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Old 08-06-12, 09:49 AM   #26
rkwaki
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Good stuff, thanks!



The thing for me is that none of my wins have come from breaks. Half from field sprints, the rest from last-lap attacks that got me a gap of a few bike lengths; I'm not even sure how to classify the latter, since it's somewhere between a field sprint and a break, just that I went way early and alone.

Anyway I'm starting to wonder if I'm just barking up the wrong tree, e.g. breaks just aren't for everyone - however I do need to start trying new things, in addition to keep on doing what has always worked for me.
I don't think you are barking up the wrong tree I think you are finally starting to see what bike racing is all about. I am not trying to downplay other categories as it is all racing but now you are racing with p/1/2 riders that have a wealth of experience and to win you have to have fitness, power, smarts, luck, etc. As a 3-5 you can win with any one of these factors. To win in your new category you need all these. There is no harm in a little experimentation while racing as you may find something that really works for you BUT once ou find it and the other guys start to learn your strengths then it is time to rethink strategy.
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Old 08-06-12, 10:34 AM   #27
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Nice Freudian slip...
ha
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Old 08-06-12, 10:43 AM   #28
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breaks just aren't for everyone
Yes they are. Only in the World Tour do you see pure field sprinters and only a few of them at best.

Most every cat1-2 winning "sprinter" is also strong as hell and you'll find most of them racing into breaks from the gun, even solo.
If it comes to a field sprint, the "sprinter" is still going to whoop all the hangers-on, just because he is stronger and of course faster.

If you were a sprinter/kilo guy in cat3-4-5's, throw that out the window. Those will have been your candy-from-baby years. And take the advice of the mentors in the 33 and try everything and anything until you really find out what works best and when.
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Old 08-06-12, 10:54 AM   #29
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Yes they are. Only in the World Tour do you see pure field sprinters and only a few of them at best.

Most every cat1-2 winning "sprinter" is also strong as hell and you'll find most of them racing into breaks from the gun, even solo.
If it comes to a field sprint, the "sprinter" is still going to whoop all the hangers-on, just because he is stronger and of course faster.

If you were a sprinter/kilo guy in cat3-4-5's, throw that out the window. Those will have been your candy-from-baby years. And take the advice of the mentors in the 33 and try everything and anything until you really find out what works best and when.
Well put.
While in a break a little bit back I was with 4 other guys (3 from the same team) and their coach/director whatever came out and started screaming "You don't want to sprint him" lap after lap. I knew i was me they were talking about so they worked me over picking on surges to wear me out. If it were to happen again rather than take their crap I would just drop a consistent hammer pace as that is one of my strengths and then if it came down to a sprint we could play.

YMCA is correct, at your new level there are few 'pure sprinters', my recent weight loss has taken some of my sprint away but made me much more dangerous in others parts of racing.

To be honest Matt, as you will soon learn, you have to be strong everywhere to be successful but don't fool yourself into thinking that you will be successful weekend after weekend with any disappointment, that is part of growing in the sport.
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Old 08-06-12, 11:43 AM   #30
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honestly, what ive seen from the big boy "sprinters" is that they are beyond strong in everything, but "lazy"/uninterested in killing themselves when they know they can beat everyone in a pure sprint.
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Old 08-06-12, 11:44 AM   #31
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Yes they are. Only in the World Tour do you see pure field sprinters and only a few of them at best.

Most every cat1-2 winning "sprinter" is also strong as hell and you'll find most of them racing into breaks from the gun, even solo.
If it comes to a field sprint, the "sprinter" is still going to whoop all the hangers-on, just because he is stronger and of course faster.

If you were a sprinter/kilo guy in cat3-4-5's, throw that out the window. Those will have been your candy-from-baby years. And take the advice of the mentors in the 33 and try everything and anything until you really find out what works best and when.
You're right (duh).

It's just that breaks are so much work and I'm lazy!
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Old 08-06-12, 11:47 AM   #32
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honestly, what ive seen from the big boy "sprinters" is that they are beyond strong in everything, but "lazy"/uninterested in killing themselves when they know they can beat everyone in a pure sprint.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
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Old 08-06-12, 11:50 AM   #33
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i was in a break with an ex crit national champ, and he pulled on and off never very hard, but when he attacked and pushed the pace we were all holding on for dear life (or at least i was ). Also, he never had to open his mouth to breath!
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Old 08-06-12, 11:57 AM   #34
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It's just that breaks are so much work and I'm lazy!
That's a recipe for success.
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Old 08-06-12, 12:03 PM   #35
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If you were a sprinter/kilo guy in cat3-4-5's, throw that out the window. Those will have been your candy-from-baby years. .
OK, I'll admit to getting some popcorn while watching Matt discover the reality of P1/2 sprinting...something I alluded to a while back and was poo poo'd a bit. And that just gets harder when you move into bigger stage events.

