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Old 01-17-11, 06:01 PM   #1
echappist 
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Critique/Hand-Wring My Training Plan

I apologize for the long read up front. So the collegiate season is only 7 weeks away, and i'd like to figure out a way to plan the last few weeks to prepare myself to do well in the C's, with the hope of getting into the B's.

First, about myself. 4.7w/kg for 5 minute and 3.7w/kg for FTP (tested last week). This is my second year of racing. I'm currently at 156# and plan on dropping to 147# by mid-March. After getting crashed out with 150m to go in a crit last year, i've decided to go on attacks so i don't have to deal with bunch sprints.

Second, the races weekends. Each race weekend consists of road racer and time trial on the first day and crit on the second. Using Friel's terminology, Yale, Boston, and Philly will be my A races, and I plan on taking a week of rest after the first three races. I'm fairly certain about two weeks and have a vague sense of what to do for the others.

4/4 - 4/10: Yale, Race Week
3/28 - 4/3: Boston, Race Week
3/21-3/27: Not sure about this one. Taper or build?
3/14-3/20: Philly. Not sure to label this as Race or Peak Week.
3/7 - 3/13: NYC area. Peak
2/28 - 3/6: Rutgers. Peak.
2/21 -2/28: Rest week.
2/14 -2/20: Build 2
2/7 - 2/13: Build 2
1/31 - 2/6: Build 1
1/24 -1/30: Build 1
1/17 -1/23: Build 1
Previous week was a rest week. Right now, i have a stress balance of 0, with a long term stress and short term stress of 42.6. A month ago, my short term stress was 98 and long term stress was 47.5. There's some funny business with the long term stress as i started in early November, and i had no idea about the stress values prior to that time.

Here are the things for which i'd like comments:
-I wonder how feasible 5 straight weeks of build is, and i guess i can turn the week of 1/31 - 2/6 into a rest week. I also wonder if four weeks of build is enough?
-How feasible is a 3-week peak and how do i do the taper? Or can i do 3 "on" weeks of peak followed by one week of taper shown above?
-When should I start my VO2 max intervals? I'm particularly interested in the race-winning intervals described in Coggan's book as it would help with the attacking.

Many many thanks in advance
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Old 01-17-11, 07:33 PM   #2
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-5 week of build would be too much for me if i were truly doing build, but i'm twice your age. i would need a recovery block in there, at least 3 to 5 days

-3 week peak is feasible, when i'm coming into a peak, i have some days where i'm blocked, then some where i'm really good, then i'm good

-a true taper intended to initiate a peak takes about two weeks for me where i need to reduce volume but keep up intensity mid week with racing on weekends, everything else is stupid slow/ez

-start vo2 now. RWIs are more of an awc/vo2 "criss cross" thing, i do them as an awc workout because of the explosiveness of them whereas i do vo2s much more steady

-something to consider, for me to be "race ready" i need to to throw in some lactate tolerance (not sure if that's the correct term) intervals of 40" on/20" off, 30/30s, tabatas, mircrobursts or i have trouble recovering "in race".

dont over think it too much, just build your form, do the work (doing is more important than what you do in my opinion), then when you hit your racing time (2/28 through 4/10) race on the weekends, for the first 2 weeks do 2 hard sessions during the week on tu and wed, everything else easy, then after NYC only do a tu or wed (whichever works better) hard day, everything else stupid easy and you should be fresh for the weekends.

good luck and stay upright. your results will come more from racing properly to your strengths than your training, but that's another topic.
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Old 01-17-11, 11:07 PM   #3
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Usually the stuff in the post "peak" period when I'm racing is maintenance...focus on rest and recovery from the weekend, throw in a weekday crit and a weekend ride if you're not racing that weekend, but otherwise just ride enough to keep things sharp.

The taper week I'd generally do short 1-1.5 hour rides with a couple days off (people react differently, I can't jump into a race after a day off and do well); the rides will have a few hard efforts but nothing more than 5-10 minutes around FTP and a couple of hard anaerobic efforts. Main thing is to keep the TSS low to bring the TSB up and go in really rested.

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Old 01-18-11, 06:36 PM   #4
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MDCatV and RacerEx, really appreciate the comments.
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Old 01-18-11, 07:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mcjimbosandwich View Post
I apologize for the long read up front. So the collegiate season is only 7 weeks away, and i'd like to figure out a way to plan the last few weeks to prepare myself to do well in the C's, with the hope of getting into the B's.

