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Thanks to all of you who are asking about tonight!
The free lap rule is one that can be confusing. The use of the rule is dependent upon the time your mishap occurs during the race.
Be familiar with these points and how to work with race officials if you are ever faced with a mishap during a crit. Wondering what to do when your heart rate is still elevated and you’re anxious to latch back on isn’t the best scenario for clear thought. This is a chance to get it into your head before it happens on the bike.
This is the rule as stated in the USA Cycling 2014 Rulebook:
3D5. Free Lap Rule. Riders shall normally cover the distance of the race regardless of mishaps and must make up any distance lost on their own ability unless a free lap is granted for mishaps. Unless the official race announcement states that no free laps will be allowed, one free lap may be granted for each mishap subject to the following rules. On courses shorter than 1 km, two free laps may be allowed for a given mishap.
(a) Bicycle inspection and repairs must be made in an official repair pit. If announced in advance by the Chief Referee, riders are permitted to cut the course to get to a pit, but only while the Free Lap Rule is in effect. There should be repair pits at intervals of 1 km around the course.
(b) There must be a referee stationed in each repair pit to determine if the mishap was a legitimate one and if the rider is entitled to a free lap.
(c) A rider who is granted a free lap must return to the race in the position held at the time of the mishap. A rider who was in a group shall return at the rear of the same group the next time around. A rider returning to the race after a free lap shall be ineligible for sprint prizes for one lap thereafter.
(d) A rider granted a free lap must re-enter the race before the final 8km of the race; after that point in the race a rider in the pit is losing ground on the field.
Cycling is repetitive motion that instills habits quickly. Our off-bike habits can continually improve the ride. Proper nutrition is an important factor in successful cycling and long-term good health. Quality foods coupled with proper timing can help improve training outcomes, race results, and enhance recovery. Adequate sleep and recovery time are just as important. The body must rest in order to rebuild. Eat well, sleep well, ride well.
We have a bit of a hot dog turn on our crit course this year, along with a roundabout and fortunately a couple of just plain normal corners. No matter the type of turn, extra traction can be gained by pressing more body weight on the outside pedal as you go through the turn while pressing down on the inside handlebar. Keep your center of gravity low.
Know yourself and what you can handle. Confidence goes a long way in taking you through smoothly and safely. Uncertainty causes tightness in the neck and shoulders, thereby raising the body’s center of gravity and decreasing control of the bike. Choose your line and move through it.
What you do with your eyes is as important as what you do with the bike. Look through the turn rather than at the turn. This line of vision helps in guiding the bike and holding your line. The photo to the right illustrates this line of vision, he’s looking where he wants to go.
Great big NO-NO #1
Speed up just before the corner to swing out wide and dive back to the inside. This is how collar-bones get broken.
Great big NO-NO #2
Slam on the brakes as you enter the turn only to jump on the pedals to regain lost momentum. The riders behind you may not brake fast enough. This is also a massive waste of energy.
- Know your capabilities and anticipate speed before the corner.
- Watch the riders ahead of you and be ready to respond.
- Look through the line you want to take.
- Progress smoothly into and out of each turn.
Once again I have partnered with Shadd Smith of Team Think!Finance to put Life Balance Sports Coaching on the road with you at Tuesday Night Worlds to give you practical application of Tip of the Week. Shadd is an excellent skills technician and race strategist. And he totally kicks tail on a bike. We will be bringing you information and skills instruction each week throughout the year.