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downhilldiva
03-27-2007, 08:18 AM
Any advice for tight, scary turns in a big pack? I recently started doing crits but the turns scare me and I end up losing a lot of time there. Help!!:confused: :eek:

maillotpois
03-27-2007, 09:23 AM
Hold your line.

Hold your line.

Hold your line.

:)

And don't brake - just decelerate a little into the turn, maintaining the speed of the pack.

That's the key. Also you'll see a lot of acceleration out of the corners - working on your power, that "jump" burst of speed to keep you with the group as they pull out of the corner will be very helpful. Super high intensity interval work is good for that.

If you are uncomfortable with the big pack - speed aspect of this, doing contact drills with a friend in a field/lawn can be very helpful. Knowing that you know how to react if you do touch wheels will give you confidence. Using street shoes on your pedals, practice bumping wheels, shoulders, leaning into one another. See what happens. When you ht a wheel with your front tire, push off the wheel you have hit. See what happens. Just play around with this. It helped me tremendously in the first year I was riding and doing some racing.

Grog
03-27-2007, 10:06 AM
Practice, practice, practice. MaillotPois's advice is excellent.

Don't turn your handlebars but lean into the curve.

Practicing with others is important indeed so you don't panic when wheels touch or handlebars lock up during a race. (The latter would probably make me panic no matter what.)

Good luck!

RoadRaven
03-27-2007, 10:10 AM
Good question, good thread...

This is one of the major reasons why I consistently get dropped in road/bunch races since I moved up a grade in the club.

Going round corners with a whole lot of other people bothers me, so I slow down, and am at the back of the bunch and of course, the front of the pack is accelerating away as I finish coming round the corner.

Its not so much that I worry about being in a crash - but I worry that I will clip someone and cause one.

Thanks again... good thread

Eden
03-27-2007, 11:59 AM
definitely don't brake sharply - that can send you over your handlebars or cause someone behind you to crash - if you need to bleed some speed soft pedal a little or lightly feather your brakes, but really try to stay off the brakes completely if you can. Of course always watch what is going on in front of you and if they brake you may have little choice!

You want your inside foot up so that you do not clip a pedal on the ground and to stablize the bike - put pressure on the outside foot and inside hand. In a crit you hands should always be in your drops. This prevents anyone catching their handlbars on yours if there is any jostling and makes you more stable especially through the corners. You want to lean the bike, but keep your shoulders level. For very sharp corners you can get out of the saddle a bit and tilt the bike underneath yourself.

When you are in a pack around a corner it becomes necessary to follow the line of the riders in front and around you, but when conditions are best and you can pick your own line through the corner you want to come out wide and cut in close - you want to try to make as straight a line of the corner as possible - this is hard to describe so I'll post up a diagram (one is a single corner the other 2 close together). Coming out of the corner stand and sprint.

hope this helps!

Pedal Wench
03-27-2007, 12:41 PM
Eden, your pictures are great to help me explain my problem. That's the line I like to take too, but if there are two riders on my right going into those turns ,they're going to be forced onto the curb right on at the corner. Would you just take it wider to make sure they don't get cramped?

Eden
03-27-2007, 12:55 PM
There are definitely times that you just can't take an optimal line through a corner. If you are first through the corner you generally get to pick your line and those slightly behind on the inside should compensate for their positioning - BUT - many people don't understand this or feel that they should not have to slow down so I usually leave more space if I think someone might come up on my right. If I were beside someone when starting the corner I would expect to have to take the corner wider. Even when its not a crit we are generally allowed the whole road for corners so its usually not bad if you can get to the front. Be assured that YOU are not doing anything wrong if you are on the front and take the optimal line, but be prudent too because not everyone knows this!

