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Old 03-11-10, 03:05 PM   #1
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"If it's your first race, attack attack attack"

Read the sticky at the top of the forum - also read a lot of other 'first race' advice threads. Good info all around.

"If it's your first race, attack" - this seems to be common advice. Wondering if anyone could elaborate and get into a bit more detail on why this is a good tactic for a first timer.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:07 PM   #2
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keeps you out of trouble if you're off the front?
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Old 03-11-10, 03:16 PM   #3
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That's it? I figure I'll want to stay with the pack a bit in my first race just to gain experience of how things work in that situation.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:16 PM   #4
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You'll have a lot more fun.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:21 PM   #5
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in USAC, as a Cat 5, results mean nothing. a cat 5 gets the same upgrade credit for clipping in and falling over at the start, and quitting, as winning. therefore, there is no downside from a results standpoint. racing aggressively (meaning attacking) and failing lets you learn more about your own abilities than hanging out in the pack squirreling around and finishing 24th or whatever. also, you might just win and find out that you're better at this sport than you thought possible.

it also forces you to get back into a pack and recover while still going fast, this is a skill that too many dont have. it's about the only thing i've got going for me and I utilize it to its max.

it's also safer, and more fun to animate a race.

i'll finish by saying there are only 2 things you should be doing in a race: 1) attacking; 2) planning your next attack.

proceed.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:24 PM   #6
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i'll finish by saying there are only 2 things you should be doing in a race: 1) attacking; 2) planning your next attack.
Some people spend an entire race planning their one attack, which happens 200 meters from the finish line on the last lap.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:24 PM   #7
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Cat 5 and to slightly lesser extent cat 4 races tend to be somewhat agitated group rides. No one wants to try to win..they just don't want to lose. If you are an attacking rider you run the risk of losing...but if you attack you have a chance to win. Attacking isn't some random thing you have be smart about it.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:25 PM   #8
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People should learn pack skills. You should also learn what it is like to deal with the surges which are quite surprising to most who have never raced before. But the bottom line is that you want to get better. I doubt there are many that think of cat 5 racing as the pinnacle of their racing careers and thus they know that to upgrade and enjoy higher level racing they NEED to get stronger. The way to do that? Stop sucking wheel (where as mentioned it can be dangerous) and push your limits. You might win, you will probably lose, but you will not say that you were just one of the other 50 guys there who sat in, did nothing, and could have won the sprint if they only hadn't gotten boxed in.

Animate, try to be different, and succeed or fail, you will have fun with 49 ravenous cat 5s doing everything they can to simultaneously not let you get away, and not do any work.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:27 PM   #9
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Some people spend an entire race planning their one attack, which happens 200 meters from the finish line on the last lap.
that too is ok in my book, just not the way i roll
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Old 03-11-10, 03:28 PM   #10
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Excellent, I get it... so that brings me to my next question, WHEN to attack? Right away, and repeatedly until I pop (or win, ha!)? Halfway through? After someone else does (counterattack)? At the start of the last lap?
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Old 03-11-10, 03:30 PM   #11
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Cat 5 and to slightly lesser extent cat 4 races tend to be somewhat agitated group rides. No one wants to try to win..they just don't want to lose. If you are an attacking rider you run the risk of losing...but if you attack you have a chance to win. Attacking isn't some random thing you have be smart about it.
To some degree this is defined by the duration of most Cat 4 or 5 races. Put on a 20 min P/1/2 Crit and I bet you would see a familiar pattern. Mad dash to the front, and a frantic over reaction any time someone had anything resembling a gap.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:31 PM   #12
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When I started I was lucky if I finished with the group. Attack attack attack is all well and good if you have the capacity for it, but I suspect many first time racers don't. Even now, some races I'm happy if I can even get near the front, let alone attack.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:38 PM   #13
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When I started I was lucky if I finished with the group. Attack attack attack is all well and good if you have the capacity for it, but I suspect many first time racers don't. Even now, some races I'm happy if I can even get near the front, let alone attack.
This is true but as a cat 5 if all you've done for 10 races is sit in what do you expect to have happen in a Cat 4 race? At some point you've got to try or all you'll ever be is pack fodder.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:39 PM   #14
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Cat 5 and to slightly lesser extent cat 4 races tend to be somewhat agitated group rides. No one wants to try to win..they just don't want to lose. If you are an attacking rider you run the risk of losing...but if you attack you have a chance to win. Attacking isn't some random thing you have be smart about it.
Hey, some of us only need 300m to win. Don't judge me.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:41 PM   #15
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Hey, some of us only need 300m to win. Don't judge me.
Well some of us need mountains....unfortunately we don't have many of those where I live.

