I was inspired by the "first race attack" thread when people chimed in with what you have to do and what you are not supposed to do. We have all heard roughly the same advice, and most of the time, it is exactly that - good advice. But do any of you have any stories of how you ignored good advice and it was for the best?
"Never attack on a downhill" - I have heard this many times but I can honestly say that I have initiated breaks a number of times on downhills (when most people are resting after pedaling UP the hill on the other side) and in fact, my last road race win was due to me separating from the pack on a 35 mph decent, and then holding off the pack on the final miles. I can honestly say that while it is generally good advice, telling a person to not attack on a downhill can limit their options unnecessarily.
"Save it for the sprint" - Again, speaking from experience as I once won four consecutive races (on the same course) jumping from 1k out. Week after week, I decided not to wait for the sprint, and it panned out for me every time. Waterrockets has practically made a career and I think is patenting the move. In fact, if more people DIDN'T believe the save it for the sprint mentality or the "I'm not going to chase that down" hesitation, I probably wouldn't have won those four in a row. But I guess I am trying to say that you don't always have to save it for the sprint.
"Attack all out, and don't look back. Don't stop until you get caught." - I am an attacking fiend. But I will be the first to tell you that not all of my attacks are created equal. Sometimes I don't go all out. I want a breakaway partner to bridge. Maybe I want to see how the field will react when I put in a REAL strong attack. And I just don't want to blow up because I do have a limited number of matches. Other times, I will be in the early stages of a breakaway, but I don't like the composition, and so I pull the plug long before we are caught. I do it to conserve energy, because I don't believe that the conventional wisdom is always correct.
"You must stay at the front of the pack." - I admit, I don't have a lot of experience with disproving this one. I like to stay near the front because I am always patrolling for a chance to get away from the pack, and I don't have the anaerobic capacity to deal with accordion effect. Also, over the years, I have learned how to be near the front and generally stay there 90% of the time that I want to be there. But I have to believe that just for shear dynamics, it must be better for SOME people to not be at the front. Look at McEwen. You never see him until the last miles. I would assume that most people who fancy themselves sprinters would be just fine NOT wasting energy holding position and just being towed around. Is staying at/near the front of the pack another one of those lies?
Do you guys have others?