First, about myself. 4.7w/kg for 5 minute and 3.7w/kg for FTP (tested last week). This is my second year of racing. I'm currently at 156# and plan on dropping to 147# by mid-March.
After getting crashed out with 150m to go in a crit last year, i've decided to go on attacks so i don't have to deal with bunch sprints.

Second, the races weekends. Each race weekend consists of road racer and time trial on the first day and crit on the second. Using Friel's terminology, Yale, Boston, and Philly will be my A races, and I plan on taking a week of rest after the first three races. I'm fairly certain about two weeks and have a vague sense of what to do for the others.
Won't comment on the training plan, but as for this statement.. I don't think that's a good way to think about it.

Just because bunch sprints are scary/dangerous doesn't mean:
a) you can win via attacking
b) you shouldn't mix it up in a sprint

Unless your 5-sec w/kg is something like 10 w/kg, I think you shouldn't give up on sprints. Just don't be in the middle of the pack when the time comes, be in teh top 5-10..

Not that I'm an expert on racing or sprinting, but I wouldn't give up just yet. Breaks are way harder than sprinting, at least for me.
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Old 01-18-11, 07:39 PM   #6
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Won't comment on the training plan, but as for this statement.. I don't think that's a good way to think about it.

Just because bunch sprints are scary/dangerous doesn't mean:
a) you can win via attacking
b) you shouldn't mix it up in a sprint

Unless your 5-sec w/kg is something like 10 w/kg, I think you shouldn't give up on sprints. Just don't be in the middle of the pack when the time comes, be in teh top 5-10..

Not that I'm an expert on racing or sprinting, but I wouldn't give up just yet. Breaks are way harder than sprinting, at least for me.
Yeah, being in the top 5-10 is something i'll work on. I think it's more a statement about my distrust of the cat C/cat 4 handling skills more than anything else.

In my first year racing, i've placed 2nd in one race on a 12-person sprint (the other 17 somehow got caught behind a crash) and 1st in another after a solo break of 4 miles. Those probably don't mean too much, but given that i really want to avoid injuries (hard to square it with my boss), i'll need to really instigate. As Jens says: Safest way of winning is arriving by yourself. In that light, contesting a 10 person sprint is something i'm willing to do. Contesting a 40 person sprint is not.

Edit: then again, when i did get crashed out, i was in a bad place (half way down the pack). I tried a last lap attack, followed another racer's wheel (somehow thinking he'd want to work with me), realize it wasn't going to work, restarted again to get in the front, got swallowed up with 1/2 lap to go, and was content with the pack finish until i got taken out. Lack of experience made me think that i can get someone to work with me on the last lap, though i probably won't have lasted all the way to the finish either.
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Old 01-18-11, 10:28 PM   #7
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Not that I'm an expert on racing or sprinting, but I wouldn't give up just yet. Breaks are way harder than sprinting, at least for me.
Spoken like a sprinter. If you get to the P1/2 you better be Cipollini, most of the races that don't end in breaks are 30+ MPH for the last bunch of laps. And guys are attacking out of that.

There are very few people I consider true sprinters. In pack sprints most people are kidding themselves and competing for something other than the win. This becomes even more true as you head up the categories. I can't figure out why, if you aren't going to win or have a good chance of winning a field sprint, you'd wait around for it. Especially in the 4's where they sprint like rats stuffed in someone's underwear half the time.

You don't even need upgrade points to get to a "3" anymore.

Attack. If that doesn't work, attack again. Train to attack. They are a low percentage deal but for most people sprints are a no percentage deal and I'd rather win a couple of races a year than have a great collection of 6th places.
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Old 01-18-11, 11:00 PM   #8
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^^^Truth.

I can't seem to pull together a field sprint win. My power profile says I could sprint, but my wins have come from attacks.

On the other hand, as an unsuccessful field sprinter, winning sprints does become much easier when I'm coming out of a break of five TT specialists.
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Old 01-19-11, 08:01 AM   #9
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Spoken like a sprinter. If you get to the P1/2 you better be Cipollini, most of the races that don't end in breaks are 30+ MPH for the last bunch of laps. And guys are attacking out of that.

There are very few people I consider true sprinters. In pack sprints most people are kidding themselves and competing for something other than the win. This becomes even more true as you head up the categories. I can't figure out why, if you aren't going to win or have a good chance of winning a field sprint, you'd wait around for it. Especially in the 4's where they sprint like rats stuffed in someone's underwear half the time.

You don't even need upgrade points to get to a "3" anymore.

