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Old 06-18-12, 02:26 PM   #1
simonaway427
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Criterium Tactics/Etiquette

Short and sweet:

1) You're leading the pack - pick any line you want around corners?

2) Course is 750m long with a corner every 15 sec - not conducive to any kind of pace line - HTFU and go all out for 50 min + 5 laps? Or try to organize a group to catch 2 leaders?
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Old 06-18-12, 02:27 PM   #2
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cat 5s are so silly.
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Old 06-18-12, 02:30 PM   #3
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gotta start somewhere....gimme a break.
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Old 06-18-12, 02:34 PM   #4
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You're leading you pick the line.
Corner every 15 seconds that sounds like an 8 corner crit, lots of time to organize a group. If you can HTFU and run that hard that long, time to cat up.
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Old 06-18-12, 02:34 PM   #5
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1) Sure, but pick a bad line and you won't be leading the pack anymore. What else would you do, though?

2) A technical course makes it tougher to rotate smoothly, but not that hard. 15 seconds is ample time to take a hard pull and rotate off. The issue is the riders - do they have the skill/smoothness/interest to cooperate.
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Old 06-18-12, 02:35 PM   #6
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cat 5s are so silly.
And so is rkwaki - btw that was one of your longest posts in a while...
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Old 06-18-12, 02:43 PM   #7
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Organized cat 5 group
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Old 06-18-12, 02:50 PM   #8
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Organized cat 5 group
You got me...
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Old 06-18-12, 03:06 PM   #9
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FWIW, if you're leading, try this: coast into it a bit to slow down, and stay a bit to the inside so if someone comes around, they go outside. If folks come around, then slide into the top 10 and plan your next attack.

If you're still in front coming out of the corner, drill it. Do the same on the next corner. The changes in speed will start to fracture the pack. For me, this is pretty sustainable because coasting/drilling isn't really that tough.

The people in the back half of the pack will see an acceleration just as they are going into the corner, and will not be able to pedal to address it. So they get gapped and have to drill it in the straight to catch back up. They don't get to coast into the next corner because the pack compression absorbs your deceleration most of the way.

This is an example of how a slower race can be a harder race for everyone. Conversely, if there are people at the front going 100% through every corner (near traction limit), the pace is very smooth, and 10 places back is a very easy race.

NOTE: to counter this, let the pack gap you quite a bit before a corner, then you speed up and go through it at 100%. Come out of it going 10mph faster than everybody and tempo up to the middle of the pack.
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Old 06-18-12, 04:06 PM   #10
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The people in the back half of the pack will see an acceleration just as they are going into the corner, and will not be able to pedal to address it. So they get gapped and have to drill it in the straight to catch back up. They don't get to coast into the next corner because the pack compression absorbs your deceleration most of the way.
Exactly what was happening to me on Sunday

Quote:
NOTE: to counter this, let the pack gap you quite a bit before a corner, then you speed up and go through it at 100%. Come out of it going 10mph faster than everybody and tempo up to the middle of the pack.
And what I eventually worked out for myself. Easier to stay nearer the front, though... . Thanks, good advice.
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Old 06-18-12, 04:43 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the insightful input - most of you.....

So the story - I'm a Cat B with very little road racing experience. Where I live, your CX and Road Cat is the same, so I'm Cat B this year based on my cross season last year. I've only raced road twice before....never a crit....this was my first one.

The course - a downtown closed street course of total length of about 750m - 4 x 90 degree corners - a square. Start/finish straight was uphill about 4% grade - the rest was a gradual downhill with fast sweeping corners.

Us Cat B's were grouped in with the Cat A's because our numbers were low and they didn't want to run a separate race for so few of us - in with the A's we went.

After the first few laps or so there became three groups:

#1 - 4 Cat A guys
#2 - Mixed bag of slower A guys combined with the faster B group.
#3 - Remaining B group with no chance

I was in group 2, and ended up leading most of it - hence my question about the line thru the corners. I made a conscious glance most of the time before I turned in, just to make sure no one was there. I went in fast, coasted thru, then hammered out...just as water rockets said.

Thats why my second question came up - the group was having trouble staying together since I was doing quite well at pulling away out of the corner, particularly when we were on the uphill start/finish segment. One of the guys kinda yelled at me to tone it down abit or else we'd have no chance at catching the first group.

I shrugged it off and HTFU for the 50 mins + 5 laps. I fell to the back of the pack occasionally to rest, but easily out paced the group on that slight climb and would end up at the lead again.

In the end, group 1 fell apart and we caught 2 out of the leading 4. I finished 3rd overall (1st in B, 3rd overall in the race).

I guess my tactics worked - I figured the race was no different than a cross race - you just hammer as fast as you can for the 50 mins. I was just curious to see if I could do anything different next time for fear of pi$$ing off the other riders.

Going up the hill



Leading the pack

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Old 06-18-12, 05:03 PM   #12
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Canadians get pissed off?

What happens, they stop saying "please" when they ask to take a wheel?

To answer the OP:

a) If you're able to take any line you want, you're going too slow through the corner.

b) If you've got a small number of dumb or relatively weak people in your race, by all means hammer. You'll find out if you don't at the finish.
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Old 06-18-12, 05:19 PM   #13
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At least you're cornering in the drops.

