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View Poll Results: Did I make the right moves?
Too aggressive 1 14.29%
Just right 0 0%
not aggressive enough 2 28.57%
weak sauce 4 57.14%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-17-12, 08:26 PM   #1
The Domestique
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Evaluate my race video. Did I make the right moves?

I never know which forums to put these in. I am just getting enough legs to start hanging in these races and I am wondering if anyone will give me a critique of this race. It's a short video and shows a move I make late to help out a teammate. Thoughts, suggestions, ideas?


I race and post videos weekly. I am wondering if I can crowd-source some tactical coaching. Let me know.
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Old 06-18-12, 05:29 AM   #2
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That drifting back thing ain't good man
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Old 06-18-12, 06:15 AM   #3
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I could break it down minute by minute, but there's enough wrong to just generalize. Let me ask a couple of questions first.

What category is this? Is it a C race, Cat4/5? It doesn't look that fast.
It's a wide open course. Was it windy? Where on the course did the wind hit you in the face?

You can't let those huge gaps open. Was it the surges, your losing focus, or both? For your next race, forget about your teammates, focus on yourself. Spend the whole race doing everything you can to ride less than half a length behind someone the whole time. You are burning scads of energy, which isn't helping anyone but your fellow competitors.

You spend an ungodly amount of time out in the wind. Is it a confidence issue? Is your sphere too large? If so, you need to work on that first, or become the aggressor, attacking all the time, working in smaller groups.

Were you the only rider on the same team as the winner? Then drilling it for two or three laps before the bell is kinda the wrong strategy. Either drill it hard on the bell lap or set him up at 500m for the sprint. Dropping him off with a lap to go to fend for himself is questionable.

Please take my comments FWIW. I don't know you, I wasn't there, I only have the video to go by. Just trying to help.
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Old 06-18-12, 06:27 AM   #4
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I think shovel pretty much covered it. Id also ask how many other teammates were with you? You wasted so much energy early on sitting out in the wind, letting big gaps go...at first I thought it might be a fitness issue, but you were able to push near the end. If you would have ridden smarter in the earlier laps you could have drilled it longer and possibly gotten a result. I realize this wasnt your "plan" but maybe it should be considered.

I would add that "working for a teammate" is cool, fun, and can be rewarding. But being in the lower categories hopefully you'll focus on learning how to race smart, figuring out what your strengths are, and trying everything...

Last edited by hammy56; 06-18-12 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 06-18-12, 11:00 AM   #5
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Really good stuff, Shovel. I think you nailed it. It was a men's 35+ B Race (3-4-5) with some strong riders in there. But no excuse to get gapped. I was working on not over accelerating/breaking which has been a huge struggle in crit racing for me. BUT, that's no excuse for hanging off the back. I highlighted the big gap in the video but there were lots of other little gaps too.

"Then drilling it for two or three laps before the bell is kinda the wrong strategy. Either drill it hard on the bell lap or set him up at 500m for the sprint. Dropping him off with a lap to go to fend for himself is questionable."

We weren't organized. I just saw him getting swamped and the field getting dodgy. We had one other teammate and I expected he'd be on my wheel. He would have been the leadout but he was back in the pack. My pull was only to keep him from getting swamped or relegated. That's it.

Race tomorrow night again so I'll see if I can tighten it up a bit.
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Old 06-18-12, 11:41 AM   #6
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So again, what category are you? How many races have you done? What are your strengths? How have you won a race? What kind, and at what level? What do you think you bring to a team, and what does a team bring to you?
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Old 06-18-12, 11:49 AM   #7
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@shovel I am CAT4 35+. I have done about 50 races in the last 3 years. This was my first crit of this season (late, I know). My strengths are group work and some sprinting, but someone is always faster. I lots of top 10 finishes (best was 4th) in road races but no results in crits. I raced collegiate the last 3 years but just graduated (doctorate) and do all of the local/regional stage and one day races.

I bring to the team a willingness to suffer without needing to be on the podium. I am drawn to the teamwork of team cycling. The team brings to me the enjoyment of racing with an organization and purpose. Does that help?
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Old 06-18-12, 12:05 PM   #8
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Agree with Shovel that you went to the front too soon. A lap or a lap and a half later you could have drilled it, kept the pace high for your sprinter, force others to chase, and let your sprinter get a leadout from whoever chased you.

As it was, you were shot before the critical time came.

You need to work on your cornering. You seem to loose significant ground and let gaps develop out of corners.