Attack. If that doesn't work, attack again. Train to attack. They are a low percentage deal but for most people sprints are a no percentage deal and I'd rather win a couple of races a year than have a great collection of 6th places.
i agree.

my motto:

there are only two things you should ever be doing in a race

1 - attacking
2 - planning your next attack

anything else and you're just along for the ride.
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Old 01-19-11, 08:08 AM   #10
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winning a sprint is frequently more about having the threshold to put and keep yourself on the right wheel than pure power. The smarts to know where that wheel is kinda helps also.
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Old 01-19-11, 09:02 AM   #11
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winning a sprint is frequently more about having the threshold to put and keep yourself on the right wheel than pure power. The smarts to know where that wheel is kinda helps also.
Anything in particular you'd recommend as far as jostling for position goes? What i may end up doing this year is attack after the last prime, but i have to be in the top 5-7 in order to pull it off. How would you fend off people streaming past you as they jostle for the prime? Also, say i'm the one moving up, i'll probably need to expose myself to quite a bit of air resistance in order to do so. What's a good way to allow myself to be as sheltered as possible when i go up?

The other thing is more "etiquette" based. I have no desire to get to the pointy end of the race until the end. Up to then, i'd want to stick to the top 10. What's a good way to stay up there without actually pulling for a while when people rotate past me?
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Old 01-19-11, 09:10 AM   #12
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Anything in particular you'd recommend as far as jostling for position goes? What i may end up doing this year is attack after the last prime, but i have to be in the top 5-7 in order to pull it off. How would you fend off people streaming past you as they jostle for the prime? Also, say i'm the one moving up, i'll probably need to expose myself to quite a bit of air resistance in order to do so. What's a good way to allow myself to be as sheltered as possible when i go up?

The other thing is more "etiquette" based. I have no desire to get to the pointy end of the race until the end. Up to then, i'd want to stick to the top 10. What's a good way to stay up there without actually pulling for a while when people rotate past me?
Advice given to me when i was asking similar questions (unedited - so not 100% applicable, but IMO there's lots of gold in there that speaks to your questions and provides better answer than i can)


"Generally a race gets a lot faster over the last few laps as everyone tries to move forward for the sprint. It sound to me like you need to work on both your speed and your ability to hold a postion in the pack near the end. It could also be that you simply don't have the makeup either physically or psychologoically to be a field sprinter, if that is the case you need to start figuring out how to get away during the race. It isn't a crime not to be able to do well in field sprints some can and some can't. Ultimately, this isn't a function of your training plan or whether or not you are "peaked" it is about knowing how to ride and race properly which you cannot get from doing intervals or following a training plan, it comes from time, experience and getting your ass kicked enough times that you start to get everything sorted out. It is possible that many of the guys who finish in front of you do so not because they are more fit but because they are better riders and know how to handle themselves in a pack sprint better than you do. Maybe find some guys who seem to do well in field sprints and ask them how they do it. Most will tell you that it is a matter of finding and following the right wheel. Generally, the same 10 guys will end up doing well in field sprints and they tend to kind of follow one another and all end up at the front at the same time. It is like a little chess game, sometimes somebody gets stuck in front at the wrong time and ends up leading things out and gets screwed and other times they hit the front at the right time and win, but it is generally the same few guys who do well in field sprints time after time. So, figure out who always seems to do well and put yourself on their wheel with about 3 to go and stay there, chances are you will do better in a sprint.

In the end, this isn't really about fitness, it is about knowing how to ride and race. You can have a motor like a Ferrari, but if you are missing the steering wheel, you are not going to get very far.

Here are a couple of cheap tips which may help your racing, then again maybe not.

1. NEVER EVER pull when you are in the field (this rule does not apply to break aways or if you are part of an organized chase). If you are in the field and are going to find yourself at the front ATTACK. Stick it to someone else and make them hurt getting up to you. When you get caught, pull off. If you are pulling you are helping everyone else in the race beat YOU.

2. There are only two things you should ever be doing in the field if you are really part of the race and not just field filler. The first is ATTACKING the second is planning/getting ready to ATTACK, anything other than that and you are just along for the ride.

3. When you are racing, if you want to maintain your position in the field, for every rider you notice moving past you, figure that you have to move yourself past three other riders to hold your spot as you most likely missed at least two riders moving up.

Good luck, keep plugging along, it takes time to learn how to race, I have been at it 33years and still manage to learn something new every year. In racing once you have reached the point where you are not getting dropped from the pack the whole thing becomes less and less about fitness and more and more about smarts and skill."


credit: Bill Corliss
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Old 01-19-11, 09:43 AM   #13
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Spoken like a sprinter. If you get to the P1/2 you better be Cipollini, most of the races that don't end in breaks are 30+ MPH for the last bunch of laps. And guys are attacking out of that.

