Tips for a beginner racer

Tips for a begginer racer... Posted : Mar 8 2005, 06:05 PM
I'm starting racing this year and I was wondering what advice you elite guys would give me so I can be up with you soon.

Parmi les réponses reçues :

Stay in school and learn how to spell. That'll get you a lot further ahead in life in the long run than riding up front with the big boys.

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Try not to compare yourself to an elite racer. They have fragile egos. Even after they are washed up, or while they are "taking a year off", they are still greatly superior to you. When you finally beat them in a race, chalk it up to luck. It's the only way they'll talk to you.

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Get a coach who's advice you trust and listen to him, and not us morons here.

Get a mentor - different than a coach - an older rider who's experienced, been there done that, get him and the coach you pick to communicate well. Both serve a different and distinct role in your development.

Give yourself 4 years to develop. It ain't gonna happen overnight, if it does, great! You're one in a million, but if it doesn't, don't give up after 1 year.

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Earning some respect will help as well. How ? Keeping your trap shut would be a good start. You cannot learn while talking.

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Before I suggest some advice, I should give you some background as to where it came from. Many years ago, I took a junior team to a race west of Toronto. On our way, I decide to drop into Jocelyn Lovell’s place (many years after the accident) to have him talk with the team. He was his usual self (some of you may know what I mean) and eventually gave some advice on how to win a race. I have passed this advice on to many people and now years latter I still think his words are some of the best ever spoken.

So here it is.

4 rules to winning a race :

Rule 1 – Go to the race. If you don’t go you cannot win. This does not mean that you have to go to every race. It means that you have to plan a season (usually a coach is involved) and stick to your plan. You can never say “I would have done great if I had just gone to the race.” Or some of the better comments such as “The best riders were not there so your win is less important.” You cannot win if you are not there.

Rule 2 – Start the race. Sounds simple but how many people have forgotten something at home (shoes, jersey, etc) ? How about a bike ? Sounds silly but it has happened in big group situations. A comment at a race such as “Hey didn’t anyone load my bike on the roof of the van ?” This rule also means that you must know when the race starts, how to get to the start and that all your paper work is in place. You cannot win if you do not start.

Rule 3 - Finish the race. This one requires a bit more work. You must be in physically and mentally prepared as well as have equipment that will not break down. You cannot win if you do not finish.

Rule 4 – Finish the race first. Even though you spend most of your time training so that you can get from rule 3 to rule 4, you still must accomplished rule 1, 2 and 3 first.

Hope this helps.

Ross Knight

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ZigZag around a lot. Hit the brakes at random. Attack the downhills. Move up three spots on every inside corner. Ride a bike worth more than my car with a pro team jersey tucked into your 12 dollar cycling shorts. Oh ya, bitch and moan on Canadian Cyclist Forum regularly, you'll fit right in.

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Drink lots of water. More than you can stand. More than everybody else.

The biggest limiter for a novice is not training hard enough, it's not being able to recover fast enough to train hard tomorrow.

Water is the biggest factor in overcoming this.

People know they're supposed to drink water, they know the principle behind it, but most people don't do it obsessively enough. A bottle an hour. Every waking hour. You'll be pissing a lot. If you want to be good in this sport, it's worth it.

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Make sure you park your vehicle far away from everyone else. That way, if you get smoked, you can slip away and no one will notice. Honest it works.

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Parking far away works like a charm, unless you're spotted at the side of the road with your camera before the race is over.

Starting with a prefab list of excuses is wise.
- My knee/hub/bottom bracket locked up.
- I'm just a recreational guy in a pack of full-timers/dopers.
- My brakes were rubbing/starting to fade.
- My asthma/sore balls/hip/sweat in my eyes.
- The rest of you were too sketchy for me.

Feel free to get creative here. It can be challenging and rewarding.

Not showing up because the entry fee is too high (despite being able to preregister at a discount) is my personal favourite. I always howl when I hear that one. Especially from guys on the bling bikes driving the bling cars.

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Take the front on a downhill section, lock up your brakes, take down the field (excluding yourself) and hope there wasn't a cop in the pack to punch your lights out afterwards. If there is, the parking far away strategy has backfired and a new pair of underwear may be in order.

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