Criterium Racing

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Criterium Racing

Postby DoogleDave » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:33 am

Hi all,
I know this question doesn't have a definitive answer but I was wondering what kinds of average speeds you would normally come across in Criterium racing through the grades (E to A)?

Or perhaps to put it another way, what kind of average speed would one need to be able to maintain (during a solo ride - not as a bunch) before considering joining the ranks of E grade and above?

I appreciate that E grade is for novices (which is obviously where I would begin), but I'd prefer not to turn up and be the last across the finish line by some distance because I am not yet up to scratch - or even close to it.

As a bit of background, I have been riding since March 2012 and love getting out on the bike as often as I can (I probably average around 150km's a week at the moment), which has dropped off a little since my training for the ATB ride.
My ave speed for most recent rides falls anywhere between 27 - 31 km/h for 20-50km distances.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I'm wondering if racing will bring on another facet of riding which I enjoy - but don't want to jump into the deep end and find that the water is way too deep!

Cheers,
Dave
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by BNA » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:55 am

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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby Alien27 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:55 am

You would be in C or D at the meets I race in (Waratah Masters in Sydney) with those average speeds. I started in E with the granddads and won my first race :oops: I have been in D since then and finish mid pack or towards the front if I'm racing smart. I average about 28kmph on cycle ways with where I have to slow or stop to cross roads (Cooks river cycleway in Syd)
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby toppity » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:03 pm

Hi there. Which club are you considering racing with? I reckon that to race with E you would have no trouble if you are averaging 30 km/h on your solo rides. I'm not sure how much surging goes on during "E" grade racing, but that is the thing that wears you down. Crits are rarely steady paced racing. Best thing to do is have a go. Then you will find out.
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby rockdoctor » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:08 pm

Depends a bit on the club and the course. Waratah D grade at Lansdowne on sunday was 35km/h for 65min and many were complaining that is was a bit slow. A flat course could be 37+km/h in D grade. I have won intermediate sprints, KOMs and races in D grade with some clubs but can't even finish in the bunch with others.

Rough guide from my club (Lidcombe-Auburn) below

Average Race Speed Final Sprint Speed
A Grade Over 40 km/h 60km/h +
B Grade 38 to 40km/h 55km/h
C Grade 36 to 38km/h 50km/h
D Grade 33 to 36 km/h 45 to 50km/h
E Grade up to 33km/h 44 to 45km/h
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby cerb » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:27 pm

Not sure where you'd be racing, but the clubs do have different speeds depending on the course and the number of riders.

I only have personal experience with SKCC crits in South Melbourne, where i've raced for about 6 months. Course is a flat, 1km circuit with 3 tight corners and one more 'flowing' corner.

E grade sits on about 30kph under control, then gets wound up over the last 3 laps by the race instructors. Last lap is true racing and speeds are usually 50kmh in the sprint.
D grade is a big jump up and averages 39-41kmh with sprints up to about 55kmh.
C grade speeds are the same as D, but with more break attempts going.
B grade speeds are around 40-43kmh with sprints up to 60kmh. Lots of surging and break attempts.
A grade average around 45kmh. No idea on the finish speeds!

I think that SKCC are some of the faster crits in Melbourne. If you prefer hilly courses, try the Yarra Blvd crits run by Hawthorn CC. Coburg CC crits are slower than SKCC, but have a slight downhill run into the finish which suits sprinters.

For reference: I ride SKCC D-Grade, average 30-34kph solo along Beach Rd and do about 120km/week - I'm probably in the top 15-20% of D-grade riders at SKCC.

E grade is a good way to get started - if you can avg. 30, you'll be fine. Try to win, but don't expect to win and you'll have fun!
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby Fraggle » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:32 pm

Hi DD,
Yeah look at the results page of a club eg Southern just to get an idea.

But you could always buy a 3 race pass and start in E grade then if too easy put yourself into a grade that suits you.
Again having said that racing isn't just about speed. There's skills and positioning in a group so maybe start out in E to learn what is expected of you whilst in a race.

Good luck and have fun
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby skull » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:43 pm

I raced in a combined A/B/C crit in march. My average speed for the race was 44km/h, that included a lap out.

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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby Rider123 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:53 pm

I race with the Carnegie Caulfield CC club down in South-East Melbourne.
We race at the Sandown Racecourse (Tuesdays) & Glenvale Cresent, Mulgrave (Sundays)

At Sandown, D Grade is about 36-38km/hr with the sprint being about 45-50km/hr.
There is a big difference between just hanging on in the bunch and making break-away attacks/being at the pointy end at the end of the race though. Also add in cornering, bunch riding skills & racing tactics to the equation.
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby DoogleDave » Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:40 pm

Thanks everyone, I appreciate you taking the time to offer your valuable insights. There is alot of great information there I will digest and ponder.

