four weeks. Then I’ll be ready for another round! More racing in March! cheers!

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Here’s the truth. We’ve all been disappointed. We’ve all not been good enough at some point.

Firstly congrats on entering a IRL race. Secondly how far apart were the crits? Could it be you were tired from training. Nutrition? Sleep. There are a number of things to look at. And also how to race a crit. There are great videos on TRs YouTube channel about exactly that. Recover well. Keep training and long terms goals…I noticed it was your C race, so in the long term process of becoming faster and a better cyclist. Look at what you learned from those races to take into your B and A races.

You’re doing fine. There are people who train for several years before entering their first road race. There are people who are competitive triathletes and mountain bikers who are dipping their toes in the road racing scene.

You’re doing great. Find a fast group ride and train with them and enjoy this for what it is, beer league softball with bikes.

I did one race last year and gonna do way more this year and going forward. I 100% accept the fact that I may never win, podium or even top 5. Hell it’s probably more likely that I don’t in the Bay Area with such crazy competition. But I’ll train with the intention to achieve one or more of those targets. I really believe, cheesy as it sounds, it is all about the journey.

If he is setting PR’s, the power/fitness is there. Would seek the issue in effeciency and expectations/tactics.

In addition, if your FTP is not correct, you might be training less efficient. the 50 minute NP cannot really be compared with FTP, but it’s worth to retest (and make sure you go deep :slight_smile :slight_smile:
(huge PR differences indicate that your FTP might be off)

Good point. There were definitely a range of skill levels there. Because the races were associated with clinics, there were quite a few self-professed beginners, but not everyone raised their hand on that question… :-0

The crits were spaced one week apart. So, four weeks in a row. I think training fatigue was a factor in the last race since it was the last day in a long training block. Sleep probably could have been better as well. I’ve been watching a TON of videos on crit racing, covering as many skill levels and courses and instructors I can find. Best so far are the TR race analysis, NorCal Cycling and Vegan Cyclist. Happy to take more recommendations!

Yeah, pretty sure my FTP number is off a bit. Looking forward to my Ramp Test next week after some recovery :grin:

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I’m in Burlingame and the races were the Early Bird races in Fremont. Where in the Bay Area are you?

Pretty close! I’m in Belmont. My deciding to race more this year came in after the early birds. I wasn’t sure if racing during base stage was recommended. The other day I was looking through some TR podcasts and in one of them the the trio were all like “Race during base! It’s great”

Which then did it for me :blush: I signed up for livermore circuit race same night.

I’m also not big on the idea of crits where you leave so much of your fate in other riders’ skill and judgement but I probably should stop thinking like that. Raced 600cc moto class in the past (aka “meat grinder class”) and survived after all!