Tag: on the front

Dixon Race Report (Matt Riezman)

Check out Matt Riezman’s race report from his first racing experience….


Great work by Jason and Matt on their first race starts this weekend!

Calling it a Career (in the 5’s that is)

After a great season as a Cat 5 racing i have finally upgraded to a Cat 4. For those who are unfamiliar with the upgrade process the only requirement to upgrade from a Cat 5 to a Cat 4 is 10 race starts (USA Cycling events). Now to the point of this post, after a racing the Cat 5 level since March (remember when we all raced at the Burnham race, and we froze are you know whats off), i feel that i have learned a couple things that may help new racers. So here is my top ten pieces of advice for new Cat 5 Racers:

10) Expect to suck, this sport is hard and very few people dominate their first race (ie Todd’s performance in his first race at Sunday’s Chicago Crit is not normal). After a tough race its always good to take a look at the following link it puts things in perspective. http://www.chicagobikeracing.com/index.php/site/post/tip_18_expect_to_suck/

9) Take the time to read Chicagobikeracing.com, it has a ton of useful information. I highly recommend reading all of the 33 tips posted on the site:

8) Plan a racing weekend trip, great way to bond with your teammates, i have done two of these trips and they were incredible experience. (even though i had to share a king bed with dan both time, fyi dan steals all the covers)

7) Hang out after the race, this gives you a chance to meet the people you race against and get to know the people in the chicago bike racing community. If you want to meet someone Dean probably knows them!

6) Ask Questions, the spidermonkey racing team is pretty good at helping each other out. Nate and Bryan Merrill are always full of good racing advice. If there is something you want to know about racing dont hesitate to ask.

5) Take a weekend off once a month. This is my best piece of advice, the season is long and you could race every weekend from may thourgh september. I think it is important to remember that bike racing isnt my job, i already have one of those. So once a month I take a weekend and I dont race. This allows me to attend team rides and live the “party life style” at least one weekend a month. (you know its my weekend off when i show up to the team ride with a bag of cookies and a can of coke)

4) Come on the Wednesday ride, there are a lot of guys who race that come on Wednesday, its a great way to test yourself and learn paceline techniques. Not to mention the JJ Peppers stop allows time to meet other racers in the area, including Chicago Crit legend Andy Daley.

3) Support your teammates! This is soooo important, if you support them, they will support you. Cheer them on at races, attend team social events and hang out when you can. The team is what makes racing fun!

2) Start early in the season. As the season progresses guys get into better shape and the racing gets harder.

1) Have fun! This is a hobby, and the most important part is having fun. This doesnt mean i dont compete as hard as i can, but i remind myself its fun. Do crazy events (ie: street sprints, the lelend road race, snake alley) try different events, try everything, you wont be sorry!

I hope this helps and provides a little bit of good advice, if anyone has any questions about racing please dont hesitate to ask me.

Shake and bake’


Other good tips:

Grow a Mustache, it adds speed (ask Dan)
Remeber your shoes on race day (ask shea or witry)
Buy two pair of Bibs! (ask any racer on the team)
Be humble (we all know what i am talking about)
Thank your team when they support you (there is no I in team)
Dont become a race snob (just becuase you race doesnt mean you are any better than those who dont race, no one likes race snobs!)
Train together (i just like riding with people)
Toward the end of your cat 5 career try some 4/5 races (it helps see what the next level is like, i did 4 of these in the last couple months)

Other racers: Please publish any addition tips in the comment section or make your own list of tips.

A Sunday in the City: Chicago Crit Cat 5b

Sunday morning started early, an 810 am race start meant a 530 am wake up, not to much fun. The tough morning was the only down part of the day, the Chicago Crit was an excellent event. The Cat 5 Race Heat 2 was full of Spidermonkeys, a total of 6, and we were going to make our presence known. We were the first guys on the start line which made getting to the front on the start pretty easy. To start the race off I clipped in effectively, something that doesn’t always happen. From the start Todd went to the front, Bryan Witry, John Castro and I joined up towards the front, the 4 of us stayed in the top 10 for the first 5 laps, there was a guy from Pegasus who helped set the tempo as well. I was on the front for about half a lap, and the field was under control, with the wicked tempo being laid out by Todd there were not a lot of attacks, and the few that did happen were pulled back quick.
The team did a great job of staying together, and since we all decided to try to help Bryan, my job was to stay around Bryan and keep him near the front. Occasionally I would go to the front and set some tempo with Todd. It was a fun job and I was happy to be able to stay at the front of a race group, I usually dangle at the start of each race, that was the case in the Chicago Crit. By staying up front the team saved a ton of energy, up in the front we didn’t have to chase out of the corners. Not to mention I heard the announcer say “spidermonkeys” a lot, usually a sign that the team is having a good race, and dean even went on stage to predict the winners.
On the third to last lap I almost got slammed into the cage on the inside of turn 3, I think I tried to take a little too tight, I avoided the wheel in front of me and made it through keeping the rubber side down, it was pretty close.
The next two laps passed quick and I regained my position in the pack, coming into the last lap the team went to the front, we came up on the right and started to assemble our lead train, just the way we planned. Castro took us down the front stretch and through the first turn, it was a blistering pace, I had to work pretty hard just to hang on, Todd came over Castro at the first short up hill, I sat second wheel and Bryan sat third wheel, the lead out train was in tact going into the back stretch. Half way down the back stretch I came over Todd to try to up the tempo once again. I was suppose to wait to attack until the hill, but I felt I needed to start it earlier to string out the large pack behind me. I pulled as hard as I could through the third turn on to the back hill. As I watched the pack go up the hill I got out of my saddle and gave it everything I had to try to hold onto the group, I was successful enough to grab mid pack position. Todd gave Bryan a lead out as I watched from mid pack, I passed two guys out of turn four and one or two more on the way to the finish line to grab 20th. Not terrible, but when you sit at the front for the whole race it kind of sucks to finish mid pack. But we got a top five and we represented spidermonkeys well. I was really proud of our team effort! I really enjoyed racing with the Cat 5 team on Sunday, thanks guys. Now its time to upgrade and start the whole process over again, Elk Grove starts my 4’s career next weekend.
Great day in general for the spidermonkeys!

Things I Did Well:
1) Raced at the front of the pack
2) Made a move to try to spring bryan for the sprint

Things I need to work on:
1) Sprinting
2) Timing my move better

Shake and Bake –


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