I'll probably be poo-poo'd again but if you're trying to figure out which break to go with you're missing half the equation. The math goes something like this:

Knowing when to start a break = or > knowing which break to jump on.

Don't just sit around waiting for someone else to show some initiative.

Successful breaks have the following elements:

1) Separation: You either need to launch your attack like a gazelle running from a lion or make your bridge the same way. That means either you have enough snap or you look for moments or terrain in the race that will get you separation. Sometimes you might have company. Sometimes your company is a teammate of the guy already up the road. I'm OK with towing someONE up if it gets me in the winning break. The key word there is ONE. Not the whole field. Or the guy that everyone in the field will chase. See #2.

2) Cooperation- Know the players. Know the situation. Watch before you launch. I see guys launch to breaks that I know are going nowhere all the time because the guys aren't getting a gap and half of them aren't even rotating. Watch for the gap to increase. And watch who is chasing if anyone. Some guys will kill a break by their very presence because of a series points situation or just bad blood. See #3 for a sneaky hint

3) Horsepower- Know the players (again). If it's a break from the gun and it's two strictly sprinters it might not. If it's the State TT champ it might. And if it's the state TT champ and the runner up you better get your ass up there in a hurry.

If you find yourself in a break without enough HP but the guys are cooperating at least make it LOOK good. More than once I've towed a weaker rider along and made it look good... eventually some help showed up.
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Old 08-06-12, 01:41 PM   #36
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I'll probably be poo-poo'd again but if you're trying to figure out which break to go with you're missing half the equation. The math goes something like this:

Knowing when to start a break = or > knowing which break to jump on.

Don't just sit around waiting for someone else to show some initiative.
This is very true. One time I got off the front for 5 laps with 4 other riders, and gradually shed each of them through rotations. We looked good enough that two strong riders bridged up to me, and we had the winning break.

I remember reading an article by Hincapie (IIRC) that said that it's impossible to win a race without attacking. You just have to decide when you're going to attack, then when you'll attack again.

Also, note that it feels MUCH better to be off the front solo, from your own aggression, and have two riders bridge up to you, gasping for breath. If you're along for the ride, your mentality needs to quickly change, and you need to grow some fangs to make it stick.

Lastly: have some good teammates. It's really nice when you can always have someone in each break, and someone to attack when each break is caught. Everyone in the race suddenly understands what jersey color needs to be covered, and they all go on the defensive. Predator > prey.
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Old 08-06-12, 02:21 PM   #37
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OK, I'll admit to getting some popcorn while watching Matt discover the reality of P1/2 sprinting...something I alluded to a while back and was poo poo'd a bit. And that just gets harder when you move into bigger stage events.
You are very correct that whatever 'tricks' I had before may not work anymore, and I need to try new things (and I'm already doing so). Thanks for the tips!

Btw I wasn't poo-poo'ing what you'd said previously, but wasn't ready to give up on sprinting just yet either. And I hope you don't think this thread is me giving up on winning field sprints, because I haven't! Having taken a prime in 1/2 crit I know that things are harder with the Big Dogs but not impossible. (ok so it was a pack prime with a break up the road that eventually lapped us, but still)
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Old 08-06-12, 02:52 PM   #38
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Nobody goes all out for primes unless it's one of those $6100 ones in an NCC crit.
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Old 08-06-12, 03:01 PM   #39
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Nobody goes all out for primes unless it's one of those $6100 ones in an NCC crit.
Lol I know, I was half-joking.

But the HEED cannister has been useful!
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Old 08-06-12, 03:10 PM   #40
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Lol I know, I was half-joking.

But the HEED cannister has been useful!
Check that expiration date.
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Old 08-06-12, 03:21 PM   #41
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Check that expiration date.
It does taste kinda funny..
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Old 08-06-12, 03:39 PM   #42
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It does taste kinda funny..
I won a case of expired drink mix once.
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Old 08-06-12, 03:55 PM   #43
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It does taste kinda funny..
Dude, it's HEED.
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Old 08-06-12, 06:03 PM   #44
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I won a case of expired drink mix once.
Was that the suspected tainted stuff?
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