There are very few people I consider true sprinters. In pack sprints most people are kidding themselves and competing for something other than the win. This becomes even more true as you head up the categories. I can't figure out why, if you aren't going to win or have a good chance of winning a field sprint, you'd wait around for it. Especially in the 4's where they sprint like rats stuffed in someone's underwear half the time.

You don't even need upgrade points to get to a "3" anymore.

Attack. If that doesn't work, attack again. Train to attack. They are a low percentage deal but for most people sprints are a no percentage deal and I'd rather win a couple of races a year than have a great collection of 6th places.
1+

Even sprinters should learn to attack. Once you learn to win more than one way, racing becomes a lot more interesting. I've won races both in field sprints and in breakaways. Unless you are either clearly the best sprinter in the group, or you have a strong leadout man or two with you, attacking is a good way of evening out the odds. Make the other sprinters chase you. If you are a good sprinter, training to be a breakaway threat can make you a really dangerous competitor. And as Ex said, if you aren't a good sprinter (one of the top 4-5 in the group), then waiting around all race to sprint at the finish is just kind of stupid. A good way of wasting $25 on a group ride.

And awesome imagery with the rats and the underwear. I'll have to use that one of these days.
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Old 01-19-11, 09:44 AM   #14
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As far as putting yourself on the right wheel goes, get to know your fellow racers. Particularly in the college scene, this is a relatively small number of guys that are there every week. Find the guys you know are good at moving through traffic. Find the guys who magically stay in the sweet spot the entire race no matter what kind of shuffling is going on around them. Don't find the guy who is going to get gapped/sit up when those final laps get hard. He is just traffic you need to move around. Pick a guy you deem to be "safe" and "smooth." People have good and bad days and sometimes the guy who's always in the mix is just going to sit that one out, and you do risk being on his wheel at the wrong time. It's all about odds. The better odds of not getting blocked in traffic go with the guys who are in the top 5 at the end of the race that week.

Also, when deciding where you need to be in the pack at the end, look to the course. How far away is the final corner? Is there a hill? How wide is the road? Those factors will help you determine how far forward you need to be and maybe which side might work the best. For example, if the corner is really close to the finish, then you'd better be in the top 3 guys going into it...or maybe off the front. If it's a longer drag, then you are going to want more shelter but a plan for moving through traffic. Or maybe those are the sprints you don't want a part of.

Disclaimer: Women's racing is often different, because we tend to have a bigger lull before the finish if it's going to end in a sprint. This is where stuff gets sketchy, and I will frequently opt to play lead-out for a teammate or try a 1km flyer to get myself out of traffic and make it safer for my team. Odds are not good for me winning the drag race anyway. I've had people not on my team thank me for doing this on the last lap of a circuit race before! However, I also sometimes play in weekly sprint night with the boys. My goal isn't to win these sprints (usually, I just can't), but I learn to surf wheels, to pick the right wheels. Follow a big dude on an early attack and see if I can hold on. Sometimes, it is too sketchy and I just let the mayhem happen up the road. When the less sketchy guys show up, my goal is to finish well despite people blowing up all around me. It's a lesson in putting a lot of faith in those "good wheels" at 30+mph (my biggest challenge in a race) and also knowing who not to trust at all.
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Old 01-19-11, 09:56 AM   #15
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A 40 person sprint is no different than a 10 man sprint if you happen to be in the top 10 coming into it.

What's better still is having the engine to turn a 40 person sprint into a 10 person sprint and sticking it. Never had that skill myself, but hoping that you stick it out and learn to suffer.

Knowing your competition really really helps. In two races where I had placed well, I was on the same guys wheel both times and I came around him in the sprint. He had a huge engine but little top end, so if I could stick it out on his wheel, I knew I'd place better than him. Knowing his results helped too.
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Old 01-19-11, 10:00 AM   #16
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Also, let me know when you'll be in the bean.
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Old 01-19-11, 10:03 AM   #17
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Anything in particular you'd recommend as far as jostling for position goes? What i may end up doing this year is attack after the last prime, but i have to be in the top 5-7 in order to pull it off. How would you fend off people streaming past you as they jostle for the prime? Also, say i'm the one moving up, i'll probably need to expose myself to quite a bit of air resistance in order to do so. What's a good way to allow myself to be as sheltered as possible when i go up?

