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  1. #1
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    Total NOOB question

    So I am coming back to riding after many years of mostly sitting on my butt and gaining weight. Got a road bike a little over a month ago and have become totally addicted. I have also even thought I might try racing, although definitely not this year.

    I watched the entire TOC, which honestly is the first stage race that I have ever watched so closely. I have caught parts of the TOF in the past but never really watched that closely.

    I was kind of curious, as I don't understand the intricacies of bike racing. When watching some of the breakaways, I saw that the breakaway group seemed to help each other out quite a bit, even though they were on different teams. Is it customary for everyone to help in the paceline like that? It seems that if you were in that group you would want to hang back and let everyone else do the work. But that also seems rude.

    I can also see in a way that helping each other can be advantageous. If the breakaway can stay ahead, then those guys have fewer people to fight against in the final sprint.

    So are those guys actually volunarily helping each other? Or does it kind of just happen, as the guy in the lead drops back the second guy ends up doing a pull whether he likes it or not?

    Also, any good books to read that will help me undestand this stuff? For now I am interested so that I can enjoy watching the races more. Maybe if I can lose this donut around my gut I will actually try it out.

    -D

  2. #2
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    With a little luck, my book will be coming out soon.
    Here's an excerpt:
    The Breakaway riders will quickly form their own cooperative group. By working together as opponents, they will break all the conventional rules of sport. I can’t stress this bizarre occurrence enough. The idea of working with your enemy is absurd.
    Edward Albert Ph.D, a professor in the Sociology Department at Hofstra University, verified this crazy idea in a study conducted in 1991. In his report entitled, “Riding a Paceline: Competition and Cooperation in the Sport of Bicycle Racing” published in The Sociology of Sport Journal, Albert concluded that these “informal normative structures were in conflict with more conventional and widely held sport doctrines that exclude cooperative associations between opponents and emphasize the zero-sum character of competitive interactions.”

    Yet without this cooperation, they will lack the synergy necessary to succeed.

    That's all you get for now.

  3. #3
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    Thats not very well wrote

  4. #4
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Bike racing is the only sport I know of where you work with your opponents... bizarre, eh?

    Part of it is due to the physics involved, it's the fastest human-powered sport where aerodynamic-drag becomes a major factor. The draft becomes a big tactical advantage.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 03-05-06 at 11:37 AM.

  5. #5
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    I was kind of curious, as I don't understand the intricacies of bike racing. When watching some of the breakaways, I saw that the breakaway group seemed to help each other out quite a bit, even though they were on different teams. Is it customary for everyone to help in the paceline like that?
    Yes

    It seems that if you were in that group you would want to hang back and let everyone else do the work. But that also seems rude.
    It is rude. But, it is also an important thing to do at times to be selfish and save energy, or perhaps to wear down stronger opponents in the break. Often times the "Wheel suck" gets berated quite handily. On the other hand, if you are strong and know you can beat people in the break, you might put some extra effort into keeping the break alive so that you can claim your victory. Of course this comes via expenditure of your precious energy reserves.

    I can also see in a way that helping each other can be advantageous. If the breakaway can stay ahead, then those guys have fewer people to fight against in the final sprint.
    Less dangerous, and now you have a much greater chance (via plain statistics) of finishing highly (particularly if you are not a strong sprinter, or you are usually part of the leadout train for the sprint).

    So are those guys actually volunarily helping each other? Or does it kind of just happen, as the guy in the lead drops back the second guy ends up doing a pull whether he likes it or not?
    Yes they voluntarily help each other. One of the maddening things in local races in the lower categories are the people who do not understand the etiquette involved. They end up ruining their own chances by not recognizing a pull off sign, or not understanding when it is their turn to step up. In the pro's it is calculated and considered rude.

    Also, any good books to read that will help me undestand this stuff? For now I am interested so that I can enjoy watching the races more. Maybe if I can lose this donut around my gut I will actually try it out.
    If you are interested in eventually racing, purchase Bike racing 101. It will give you information on tactics, training and general guidelines to help you understand everything necessary to enter racing (at least in the USA). There are other books that discuss tactics in greater depth, but I feel that book will be the best all-rounder for what you are describing. Welcome to bike racing!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    So I am coming back to riding after many years of mostly sitting on my butt and gaining weight. Got a road bike a little over a month ago and have become totally addicted. I have also even thought I might try racing, although definitely not this year.

    Also, any good books to read that will help me undestand this stuff? For now I am interested so that I can enjoy watching the races more. Maybe if I can lose this donut around my gut I will actually try it out.

    -D

    ......and, before you do what I did....(go hog wild and start riding your arse off to get in shape) do what I'm now doing (better late than never ) and read Joe Friel's book "The Cyclist's Training Bible" if you're interested in racing, fitness, and losing weight.

    Much of it is contridictory to what common sense and popular belief is in regards to the subject.

    Steve
    Video...Swiss Crit

  7. #7
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveAZ
    ......and, before you do what I did....(go hog wild and start riding your arse off to get in shape) do what I'm now doing (better late than never ) and read Joe Friel's book "The Cyclist's Training Bible" if you're interested in racing, fitness, and losing weight.

    Much of it is contridictory to what common sense and popular belief is in regards to the subject.

    Steve
    Friel's book is truly a bible...I use it well.

  8. #8
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    And you are an authority on good writing! ha ha ha

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