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Old 09-09-07, 12:48 PM   #1
Coyote2
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I learned a lesson yestarday...

...In a short road race, Cat V. Slow pace most of the way. After the halfway mark, one rider solo'd off the front, then another joined him, and they stayed about 70-80 meters in front of the main pack. With 7-8 miles to go, they had not drifted back, so I tried to organize a chase group - I've got a lousy finishing sprint, so figured that if three or four other riders and I could join the leaders, we'd have a large enough group to stay in front and finish before of the pack. So I tried to organize a chase group, but I was the only one willing to really pull. I would lead several guys at a higher pace for a few minutes, then after I pulled off no one would take over and maintain the pace. After several attempts, we hadn't made it up the twosome, but I was tired. So, when we got to the finish, I had no hammer left to drop, and a half-dozen other riders sprinted right past me. Now I understand what some of you are always saying -- the smart riders -- not necessarily the strongest riders -- do well. And I was a dumbass.

'Course, if I had just stuck with the pack and conserved energy, I would probably only have finished a few places higher than I did -- since I am a lame sprinter. Sigh.
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Old 09-09-07, 05:35 PM   #2
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If nobody else will pull, it should be pretty obvious as soon as their turns come up. If they don't pull, sit up and join the pack. It may only be a few places today, but it could be a top five or top 10 in a cat 3 or cat 4 race, and those are valuable upgrade points and experience.

Oh, and now you already know what to work on before next season: Sprints.

Sounds to me like you learned a lot.
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Old 09-09-07, 06:29 PM   #3
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Did the break you tried to bridge up to stick?
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Old 09-09-07, 06:47 PM   #4
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Don't pull the pack. Attack the pack and bridge to the break. If you had enough energy to pull the pack for a couple of minutes, then you probably had enough to bridge.

Mark
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Old 09-09-07, 08:32 PM   #5
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I wouldn't expect anyone to work with or for you until you hit the 3's. They have no obligation to do anything. If you don't like the situation, jump and solo across to it. Don't waste your time pulling at the front of the field, especially if you're doing all the work.

Generally speaking, you only chase in order to set something up. If you're going to be weakened by it, you want a teammate to benefit from it. Or, if you're going to burn a match, you don't want a non-teammate to benefit. So: jump across, or pull them back with the express purpose of getting your man to the front. As you did neither, it was a mistake, and hopefully a lesson learned for the future.
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Old 09-09-07, 08:53 PM   #6
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Don't pull the pack. Attack the pack and bridge to the break. If you had enough energy to pull the pack for a couple of minutes, then you probably had enough to bridge.

Mark
Bingo! Folks we have a winner.
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Old 09-10-07, 06:52 AM   #7
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kensuf: the break did not quite stick -- the two guys got beat on the sprint and came in second and third.

I was trying to get help to bridge the gap, as I didn't think I could do it alone. But you folks are right - after it became apparent that no one else would help, I should have just sat back instead of trying two or three more times.

And yeah, I plan to work on my sprint. Been working on it for two years and it's still lame.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:21 AM   #8
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kensuf: the break did not quite stick -- the two guys got beat on the sprint and came in second and third. I was trying to get help to bridge the gap, as I didn't think I could do it alone. But you folks are right - after it became apparent that no one else would help, I should have just sat back instead of trying two or three more times.

And yeah, I plan to work on my sprint. Been working on it for two years and it's still lame.
What you SHOULD have done was let that second rider pull you up to the leader when he bridged up. Then the three of you could have held off the pack.

Your comment about winning racers being the smartest, not necessarily the fittest was correct. But one other point to note is that the winning racer is often the guy who worked the least, not the most, in the race.

Bob
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Old 09-12-07, 09:54 AM   #9
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kensuf: the break did not quite stick -- the two guys got beat on the sprint and came in second and third.

I was trying to get help to bridge the gap, as I didn't think I could do it alone. But you folks are right - after it became apparent that no one else would help, I should have just sat back instead of trying two or three more times.

And yeah, I plan to work on my sprint. Been working on it for two years and it's still lame.
That's not bridging. That's pulling the pack up, en mass.

If you're trying to bridge, you need to stand up, get on your horse, and hit the gas hard. A bridging attempt is just attacking up to a group up the road. Not pulling a bunch of people along behind you.

Also, why do you need help? It's 70-80m as you said, and in a slow race. Get up to 30mph, hold it for 20 seconds, and you're there.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:58 AM   #10
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That's not bridging. That's pulling the pack up, en mass.

If you're trying to bridge, you need to stand up, get on your horse, and hit the gas hard. A bridging attempt is just attacking up to a group up the road. Not pulling a bunch of people along behind you.

Also, why do you need help? It's 70-80m as you said, and in a slow race. Get up to 30mph, hold it for 20 seconds, and you're there.
+1. A solid jump wold have taken you across.
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Old 09-12-07, 11:51 AM   #11
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At 70-80 meters, I wouldn't have even tried to bridge. I would have sat near the front and watched. If the guys were really going to stay away, the gap would have gotten bigger.

I like to make sure the break is going to make it before I use up most of what I have in catching them. Its a fine line, if you let them get away too far and they stay off, then you will blow up trying to bridge or be so exhausted that you won't have anything for the final sprint. But I tend to err on going later than sooner. The vast majority of breaks get reeled in and if you bridge and then get caught, its game over for you.

But its good you are willing to try to make something happen. I just hate being at the mercy of the peleton. I'd rather try something and fail than just get swept along in the pack with no purpose.
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Old 09-12-07, 01:07 PM   #12
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At 70-80 meters, I wouldn't have even tried to bridge. I would have sat near the front and watched. If the guys were really going to stay away, the gap would have gotten bigger.

I like to make sure the break is going to make it before I use up most of what I have in catching them. Its a fine line, if you let them get away too far and they stay off, then you will blow up trying to bridge or be so exhausted that you won't have anything for the final sprint. But I tend to err on going later than sooner. The vast majority of breaks get reeled in and if you bridge and then get caught, its game over for you.

But its good you are willing to try to make something happen. I just hate being at the mercy of the peleton. I'd rather try something and fail than just get swept along in the pack with no purpose.
I might have, and I might not have. You can look at it as a doomed break (no one short of Cancellara or Chris Hoy are keeping that gap with a 1mile crit lap to go), or you can think that, if you get up and help, you can add some momentum to it, and it might stick, if there's some time left in the race. In this particular situation, instead of dragging 50 dudes along, he would have been far better off just going for it.

If you're going to spend energy, and you aren't working for a teammate get yourself some room off the front of the field. At the very least, you avoid the late-race crashes for a bit and give yourself a shot, particularly if you aren't a sprinter. If the teammate I lead out is no where in sight, I get myself off the front, because while I'm most likely doomed, a big crash can always happen.
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Old 09-12-07, 07:08 PM   #13
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Agree it may or may not have been doomed. So bridge up hard, get there fast! If you don't reach them in one short effort don't hang in no mans land! Give it up, drop back to the pack, and rest to try again.

Another tip in this situation, where you are trying to give a boost to a small break. If you do catch don't give up your momentum, give a shout so they know you are comming and pull right thru.
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