Men's clinic observations a.k.a "Where did everybody go?"

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Anonymous's picture

"There was a good sized group for the clinic. Of course you look around and size everybody up. The ""Moneygram"" guys (they ran the clinic) where all really tall and skinny. But it looked like I could keep up with the rest. All I was trying to do was stay out of the wind. My goal was to not get dropped. I guess I shouldn't have aimed so high:)

The first lap was controlled, as in we just followed the moneygram guys. The second two laps were open for anything. For the first lap I stayed near the front just behind the moneygram guys. On the first lap, I was already into my anaerobic zone. My heart rate was too high. The speed really picked up as we went past Tavern on the Green. Cruising speed became 24mph.

When we hit the hill the second time it was all over for me. I shot out the back as if I was standing still. I chased for a bit, but there wasn't any help around and the bunch was flying.

I met up with a couple guys and we helped each other around. I had enough to ride away from the guy I was with at the finish. So I got a little boost from that.

For anyone thinking about doing the clinic, here are my numbers. And remeber that I got dropped. I only hit the Lap button after the first lap, I inserted the other lap buttons later. I am curious as to the speeds for the bunch.

Lap 1 - The controlled lap.
Average Speed - 20.4mph
Average HR - 157
Average Cadence - 99

Lap 2 - Dropped on the hill
Average Speed - 20.1
Average HR - 174
Average Cadence - 96

Lap 3 - Getting to the finish
Average Speed - 18
Average HR - 169
Average Cadence - 98

My next step is to marshall the Jun 18th race. Then I will try my luck at the C race the next week. I will try to stick with the bunch for the first two laps. Now that I know what to expect, I can train for it better.

I would highly reccommend the clinic to anyone that has thought about racing. Even though I got dropped, it was a really positive experience.

And to end this post, here are a list of my excuses.

My legs were really sore when I woke up. I did not ride to work this week because of the rain. I rode on Friday (20 miles) and Saturday(30 miles), but it was too much with no recovery time. I need to be on my bicycle more.

I am a climber not a flats guy. My top speed (when I push hard) on the flats is only 21 or 22. By myslef I ride at 17 or 18 (or a lot slower) when I ride to piermont. I burned out on the flats before I even got to the hills. I need to do intervals to raise my top speed.

It all comes down to using my riding time more effeciently and training smarter.

And last but not least, My dog ate it.

Anonymous's picture
JT (not verified)

"Heath, what were you wearing/riding?
I was the asian guy in all black lycra on the Merlin Cielo.

I had a blast. I stayed with the lead group and started sprinting at E72nd street. Alas, it was too early. I faded and got passed by 3-4 at the finish. My time was 46:30 (a lot faster than my solo laps).

One of the marshalls said we were faster than the ""C"" group, although we only did half the number of laps. I was very nervous about doing the clinic, but did much better than I expected. I still can't believe how much fun it was and I can't wait to do it again.

The Moneygram coaches were great. They rode alongside us, shouting encouragement, giving pointers and keeping us out of trouble. Great job CRCA and special thanks to the coaches/proctors! Nice way to grow the sport."

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)

I was wearing a blue jersey and blue leg warmers. I was on a TCR Giant. I was the guy that mentioned that my HR was too high. I think they were right, don't look at the numbers. If I had no idea how hard I was going I would not have gotten dropped on the second lap because I would not have know I was blowing up. I would have been dropped on the third :)

I came in 5 minutes and 15 second after everyone.

Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)

Congrats. Getting dropped is part of the initiation rite. Your work is cut out for you now, in preparing for your first race. CRCA offers coaching sessions that are a great resource for all club members.

Good luck!

Anonymous's picture
Derrick (not verified)
still aching

Heath, my computer gave an overall avg of 23mph for the 3 laps and I got dropped in the final sprint up cats paw. In the lower half of the park we were doing 27ish - never thought I would see that. I went above 95% of my max heart rate a couple of times and topped out at about 98 on cats paw. Still aching from the effort.

Good fun though wasnt it.

Some day we will give Joe D a run for his money.

Anonymous's picture
Rob M (not verified)

Actually Joe took 4th in the C field. Check out:

For a nice shot of Joe and his teeth. Grrrrrrr

Anonymous's picture
jt (not verified)

Derrick, were you the one blowing snot rockets at me? (that's a joke). Seriously, what bike were you on?

Does anyone know the person who won? He was riding a Seven Elium with Zip 404 wheels. Beautiful setup. Just wondering if he was a sandbagging racer or a beginner just like the rest of us.

Also, is anyone who rode in the Sunday clinic going to join CRCA immediately? It's $90 for membership plus $60 for the USCF license for a 1/2 season. Debating whether I should keep training and just wait until next year.

Anonymous's picture
Michael Y (not verified)
I joined yesterday.

