The national championships are upon us, with the best riders from across the country heading to Scotland to compete for the coveted national stripes jerseys in everything from the road race, time trial to the circuit championships.
And in the spirit of racing, we spoke with current circuit national champion and rider for sponsored team Pro-Noctis Rotor Redchilli Bikes Heidi Kjeldsen, Jo Tindley to get some tips on how to race a circuit race (or crit!)
1. Practice riding close to other riders
Something I was exposed to as an u16 was being ‘roughed up’ so to speak. I grew up racing MTB which in itself built a good skill base. Then I went onto track racing, where I’d practice being pinned up at the top of the track and bumped about. This was back when you could race Keirin and have some contact too, and I do think this helped with my confidence in racing on the road and being close to others.
2. Learn the racing line
Watch how men take corners, and look at the line they take. Men will always corner faster than women in a crit, they are physically stronger which means they carry more speed so must get the line right, so it’s worth learning how they corner. There are a lot of purpose-built circuits about where people start racing, but they don’t have corners that need a racing line or any skill to really learn how to corner you need to ride a proper city centre circuit.
3. Brake late and get on the pedals early
I run a setup that allows me to pedal early out of the corners, but it’s best to learn your limits before you race. Find a car park and practice how far you can take it before going to a race.
4. Be aware
There is so much going on at one time. Listen, keep looking ahead but also be aware on what’s going around you. Your peripheral vision is the most important thing, when you gain experience, you will start to sense a feel movement in the bunch.
5. Race on instinct, don’t think
If you have to think about something, then it’s too late.
Being the best in the country means plenty of hours in the saddle. Want to know how Jo stays comfortable during training and racing? We'll give you a secret...VeloSkin Chamois Cream! Find out more about the product here.