CRIT RACING 101: THE BASICS
Congratulations! You’re a bike racer! Here are just a few tips and basic rules to get you started on a fun, safe, and successful season. More details on rules can be obtained from the USAC Rule Book available at www.usacycling.org.
Tip #1 Arrive early so you’ll have plenty of time to register, locate the start line, check out the race course, double check start times, pin your number, and warm-up. Be fully ready to go to the line at least 5-10 minutes before your event.
Tip #2 Make sure your number is pinned on the proper side, right side up, so officials can easily see it. Put you hair in a braid or ponytail so it doesn’t obscure your number.
Tip #3 On the start line, make sure you’re in a proper starting gear—generally, big chain ring on the front, medium to easy cog on the back. Don’t forget to breathe.
Tip #4 Listen to the instructions from the officials. They’ll announce the race–Women 4’s, etc., the length of the race, any particular hazards you need to be aware of, location of the wheel pit, etc. During the race follow any instructions given to you by an official.
Tip #5 During the race, listen for the announcement of “prime” laps. That means there will be a prize at the end of the next lap for the first rider across the line. Check lap cards for number of laps to go. Listen for the bell signifying the final lap.
Tip #6 Follow the basic safety principles of group riding:
- Keep your hands on your handlebars– either on the hoods, or in the drops.
- Relax your arms/elbows/hands.
- Use your brakes as little as possible.
- When racing hard through corners, keep the inside pedal up.
- Do not overlap wheels with the riders in front of you. Protect your front wheel!
- Ride a similar line as your competitors through the corners.
- Avoid sudden movement right or left.
- Hold a straight smooth line, especially during the sprint.
Tip #7 Practice good sportsmanship and honor your competition! We are all in this together and just remember…
“You never get a second chance to make
a good first impression.” -Anonymous