7 cracking crit racing tips
Velociposse riders, Yewande Adesida and Rosi Digne-Malcolm give Hannah Troop some indispensable advice on what to do when racing crit
Crits are fast, exciting and adrenaline-fuelled - and if you do them on a weekly basis, you’ll feel like you have rocket boosters for legs.
London-based women's cycling club, Velociposse, train for and race fixed gear crits, road crits, and indoor/outdoor track. Here, three of their crit superstars share their secrets of success.
1) Be prepared
Always know when sign-on closes, then plan to get there a good 45 minutes beforehand. Paying, signing-on, pinning numbers onto your jersey, calls of nature, all take time.
2) In the bag
Take snacks, layers for cold or wet weather and your lucky socks (they’ve not been scientifically proven to make you faster, but it’s all about marginal gains, right?).
3) Warm up properly
There’s an old saying: the shorter the race, the longer the warm-up - and that’s most definitely true when it comes to this style of race, which requires the ability to sprint on demand.
If you can, warm up on the circuit. It’s a great chance to familiarise yourself with it. If not, some riders take rollers to warm up on at the side of the track.
4) Get those drafting gains
Once the race starts, the best thing you can do is focus on staying in the bunch and as close as you can to the wheel in front. That way you’ll expend less energy.
5) Remember drafting etiquette
As in point 4, it’s tactically clever to draft. However, it’s race etiquette to take your turn on the front if you can. Here, it’s about balance. Don’t sit on the front for too long as you'll use all your energy up. But don’t sit on someone’s wheel for too long either.
If a rider refuses to take their turn at the front, you can wave the rider behind you through for them to take their turn. If there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm to rotate with you, pull off to the side, skip a couple of pedal strokes and then carefully slot back into the bunch behind.
It’s normal for riders to shout to each other during a race. This is usually to make other riders aware of their whereabouts.
For example, if you’re moving up towards the front of the peloton to a rider’s left-hand side, shouting: ‘on yer left’ is perfectly acceptable and appreciated. It’s a great way of avoiding collisions.
7) Don’t take it too seriously…
With crit racing, fun should be your primary aim. If you get dropped, don’t worry about it. We’ve all been there and you will get stronger.
How do I find a race near me?
If this gets your fun barometer cranking, check out the British Cycling website for races in your area that you can sign up to.
Get more from the Velociposse girls here