If you are in the pack the best thing to do is to follow the line of the person in front of you. If you find yourself on the inside it is expected that you will compensate and not rejoin the pack at the apex of the turn - which can cause crashes as you cut across the line of the rest of the riders.

downhilldiva
03-28-2007, 08:05 AM
Awesome advice from all of you! I really appreciate it. I am excited to have some new skills to work on. Hopefully I can get out this week and practice before my next crit on Saturday. Unfortunately right now it is snowing!

violette
03-28-2007, 08:18 AM
Eden, I can't see you picture. I'm confused about turning. When I turn, I lean into the curv and push my handlebars out. It always worked for me, but from what I read here, you lean out and push bars in..???

Which one is it? I'm going to ride a lot this summer and I need to get this straight.

Eden
03-28-2007, 08:27 AM
Eden, I can't see you picture. I'm confused about turning. When I turn, I lean into the curv and push my handlebars out. It always worked for me, but from what I read here, you lean out and push bars in..???

Which one is it? I'm going to ride a lot this summer and I need to get this straight.

You lean your bike into the turn, your inside knee should be up, outside leg down, you want to be pushing on the pedal with your outside leg and the handlebars with your inside arm. (I find that I do this instinctually, but its hard to do when I think about it) You want to try to keep your shoulders parallel with the ground and lean the bike rather than your body. Look to where you want to exit the turn - so look through the turn rather than at the corner itself.

CR400
03-30-2007, 09:10 AM
If it is a course you race often during the season go on a none race day and work on your turning/cornering at high speeds. That way you know how to handle you bike well before trying it in a group. A race I was at recently I was consistantly going between 28 and 32 mph through the s curves. Of course this to me was more fun then the race itself so I purposely didn't ride with a pack so I could hang crazy speeds around them. Hit 35.9mph around one. Just be careful if you decide to pedal around a curve so you don't strike a pedal, that can bring you down quick, and at high speeds send you to a hospital. However, it is possible to pedal through a curve just practice by yourself before trying it in a race.

CR400
03-30-2007, 09:13 AM
Oh, I use Speedplays for my pedals so that may give extra pedal clearance that you may or may not have. It can make a big difference when leaning the bike and keeping the crank turning.

violette
04-04-2007, 08:50 AM
Can't you tip over and fall when you go around a curve that fast. I'm always afraid of my tire sliding and I would crash.

Grog
04-04-2007, 09:10 AM
It's important to keep the rubber side down. :)

I don't think I would take turns at 30 mph on my hybrid, but on a road bike with good tires, not too worn, it can be done relatively safely (anything happening at 30mph on a bike can only be relatively safe) if you follow Eden's advice. The pedal on the inside of the turn should be up and the other pedal (obviously) should be down with all your weight on it. Keeping your body upright is also important. I do that while in the drops, with my weight far towards the back of my bike, with my fingers ready to feather the brakes. However braking while in the curve would be a very bad idea and create a high risk of skidding...

It takes some practice and also some foolishness at first, but it can absolutely be done with proper technique and, I want to emphasize it again, good road tires, preferably in dry conditions. I wouldn't trust a wet pavement for that sort of downhilling..

RoadRaven
04-05-2007, 11:16 AM
A race I was at recently I was consistantly going between 28 and 32 mph through the s curves. Of course this to me was more fun then the race itself so I purposely didn't ride with a pack so I could hang crazy speeds around them. Hit 35.9mph around one.


I am assuming (perhaps inaccurately?) that these speeds are downhill? Or are you really really good at crits? 50kph round corners on the flat is just such a looong way from where I am.
I'm well impressed if thats the level you have built yourself to.

smilingcat
04-05-2007, 02:58 PM
I have had only one occasion when I lost traction around a tight corner. :rolleyes: It was my rear wheel breaking loose. It really made my heart skip several beats. :eek:

But almost always, when I think I can't go around the corner any faster because I'll lose traction, I'm not even close to losing it. meaning I'm a chicken. I think most of us are. Ride with an experience crit rider and have him/her pace you through the turns at high speed so you'll develop more confidence. And practice as others have said.