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  1. #1
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    We have a Tuesday night crit series here in the Dallas area that I've done 3 times now. It's pretty simple, basically just a .8 mile square, so the straight legs are maybe 400 meters each. The finish is in the middle of one of the legs, so about 200 meters (_very_ slightly up hill) after a 90 degree turn.

    I race in the "C" race (Cat 5) and have finished in the upper half each time, but have yet to break into a top 10 finish. It seems that I just don't have the sprint that some of the other guys out there have. Last night I led coming around turn 4, with about 150 meters to go. I got up out of the saddle to start sprinting, but after just a few pedal strokes the other leaders started to come around me and I just couldn't give enough to hold the lead and ended up about 12 riders back. So what I'm thinking is that I'd like to try a different strategy next time since I obviously don't have the legs to hold off the pack in a field sprint.

    I have almost no team representation in this race, because most of my teammates are Cat 4s, so I'm basically on my own. I'm wondering if anyone has any tips for how to mount a successful solo escape on the last 2 laps or so and see if I can make enough of a gap to hold off the pack until the finish.

    My initial thoughts are that since there are really no long stretches of road that if I could create a bit of a gap coming up the "hill" (no more than 50 ft elevation change) to the finish line and then get into the 1st corner by myself with a lap or two to go that I could create a gap since the group always slows down a bit funnelling through the turns. Then I would be at an advantage for the next couple turns since I could choose my own line, etc.

    Sorry this turned out to be such a long post. Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

  2. #2
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Wait for the precise moment to strike. It's subtle.

    If the pace is high, it's almost impossible. But if the pace is tentative, as if everyone is waiting for someone else to go, then go. But remember that everyone is watching you.
    It's also good to attack immediately after a hard hammer sesson, but the trouble is that you're usually wasted by then.
    Sometimes the pace goes really BLISTERING, and then it suddenly slows to a crawl.
    Watch for this to happen, then launch yourself.

    However, if you don't have excellent cornering technique, you'll scrub off too much speed in the corners, and you'll get caught. Learn to get through a turn because once you establish a gap, you need to preserve it.

    Good luck, Joop!

  3. #3
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    I have done this exactly as stated by Event, Field just caught a break & everyone sits up for an instant, go HARD. If you can corner fast you can occasionally pull it off as this will be your only real advantage. In my experinece 9 times out of 10 this is a suicide move.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jreeder
    We have a Tuesday night crit series here in the Dallas area that I've done 3 times now. It's pretty simple, basically just a .8 mile square, so the straight legs are maybe 400 meters each. The finish is in the middle of one of the legs, so about 200 meters (_very_ slightly up hill) after a 90 degree turn.

    I race in the "C" race (Cat 5) and have finished in the upper half each time, but have yet to break into a top 10 finish. It seems that I just don't have the sprint that some of the other guys out there have. Last night I led coming around turn 4, with about 150 meters to go. I got up out of the saddle to start sprinting, but after just a few pedal strokes the other leaders started to come around me and I just couldn't give enough to hold the lead and ended up about 12 riders back. So what I'm thinking is that I'd like to try a different strategy next time since I obviously don't have the legs to hold off the pack in a field sprint.

    I have almost no team representation in this race, because most of my teammates are Cat 4s, so I'm basically on my own. I'm wondering if anyone has any tips for how to mount a successful solo escape on the last 2 laps or so and see if I can make enough of a gap to hold off the pack until the finish.

    My initial thoughts are that since there are really no long stretches of road that if I could create a bit of a gap coming up the "hill" (no more than 50 ft elevation change) to the finish line and then get into the 1st corner by myself with a lap or two to go that I could create a gap since the group always slows down a bit funnelling through the turns. Then I would be at an advantage for the next couple turns since I could choose my own line, etc.

    Sorry this turned out to be such a long post. Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
    Attack before the turn. But, you have to do it a few laps before the end because everyone will be looking for someone to jump. Or if you can time trial, go with 5-10 laps to go.

  5. #5
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlbcx
    Attack before the turn. But, you have to do it a few laps before the end because everyone will be looking for someone to jump. Or if you can time trial, go with 5-10 laps to go.
    Yea unless your fitness level is much better then the field you will have a real rough time breaking away on the last two laps. Usually the pace winds up to the sprint by that point. Practice your time trialing. Also watch for others in the field who have the itch to break. Maybe even talk to them and form a break early with a few other riders. If it holds then you will at least get a top 4 or 5...

