ITT: You save me from looking like an ass during my first crit

Long time no troll.

I’m thinking about doing my first criterium in about a month. I don’t know what I should do to start training / learn the ropes / learn how to race in the field and not hurt myself or anyone else. Any tips or resources for a newbie to crits? I’ve been doing rural 40 mi rides a few times a week, and I’m in decent shape. Pro tips?

<3 Jordan

u will need

hi vis vest
atleast three water bottle holders
^ all holders filled with water bottles
maybe a water bottle under hi vis vest in yr jersey pocket

signal all turns with outstretched arm

When peeing on your bike, just remember:

“The key to letting it all go is a downhill slope, relaxation, and a carefree attitude.”


“Also, don’t worry about other people behind you. Once they realize what is happening, they will get out of the way very quickly.”

^ lololol

Do a bunch of fast club rides before cat5’n up and putting yourself in the hospital. Tia.

lol i really don’t wanna die doing this. How fast is fast? I’ve been doing 40 mi @ 18-20 mph.

The internet actually helps if you go to the right pages.


it’s kind of impossible to make much use of this information but really just do what shiftGNAR said

Do you already pedal consistently through tight turns? Do you do any bump practice with riding buddies? If you can pedal through a 90 degree street intersection in a pack and don’t get sketchy from tire on tire love bumps, then you should get out alive.

I do this on a regular basis. I wouldn’t call it “fast” but there’s also no fucking way I could be convinced to race a crit.

Looks like a lot of bumping, yelling, pedal smacking, and bike handling assery.

Water bottles. You’ll need as many as humanly possible.

I would say get a buddy and go out to some flat grass field and do contact practice. Practice leaning shoulders on each other, bumping elbows, this helps remind you not to lock out the arms/body and stay loose. Then practice having one guy lead in front + the other behind, and guy behind practices rubbing wheels and bouncing out of it by turning into the wheel. Best to be prepared for this, as overlapping wheels may occur in a cat 5 crit.

Practice weighting outside foot + inside arm when cornering, 5’s corner way slow so helps if you stay near the front of the pack and carry speed, since the back half of the pack treats each corner as a sprint almost. In general, if you have the fitness, staying in the front 10 or so makes the race both a lot safer and a lot easier.

As mentioned, getting in a few quick group rides is really helpful. I did a couple 30+ rider group rides before I raced a crit, and by that point didn’t feel too bad.

good thread.
my first crit is coming up.
my plan is to throw elbows, then throw up

I’ve seen total newbs well organized in a paceline doing 25-28mph. Actual cat5s are probably going to be 1-2mph more than that.

If you’re used to riding in a pack, the cruising pace of a crit is typically manageable to anyone with any conditioning. the surges are what will make or break your first few races… a typical cat 5 crit for an inexperienced rider will be 300-700w bursts with coasting (or braking, ugg) in between… these will torch your legs and you will hate life until you figure out how to ride smoothly at/near the front… which can sometimes never happen in the 5’s.

so many variables

what’s the course like? what are cat5 fields like where you live? (size wise)

some wheel touch drills would be handy and practice cornering. just visualizing your line and powering out of the turn. some counter steering might help but seroiusly, cat 5s will probably be pretty mellow. things might get crazy during a sprint or just overall tomfoolery, but i doubt they’ll be super agressive.

how to win a cat five crit: sit in the whole race about 10 wheels back. dont chase ANYTHING down, because it wont get away due to everyone else willing to do all of that work for you. then at the 200 meters sprint.

show the officals two wins and petition to them that you’re not really a n00b.

This is the race I have my eye on:

0.9 mi figure 8 for 30-45 minutes (I might do 5/citizens and 4/5). I think I’m going to take the bike out on the track (running track) and see what I can do in 45 minutes to see where I’m at. I’ll try to do group rides although the local GR’s tend to move at about 20 mph, so not really aggressive at all. I’m 6’2" 200, so I’m sure I’ll be able to hold my own once I get comfortable with all the contact.

I’ve seen total newbs well organized in a paceline doing 25-28mph. Actual cat5s are probably going to be 1-2mph more than that.[/quote]

It’s 18-20 average. On the flats I can do about 22 mph steadily, and faster if I’m pushing it.

Damn, that race looks hot, like temp hot. 83 racers last year and 34 DNF in 4/5. One ride report had him in the 4/5’s at a consistent 28mph
Its wide though (like 5 lanes at some points) so thats good.

Also here is a video of the same course,