Good one, Ron!
We experimented with a win-and-out format with one group at Wente about three years ago. It resulted in quite a few confused and bewildered racers and a number of complaints.
It is physically possible to make a left instead of a right at the last turn onto the finishing straight, then a right 180 around the 50+ meter island that is there. Any thoughts as to whether that would improve things?
alan nielson wrote::idea: This is somewhat tongue-in-cheekâ€¦ but consider thisâ€¦
How about a new Criterium Racer requirement:
ROLLER SKILLS 101
Criterium Racers shall complete the following Rollers Training Skills without rolling off the rollers (or falling off his/her bike):
Demonstrate Crit Racers ability to:
1. Ride rollers one-hour minimum (must not be looking down at his/her front wheel â€“ door-frame start assistance not allowed).
2. Ride rollers hands free of bars.
3. Ride rollers left-hand free of bars.
4. Ride rollers right-hand free of bars.
5. Ride rollers while grabbing water bottle from cage, drink, and return to cage.
6. Ride rollers while pedaling with right leg only (left shoe off pedal).
7. Ride rollers while pedaling with left leg only (right shoe off pedal).
8. Ride rollers out of the saddle.
*Cat 4 & 5 Criterium Racers shall use 15â€ wide roller.
*Cat 1, 2 & 3 Criterium Racers shall use a 10â€ wide roller.
Just a thoughtâ€¦ :)
lol....I'd show up just to watch 90% of the people fall off their rollers. Do we get matts surrounding the rollers or do we have to tuff it out on the concrete/asphalt? :lol:
:idea: This is somewhat tongue-in-cheekâ€¦ but consider thisâ€¦
Yeah, start the 5s in groups of 5 separated by a minute and half gap.
Or make Cat 5 criteriums non-draft legal events.
Yea I know this isn't going to be popular with a lot of the roadies but on the old version of the Land Park course when ever they did a points race type of event the races seemed safer. Unfortunately not enough people ride to track so they don't know how to ride a points race. Also the people who prefer to sit in and save everything for a final sprint don't really like points races since you need to sprint more than once to typically win one. Still if you do a version of a points race where the first two riders get 2 and 1 point most laps and then on every 3 lap you do like 7,5,3,2,1 or 7,5,4,3,2,1 points you have more sprints, which will tend to wear down some of those riders who would otherwise be packing up near the front during the final laps. Also the additional sprints will hopefully help string things out a bit more.
The other approach at Wente might be to seriously look at the field sizes and make some reductions if there are certain fields that are consistently a problem. Smaller fields offer less of a draft so weaker riders have less shelter to hang on with . Smaller fields should be easier to string out and give stronger riders a better chance at breaking away.
Quote:agreed. we are already planning a new course for Menlo Park next year (with lefts and rights).
Thats good news! Its a well run event.
Quote:interestingly enough though, the course has been the same for three years. the field sizes were a bit smaller in 2006, but just about the same in 2007 & 2008. there were many more severe crashes this year, and the only variable I can find that might have contributed this year was the lack of wind. yes, wind adds a technical element to a crit.
Well, don't forget the dump-truck parked on the course in 2007...it helped mix things up a little.
I agree with both Warren and Ron. It took getting pinched twice before I figured out to stay on left side of pack through the backside of course. May have been the long way around, but turned out to be the safest. Guess were the crash happened? Another pinch spot happend at the barracade on the straight to S/F. The road narrows, city puts up barracade to warn motorists, cyclists almost ride their bicycles into it. Again, stay on left side of pack...lol.
Wall Point wrote:Yes, the Wente crit course does not ride safe, nor does Menlo Park for that matter. As evidence review the ridiculous number of ambulance trips at both races not to mention delays due to injury â€“ at both races. For the long term success of both the Wente Crit and Menlo Park crit both promoters need to seriously consider changes to the courses. Add some corners! Make it at least a little more technical!
agreed. we are already planning a new course for Menlo Park next year (with lefts and rights).
interestingly enough though, the course has been the same for three years. the field sizes were a bit smaller in 2006, but just about the same in 2007 & 2008. there were many more severe crashes this year, and the only variable I can find that might have contributed this year was the lack of wind. yes, wind adds a technical element to a crit.
Lorri Lee Lown
cervelo-man wrote:I road both the 35 4 and the E4. The two races were night and day. In the 35+, Lead riders were taking a narrow line down the back side and the pack followed, pinchin off the back half of field. This happened every lap!!!!!
Sounds fine to me. The lead riders are entitled to take the shortest line around the course, or straightest line, and fastest line through the corners (without swerving). If following riders are riding out to the side so far they get pinched by the curb that's the price to pay for being in the wrong place in favor of more draft.
A common mistake at Wente and some other courses is that people don't anticipate where they want to be (out of the wind? away from a pinch point?) on the next section of road. So they wait until the wind or curb is a problem and then they try to go away from the problem. Sometimes you need to ride out of the draft for a while to get yourself in better position for what's coming up, like wind or getting pinched on the curb.