Also, that turn around a cement pole does not seem like a very good idea. Someone is going to clip that pole with a catastrophic result. Why don't thedefine the turn with cones some distance out from the pole?
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Old 06-18-12, 12:11 PM   #9
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I noticed your hands were on the hoods a lot. Stretch those hamstrings daily so you can use the drops more. Definitely would've helped when you were closing the gap at around the 4 minute mark.
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Old 06-18-12, 12:26 PM   #10
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Also, that turn around a cement pole does not seem like a very good idea. Someone is going to clip that pole with a catastrophic result. Why don't thedefine the turn with cones some distance out from the pole?
Agreed about the impending catastrophe, disagree about moving the cone. Some numbnut will try and cut to the inside. I'd add a second cone to space it out, or a hay bale or two, which is more appropriate anyway.

OP, thanks for the update.

So it seems to me that your sphere is too big. You are OK in road races where things tend to string out more, and the field breaks up into groups. You probably haven't had any results in crits because you are afraid of going high speeds through corners in close quarters, and don't like big field sprints. Am I correct?

If so, work on your sphere first. Before you can work on gaps and being in the wind less, you have to be able to put yourself into shelter without freaking out. All the basics apply. Look several riders up the road. Be ready to jog smoothly left or right as the pace eases, don't automatically hit your brakes. For your next race, tell your teammates that you'll do the same thing as last race, but you're going to the front with 3 to go, hitting the gas with 2 to go, and you are going to suffer to the line. For the rest of the race, I'd like to see you work on your sphere and your pack skills. Forget about the race, your teammates, your goals and objectives until 3 to go. Work on anticipating the surges, fighting for wheels, asserting yourself, instead of letting the field dictate where you are, where you're going, and how hard you're riding.

Good luck. I'm looking forward to your next video.
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Old 06-18-12, 12:27 PM   #11
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This might depend a bit on the kind of rider you are, but I wouldn't call it a better use of energy to drag a gap back slowly. Slam it back as fast as you can = more time to recover, less time in the wind.

I also wouldn't call leaving your teammate isolated and leading out the bell lap "leaving him in great position for the sprint." The lead out is a good thought, but leave it a lap or so later.

Holy crap, that's one of the scariest crit courses I've ever seen - concrete-encase lamp posts with water barrels in front of them at the corners? FFS, there are multiple broken bones waiting to happen, there.
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Old 06-18-12, 12:32 PM   #12
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Agreed about the impending catastrophe, disagree about moving the cone. Some numbnut will try and cut to the inside. I'd add a second cone to space it out, or a hay bale or two, which is more appropriate anyway.

.
I was thinking a row of cones. Hay bale or bales would be better.
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Old 06-18-12, 12:34 PM   #13
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You're leaving large gaps to the wheel in front. Stay in your drops and tuck in tight to the wheel in front of you. Work on reducing the space needed to be comfortable with riders in front of you and beside you.

Your cornering can be a lot tighter. Get in your drops, LOOK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO, NOT WHERE YOU'RE GOING, know your clip angle and start pedaling before you're out of the turn.

Stay patient at the end. You put in a hard two laps at the end but you went way too early.
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Old 06-18-12, 10:37 PM   #14
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Alright, good stuff! Here is what I have gleaned from the comments and suggestion.

Sphere: Tighten up. Don't even let little gaps go and be willing to get close to trustworthy wheels and stay out of the wind. Also, stay up front more. Close gaps immediately or never let them form. Continue to lay off the breaks but use your momentum.
Cornering: Get in the drops and look where I am going (I actually do this but can do much better). Be strong through the corners. Don't drift back.
Tactics: Wait until closer to the end to open it up. One more lap perhaps before taking over. If I am playing the "set-up" role (not lead out) then lead a lap then drive a lap. If I am the lead-out, don't go so freakin' early.

Also, I'll make some suggestions for course set-up but I don't have much sway there.

I should have 2 more teammate (total of 5 of us) in the race Tuesday. I'll report the outcome.

Much appreciated to all!
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Old 06-19-12, 05:26 AM   #15
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Alright, good stuff! Here is what I have gleaned from the comments and suggestion.

Sphere: Tighten up. Don't even let little gaps go and be willing to get close to trustworthy wheels and stay out of the wind. Also, stay up front more. Close gaps immediately or never let them form. Continue to lay off the breaks but use your momentum.
Cornering: Get in the drops and look where I am going (I actually do this but can do much better). Be strong through the corners. Don't drift back.
Tactics: Wait until closer to the end to open it up. One more lap perhaps before taking over. If I am playing the "set-up" role (not lead out) then lead a lap then drive a lap. If I am the lead-out, don't go so freakin' early.

Also, I'll make some suggestions for course set-up but I don't have much sway there.

I should have 2 more teammate (total of 5 of us) in the race Tuesday. I'll report the outcome.

