Starting a Criterium – Get Clipped In!

The last thing you want when you start your first criterium is to get dropped at the whistle because you could not get your pedal clicked in.  I have seen this with Cat 5, and seen Cat 1s screwing it up.  You must practice doing this quickly and then sprinting up to speed.  Don’t think just because you can do this when you start your ride or start at stop light, that you will not screw it up at the start of your first crit.  If you have Speedplay pedals then it will be the easier for you, but if you pretty much any other pedal system, you need to make sure that you have if dialed in.

Here is what I do.

  1. As you roll up to the line, make sure you are in a lower gear.  I typically start in a 53×19.  This is low enough to get one rev as I clip in.  Then I am able to spin up to speed, and shift as necessary.
  2. As I am listening to the race announcements, I position my right pedal at about two o’clock.  My left leg is on the ground.
  3. When the race starts, I push off with my left leg and spin a half rotation with my right leg in order to get some speed.  As my left pedal comes to the top, I place my shoe on it and clip in at the bottom.
  4. With both pedals clipped in, I then crank up to speed or move around people that are still screwing around with their pedals.

In the video, I show a montage of crits starts that I have filmed.  Watch the dudes in front of me and you will be able to see what I am talking about above.  These are all Master Cat 123 racers, so these guys should be able to this well.  Watch how they have their pedal set at the start, they push off and then clip in.  It is not hard, but can be if you don’t have it nailed.

Ride Hard,