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  1. #1
    Legs of Steel chrisvu05's Avatar
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    Grrr...I suck at Criterium strategy!

    So in tonight's training crit I did the exact opposite of last week and started the race out in the front of the pack...I led out the first 2 laps thinking there are plenty of people faster than me and they will pass me. Nope....they were happy just sucking my wheel. So I dropped back after the 2nd lap because frankly i'm not strong enough to pull for 20 minutes. Hung on with the pack for another 10 minutes and then promptly got gapped and I was done. Got lapped on the last lap at the finish line just like last week!

    Things i've noted, I'm good for the first 12 minutes and then I blow up....so if there are any 12 minute TT i'm golden I need more practice bridging gaps when i'm tired. I don't feel like i get enough power with my compact crank and an 11-23 cassette, the leverage doesn't feel right.

    Any more advice would be great. I greatly appreciated the advice I received last week about doing a proper warm-up.

    Warm up this week:

    50:39
    13.24 miles
    Avg. Speed. 15.7 (would sprint a lap and then relax for 2 laps)
    Max. Speed. 29.3 mph
    Avg. HR: 149 (this needs to come up as race pace was 165 bpm)
    Max. HR: 181 (This needs to come up also)


    Crit Stats:
    20:08
    6.74
    avg. spd: 20.1
    max speed: 27.5 (my sprint is much faster I just don't ever seem to be in place to sprint)
    Avg. HR: 165 ( this can come up)
    Max. HR: 191 (187 bpm last week, this is the highest i've hit this year but have yet to be in a sprint I hit 196 last year but it was because I was 260 lbs)

  2. #2
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    you are figuring it out. just keep showing up. my only advice is absolutely dont do any work. dont pull. if you get stuck in the front just soft peddle until someone comes around.

  3. #3
    drop you like a potato
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    your a big dude dont ever ever ever be out front.

  4. #4
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socalcycling
    your a big dude dont ever ever ever be out front.
    Unless you are off the front.

  5. #5
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    As the others have said, you should never be in the front unless you have team mates in the race or are doing something tactical. Something specific, like chasing or working in a break, not just working for no reason.

    Even if it seems like the pace is crawling, don't do any work, except for the above cases. Your goal is to cross the line first, not contribute your fair share of pace-making. If it really gets that slow, attack. If you find yourself in the front anyway, just ride at an easy cruising pace and be ready for the attacks. Because if no one pulls through, there will be attacks.

    If you're running out of juice during races, the obvious answer is to do near-race-intensity workouts for race-like durations or longer. Your finishing power will improve. I, recursive, guarantee it!
    Bring the pain.

  6. #6
    Legs of Steel chrisvu05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socalcycling
    your a big dude dont ever ever ever be out front.

    problem is i'm always the first to clip in and because i'm a good sprinter I start well from the line...so a couple of pedals and I'm in front everyone at the start...i guess i need to start on the second row instead of the first

  7. #7
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisvu05
    problem is i'm always the first to clip in and because i'm a good sprinter I start well from the line...so a couple of pedals and I'm in front everyone at the start...i guess i need to start on the second row instead of the first
    Or you could start slower.
    Bring the pain.

  8. #8
    Legs of Steel chrisvu05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recursive
    Or you could start slower.
    or that...

  9. #9
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    or you could just slow down to let people get past you.

  10. #10
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    If you're getting lapped by the field in a 20 min. crit, I doubt it's a strategy issue and suspect it's a fitness issue. Continue working, training, racing, and getting your a$$ kicked until you are the one kicking a$$.

    If you find yourself on the front pulling the pack around, either attack like you stole something or slow down until you are no longer pulling the pack around.