Why wait?

BTW I don't know the guy who won.

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)

I already had my USCF license. I joined yesterday also.

What sold me on joining was the free coaching.

For me it is great belonging to two different clubs. I believe both clubs provide very valuable resources.

I did not know the guy that won. I cannot imagine a guy that has never raced before in his life would be able to go that fast for that long. And know where and how to ride in the pack. And apparently he was very tactical at the end also. Waiting to sprint at the right moment. Although maybe he got lucky.

Anonymous's picture
Steve (not verified)
I'm joining too

I'm joining too. Can't wait to race again as soon as possible.

Anonymous's picture
Derrick (not verified)

Jt, not if you were riding with Heath ;-)

Didnt recognize either 1 or 2.

Signed up prior to the clinic. 1st marshalling date is mid June so will do that and see what events I can enter after that. Might be good to get a few of us together in the same race. I think John, another NYCC member who was there, might be up for it. JT, Heath, Steve, Michael? Anyone else?

Anonymous's picture
Suomynona (not verified)
way to go

"Awesome! See? Would I lie to you? Way to go JT, glad you enjoyed it. You too Heath, I had the _exact_ same thing happen to me my first time out - as did many others. Stick with it, it gets easier every time, really. If you can do the park at 18-20mph on your own, you can stick with the Cs - you just need to learn how to hide more, which only comes from more experience.

In terms of getting out there next, hit:

to get your Cat 5 license. Then hit FBF (Tuesday nights), or anything you see on that's got a Cat 5 field.

If you join CRCA and marshal June 18th you can be racing the Cs July 2nd and then 11 other races in central park this year"

Anonymous's picture
Steve (not verified)
Men's Clinic

I did the mens clinic on Sunday, and I was wondering whether or not I'd be able to keep up with the C racers. I hope so, because Sunday was my first racing experience, and I had a blast. I was at the front of the pack for the first lap, and also into the second lap- until we hit the hill at the north end of the park. Then I got dropped. One of the guys from Moneygram helped me out, and a group of 3-4 of us pacelined together to the end. I finished with a time of around 52 minutes, although my fastest time doing 3 laps around the park had previously been 58:55. What do you think?


Anonymous's picture
Suomynona (not verified)

"I can't tell you that, but there's nothing wrong with getting dropped. Getting dropped is awesome. Ask Heath, he knows. I'll bet you Heath is out there right now, making sure he doesn't get dropped next time. I recommend everyone gets dropped. I'll get out there, and drop you myself. If you're not getting dropped, you're not riding with people better than you, and you're not improving. If you want to improve, you WANT to get dropped. If you didn't get dropped, whats the point? Where's the challenge?

I would bet money, though, that if you do every C race from here to the end of the year you'll start finishing with the pack. 19mph average alone, and the C pack does what - 23 tops? You'll get 3 of those mph just learning to hide - for recycled inspiration see here

Anonymous's picture
jersey guy (not verified)
The joys of being dropped

Any self-respecting person with an ounce of competitiveness in them (which includes most people I ride with) hate getting dropped, which is why it is such good motivation if you want to improve. A lot of people hate it so much, they'd rather just ride with people the same speed or slightly slower, so they don't get embarassed. The trick is, in my experience, to set realistic goals and keep working at them. It's no fun watching the pack growing smaller in the distance, with the wind whipping at your face and your legs the consistency of jelly beans, but I learn something every time it happens. One thing I have learned is that my progress has to be made in stages, over months or even years. But the rewards are great, if you want to get better. One day you will get dropped, and then turn on speed you never knew you had and boldly bridge your way back to the group. As you tuck in behind the last rider in line, you'll be gasping for breath. But you'll know you've made it back and maybe even dragged a couple of others with you. Soon you'll be leaving others in your wake. And the joy of consistently dropping someone who used to consistently drop you is, frankly, exquisite.

Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)

Of course, when one tacks back on to a group, it's preferable to slip back into the middle of the group. If you're dead last, and you're gassed from working to catch back on, you run a greater risk of being re-dropped.

And where's the joy in towing somebody else up with you (unless he or she is a teammate)? Make them do some work.

Anonymous's picture
John Miller (not verified)

"hey, that's exactly what happened to me!

When I got dropped the second time up the hill, one of the CRCA guys gave me a tow back up to the pack. i have never chased for three miles before, but that's what i did -- and when i was finally back, i got hollers of ""good catch!"" all around.

The second time i got dropped -- yes, i had to bail out on the descent, because i was leaning way over on a wet road, the guy in front of me skidded but saved, and countersteering is still a little new to me -- i had no one with me, but gave it everything i had starting at around W103rd st. At 72nd street, what do i see ahead of me? the pack! I couldn't believe it.

