Your First Critierium

There is nothing more exciting than lining up for your first criterium.  The first crit is an interesting experience because you will find out quickly whether you will love crits or had them.  Usually there is no in-between.  I had a great first crit and I have loved racing them for the last 20 years, and I hope that I can help you do the same.  USA Cycling recently did a great webinar on your first bike race., and the handouts

My advice:

First, you must get everything ready the week before.  ABSOLUTELY do not make any changes to your bike the night before the race.  You will screw something up, it is just how it works.  If your bike needs a tune up, take it to the shop the week before, and get a few rides on it before the race.  Make sure your bike is ready to go.

Second, the night before pack all of your stuff, then the next day check to make sure you got everything.  Each a high carbohydrate breakfast.

Third, plan on arriving 2 hour before your first crit.  Find a good parking spot, and get registered.  Put on your numbers (make sure you know which side)  Eat some carbohydrates (bagel, banana, other high carb foods)

Third, walk the course.  Look at each corner for hazards, watch the other racers go through the corner, see what lines seem to work well.

Fourth, Get a good warm up in on a trainer.  You don’t want to deal with the fear of getting a flat right before the race starts.  Your warm should be:

  • 10 min spinning 100 rpm not too hard but starting to sweat
  • Drink some energy drink and gel
  • 2 mins hard at 100 rpm
  • 2 min easy
  • 5 min 120+ but not hard
  • 2 min easy
  • 5  min hard 100+
  • 5 min easy
  • 5 min hard 100+
  • 5 min easy
  • 1 min hard 100+
  • 5 min easy
  • 1 min hard 100+
  • 10 min cool down
  • Eat a gel

 The warm up is critical to get your body ready for going hard from the start of the gun.  Don’t worry, this warm up will get your physical systems ready for racing.

Fifth, get ready to line up, try to get a front row spot.  You don’t want to be at the back of your first crit.  Stay in the top 20 the whole race.

Finally, now you are racing!