The other thing is more "etiquette" based. I have no desire to get to the pointy end of the race until the end. Up to then, i'd want to stick to the top 10. What's a good way to stay up there without actually pulling for a while when people rotate past me?
sprinting for primes? n00b
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Old 01-19-11, 10:05 AM   #18
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Anything in particular you'd recommend as far as jostling for position goes? What i may end up doing this year is attack after the last prime, but i have to be in the top 5-7 in order to pull it off. How would you fend off people streaming past you as they jostle for the prime? Also, say i'm the one moving up, i'll probably need to expose myself to quite a bit of air resistance in order to do so. What's a good way to allow myself to be as sheltered as possible when i go up?

The other thing is more "etiquette" based. I have no desire to get to the pointy end of the race until the end. Up to then, i'd want to stick to the top 10. What's a good way to stay up there without actually pulling for a while when people rotate past me?
you need to be strong enough to stay there. then just open a gap and let the guy drifting back to slot in. I've ridden entire races in the four hole.
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Old 01-19-11, 11:00 AM   #19
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winning a sprint is frequently more about having the threshold to put and keep yourself on the right wheel than pure power. The smarts to know where that wheel is kinda helps also.
Yeah, I got 2nd in a field sprint last season because I thought the other team's leadout guy was their sprinter. <shakes head>
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Old 01-19-11, 11:20 AM   #20
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OP - I started a thread just for you.
(and everyone else who asks the same question)

;-)
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Old 01-19-11, 11:29 AM   #21
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Hida, you so kind
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Old 01-19-11, 12:47 PM   #22
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A 40 person sprint is no different than a 10 man sprint if you happen to be in the top 10 coming into it.
In the 4's and 3's (for the most part).

It's much more hectic in the 1/2/Uber Masters when you have multiple leadouts going, other people swinging from wheel to wheel, and people coming back through the field.

A group of ten is much less hectic because it also means the race was hard and people aren't frisky.
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Old 01-19-11, 01:35 PM   #23
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In the 4's and 3's (for the most part).

It's much more hectic in the 1/2/Uber Masters when you have multiple leadouts going, other people swinging from wheel to wheel, and people coming back through the field.

A group of ten is much less hectic because it also means the race was hard and people aren't frisky.
Concur. I meant for his purpose in the C's and B's.

I defer to you and gary et al for the higher cats because I have no experience with that other than from watching. And it looks tough as hell.
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Old 01-19-11, 01:36 PM   #24
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Spoken like a sprinter. If you get to the P1/2 you better be Cipollini, most of the races that don't end in breaks are 30+ MPH for the last bunch of laps. And guys are attacking out of that.

There are very few people I consider true sprinters. In pack sprints most people are kidding themselves and competing for something other than the win. This becomes even more true as you head up the categories. I can't figure out why, if you aren't going to win or have a good chance of winning a field sprint, you'd wait around for it. Especially in the 4's where they sprint like rats stuffed in someone's underwear half the time.

You don't even need upgrade points to get to a "3" anymore.

Attack. If that doesn't work, attack again. Train to attack. They are a low percentage deal but for most people sprints are a no percentage deal and I'd rather win a couple of races a year than have a great collection of 6th places.
I've tried attacks, been in breaks, etc. It's not that I'm against attacking. But attacking over and over again (esp. solo) is a huge waste unless you actually have the engine for it. Most people do not have the engine for it, unless they're sandbagging and way above the competition. Or if you're a TT-er type.

And fwiw in the 3's attacks are way more serious and a true threat, whereas I'm not sure any of my 4's races had a successful attack in them. At least half of the 3's races I was in did. So my tactics will need to change a bit since whatever sprinting ability I have is wasted if we're sprinting for 4th (I did take it though).

To me, racing is more about saving energy than spending it. I see guys that have been 4's for years, throwing down out of the gate, trying to "be Jens" when really what they should do is chill the F out and at least wait for the last 1/4th of the race until they start burning matches.

I'm not saying just sit in the pack the whole time, but at least arrive at the last 5k of the race with something in the tank. But hey I'm just a 3 so maybe I shouldn't question my cat 1 overlords. =]
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Old 01-19-11, 03:17 PM   #25
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So my tactics will need to change a bit since whatever sprinting ability I have is wasted if we're sprinting for 4th (I did take it though).
There is much wisdom in this.

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But hey I'm just a 3 so maybe I shouldn't question my cat 1 overlords. =]
As long as the question is "How can I serve you oh lord?" we will leave your soul mostly uncrushed.
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