How Tuesday Criterium Practice Works

The purposes of Tuesday training criteriums are:

  1. Have fun
  2. Learn some new skills, or practice some old ones
  3. Get a good, high intensity workout
  4. Have more fun

The races are run like a track meet.   Rather than a couple long races, there are a series of short events.   Each category typically has 3 or 4 events per night, with each event lasting 5-10 minutes.   The idea is to give everyone the opportunity for several starts, several opportunities to try things in a group, and several finishes.   If you try a move that doesn’t work, try something different in 10 minutes.

Categories are broken out by ability, with A being fastest / most experienced, and C being new riders.  Categories are self selected.  Typically A’s will be USAC cat 1-3 and some strong 4’s   B’s will be 4’s and 5’s.   C’s will be newer 5’s and people just trying the sport.   We generally have a junior category for kids under 13 or so, and will break it up a bit more if there is enough attendance.   We will offer a women’s field if there is enough interest, but historically women have been happy to race with the appropriate open group.

There will be extra coaching, assistance, and tips available to riders in the C category, to teach basic criterium skills, handling, and pack skills.

Riders are welcome to start more than one category.   We do ask that if you are placing consistently well (top 10’s) in one category, you stay out of the lower categories.   Even if you are not “racing” having a rider sitting in changes the dynamic of the race.   The exception is if you want to jump in the back of the group to help out with struggling riders.

There are no official results;  there are no prizes;  the events do not count for USA Cycling upgrade points. This is by design.  As soon as there is something on the line, people’s attitude changes, the fun goes away, and the dynamic of the event changes.  Use these events as an opportunity to hone your skills and fitness, then go score more upgrade points on the weekends.

The Races

Event format is inspired by cycling track (velodrome) racing.  Rather than every race going simply to the winner of the last lap, we mix it up a bit:

Scratch race:  A race.  First person across the line on the last lap wins.

Tempo or Point a Lap:  One point to the winner of each lap.   Whoever wins the most laps wins the race.

Points Race:  Every so many laps (typically 3, 4, or 5), there will be points awarded to the top 3-5 riders on the indicated lap.   Bell will ring the lap before the sprint.

So we might have a 15 lap points race with sprints every 5.

11 laps to go:  bell rings

10 laps to go:  sprint

6 laps to go:  bell rings

5 laps to go: sprint

1 lap to go:  bell rings

0 laps to go:  sprint


Miss and Out:  This will typically be the last race of the night, and open to all categories.

On each lap, the LAST rider across the finish line will be pulled from the race, and must withdraw.  The race continues until 2 or 3 riders are left, and they sprint it out for the finish.