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  1. #1
    Senior Member Debusama's Avatar
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    Riding in the back of a small crit.

    I am not much of a crit racer, but in the 4-5 crits Iíve done, Iíve had some success. One win, and two top-5 finishes. People are always saying to stick to the front for crits because the crashes usually happen in the middle and you want to be in front of them, plus since the field narrows to single file in the front you can pick the fastest line and avoid slowing so much through the corners and then having to sprint to catch the group all the time.

    I understand the logic, but Iíve found it also narrows to single file in the back, so I can also take the fastest line: go into the turn on the outside, move to the inside through the turn and exit on the outside. Since I was able to avoid slowing as much through the turn, I come out on the outside edge of the road with more speed and pass a lot of the pack, as they sprint out of the turn, I let them pass and retake my position on the back. When I do decide to move up this is a great time to do so as you can sprint with the pack, starting from the middle, but with more speed, and move forward to find a gap to fill and end up toward the front. That was actually how I went off the front to win one.

    Also, There have been crashes in the crits Iíve done, and although they did happen in font of me in the middle of the pack, they almost always happen in the middle of a corner when three riders side by side all crowd into the inside edge of the road, then topple like dominos and are thrown to the outside. This is easily seen and avoided from the back. My races usually have a smaller (20-30) person pack, and Iím sure this wouldnít work with a larger pack, but I always end up passing most of the pack in the way I explained above in one of the last few turns, then having relatively fresh legs for the sprint.

    Has anyone else used this strategy in a small field crit?
    Cat-3 Fred

  2. #2
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    I used this strategy in a Cat 5 crit with 27 people in it last week. I won. But if you browse around there was another thread here about staying near the front in crits, and carpediemracing gives a very detailed description of this strategy.

    Here is the thread:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...g-Up-in-a-Crit

  3. #3
    cmh
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    I think this is a workable strategy for a field sprinter in small fields, although there is still a chance of being caught behind a big wreck and split in the field.

    It is not workable if you don't happen to be a good sprinter and therefore need to create or join a break for a good placing.

  4. #4
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    ok for a non-technical crit.

    like cmh wrote, it's a workable strategy for a field sprinter.

    if you're racing in bigger fields, technical criteriums, or upper categories, unless your only card to play is field sprint whether it be for 1st or 40th, it's not a strategy i'd recommend as you'll be part of the group that got gapped and ended up off the back/pulled from the race more often than anything else.

  5. #5
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    I do this in our local training crit - I think it's generally referred to as "tailgunning." It does leave you open to being gapped, and if you get stuck at the back, you can only sprint up so much. I agree though, it does make cornering a much easier proposition.
    ďCourage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

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  6. #6
    Fly on the wall
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    If its too technical you'll waste a ton of energy jumping to make up for the accordion effect. Or at least I do.
    Nothing should come between you and your chamois -- lawkd

  7. #7
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kindablue View Post
    If its too technical you'll waste a ton of energy jumping to make up for the accordion effect. Or at least I do.
    when you're facing the accordion, you relax, roll off the back a bit coming into the corner, ease through the corner, catching up just as you exit and gently ramp it back up at a point where you are actually rolling faster than the guys in the pack. Done correctly, this is easier and less physically demanding than being at the back, braking to deal with the bottleneck and then having to really jump on it from a low speed to stay with the group.
    ďCourage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

    "I am a courageous cyclist." (SpongeDad)

  8. #8
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpongeDad View Post
    when you're facing the accordion, you relax, roll off the back a bit coming into the corner, ease through the corner, catching up just as you exit and gently ramp it back up at a point where you are actually rolling faster than the guys in the pack. Done correctly, this is easier and less physically demanding than being at the back, braking to deal with the bottleneck and then having to really jump on it from a low speed to stay with the group.
    +1

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    I know a guy that crashed in a solo break from a crit. Heh.

    People crash everywhere.

  10. #10
    Must Go Faster veloboy971's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeNube View Post
    I know a guy that crashed in a solo break from a crit. Heh.

    People crash everywhere.
    I know that guy too!
    SeaSucker/Guttenplan Coaching Cycling Team - https://www.facebook.com/GuttenplanCoachingCyclingTeam

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloboy971 View Post
    I know that guy too!
    Yea ya do.

  12. #12
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    I imagine if it's single file in the back, then some people are about to get dropped, and then you'll have to jump to fill those gaps. Just something to think about.

  13. #13
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubsnyc View Post
    I imagine if it's single file in the back, then some people are about to get dropped, and then you'll have to jump to fill those gaps. Just something to think about.
    It happens all the time, and I never have sympathy for someone complaining they got dropped b/c someone else gapped them while they were nearly otb anyway.
    cat 1.

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