Honestly though I wish someone would have sat me down when I started and told me pretty much what the Doc posted...being afraid not to lose is probably the biggest limiter most cat 5's have.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:43 PM   #16
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WHEN to attack?
Whenever you are in pain. Because if you're hurting, chances are everyone else is too. And if you attack, they'll be dying.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:45 PM   #17
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Well some of us need mountains....unfortunately we don't have many of those where I live.

Honestly though I wish someone would have sat me down when I started and told me pretty much what the Doc posted...being afraid not to lose is probably the biggest limiter most cat 5's have.

And 4s... I fall into this category as well. But I'm trying to change it.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:46 PM   #18
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And 4s... I fall into this category as well. But I'm trying to change it.
Sounds like after Tunis you already have

BTW this is the talk Ex gave me after ToNB...that and 145lb climbers shouldn't sit on the front of windy races dragging the field around...but mostly don't be afraid to lose if you want to win.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:47 PM   #19
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Whenever you are in pain. Because if you're hurting, chances are everyone else is too. And if you attack, they'll be dying.
People say this all the time and I swear I don't half believe it.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:47 PM   #20
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Good info in here. We'll see how it goes on Sunday...
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Old 03-11-10, 03:49 PM   #21
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being afraid not to lose is probably the biggest limiter most cat 5's have.
It's true.

In this, my 2nd year or racing, my hope is to not take each race so seriously. I felt I had to win every race last year, and in effect felt I couldn't lose any race last year.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:50 PM   #22
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People say this all the time and I swear I don't half believe it.
I didn't either until training camp last weekend.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:53 PM   #23
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People say this all the time and I swear I don't half believe it.
this works for some..I've seen Ex do it..I would have sworn he was at his limit but he just went that little bit deeper and bam the others popped. I've done it longer climbs...gone just a bit harder than the group and broke the rubber band...Saturday we were on our Sat Morn WC ride and on the longish climb a guy that had been riding really strong and spent the previous 40mi attacking the hell out us was riding right beside me...I kept waiting for him to attack again and at about the half way mark I decided to go just a bit harder....he cracked in about 20m...honestly it could have been just the opposite as I was right at my limit...had he hung on a bit longer it might have been me who cracked.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:53 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
in USAC, as a Cat 5, results mean nothing. a cat 5 gets the same upgrade credit for clipping in and falling over at the start, and quitting, as winning. therefore, there is no downside from a results standpoint. racing aggressively (meaning attacking) and failing lets you learn more about your own abilities than hanging out in the pack squirreling around and finishing 24th or whatever. also, you might just win and find out that you're better at this sport than you thought possible.

it also forces you to get back into a pack and recover while still going fast, this is a skill that too many dont have. it's about the only thing i've got going for me and I utilize it to its max.

it's also safer, and more fun to animate a race.

i'll finish by saying there are only 2 things you should be doing in a race: 1) attacking; 2) planning your next attack.

proceed.
this makes sense to me. thank you. later.
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Old 03-11-10, 03:55 PM   #25
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This is true but as a cat 5 if all you've done for 10 races is sit in what do you expect to have happen in a Cat 4 race? At some point you've got to try or all you'll ever be is pack fodder.
I used the racing to improve my fitness until I could get to the front and attack. Somebody has to be the pack fodder.
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