But i had nothing left with a mile to go and they all disappeared past the Boathouse and up Cat's Paw. still, all that -- chasing, and chasing some more, and even seeing some minutely tangible result -- is something i could never do before. the lesson -- just stand on your pedals and go, go, go.

john m."

Anonymous's picture
Michael Y (not verified)
Suomynona you're the best! Thanks for all the inspiration!

"I too was dropped! But it was a great experience. I learned a lot and am looking forward to the challenges of actual races.

My biggest error was riding at the front for the first lap and a half or so. I'm comfortable in pacelines but racing with a group of strangers made me a bit uncomfortable. My heart rate was ridiculously high. Then, cut off by a rider who moved diagonally in front of me, I feathered the brakes, and quickly got dropped off the back. I fought to get back on, nearly closed the gap, but then lost the bunch at the descent at the north end of the park. I wound up working with others who were dropped (with Heath and Steve as it turns out). As we approached the Cats Paw finish, we sprinted for consolation ""points.""

Overall, it was awesome. I have to get used to being prepared to race at 6am, and train to get faster over the relatively short distance of a C race."

Anonymous's picture
Gary Katz (not verified)
Keep it up


You sound like you adapted as well as you could to the adverse events during the ride, and you're certainly positive about improving your performance.

You often mention that you love to climb and suffer on the flats. Have you considered holding back on the climbs for the first few laps, and staying with the group (taking your turns at the front if appropriate) and saving your strength until the last climb when your competitors are tired?

You may do better on the flats than you expect if you try this approach. (I am just hypothesizing here, not offering expert advice).

Why don't you try Floyd Bennett racing on Tuesday night? There are no hills, but plenty of wind. In my first race, I got dropped because I didn't know how to get into the pack after dropping off of a chase group. In the next race, following the advice of my Kissena teammates, I was with the main field throughout the race, and even found myself attacking about half a mile from the finish (although unsuccessfully).I didn't get any stronger in that week, just smarter.


Anonymous's picture
Kissena (not verified)

"Hey Gary, your first couple of years racing you don't know what you are good at. You have more limiters than strenghts. Unless he weights something like 120lb, he shouldn't be afriad of flats. With enough training, he can generate some good wattage on the flats.

For Heath, don't stay in the front unless you have a reason. Don't pull unless you are chasing down a break, leading your teamates, or just trying to tire the pack. For training, train to blast up that little bump in CP or PP with the big ring and keep your speed around 19mph+. This will improve your muscular endurance. Also go read Joe Friel's ""Training Bible for Cyclists"" to get an idea how to train properly. Sure, you can get a coach if you have extra money to burn. Good luck."

Anonymous's picture
a (not verified)


Anonymous's picture
Gary Katz (not verified)

Thats why I didnt claim to be an expert!


Anonymous's picture
JT (not verified)
pack etiquette

Ok, lots of good info in this thread for aspiring racers. Thanks for the advice. Here's a question for the experienced:

What is the proper etiquette for clearing nasal secretions while riding in a pack? No joke. Some guy on Sunday kept blowing snot rockets into the middle of the pack. Two hit me. One went right into my front spokes and was aerosolized, covering me in a fine spray of pulverized snot.

Anonymous's picture
Suomynona (not verified)
snot clinics

"July 23 (Sat) should be the next clinic, full 2005 schedule

Regarding nasal projectiles: launching snot rockets is a highly effective technique usually seen only at higher levels of racing. I'm surprised that was covered at the clinic. Especially effective while blocking or before an attack."

Anonymous's picture
bill (not verified)

sounds like a blast. Are they doing any more of these clinics soon?

Anonymous's picture
Rob M (not verified)

Take a look at the CRCA website:

Next clinic:

Chicks - June 18
Guys - July 23

Its only $10.

Anonymous's picture
Matt Purdue (not verified)

If I can add one more thing. Congrats to those who did the clinic. It's great to see the NYCC inspiring riders to become even more invovled in the sport.

I've been racing for about 18 months and want to give the newbies my two cents. There's much talk about heart rates and fitness. As much as you work on your lactate threshold, spend as much time on your bike handling skills and pack riding.

Dangerous is the only word to describe riding shoulder to shoulder in a pack at 30 mph. If you are uncomfortable doing it, you will be a danger to yourself and others.

Learn to ride a smooth, straight line while boxed in by four riders. Learn to hold your line while pedaling through a sharp turn at 22 mph. Learn to bump shoulders and rub elbows at without losing control. Learn to, yes, overlap another wheel and squeeze through a gap only wide enough for your handlebars.

These are not the skills you learn in NYCC pacelines (at least none of the NYCC paclines I've ever been in). I know some of the CRCA coaches cover these skills, but also practice them on your own and with your friends. Please learn to race smoothly and predictably. It makes everyone safer.

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