2013 Clinic Intro

February 24th, 2013 by sprinterdellacasa Categories: Clinic No Responses

For 2013 the clinics will be focusing more on drills and less on chalk talk. In order to do this everyone will need to review some of the basics that we covered at the beginning of the clinics last year. The information below applies to all levels of racers but it’s critical that the information be fresh in the minds of the Cat 5s.

Basic Stuff You Should Know Before You Show Up At Your First Race:

1. Look down to look back. You can see a good 5-10 feet behind you just by looking down. This is usually best when you’re checking if you’re clear but feel a bit uncomfortable turning around (due to being close to other riders, bumpy road, etc). It’s useful to know what’s going on just behind you.

2. Look over your shoulder without swerving – You can drop the outer arm (the one you’re looking over) off the bar, put that hand on your thigh, or drop your chin to your shoulder. All those things try to keep your shoulder from rotating in the direction you’re looking. If your shoulder rotates then you pull on the bar and start veering to the side you’re checking. In other words if you look over your left shoulder and you pull a bit on that shoulder you’ll steer a bit left. Not good, especially if you’re looking back to see if there are cars coming up on you.

3. Check your six before moving over. Check before you move. 6″ gentle lateral movement is okay. 12″ is starting to push it – you really should check before making such a move. Over a foot you should be checking for sure. If it’s tight just look down. If it’s not tight then you can look back. If you feel a bit uncomfortable then look down.

Tip: uncover your ears. It really helps with situational awareness.

4. Starting off from a stop. Use your clipped in foot to get going, don’t push off with your slippery and delicate cleated cycling shoe.

5. Don’t swerve around road features. Critical! There is nothing out there in the Bethel course that requires a major swerve. You can ride though the manhole covers, the sewer grates are covered, and if you have your hands on the bars you’ll be okay through everything else. Running over something like that is okay. If you swerve you increase the chances of taking someone out. If you need to swerve then you made a mistake. Think ahead. If you are going to hit something then unweight the saddle a bit. You don’t have to stick your butt up into the air, just unweight a bit and let the bike move around.

6. Stay parallel to others in corners/turns. Critical! The best cornering line in a group is to corner with the group. It’s not “outside-inside-outside”. When you’re on a highway on a left curve you don’t go from the right shoulder to the left lane to the right shoulder. You stay in your lane and move only if it’s clear to move.

This is particularly important when climbing as a group up the finishing hill. Stay parallel to those around you, don’t squeeze one side then the other.

Example in this clip at 7:41.

7. Drinking without looking down. Practice on a trainer or while leaning up against wall. Practice putting the bottle back without looking, that’s the key. You might position your foot at a certain point and use your leg as a reference point for slipping the bottle back into the cage.

A good example of this in the clip here at 2:40 or so.

8. Make sure your bike is mechanically sound – bars and stem tight, chain doesn’t skip if you slowly backpedal in the small chainring, small cog (no stiff links). In the spring many racers have newly assembled bikes and the first few races are the first few super hard rides on said bikes. You don’t want to learn that you forgot the carbon assembly paste on your bars when you’re sprinting up the hill, you don’t want to find out you put the chain on wrong when you’re 100 meters into your sprint (it happens every year), and you don’t want to learn that you didn’t glue your tubular on well enough when you go through Turn One.

9. Tubular tires, if applicable, should be glued extremely well. If in doubt have the tire reglued. If it takes less than 15-20 minutes to get the tire off then it probably wasn’t glued well enough. 30 minutes to remove a well glued tire is common.

10. Cleats are in good shape (wear indicators not gone, no damage to cleat like cracks etc). I learned this the hard way personally. Check your cleats.

11. One handed – near stem is best. If riding one handed then holding the bars right next to the stem is most stable. A sudden jolt will affect your stability much less than if you’re holding the bars on the drops or the hoods. If you’re just drinking from a bottle or something then you should probably keep holding the drops. If you’re adjusting something or eating or doing something that will take a while then next to the stem is good.

12. Rules and regulations – Free Lap. Helmet. Yellow Line. Getting pulled. Free Lap is a chance for you to get back in the race after an incident. “Incident” includes a mechanical failure (flat tire for example) or a crash (you hit the deck). It is NOT a mechanical if you assembled your bike wrong (loose part, bead unseats on clincher, dropped chain, loose wheel). If you have a “mechanic’s error” problem then you will not get a free lap. Likewise if you get delayed by a crash you do not get a free lap. You must chase.

Helmet – any time you get on the bike to go somewhere you must be wearing a helmet. Not on a trainer but any other time you have to wear a helmet. If you do not there is an immediate fine. YOU CANNOT RACE until you pay that fine.

Yellow Line – there is a partial yellow line rule on the course. If you cross the yellow line to move up then you will be disqualified. There are enough helmet and bar cams out there that this is a distinct possibility. If you are on the yellow line and getting squeezed out then you must either speed up, slow down, or stay on the yellow line. You cannot go over the yellow line. Obviously if there is a crash then you can take avoidance measures.

HOMEWORK: Look down to look back. Look back without swerving. Drink from a bottle without looking down. Ride one handed while holding the bars in different spots – drops, hoods, tops (near stem). Check over your bike to make sure everything is okay. Practice starting off by using your clipped in foot, not the foot on the ground (it’s best to practice this by unclipping and putting a foot down at every stop sign, every light – you’ll get the hang of it quickly).

Oh and watch some of the Bethel Spring Series clips and get an idea of what the course is like, how the field moves around it, etc.