800 criteriums and counting...
Yes, the Wente crit course does not ride safe, nor does Menlo Park for that matter. As evidence review the ridiculous number of ambulance trips at both races not to mention delays due to injury â€“ at both races. For the long term success of both the Wente Crit and Menlo Park crit both promoters need to seriously consider changes to the courses. Add some corners! Make it at least a little more technical!
Flat, wide open business park type crits with just a few soft, wide corners can be sketchy. Riders can just sit-in all race. At 5-to go everyone has too much energy left, jam the front 10-15 wide and then a big pile up.....
Brisbane, Martinez and Santa Cruz all rode relatively safeâ€¦..
Get some real turns!...left AND right.....pleaseâ€¦â€¦
For some strange reason though most riders feel that lots of turns ( ie a technical course) is dangerous while a non technical course is safer ( despite the evidence). I hate saying this but is the Wente Crit the new ( pre course changes) Land Park? If the answer is yes then what can be done to make the races safer?
After the 35+ 4 race on Sunday, I'll take a technical course anytime over the "Nascar at Bristol" race we had. Maybe what Wente Crit needs is higher banks. Then it will be a self claening course. That or I need to get faster and upgrade out of the carnage.
I road both the 35 4 and the E4. The two races were night and day. In the 35+, Lead riders were taking a narrow line down the back side and the pack followed, pinchin off the back half of field. This happened every lap!!!!! It's like the group never learned to pick a slightly wider line. Anyhow, after the second time of getting pinched, I moved to the left front side of pack. Found it safer in that region. Another mistake I see is riders charging to the front and then stopping there progress at the 10-15 from front range. They never pull completlly through once their nose hits the wind. Then the pack gets clogged up. To quote Chris Black "if your not going to work, stay off the front." When watching the 1/2/3's or P/1/2"s, there are guys, always, off the front driving hard. Thus the field gets strung out. I never saw that tactic on Sunday during the M4 race. I went off the front twice and a couple others did, but I don't recall any counters. Then the pack sat until a prime. Pace picked up and then slowed at end of prime lap. I seem to be repeating what Ron and Casey said.
Ther were some horrible bike handling skills during the race. Guys were getting spooked by riding on the Bot Dots. Here is Alans chance to promote a Bot Dot clinic....lol. Had a couple of riders bounce there handle bars off my hips. The pack would take one line and guys would make a seprate line from right side to left. Constantly saw wheels getting chopped. Riders wouldn't give a quick glance before changing positions. The bumping was rediculous. Getting bumped in the final laps, ok. But 20 minutes in at mid pack? It was definantly sketchy! I'm surprised ther was ONLY ONE crash.
casey wrote:I hate saying this but is the Wente Crit the new ( pre course changes) Land Park? If the answer is yes then what can be done to make the races safer?
more. aggressive. racing.
easier said than done, i realize...
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again. Technical courses tend to be safer because it is easier to get the pack strung out. Racing is always safer when the pack is strung out, especially towards the end of the race. When the pack spends most of the time in one large blob ( due either to low speeds, or non-technical courses) then you tend to get the large accidents with more serious injuries. If you have lots of big motors in a group who are willing to hammer the whole time then even on a non technical course the pack can get, and stay strung out enough to keep thins safer. Towards the end of the race is when it is most critical to keep the pack strung out since this is when those people who have been sitting towards the back suddenly start thinking they can win and so they start moving up.
I believe our only significant crash was Fred Stamm Sr. meeting a curb on the turn past our 180 hairpin 'hotdog' turn. I will defer to Casey for any other incident reports but to my knowledge that was the only big biff. We also had a max. field limit of 75 for almost all categories (except EMen 5 and EWomen 4) because of the relatively short and technical course (6/10th mile with 6 turns).
Tom Simpson - Pilarcitos Cyclesports
I've actually observed a difference in the past few years of the line that the pack is choosing. Rather than going wide and turning before the apex, then straightening out, I've noticed lots of racers are diving into the corners at the front of the pack, cutting off the racers on the inside behind them. Somewhere, someone is teaching this (or so it would appear since I see it so universally, especially in the lower-cat men's and women's races).
There does seem to be a correlation between a less technical course and a higher accident rate. This is just a subjective observation on my part, though in another thread, Casey mentioned that Land Park had far fewer accidents after the modification of the course. Is it possible that the difference may be partly due to self-selection based on experience with crits? i.e, a less experienced rider will avoid a more technical course? How do the accident rates of races like Fremont, Brisbane, and Fresno, which have 180 degree hairpins, compare to wide, square courses?
I agree, haven't done Wente in a few years but a couple of other things happen:
a.) people do things when the field is going relatively easy say at 23-25 mph and move up and don't think about adjusting their move or not doing it when the field is going 30 mph.
b.) on a flat, non technical course like Wente, almost anybody can hang in a negative race, so there are a lot more people who think they can contend for a placing at the end, not thinking about the consequences on others of their actions, or possibly not having a lot of experience with that situation.