I'm sorry you have to race around a parking lot.
1. I so don't care about the bike you're riding. I know you think you're doing your sponsors a solid, but they don't care and you're boring the rest of us.
2. I do like the multiple cameras, including the one off the bike. Just in terms of making a more entertaining video to watch, it's a good touch. In terms of improving your racing and making the race comprehensible, it's not any help.
3. That gap had formed way before you did anything about it. If you're going to close a gap, you need to do it WAY sooner than that. Also, yelling "wide wide!" doesn't communicate anything - at least, it's not clear to me what benefit there is to you saying it versus not. If you're going to go and there's room, go and don't worry about it. If you want someone on your wheel, gesture as you go past or tell them to get on your wheel.
4. What waterrockets said. Those gaps are going to happen that much more easily and be that much harder to close if you're riding that far away from everyone else.
5. You say that you're marking these two guys, they jump immediately after that... and you hesitate about jumping on their wheel. It worked out, but this is puzzling. If you're marking a rider, MARK THEM.
6. OH GOD THE MUSIC MAKE IT STOP.
7. And so on.
There's nothing unusually weak about your racing for what looks to me like a cat 5 or 4 Masters crit, and at least you're trying, but basically what topflightpro said - there's a lot of pretty elementary errors in there with how close you're drafting (when you're drafting at all), letting huge gaps open up, yelling pointless noise as you go through corners, etc. Keep working on the teamwork (it's HARD, I'm no frickin' good at working for a teammate yet), but pay more attention to the fundamentals. Stay close, don't let big gaps open up, and see #5 above: if you're allegedly marking a rider, MARK THEM, FFS.
Hahahaha grolby made a funny too...
"if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein
The video is reeeaaalllly slow to load, so a few more from the finale, as it were:
8. You say "I'm working for Craig tonight," but I see virtually nothing you're doing that is actually helpful... and in the end, he gaps you because you've blown yourself up closing big gaps in the wind and not riding wheels closely.
9. You say "You don't bridge up to your own guy," but you weren't, were you? He rode away from you easily. You should have slowed up a tiny bit and let someone come around you, instead it looks like you all but stopped pedaling. But based on how the race ended, looks like you were pretty blown, so maybe there was nothing to do about it.
10. How is Craig "in position" on the front of the group with a big gap between him and the next group up the road? That's the opposite of "in position." That's about the worst possible scenario I can think of for a rider who is supposedly your protected team leader. Short of actually being dropped, I mean.
11. Again, NO ONE GIVES TWO CRAPS ABOUT YOUR BIKE.
Can I make a suggestion? Forget about being a "domestique" for a while and just focus on your own racing. Do your best to get your own results. You need to build your fundamentals, because without them, you are totally ineffective as a worker. The pros and high-level amateur racers who do domestique work for their teammates are strong and effective racers in their own right - in order to upgrade or go pro, you need to get results of your own, after all. Learn how to race, THEN learn how to race for a teammate.
Last edited by grolby; 05-20-13 at 01:31 PM.
Man you guys are funny today...
Must be ****ing bored at work...
"if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein
Yep. It's tough to screw with a leadout when there are only 1 or 2 people in the pack who can hold the damn wheel.
Seemed rather odd, actually. Were I to post a video of our local crits (unlikely, I'm no photographer) most of the time I'd be seen to be surrounded by other riders.
There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.
Eff. Lost text.
Basically +1 on all of grolby's gap stuff.
Music, meh. Some people don't like the music I put on my clips. Bike, some people asked me what kind of bike I had (like it made a difference). So that stuff is irrelevant.
My leadout guys have always been much stronger than me. In 2010 the FJC clip where I get a leadout - my leadout guy was an ex-pro mountain biker, avg over 380 watts for the race. I did 180 but I was the sprinter. I've had quite a few leadouts where the guy drops me accidentally (but to be fair I was asking them to hold some high speeds).
I think what has happened is you're focusing on the deluxe stuff and forgetting about the basics. Teamwork is great but it requires very good riding from all members of the team in question. Even pros can't get it right - just read some of the Cavendish/leadout articles from earlier this spring. Focus on the basics - being a good rider in the field, always being sheltered if you're not making a move, etc.
The gaps are the most important thing. If you leave a gap you're not drafting. You need to draft to change what is sort of a "crowded time trial" race into a mass start race. If you can't follow directly behind you need to move to the side a bit. 1' back, 1' to the side, that's better than 5' behind. I think you have more aggressive camera lenses than me but if that's the case you should be seeing your front wheel in the picture, if the lens "distances" stuff so much.
For example when you try to follow that one move you never get on his wheel. You end up time trialing 5-8' behind him. If you just closed up to a foot (and when following one rider it should be closer to an inch for every 10 mph, so 2-3") you'd have had much more shelter.
You need to follow moves quicker too. I can't read your mind but it seems like you're not really aware that the guy is going for a pedal stroke or two, or, if you are, you "gather yourself" before you get going. If you are following someone you need to follow them right now, not "in a bit".
Again, if you let the gap go then you're not drafting.
One thing is I learned is that when I'm really relaxed about a race I blink enough that my eyes aren't irritated at the end of a race. For really, really intense races I have to back out of the group, get to the back, and literally let my eyes recover from being so dry/irritated. If you're blinking a lot you're probably not paying enough attention.
