First Race as a 3rd cat.

by Raleigh   January 14, 2013  

Next Saturday is my first race with the big, bad, bumpy grown ups.

I'm a 3rd cat for this year, having got points on my license asa youth, and I'm entering the Imperial Series at Hillingdon.

Are there any experienced 3rd cats who can tell me what their first race as one was like?

I'm still on junior gears, 50x14, so hopefully it won't be too much of a spinfest.

Apparently they've changed the direction for this years winter series as well, any tips from those that have raced there?

Lastly, is it true what they say, are there really horrific crashes in pretty much every Big Boy's race?

Nervous, but excited in equal measure!

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Hi, I started racing last season, got third cat after a few races in September. I found that the cyclopark at Gravesend suited me better as it's a harder course and so there is less jostling for position in the final sprint.

Anyway yesterday I did the 3rd cat race at Hillingdon and the pace wasn't too high the whole race but it was busy and on the last corner two guys near the front came together, I then hit one of them and a couple went into the back of me... I think. But I think it is supposed to be less common than 4th cat races. And out of the 10 or so races I have done that is the first crash I've been in.

Yes the course is now the opposite way (at least to the summer series), doesn't make that much difference really, apart from the sprint finish being much shorter - potentially the cause of the crash as position is so crucial.

I had 50 x 11 and was thinking I need to stop using a compact, only really mattered because there was a tailwind on a slight downhill section, but I think 50 x 14 may be tricky.

That said, don't worry about the crashes, first one I have been in and they don't happen that often. I hope you enjoy it, I probably won't be there next weekend but maybe in future. Good luck and hope this helps.

posted by gillerz960 [13 posts]
14th January 2013 - 1:16

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Cheers for tat info.

Trouble is, 50x14 is the max gear that Im allowed to use for the next two years as a junior. Fun.

Does the E/1/2/3 pack ever overtake the 3rds?

And did it ever string out, or wsa it always 5/6 abreast?

I guess you have a headwind going up the hill after the clubhouse then, how's that? Probably better than on the long straight.

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
14th January 2013 - 8:27

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Ye there was a headwind up that hill, wasn't too bad though, but it does mean a tailwind on the finishing straight which is where your gears may cause problems.

The E123 race cause a bit of chaos, a breakaway got past us but then a chasing group overtook us and slowed down, so we over took them again and it all got a bit confused, with 3 or 4 E123 sitting in with us which they aren't allowed to do, so I think they may have been disqualified, but the commissaire kept telling them to drop out but they never did. I think the week before the two groups came together on the 3rd cat finishing lap, which caused serious problems.

It did string out sometimes, particularly during and after the primer, but even so because it was so busy towards the back I think it was probably 4/5/6 across.

posted by gillerz960 [13 posts]
14th January 2013 - 9:19

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Jesus! You're racing in JANUARY! Surprise

That's it I'm moving, my first race isn't until mid April!!!

Sq

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posted by Squiggle [414 posts]
14th January 2013 - 10:56

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Gotta start somehwere Big Grin

I forgot to enter the indoor crit before the 10th, so I've set my eyes on this one.

Hopefully there'll be some other first year juniors there as well.

Also, my new kit hasn't arrived yet, so I'm wearing all black.

Nightrider

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
14th January 2013 - 14:41

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Squiggle wrote:
Jesus! You're racing in JANUARY! Surprise

That's it I'm moving, my first race isn't until mid April!!!

You doing any races up this way? Did you do the Ballater one last year?

Raleigh wrote:
Gotta start somehwere Big Grin

I forgot to enter the indoor crit before the 10th, so I've set my eyes on this one.

Hopefully there'll be some other first year juniors there as well.

Also, my new kit hasn't arrived yet, so I'm wearing all black.

Nightrider

Good luck Raleigh, sounds like you could be a bit short of gears being a junior though Thinking

Not get yourself some Road.cc kit?? Big Grin

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posted by Gkam84 [8795 posts]
14th January 2013 - 15:06

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Best of luck dude, let us know how it goes.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3082 posts]
14th January 2013 - 16:36

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Gkam84 wrote:
Squiggle wrote:
Jesus! You're racing in JANUARY! Surprise

That's it I'm moving, my first race isn't until mid April!!!

You doing any races up this way? Did you do the Ballater one last year?

Yeah the Ballater race was cracking! Going to be proper prologue and 2 stages this year, should be ace!

Sq

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posted by Squiggle [414 posts]
15th January 2013 - 3:19

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All racing at Hillingdon cancelled today Sad

Will have to wait for next week.

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
19th January 2013 - 10:08

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Oh not good.

Extra week of training though. Did you get my email the other day?

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posted by Gkam84 [8795 posts]
19th January 2013 - 20:44

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Sooooo.

Imperial Winter Series (Hillingdon) 2012/2013 #10

http://app.strava.com/activities/38720185

Absolutely fine for the first half an hour, with only a couple of worried moments. The race got off to a surprisingly slow start, so I found myself in the first 5 for a couple of laps.

After the first few laps, when it had started to speed up, I found myself drifting toward the back. Loads of people had told me not to do any work, but in order to not get left behind, I was having to go up round the outside every half a lap. Restricted gears are a bitch.

This was fine for about 25 minutes, when I realised that if I kept going like this, which I would have to, I'd not be able to finish with the group.

I set about timing an attack then.

On the long straight, there was a mean headwind, and the race naturally slowed here and thinned out to maybe 1 or 2 abreast on one side of the track. This was as good a place as any.

Stamp.

I went just after the finish line, and after 200m of lung bursting, out of the saddle madness, I was away. I was about 10m in front for just under 1/2 a lap. Breathing by that point was becoming stupidly hard.

The peloton came past me, and I was like 'phew, I can surely latch on to the back, I've made a good showing.' The end came past. And I couldn't get on.

I chased for a lap, just at that most horrible point where slipstreaming is impossible, but a couple more centimetres and you'd be in the draft. No such luck, and from then on, they got further and further away.

I lost count of the laps I did by myself, but looking at strava, it must have been 11 or 12. Fun.

The E1/2's came past, and after about 6 laps, the 3rds did. They were all very nice, and shouted encouragements.

With 2 laps to go, another Vo2 rider had been dropped up ahead, so I said to him that I'd tow him to the line, because he was pretty dead. Ended up getting lapped again by the E1/2's. Some pretty nasty shouting from them.

__

Things I learnt:

It's very hard work to make sure that you end up not doing any work. Its an art in itself.

Water. I'd reckoned that for an hour's race, water could've been foregone. Probably one of my biggest mistakes. A half full bidon would've lasted the race, and perhaps I wouldn't have started suffering after 30 mins.

Keep the effort constant. Short and sharp stuff need recovery time, and sod's law dictates that when you need to recover, everyone else lifts the pace. Probably the reason for my downfall.

___

Hopefully I'll improve in the next couple of races, getting dropped at a later stage at first, then not at all!

Then I'll think a little more about how I can win these bloody things.

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
26th January 2013 - 19:39

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WELL DONE. Good work.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3082 posts]
26th January 2013 - 21:27

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