It sounds like your fitness > (crit) skills, and that includes tactics. What happens is the more experienced (but probably not that much stronger if at all) riders get away (Group 1). Your crit resume leaves you in Group 2. Your CX resume shows here - you're so strong that you end up shattering that group and reeling in the more savvy but not as strong Group 1 riders. Well at least you get two of them.

This bodes well for you. Many riders are weak but learn to get by - that's me. You're strong. To rapidly improve your crit/road race skills you need to learn all this kind of stuff, so good on you. Work on that and you'll be in that Group 1 in no time.

If you were trying to help everyone out you should have been going as fast as possible on the straights, steady through the turns, and ease back on the pedals as you exit. Don't jump out of the saddle, ease. This allows the others to stay on your wheel.

A very late turn in helps too so that everyone is accelerating out of the turn, not braking to avoid the curb.

If you're leading on such a short course you pick your line. If I were not going 100% I'd leave a bit of free pavement to my side at all times so that if someone gets anxious and wants to go, they can. If I want to pull off then I'll go wide and coast, basically letting the next guy know that I am done pulling. If I'm hammering then I hog the line, i.e. I really cut the apex tight.

However it seems like you were in a position where you were much stronger than the rest of the group. If that's the case then you could have attacked the group hard, probably after sitting in for a few laps, rolling up to the front just as the hill started, and blasting up and over the hill. You could probably do 2-3 laps pretty hard (close to all out) and I bet you could have closed a 15-20 second gap in that time.
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Old 06-18-12, 05:38 PM   #14
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Thanks CDR - coming from you, that means a lot to me - much appreciated.

My line was pretty consistent. Wide entry, clip the apex, wide exit out of the saddle and hammer away. I know I could have been much smoother, but I didn't have the cornering confidence that the others did.

Quite frankly I wasn't trying to help anyone out - I was just trying not to crash. There were other guys from the LBS (guess you could have considered us a team) that I would have liked to "conspire" with, but everything happened so fast that I just put my head down and went for it.

Worked out in my favour I guess. I won $50 cash and a box of local bakery cookies.
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Old 06-18-12, 06:16 PM   #15
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No bad racer EX. There is only 1 fatty in the 33 at a time!
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Old 06-18-12, 09:34 PM   #16
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It's like the Canuck is the slightly awkward, slightly annoying 2nd cousin that came to the wedding even though no one really knows him, and botto is the drunk, emotionally abusive yet kind of lovable dad, and we're the wife desperately trying to cover for him and make the new kid feel like everything's okay.
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Old 06-19-12, 12:32 AM   #17
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If you are in the front towing people along you are doing it wrong.
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Old 06-19-12, 01:26 AM   #18
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No bad racer EX. There is only 1 fatty in the 33 at a time!
That's right you little punk and I'm not ready to change chairs yet.
Good luck this week. When you heading down?
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Old 06-19-12, 05:28 AM   #19
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There is only 1 fatty in the 33 at a time!
I disagree
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Old 06-19-12, 10:28 AM   #20
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However it seems like you were in a position where you were much stronger than the rest of the group. If that's the case then you could have attacked the group hard, probably after sitting in for a few laps, rolling up to the front just as the hill started, and blasting up and over the hill. You could probably do 2-3 laps pretty hard (close to all out) and I bet you could have closed a 15-20 second gap in that time.
This. If you were pulling away from the group in the turns, then I would have attacked about 100m before the turn before the hill, drove through the turn, and blasted up it. That should have gotten you away. Once away, it's like a cross race, just gun it at whatever pace you can handle until you catch the leaders. What you do then depends on who is up there, how many laps are left, and how you feel. Sometimes it's best to recover on the back of the group. Other times it's better to get right to work, and still other times it's best to ride right past them and make them work to catch you.
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Old 06-19-12, 01:06 PM   #21
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To answer the OP:

a) Ride of the front and lap the field
fify.
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Old 06-19-12, 02:01 PM   #22
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I guess my tactics worked - I figured the race was no different than a cross race - you just hammer as fast as you can for the 50 mins. I was just curious to see if I could do anything different next time for fear of pi$$ing off the other riders.
That may have worked for you here but generally speaking you don't want to think of a crit as a cross race. Once you cat up and are surrounded by a field of equal riders then you will be taken advantage of in that case. A cross race 95% of the time turns into an individual time trial where there are no team tactics and no drafting techniques involved, for the most part. If you break away off the front in a crit then you can think of it as a cross race but for the most part you are going to want to save energy in the pelaton and use energy when it's necessary to survive or implement tactics particular to the road.
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Old 06-19-12, 03:37 PM   #23
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That's right you little punk and I'm not ready to change chairs yet.
Good luck this week. When you heading down?
Tomorrow! I'm pumped!
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Old 06-19-12, 09:38 PM   #24
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Tomorrow! I'm pumped!
Good luck and shoot me a quick email if you have any questions
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Old 06-20-12, 07:36 AM   #25
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It's like the Canuck is the slightly awkward, slightly annoying 2nd cousin that came to the wedding even though no one really knows him, and botto is the drunk, emotionally abusive yet kind of lovable dad, and we're the wife desperately trying to cover for him and make the new kid feel like everything's okay.
ha!
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