I am happy to start in E Grade and earn my stripes (so to speak) and learn the racing etiquette, tactics and skills as I can appreciate it isn't just riding around a circuit with a bunch of like-minded cyclists and tactics, positioning and bike handling skills are just as important as being able to keep a good pace.

As I live in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne I'd probably be looking at the Footscray CC crits at the VUT, though Coburg is not too far away either.

If anyone out there races at the FCC crits I'd be keen to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,
Dave
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby warren.suen » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:27 pm

Great post Dave, i've been wondering the same thing but been a bit too chicken to get out there and try for fear of looking like a fool a lap down and destoryed :oops:
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby cerb » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:38 am

The only fool is the person who doesn't give it a shot!

You will find that you rapidly improve even if you just go along for a few weeks and race until you fall off the pack.
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby thearthurdog » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:50 am

Just jump in there. Have a go and find out first hand where you are at.
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby rockdoctor » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:36 am

warren.suen wrote:Great post Dave, i've been wondering the same thing but been a bit too chicken to get out there and try for fear of looking like a fool a lap down and destoryed :oops:


Nothing wrong with that. I got put in the wrong grade when I started, so I quickly got dropped. The race then became a time trial for me trying to hold off the next grade for a long as I could. I got lapped a few times, but I was having fun. I went back the next week in the next lowest grade and was fine. Now I am at the pointy end of my grade and will probably go up next year back to the grade I was dropped from.
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby warren.suen » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:32 pm

Thanks for the cups of cement!

baby steps so will try and get a temp race licence and see what this race business is all about.. i think the nearest one to me is the LACC at SOP
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:37 pm

Yeah, jump on in.... if you wait till you think you are 100% ready you will put it off for a long time. Better off to just give it a go, you will soon wonder why you waited so long to try!. :P
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby ni78ck » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:32 pm

toolonglegs wrote:Yeah, jump on in.... if you wait till you think you are 100% ready you will put it off for a long time. Better off to just give it a go, you will soon wonder why you waited so long to try!. :P

That's what happened to me! All talk and no action. Now I cannot wait to race again!! :D
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby Daccordi Rider » Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:38 pm

Echo the give it a go sentiment. My first crit I got put in B grade and was dropped half way in, second try dropped in the last lap and third try almost got involved in the sprint for third. Fairly steep learning curve after only ever having done road races, almost always in the hills. Different style of race and a different sort of fitness but good fun. Go for it. :D
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby nickobec » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:37 pm

+1 for give it a go

I did that in April this year for road racing and wondered why I did not do it earlier.

At those speeds you would be at the front of E grade or towards the back of D grade at the club I race Peel District CC in WA

Get a 3 race licence and try it, in your 1st crit, you will suffer due to the cornering speed and every corner feels like it will be your last. If you get dropped in your first race don't worry it happens to about 50% of first timers.But you will improve quickly, one of the guys I started racing with go dropped just after 1/2 way 1st race, 2nd race got dropped a couple km from finish, 3rd race finished 2nd,
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby Jace » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:19 am

Interesting topic, I have been wondering the same thing. Anyone have any idea what the average speeds are around Heffron Park Maroubra for races? Id ideally like to start with an E grade race but I dont know if anyone even runs that around here!

Thanks!
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby jules21 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:02 pm

just give it a go! it's pretty friendly in the lower grades (and the higher ones for all i know) and there are often people turning up and getting dropped, sometimes it's regulars. no one will laugh.
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby BionicW » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:06 pm

Could I ask a question here - are the women graded the same as the men - in terms of speed etc. From what I see there are a ton of men's divisions, then "women" listed as one group. Don't many women race?
About to do my first races this year. Did a practice time trial yesterday - rather vomit worthy! Looking forward to getting better
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby jules21 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:14 pm

some clubs have women's grades, but not all. it depends on how many entrants there are. women can always race the "open" grades, which are not men's grades. if you're starting out, enter the lowest grade. if you win, they'll move you up!
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby foo on patrol » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:26 pm

If it is your first race, then you have nothing to loose and everything to gain by giving it a big crack. :mrgreen:

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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby BionicW » Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:27 pm

Thanks guys, went and had a look at a crit today. I'm going to start off in D grade and see how I go! Watch this space!
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Re: Criterium Racing

Postby Greed » Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:48 pm

hey mate howd you go?
i did my first crit at footscray on the 10th in d grade.
i was stupid enough to do a 40k ride that morning so i wall feeling it pretty early in the race.
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