  6. #6
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna
    Yea unless your fitness level is much better then the field you will have a real rough time breaking away on the last two laps.
    Pretty much true, I would add that you need speed and technique (cornering) in addition to fitness. Assuming you have all that, this is still kind of an all or nothing move. You will win or get spit out the back.

    jreeder, your odds are better putting that energy into being in a good position for the sprint and backing up a little bit, settle for a few top tens till the sprint comes around. A tip here; Choose your wheel wisely, mark the right people.

  7. #7
    The cycling student. cyclingute's Avatar
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    Something else to consider: bike handling skills. Learn how to go through the corners faster and more efficiently than the others. It could be as much as taking an extreme line and trusting your tires. I'm much like you, in that I can't spring worth a crap, but I have good bike handling skills, I make up a lot of distance and places by cornering better than most. I've clipped my pedals, but have not gone down yet. Have to admit that clipping pedals scares people away from me in the corners, and I use that to my advantage when I can. Good luck.
    Go Utes,
    and to quote the biggest
    University of Utah homer, Tom Barberi, "Utah by 5!!!"

  8. #8
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    Great tips from everyone, this has all been really helpful.

    I think next time I'm going to try to get away with 5 or so laps to go. If I can get a handful of guys to go with, great, and if not... well I'm still going, so I guess its going to hurt a lot.

    I'll be sure to work on my handling/cornering so that in the event that I am able to make a decent gap, I have a snowball's chance in hell of holding it.

    Aside from the pain of the sprint, I always feel like I have something left in me when I'm done with the race, so I think that I can stand to bump the effort level up a little bit overall. Who knows though, I might end up burning up early and finishing last. To be honest though, I'd be fine with that since my alternative is basically just relinquishing any chance I have of winning to the strong sprinters in a field sprint. At least if I make a move (even a failing one) I can feel like I took a shot at a win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jreeder
    Last night I led coming around turn 4, with about 150 meters to go. I got up out of the saddle to start sprinting, but after just a few pedal strokes the other leaders started to come around me and I just couldn't give enough to hold the lead and ended up about 12 riders back.
    Don't be in front at the beginning of the sprint? Suck the wheel of one of top 9 sprinters...

  10. #10
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyrabbit
    Don't be in front at the beginning of the sprint? Suck the wheel of one of top 9 sprinters...
    Correct, you know who they are. Your odds of placing are much better than a flyer. I think you may be selling your Sprint short if you are judging it based on people comming around you when you take it from the front. One of the freedoms you enjoy by not being affiliated with a team is wheelsucking, you are not obligated to work.

  11. #11
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Gosh, I can't believe I almost forgot this trick that Wayne or Dale Stetina taught me. It's another trick to creating a gap:

    When everything's quiet, scream at the top of your lungs: "My fork is broke! My fork is broke!"

    When everyone slows down and gives you room, you ATTACK.
    Gap formed.

  12. #12
    secret track gearing
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    Gosh, I can't believe I almost forgot this trick that Wayne or Dale Stetina taught me. It's another trick to creating a gap:

    When everything's quiet, scream at the top of your lungs: "My fork is broke! My fork is broke!"

    When everyone slows down and gives you room, you ATTACK.
    Gap formed.

    HAHAHAHA, that's great, although that might entice the other riders to hate you, since you'll be seeing them every weekend after that, and i'm sure they will remember, haha

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    Gosh, I can't believe I almost forgot this trick that Wayne or Dale Stetina taught me. It's another trick to creating a gap:

    When everything's quiet, scream at the top of your lungs: "My fork is broke! My fork is broke!"

    When everyone slows down and gives you room, you ATTACK.
    Gap formed.



    I think the trick to that is to scream it not with sincere worry in your voice, but with over-the-top, comical hysteria. Hell, if someone did that at a race, I'd end up giving him a gap just because I was laughing so hard.

  14. #14
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    It really sucks being off the front.

    I did it in my last race to win a prime... slightly over 2 laps off the front was very very hard. Time trialing skills are super important but even more is your anaerobic and muscular endurance skills. Once I was off the front doing 27 - 29 MPH solo I was already well above LT so I just went harder and harder.

    The reason I was able to stay away though is I have 100 percent confidence in my cornering and bike handling skills, I was taking corners at 26+ MPH solo with no problems. I was able to at one time get 1 minute of the entire cat 5 field.

    Do not go right away, feel the field, see when they slow and that is when you strike. Once you get a gap then just go as hard as you can, the more gap you can put on the field the better you will do...
    Just your average club rider... :)

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