  11. #11
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    learn how, in a race situation, to go 12mph. Seriously. If you line up first, you are not going to be dropped even if the race starts out at a stupid high speed. Just get in the pedal and go for a rec ride. Stay in the pack and work on positioning (near the front, not at the front). Finally if you end up on the front, coast. If no one wants to come around you then the race comes to a halt. SOMEONE will go around.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV
    If you're getting lapped by the field in a 20 min. crit, I doubt it's a strategy issue and suspect it's a fitness issue. Continue working, training, racing, and getting your a$$ kicked until you are the one kicking a$$.

    If you find yourself on the front pulling the pack around, either attack like you stole something or slow down until you are no longer pulling the pack around.
    +1

    Give it time, it'll come. Listen to the advice here. They're all right. Never be on front unless you have a reason to be. I too am a large rider. I was in a 45-min crit this weekend, found myself on the front, and so I soft-pedaled. They let me. Okay. Fine. I wasn't spending any energy and ended up getting 2nd place for my best result this season. If I can do it, you can too. Keep going back for more, keep hanging on a little bit longer each week. Pretty soon, you'll last the whole way.

    (BTW, I'm 6'3", 255 lb former college football player with alot of muscle mass, and alot of fat too )

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  13. #13
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    I think what you meant by strategy was fitness.
    Cat 1 o-meter 33%

  14. #14
    Legs of Steel chrisvu05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps
    I think what you meant by strategy was fitness.
    I agree I have issues with fitness but as long as I'm in the group I seem to be able to hang. I went out too hard tonight and then fell off the back and got gapped. The course is very windy for half of it so as soon as I get gapped I can't catch back up. Also there are definitely some guys in this C race that shouldn't be there. A guy went of the front both last week and this week and won both weeks without contest....his fitness is clearly above the C race but his cornering skills were sketchy...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisvu05
    I agree I have issues with fitness but as long as I'm in the group I seem to be able to hang. I went out too hard tonight and then fell off the back and got gapped. The course is very windy for half of it so as soon as I get gapped I can't catch back up. Also there are definitely some guys in this C race that shouldn't be there. A guy went of the front both last week and this week and won both weeks without contest....his fitness is clearly above the C race but his cornering skills were sketchy...
    If its just a training race, or you are just there for training, push yourself way past your limit do work, attack, whatever youll get a ton stronger.


    If you want to win be dirty and sit in until the sprint.
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  16. #16
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    +1 to the advice in the posts above. Don't ever pull the pack around unless you're closing a gap for a teammate or leading one out.

    Other than that, up for some hill repeats tomorrow?'

    BTW: what crit is there on Wed? I swear, north and south Austin feel like they're in different states sometimes.

  17. #17
    Legs of Steel chrisvu05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    +1 to the advice in the posts above. Don't ever pull the pack around unless you're closing a gap for a teammate or leading one out.

    Other than that, up for some hill repeats tomorrow?'

    BTW: what crit is there on Wed? I swear, north and south Austin feel like they're in different states sometimes.
    I would love to do hill repeats Waterrockets but I live in Nashville, TN....haha....

  18. #18
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisvu05
    I agree I have issues with fitness but as long as I'm in the group I seem to be able to hang. I went out too hard tonight and then fell off the back and got gapped. The course is very windy for half of it so as soon as I get gapped I can't catch back up. Also there are definitely some guys in this C race that shouldn't be there. A guy went of the front both last week and this week and won both weeks without contest....his fitness is clearly above the C race but his cornering skills were sketchy...
    Am I the only person who thought that was an interesting statement?

    Three things about being at the front are good:

    1) You're attacking.
    2) You're in a break.
    3) You're bringing back a break.

    If you ever find yourself in any other sort of situation, get off the front. Immediately. I occasionally go to the front on hills to break fatties off the back in the 3s, but unless I'm doing one of the three activities listed above, it's not that common.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  19. #19
    Now Racer Ex Vinokurtov's Avatar
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    Guys, it's a training crit. A "C" training crit. A 20 minute "C" training crit.

    Wheel suck to the end? What's the point?