Much appreciated to all!
It would be interesting to see another video, to see how you attacked these points of improvement.
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Old 06-19-12, 06:12 AM   #16
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Excellent summary. I can't wait for the sequel.
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Old 06-19-12, 07:59 AM   #17
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Don't even let little gaps go and be willing to get close to trustworthy wheels and stay out of the wind.
In a crit, IMO you pretty much have to trust the wheel in front of you unless/until the guy shows a reason not to. If that happens, you need to find a different wheel: if you leave extra space due to a feeling that someone is twitchy, it will cost you.
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Old 06-22-12, 03:44 PM   #18
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It would be interesting to see another video, to see how you attacked these points of improvement.
Okay, guys. Here's your sequel. since these races are a Tuesday night staple during the summer, I've got plenty of opportunity to try and improve my skills. First off, I felt more confident going into this race that I have any other because I felt as if I had a real plan. One thing that the discussion around this forum and comments from sprinterdelacasa (Youtube) is that I needed to focus on tightening up quite a bit. Too much time in the wind, dangling off the wheel, and missing the opportunity to conserve energy. That was a primary focus in this video. However, it wasn't a monumental improvement and the course made it difficult to stay as tight as I wanted. As you'll see there are plenty of 4-foot gaps here and there. I stayed in the drops the majority of the race which helped with ordering but I need to do more there.

Overall, I felt lots of improvement. But it's not going to happen overnight.

Tactically, the race didn't turn out like the last one. With four of us from the same team in the race, we discussed trying to get one or two of our guys in a break early on. I agreed to try and block to get the break to stick. I think I did it effectively, but you'll have to be the judge of that. Unfortunately, a teammate of mine decided to try and bridge up and half a dozen riders with them. It was a mistake. All of them were caught in no man's land and eventually pulled back. But, it created some panic in the field and ultimately shattered what was left. The race ended up being four guys off the front, my group (selection) of seven, and scattered remnants. I'm proud to say I finished 10th, my highest finish in one of these crits so far.

The good news, the teammate I blocked for (you'll have to be the judge of how effective that was) took first.

Without further ado, here's the video.


Thoughts, critique, tactical suggestions, technical evaluation, or blind praise. All are welcome. If nothing else, I hope that these videos are more entertaining than the average helmet cam vid.
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Old 06-22-12, 04:53 PM   #19
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Congratulations on the team result. Get all the races in you possibly can, especially practice races, if they exist in your area, so you can keep making progress on efficiency. From what I see, a big part of that for you is your lateral positioning. It looks like you want an 'escape route', so you stay off to the side, instead of directly behind the wheel in front of you. Other than in crosswinds, being off to the side that much will cost you. The only time I saw you really in the draft was when you were chasing down the bridge group.
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Old 06-22-12, 05:40 PM   #20
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Keep working on your sphere. You need to get to the point where you can be riding 2"-3" from the rear wheel in front of you, through all of the turns, while looking 5-6 riders up the road the whole time.
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Old 06-23-12, 08:52 AM   #21
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I haven't commented publicly on the video here on BF or on youtube but fyi cdr on BF = sdc on youtube.

As I noted in offline comments it'll be very hard to make radical improvements in just a week. It really helps to be aware of the stuff you need to work on, have some plan on working on them, and see if it helps. I wouldn't expect huge changes in the next week or two (except for a heightened awareness of what to do and some incremental improvements in a few things), but by the summer end or next spring I think you'll have improved tremendously.
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Old 06-23-12, 11:38 AM   #22
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I have only two seasons of crits under my belt, and I'll echo the good news from CDR: a season will make a huge difference. If you keep consciously working at it the way you clearly are, you will be chuckling at this video next year, as it will seem like a lifetime of experience ago. I watch it and think "Yep, that was me." and realize that was me early last year. The great thing about racing crits is that there are a lot of them. Do as many as you possibly can. Double up, even if that hurts your chances in each of them. Have a plan and something to work on each and every time, and really execute your plan. As an example, I'm working on my 'race craft', and here is my assignment for my next practice crit:

First Third: practice moving up and back in the pack while minimizing effort
Second Third: Shelter and Conserve (but don't get dropped)
Final Third: Be aggressive
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Old 06-23-12, 01:27 PM   #23
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I'm a noob and I'm sure this post will get buried, but these videos make me want to look into racing. It looks crazy fun.
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Old 06-23-12, 02:38 PM   #24
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I'm a noob and I'm sure this post will get buried, but these videos make me want to look into racing. It looks crazy fun.
Heh heh.
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Old 06-23-12, 04:24 PM   #25
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1) Close things up
2) Learn about "the racing line" through the corners
3) Position with the change in wind direction as you go through the corners
4) Be aware of and use riders moving up to help you move up
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