Is this a typical road race?

It’s cat 5. There are no tactics or organization. The strong people are at the front, the sorta strong are midpack, and the people who are sketched out are in the back wasting energy trying to close gaps.
Crashes happen. Wait till you get to cat 3


As other people mentioned, closer to the front is safer and (once you’re there) easier. I was in that race / field two years ago and tried to spend very little time at the back (I was mid / back of pack during the back part of the course on the first lap and moved up after that, never saw the back again).

Part of it is also that it’s one of the first road races of the season (or in 2017, the first, no dirty circles).

Thanks for the video.


@Alaric83 Sounds like the consensus is to stay more toward the front and stick with Masters if possible.

Have you done the King’s Valley Road Race? That one is coming up this weekend and I’m considering giving it another try. Looks like a considerable amount more climbing, but similar miles. A little recon info would be awesome if ya got it!

Glad you enjoyed the video!

Well, that definitely makes me feel a bit more confident about trying it again. Thanks again!

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I’m racing it this weekend. The two times I’ve raced it previously it came down to a reduced field sprint by the end. Nice course, roads aren’t any wider than piece of cake but the climbs thin the field out some so it is (eventually) easier to move up.

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Thinking about this more…isn’t there some kind of etiquette like if you are not moving up then you shouldn’t be crowding the left hand side?

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I would like that very much.

My n=1 view is that being able to move up in a field is part of racing bikes. Expecting a specific lane to be open isn’t realistic.

That said, if I’m the only one in that lane lane I’ll probably move up if I can / want to or move over and hop on someone’s wheel who is more able / motivated to get to the front.

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All looks pretty normal to me. Crashes are going to happen.

The guy you say has “hand cramps” is trying to warn you of obstacles/gravel/holes.

British Cycling have a great series of videos on their website called “Racesmart”. Give them a watch before your next race. In the UK vets/masters racing is often safer, but no easier. Don’t be put off by a 3/4/5 race. You’ll learn a lot by riding with the experienced guys.

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I wouldn’t say that it was typical of road races here in the UK, but the centreline rule is still in place. That said, where the line breaks and it is ‘safe to do so’, you’re allowed to pass on the opposite side. We have to adhere to the Highway Code.

Honestly, I thought you did pretty well. You soon read the course, identified places where energy could be conserved and moved up nicely on occasions. As you said, jamming those brakes is a problem. Pete spoke about this in a previous Podcast. With experience, you’ll learn to use your body to break. Simply sitting up can slow you down and popping out into the wind will definitely drop your speed. Practice this in group rides. Just be aware of others around you because less experienced riders could end up rear-ending you.

Personally I liked the fact that you didn’t give up when you got dropped. The sad truth is that bike racing is tough and had either of those crashes happened earlier, you’d have been back on and able to recover. Like the sign at the end said, never give up hope.

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Nope. Sometimes it’s the left side that’s moving up, sometimes it’s the right. It’s your job to figure out the best line.

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All the advice you need is near the end of the video.


This looks like a fairly standard cat 4/5 road race to me. Although I think my takeaways and recommendations would be slightly different than the things I’ve seen elsewhere in the thread.

I tend to agree that a masters race will be somewhat safer - but it really depends on the field. If you have what someone mentioned above - a 35+ 3/4/5 then it might not be that safe - you still have racers who aren’t familiar with racing in a pack. If you have what I consider a standard masters field (35+, no cat 5s) then it will be much safer but also much harder. You’ll be racing cat 1s and ex pros as well as guys at your general fitness level. Generally speaking these 35+ no cat 5 fields are the second hardest fields to race (with the P12 being the hardest).

The surges you see will always be worse at the back of a race and if that is your limiter then you do need to work to stay up front.

That said - for longer races if you can smoothly tail gun and anticipate surges you can save yourself a ton of energy. You just need to have a strong race sense about when you need to be up front and the longer the race the more spread out these times will be. For instance in a 3-4 hour road race there tend to be a few key moments where you need to be in the front and otherwise you’re better off surfing wheels and sitting in - of course where you do this depends on your capabilities as a rider

All of these things take time and there is no right or wrong answer - get out there and try again to keep the learning going

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Wow, how often do you see crashes like that?

I’ll check out that website, thanks!

Oh, and I knew why the guy was putting his hand out. I was just playing around… sorry it didn’t come across :slight_smile:

Thanks for the tips @PusherMan. I actually asked about the areas where there was no center line (I pre-drove it :stuck_out_tongue: didn’t get there soon enough to pre-ride) and they said we needed to estimate where the center line would be and stay to the right. Some people actually got warnings in those sections.
I like the “sitting up” tip. Definitely gonna have to try that one out.

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Good advice @trpnhntr … I guess I’ll just be hoping that people self-select to the Cat 4/5 race like I did if they aren’t experienced enough.

Seems to be quite the conundrum though. A new racer (me!) is worried they’ll put themselves in danger by joining the Open Cat 4/5 race, so they choose Masters instead… I always hear people say, “join Masters, never Open Cat 5,” but isn’t that advice just encouraging less experienced riders to make a generally safer field less safe? Anyway, just thinking out loud I guess.

Thanks for the tips!

Seemed pretty fine to me, if you aren’t going through the corners at the maximum possible speed then going up the inside isn’t a big deal because you probably won’t drift off line. You were clearly in control and not on the limit of your grip so don’t see what the issue is.

It is only dangerous when it is lined out and everyone is taking the corner as fast as possible and someone dive bombs the inside with no hope of making the corner.

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Yeah, I saw the inside pass and it didn’t seem that bad to me. Sure, avoid that if you can, but pretty evidently everyone had their line and held it. It’s not a good habit, but I didn’t think that was noteworthy on first pass. I had to go back and look at it again when I saw the comment in the thread. I’ve certainly done dumber things than that. :roll_eyes:

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Hey @CrunchyGears,

Great video! I would recommend that if you are local to Portland to come out to PIR for Monday Nights. My experience has been that it’s a great learning ground for tactics and because it’s held on the race track, it is excellent for pack riding practice as well.

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Thanks @ABarton! I’ve heard a lot about the PIR series… even been watching some videos of it and it looks awesome! I live a couple hours south though. It’d be nice if there was something similar around here, but I just haven’t seen anything in this area.
I haven’t given up on road racing quite yet though. I did the Kings Valley Road Race a couple weeks ago and entered the Masters 3/4/5 instead of the Open 4/5.
I got dropped on almost every climb (I’m about 195 lbs) and had to chase back on about 7 times before I finally got dropped for the last time on the 3rd and last lap. It was a much cleaner race though and I felt much safer throughout the race. Thanks for the PIR recommendation!

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