    My advice? Go to the front, put your head down, TT and see how long you can stay there. Repeat until you can stay there for the entire training race or until someone comes around you. Hiding out of the wind isn't going to make you fitter, isn't going to tell you much about your capacity, and isn't going to teach you how to suffer.

    Just make sure the coast is clear and veer around a bit to pi$$ people off and make them work some.
    "I may not be as strong as I think I am, but I know many tricks, and I have resolution" - Santiago

  20. #20
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisvu05
    I would love to do hill repeats Waterrockets but I live in Nashville, TN....haha....
    lmao, I just glanced at your avatar, and it's similar to Ravenmore's, and that's who I thought I was talking to. Hmm, I should go to sleep now


  21. #21
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    As others said, you started too fast and burned yourself out....

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisvu05
    I agree I have issues with fitness but as long as I'm in the group I seem to be able to hang. I went out too hard tonight and then fell off the back and got gapped. The course is very windy for half of it so as soon as I get gapped I can't catch back up. Also there are definitely some guys in this C race that shouldn't be there. A guy went of the front both last week and this week and won both weeks without contest....his fitness is clearly above the C race but his cornering skills were sketchy...
    Ok, you're fit enough to finish with the pack. Your issue is learning to temper the adrenaline. Resist the temptation to go all out all the time. Start slower and line up in 10-15th position. COUNT the number of guys ahead of you at the start. If it's LESS THAN 10, slow down. If it's MORE THAN 10, speed up and fall into 10-15th position. Success in crits is learning the mental chess-game, it's all in the head (well about 95% mental). You need to use a feedback loop of gathering information about the pack and the other riders' behaviors, then make the appropriate adjustment to your strategy to deal with them.

    Also you found your solution to winning the race. Forget about hanging in or completing the race, go for the WIN!!! You've already identified the strongest rider in the group. Find him at the start and stay on his wheel!!! That's all there is to it. Learn to "hold your line" by following exactly one guy and one guy only around the entire course. If he moves left, you move left. If he moves right, you go right. If he takes off the front, you go with him. This requires reacting quickly, you should be on his wheel within 1 pedal stroke.

    Same with crashes, don't stare at it and try to brake, you'll get clobbered for sure. Your first reaction is to look away at a gap that's safe and you'll automatically go there. I don't think I've ever seen a crashing rider hit the ground, I'm already looking for a way around him.

  22. #22
    I like pie! BCgoFHS's Avatar
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    I don't think your compact is the problem, 50/11 is plenty of gearing. It's a training crit so treat it as such. Try stay near the front, at the front, attack, see if you can move through the pack. If you get dropped see if you can get back in to the pack. Just take it easy for a couple of laps until you get lapped then try to integrate yourself back in.
    Bold, Cheesy, Graceful, Overwhelming, Funny, Hardworking, Sophisticated
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  23. #23
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisvu05
    I don't feel like i get enough power with my compact crank and an 11-23 cassette, the leverage doesn't feel right.
    Didn't notice this part. That's the exact combination I race on. With a max speed of 27.5mph, I can safely say that the compact crank is 100% definitely not (one of) the problem(s).
    Bring the pain.

  24. #24
    Legs of Steel chrisvu05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCgoFHS
    I don't think your compact is the problem, 50/11 is plenty of gearing. It's a training crit so treat it as such. Try stay near the front, at the front, attack, see if you can move through the pack. If you get dropped see if you can get back in to the pack. Just take it easy for a couple of laps until you get lapped then try to integrate yourself back in.

    yeah...the gearing is plenty...i've only used the compact for about 3 weeks and am still getting the hang of it...It is also a 172.5 and I'm used to riding a 175. It feels as if i'm spinning too much and not shifting to harder gear. Just not what i'm used to...that is all.

  25. #25
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    lmao, I just glanced at your avatar, and it's similar to Ravenmore's, and that's who I thought I was talking to. Hmm, I should go to sleep now

    they are confusing.

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