I have entered the Cairngorm APR next Sunday, my first competitive race. Looking to find out what experiences you guys have had and what you would suggest. i.e. Training, Warm up, Tactics etc. Its 27 Miles with the field being split up in to 4 groups leaving at 4 minute intervals. I can manage 03:15 per mile.
Should I do more training miles daily next week and have Saturday for a day of recovery?
Do I need a long warm up?
Should I attack from the off and hope I can catch the next group quick?
A week isn’t long enough to significantly improve your performance. Resting properly will have the biggest impact on your race.
Especially as this is your first race don’t do any hard cycles (or weights or anything else) 3 days before the race, you want to be fully rested before the start.
Unless a group consists of soley inexperienced riders it should organise itself into a paceline, i.e. single line with riders sharing a pull at the front. The faster groups will most likely catch the slower groups creating a bigger group. Unless your riding a sub 55min 25mile TT you’ll be best to stick and work with your group. If the organisers get the groups right the most likely scenario is that the fast groups catch up the slower groups before the end of the race.
I wouldn’t bother with too long a warm up, your not going to be going full gas from the start, but working with your group, just have a pedal around to get your legs moving.
The main points in the race you need to watch are any accelerations when a faster groups comes by, the pace might increase a bit. And most importantly the finish, if you get the chance have a look at the last couple of miles of the course. I seem to remember its a sweeping left over a bridge then sharpish left / right and a 30metre kick up the the finish. You’ll want to be near the front and on the left and middle, you’ll get boxed in, squeezed on the right hand bend at the end if your positioned to the right. If you got anything left by the end you need to get yourself in a good position before the last left / right bend. The roads are narrow so you need to be near the front a few miles before the finish.
If you’ve not ridden in a paceline before don’t pull through too strongly, ride smoothly to the front and then slacken off the pace slightly and the next rider will pull through. If you find yourself at the front and nobody else is working then slow down and let somebody else get to the front, don’t sit out there pulling everyone along just to get dropped when a faster group comes by.
I wasn’t expecting performance changing training. Just more as to how much to do this next week but still give myself time to fully recover before the race.
It is the same circuit. When i did the Jaguar/ Team Sky ride like a pro in Aberdeen right from the off I kept with a group that ended up burning me out. At the start we started a blistering pace but not long in we started to hit long hills and about 3rd the way in I had to back of and let them go. However come half way it flattened out and I managed to keep a similar pace but never caught back up again. Coming in to Aberdeen again me and another rider used each other to finish on a high however we stopped at a roundabout and I set off too quick and I lost him within a couple of hundred meters, only when I looked back looking for him to take a turn I realized he wasn’t with me.
I’ll take next Thu, Fri & Sat to clean my bike and make sure its ready.
How did you get on @Scott_Bell? Don’t know how many more races there are this year. There’s an early APR in Culloden around April. It’s got 1 hill around 2km long with a sharp decent, the rest is flat.
I Was playing football on the 7th which I came away with quite a lot of strains. I rested the whole week apart from Wednesday night were I did a spinning session. So I felt very fresh and full of energy. At the start one of the guys in the group asked if we would all be okay doing 30 second pulls on the front. We set off and I was near the back of the group kept the pace quite well and easy, before I knew it I was at the front taking my 30 sec pull. I backed off to go go to the back as I seen the last rider coming up i started to speed up, unfortunately I was a bit slow in getting back to speed and lost a 5 - 6 yards which I had to make up to get to the back of the group again. Just before we got to Kingussie the front of the group seemed to take a big spurt in speed and left 3 of us behind. We pulled together to try and catch them, from the early fall back the I had I was feeling the burn in my legs and was struggling to keep with the small group that was trying to catch the front group and I started losing time to them. I managed to put big push on before we got to Ruthven and got in front of the small group to take a pull but once again burned myself out. After that I started to struggle big time working on my own all the other groups coming passed flew past at speed and I could get behind them enough to help me. Just after the first lap I was passed by the last group which 1 straggler slowed up and asked if we could work together. I tried but struggled to stick to his wheel as he started to catch the faster group. on the back straight I passed someone with a puncture then I seen someone in the distance that I was catching. I kept my head down and pushed on. just before I got the rider up and it was one of the group of three that fell away from the lead group. I stuck to his wheel for a minute or so to get a bit of rest and then over took him around Balnespick and held infront of him until the final climb where I stayed in the a high gear he was spinning up and he started to pass me just as he got pass me just before the railway bridge i stood up and gave it some power staying in the same gear and sprinted passed him on the hill. So I ended up doing a 27 mile time trail. There was 58 Entered the Race but only 51 started. I ended up 47th. Time was 1hr 29.25 seconds. What I take away from the APR is that I didnt have dinner so I should have at least had an early dinner or a gel to help. I didnt warm up anywhere near enough and I need not lose too much speed after taking a pull so it is easier to get on the end again and not waste energy. I also adjust my seat which turned out to be 1/2 cm too high which meant I could adjust my seating position much and started to get uncomfortable 1/2 way round the first lap. (I know i’m not meant to play with set up the week before a race but it was something I noticed when checking my bike over on the Friday that it was a bit low. Lesson learned) I pumped my tires up to max pressure to give less friction but seemed to worsen the uncomfortable ride I was having.
All in all I will do more APR’s next year, it was my first one and it was always going to be a learning curve. I do however feel I need to work on flat roads and trying to keep a higher speed. I do like climbs and tackle them every day but dont get enough flat road training in. I will be doing more on the spinning bike over the winter months so hopefully next year I will have gained some overall speed.
I was going to this year but just had ended up with other stuff on. I want to do more next year along with a couple of apr’s. If anyone’s got any they know of that are good for beginners please feel free to suggest them. I really could do with increasing training hours as well. Doing about 5 hours per week in average