Ultimately you're going to need to do some slow speed drills to gain confidence in close quarters. Bumping (side to side) drills. Touching wheel drills (front wheel to back wheel) - these require a soft landing surface and very slow speeds initially, so grass lawn and 5-8 mph tumbles (and you should at least think about tumbling practice - tuck your head in is the most important part for me).
Once you have some close quarter drills down (30-60 minutes at a time, figure 5-10-15 sessions would be good) you should be able to ride at 5-8 mph while people literally push you from either side, hit your front wheel, and you'll stay upright fine. This translates into shrinking your "sphere" of vulnerability, the sphere that surrounds your bars and front wheel.
When on form mentally my sphere extends about 1" around the tire, follows the spokes. It's maybe 3" outside my hands. It comes in over my forearm (I'm short on the bike) - I've slid my bar under a tall rider's arm to get by in emergency maneuvers.
1" around my tire means if you rolled my front wheel up to the cassette of a bike my sphere clears the derailleur cable housing to the right, the spokes to the left, and the cassette in front. In other words my tire is almost inside that bike's "rear wheel area", well inside the dropout, tire almost skimming the cassette, tire definitely surrounded on both sides by parts of that other bike.
That's about the riskiest drill I'll do on the road, on group rides or whatever (last time I did it was a few years ago on a non-racing group ride). Sometimes I'll tell the rider in front that I'm "riding close" and to hold a decent line (I did on those group rides), other times I won't tell the rider (typically Cat 1 or pros).
The drill itself isn't too productive in and of itself but the fact that I can do it means that riding "way far away" compared to that is easy. 3" at 30 mph. Whatever. Someone slams into me just before the sprint. Whatever. Someone cuts across my front wheel in a turn? Okay.
If someone unexpectedly swerves across my front wheel hard while at speed I'll hit the deck. Anything less than that I'm okay. You should strive to be as secure on your bike. This will let you ride much closer to the others, enabling you to get much more effective shelter from the wind. Combined with a snappy alertness you'll be using much less energy and still be able to respond to the sharp moves. It may be that you'll be the protected rider because you'll be so fresh when you get to the crucial points of the race, whether when a break goes or the sprint comes up.
An example of why it's important to follow moves right away, from a crit I was in last year. A teammate of mine had attacked on the second lap. When he came back, I saw our main rival and one of the strongest guys in the Cat 4 peloton that year winding up, and I happened to be in perfect position to follow him. So he jumped and I was on him right away. Another guy I know jumped on my wheel as well, again, immediately, and we were gone. Half a lap later, we started rotating and that was the podium. But that's not the lesson. The lesson comes from the fourth guy who tried to join the move but was a bit slow to react. He didn't grab a wheel right away, so instead he had to grind his way up over the course of one or two laps. And he made it, but then got blown out the back again almost immediately. Jumping immediately (and having the legs to stick it, yes) meant a guaranteed placing thanks to the team tactics in play that day. Missing it by even a little bit, and a rider who was obviously very strong was simply out of contention.
When you jump on a strong move like that, even on the wheel you will likely be absolutely groveling and chewing on your stem to get on terms - at least, that's how I feel when I follow a really good attack. Without the wheel, you're doing the same amount of work, but you're doing it without the benefit of the draft. So not only are you possible working even harder, you're working longer. You really want to slam that gap shut - yes, it hurts, but you can make a lot more really hard 10" efforts than 30" efforts in a race, so you want to bias toward the short ones whenever you can.
where do you guys find the time to write a thesis in reply to a crappy music video?
I think what's interesting to me is that it's been a while since I've been in a "newbie" state. I don't have a good grasp on what new riders need to learn because some stuff I take for granted. It's been really eye opening to run the Cat 5 clinics at Bethel because I was shocked/horrified at what I saw the riders doing out on the course.
The biggest thing is learning to draft, reducing that sphere. It's the only thing I wanted to convey during the clinics this year, the idea of drafting, disguised as exercises in tactics and such.
The other thing is doing this without slamming on the brakes.
My theory is that the riders aren't very good drivers. Modern cars don't reward fine pedal control - ABS works best if you slam on the brakes hard. Throttle by wire disguises actual throttle response. Etc. Driving in pretty heavy traffic without dabbing the brakes all the time, driving and never crossing the yellow line (in a curve, making a left turn, etc), being very deliberate about driving... I only see one or two cars like that each time I venture out. I've never seen a good bike racer in terms of riding skills/judgment be a bad driver (careless, okay, but not bad). I've also never seen a good driver be a bad bike racer, again relating to skills/judgment. I haven't been able to do a correlation type thing with manual transmissions and better riders but I see a bunch of automatic transmission drivers that have a hard time grasping gearing/cadence theories quickly - many of those drivers don't understand that power/efficiency changes over the range of rpm, both for the car and the bike.
To me that's the main safety/fluency stuff. The rest is tactics and that's deluxe stuff. Staying upright is the first concern. Racing well is a secondary one.
The original video with music has a link to the full 28 minute race, no music.
I just clicked into it at random, and it wasn't unusual to see the riders coasting, yet it's a flat course. And some riders would move to the front from 2 or 3 back, then just end up towing the rest of the pack.