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Old 03-16-09, 03:14 PM   #1
agarose2000
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How strong do you have to be to "solo" a Cat5 or Cat4 race?

Just curious. I've never raced a crit before, and I likely won't anytime soon, but I do ride fast rides with a racing group on the weekends, and it's got my curiosity piqued.

How strong do you think you'd have to be to solo a TYPICAL Cat5 to the win (the whole way) sans sprint finish? Do you think a TYPICAL Cat3 could pull this off in a typical Cat5 race? How bout for Cat4s - Cat2 or Cat1?

(I know it's sort of a theoretical-only question, since bike racers go tactics most of the way, but just curious.)
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Old 03-16-09, 03:20 PM   #2
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I think you have to be as strong as a cartoon sheep. I'm just guessing here.
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Old 03-16-09, 03:20 PM   #3
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you'd have to be able to bench at least 200 pounds
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Old 03-16-09, 03:25 PM   #4
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Hypothetical questions, hypothetical answers.
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Old 03-16-09, 03:57 PM   #5
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So many variables. But it's really not too difficult to be OTF of a 5 race.
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Old 03-16-09, 04:13 PM   #6
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So many variables. But it's really not too difficult to be OTF of a 5 race.
not hard at all for the first two or three laps.
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Old 03-16-09, 04:14 PM   #7
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I can tell you categorically that I was not strong enough to do it yesterday

I did about 25mph and was caught after 12 minutes.

Cat 4 circuit race

You have to be a lot stronger than anyone else there, OR for whatever reason they have to not be motivated to chase you.
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Old 03-16-09, 04:25 PM   #8
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It can be pretty tough. I TT'ed out the front of the Tuesday nighter mixed 4/5 field and did 26.5 mph for 3.5 miles on a hilly course. I got caught by the last guy at the line. It is hard to beat the collective effort of a paceline.
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Old 03-16-09, 04:31 PM   #9
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Scientifically inaccurate/incomplete but simplified explanation:
Your power output for the entire race has to be slightly higher than the power output of whoever happens to be on the front of the race for the amount of time they are there. Since the chasing pack has rotating leaders that are essentially sharing the load, they have a huge advantage.
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Old 03-16-09, 04:34 PM   #10
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If you can actually solo off a Cat 5 race you are probably a Cat 2 waiting to happen. A 3 for sure.
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Old 03-16-09, 04:38 PM   #11
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I think it's an interesting question. In the 12 (Cat5) races I've done, none of the solo breaks has stuck, especially mine. It's always been decided the last lap, usually in the last 2-300 yards. No one's even tried to go off the front right from the get-go. It's so much easier to sit in, it seems like you'd have to be a monster to go out and stay out by yourself.

We're a pretty disorganized bunch, though. Nobody seems to be able to get three or four guys to agree to work together and get anything established ahead of the pack.
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Old 03-16-09, 04:47 PM   #12
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at least 20% stronger than most in the field...
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Old 03-16-09, 04:48 PM   #13
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I've stayed off the front of 35+ races longer than I ever could in a cat4 or cat5 race. And I assure you, every masters race I've ever done was substantially faster than any cat4 or cat5 race.

The difference? cat4's and 5's will chase EVERYTHING down. A masters field is willing to relax and let the dice roll and let you wear yourself out off the front where a cat4/5 race is going to be too skeered that you'll skool them and will thus chase you down.
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Old 03-16-09, 05:00 PM   #14
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I've stayed off the front of 35+ races longer than I ever could in a cat4 or cat5 race. And I assure you, every masters race I've ever done was substantially faster than any cat4 or cat5 race.

The difference? cat4's and 5's will chase EVERYTHING down. A masters field is willing to relax and let the dice roll and let you wear yourself out off the front where a cat4/5 race is going to be too skeered that you'll skool them and will thus chase you down.
The Cliff Notes version is that the Masters 35+ guys are way smarter than the Cat 4 and Cat 5 fields.
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Old 03-16-09, 05:15 PM   #15
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The Cliff Notes version is that the Masters 35+ guys are way smarter than the Cat 4 and Cat 5 fields.
Indeed. See you tomorrow.

And don't forget to wear green! (I've got a green bracelet, so I'm covered).
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Old 03-16-09, 05:40 PM   #16
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Indeed. See you tomorrow.

And don't forget to wear green! (I've got a green bracelet, so I'm covered).
And a (recovered) green waterbottle. I think that I might wear my hi-vis green jersey tomorrow.
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Old 03-16-09, 05:43 PM   #17
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you'd have to be able to bench at least 200 pounds

I wish it was that easy!!!
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Old 03-16-09, 05:45 PM   #18
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And a (recovered) green waterbottle. I think that I might wear my hi-vis green jersey tomorrow.
That bottle is staying home tomorrow in case I get near the rumble strips again!

Sheesh.

Oh yeah.. Back on topic. I stayed off the front of last Thursdays worlds for a little over 3 miles (from the hill to the cemetery), there was no way I was going to solo away from that bunch though. Too bad there's rules tomorrow night
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Old 03-16-09, 05:57 PM   #19
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Too bad there's rules tomorrow night
Will there be yelling? We're going to yell at you. I hope so (if required).
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Old 03-16-09, 06:17 PM   #20
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How strong do you think you'd have to be to solo a TYPICAL Cat5 to the win (the whole way) sans sprint finish?
Stronger than the 3-4 guys driving the pace. Most people in cat 5 don't want to chase, so if you can time trial decently you have a chance. When I was a 5 last year, I wasn't able to get a break to stick but it sure was fun trying
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Old 03-16-09, 06:30 PM   #21
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We had a kid who was riding with us who did it 3 or 4 times (at least one of those was with another rider, though). He was a Cat 2 about a year later.
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Old 03-16-09, 06:42 PM   #22
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I don't think there's a "real" answer to this question (as you might have noticed) but here's an actual scenario for you. Last weekend I soloed off the front of a collegiate C crit (which is about the equivalent of a Cat 5 race or so). Didn't mean to go, but found myself with a gap, and legs felt good, so I put my head down.

Average speed at the end was 24.6 mph (no power numbers, sorry) for 35 minutes. 1km course with one short steep climb. This is crucial, though: I also had two teammates back in the pack who were doing a hell of a good job blocking and generally disrupting any chase effort. If the pack had really wanted to chase me down, they could have.
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Old 03-16-09, 06:56 PM   #23
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you'd have to be able to bench at least 200 pounds
LOL

Most likely it is

you'd have to be able to not bench 80 pounds
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Old 03-16-09, 07:03 PM   #24
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Just curious. I've never raced a crit before, and I likely won't anytime soon, but I do ride fast rides with a racing group on the weekends, and it's got my curiosity piqued.

How strong do you think you'd have to be to solo a TYPICAL Cat5 to the win (the whole way) sans sprint finish? Do you think a TYPICAL Cat3 could pull this off in a typical Cat5 race? How bout for Cat4s - Cat2 or Cat1?

(I know it's sort of a theoretical-only question, since bike racers go tactics most of the way, but just curious.)
Simple...you just have to be able to solo TT (on your road bike) at a faster speed than the average speed of the last 10-15 laps of the typical races in your area.

If you aren't strong enough to do that...then you aren't strong enough...
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Old 03-16-09, 07:17 PM   #25
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I did it many times jumping early on the last lap and holding them off that way. For the whole time? good luck.
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