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  1. #1
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    I need some hand holding on breaking away

    I've got what's supposed to be a windy RR coming up this weekend. Cat 3 - 72 mi (Walburg RR for the Texans), flat and exposed, typically lots of crosswind.

    I want to breakaway. I need someone to talk me through this.

    At the last RR I did, I tried a couple of times to get away. Once was trying to bridge to a 3 man break about a minute ahead. I went right before a turn into a crosswind, got about 10 seconds on the field and stalled, lasted a couple of minutes by myself and was brought back. I recovered quickly but was locked into position until about 5 miles to go with the break already done for the win. Then I went again, group of 4 got about 5 seconds on the field, two of them stalled and before we knew it we were back - lasted maybe another minute.

    I've been doing all my intervals in the drops or IAB (which is new for me); working on speed as well as power. The only times I've ever made it off the front for any significant amount of time is when the course did the work for me - i.e. hard rain or dirt/gravel, which is more about survival than tactics/strength?

    So how can I make this happen? Anyone willing to give me a lecture on breaking away?
    Last edited by johnybutts; 02-19-13 at 09:11 AM.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

  2. #2
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    I'm sure Ex will chime in but like I told one of the guys I am coaching yesterday when I go I only go once and I'm all in. Either it stays away or I am cooked and done for the day.
    As for when to go? I never go first and will usually go when one of two conditions is met
    1. There is a break of 3-4 guys up the road that I think are strong enough to stay away - you need to know who is racing and how strong they are as well as who they have in the field with them. One of my strongest assets while racing is my ability to bridge gaps as it is based on pure horsepower something I have a lot of.
    2. There has been a break that has been away and is about to be caught. I fire with a hard counter attack and leave it all on the line.

    It sounds like you are mentally committed to it so do it. In the race report thread I want to hear one of two things:
    1. Was in a break and it stayed away
    2. Was in a break and was caught with 100m to go, heart rate was Z5 for the last 30 miles and I collapsed from exhaustion 20 meters from the finish and DNF'd

    You get my point.
    "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

  3. #3
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Getting away from the field in Cat3/4/5 is tricky. What usually happens is there isn't enough organization from teams, so the pace lulls, people attack, pace is upped, and they bring back the attackers. Here's the thing to remember if you are trying to get in a breakaway: if you are suffering and see a move starting (or you attack), then it has a chance of sticking. If you feel fresh and you attack, likely everyone else feels the same way and they'll bring you back. You also need to get a feel for who is strong and if you see them go, go with them. Also make sure you know the wind direction if it's windy out. There is also just simply a matter of luck: will the group chase or let you guys roll away? If they hesitate you might get the gap you need, and then if you can get out of sight, "out of sight, out of mind" and you guys are good to go (for the most part).
    Category 2 | | Velogames BikeForums Leagues: 1st - 2012 Veulta, 1st - 2011 Vuelta, 2nd - 2013 Vuelta, 3rd - 2012 Giro, 4th - 2012 TdF

  4. #4
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    Getting away from the field in Cat3/4/5 is tricky. What usually happens is there isn't enough organization from teams...
    Where as getting away in a 1/2/3 race is easy because the teams are organized?

    Hint 1: Wim Van Est: "I like to attack when I'm hurting, because if I'm hurting the others are dying".

    Hint 2: You know how you can tell your break (or you) is going to get caught? When the field shows up on your rear wheel.

    Hint 3: There's no way 3 guys can stay away in a 20 MPH wind for 58 miles in the 45+ at Valley of the Sun in the 45+ with all that firepower.

    Hint 4: Don't build a bridge to a garbage dump. If the 4 guys up the road are making a lot of gestures and riding side by side...

    Hint 5: If there's 17 guys wearing the same kit back in the field and you're out with two guys wearing plain jerseys in different colors, you might want to reconsider. Or not.

    Hint 6:


    Hint 7: There's no way one guy can stay away by himself at Mineral Wells for 60 miles in the 40+ with all that firepower back there.

    Hint 8: Hint 2
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 02-19-13 at 09:58 AM.

  5. #5
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    I hope to one day be as profound as you Pope Ex

    I have been in breaks and then been asked why aren't you turning back to see how far back they are? Answer is simple because when I do see them I have either:
    1. Starting cooling down after the finish line
    2. Am sitting in a stretcher from collapsing
    3. I crashed due to someone else's stupidity
    "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

  6. #6
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Where as getting away in a 1/2/3 race is easy because the teams are organized?
    Getting away in 1/2/3 races are tricky in a different way.
    Category 2 | | Velogames BikeForums Leagues: 1st - 2012 Veulta, 1st - 2011 Vuelta, 2nd - 2013 Vuelta, 3rd - 2012 Giro, 4th - 2012 TdF

  7. #7
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    I'm not much of a break rider, so don't pay too much attention to me, but it sure helps to identify the right break before they're a minute up the road. That's a long way to bridge solo.
    ISO: used, working Shimano 10-speed shifters/groups (6600, 6700, 7800, 7900). PM por favor.

  8. #8
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    Getting away in 1/2/3 races are tricky in a different way.
    So what you're saying is getting away in a break is tricky?

  9. #9
    VeloSIRraptor
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    looks like the pope of breakaways and his wise-but-comedic bishop have already put it out there...

    so some useless ramblings -

    1. a minute solo in windy conditions is a REAL long way to bridge in normal circumstances. If the break is going slowly enough for a solo racer to bridge, the field is likely to doing the same.
    2. these things really are a one-and-done situation for most racers. If it doesn't work, you are probably done.
    3. Good poker players know when to fold their cards & re-shuffle in for the next hand w/ some chips left... this is dangerous as your body will want to stop & will do almost anything to convince you to sit up at some points. BUT, see Ex's point 5... sometimes you should go, some times you shouldn't. "you never know until you go"

    best of luck - there's no substitute for experience.
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

  10. #10
    VeloSIRraptor
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    So what you're saying is getting away in a break is tricky?
    what?
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

  11. #11
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hida Yanra View Post
    looks like the pope of breakaways and his wise-but-comedic bishop have already put it out there...

    so some useless ramblings -

    1. a minute solo in windy conditions is a REAL long way to bridge in normal circumstances. If the break is going slowly enough for a solo racer to bridge, the field is likely to doing the same.
    2. these things really are a one-and-done situation for most racers. If it doesn't work, you are probably done.
    3. Good poker players know when to fold their cards & re-shuffle in for the next hand w/ some chips left... this is dangerous as your body will want to stop & will do almost anything to convince you to sit up at some points. BUT, see Ex's point 5... sometimes you should go, some times you shouldn't. "you never know until you go"

    best of luck - there's no substitute for experience.
    That was beautiful, I actually burst out laughing.
    Case in point I was in a crit a while back (I have pictures somewhere) where I was messing around and took a flyer bringing two guys with me. A couple laps later the pictures show me sit up and start talking to the guys. They are like c'mon man let's go we can hold it (you see the field of 100+ in the background strung out. I then proceeded to lecture these young men about why it wouldn't stay away:
    1. Too early
    2. Too much money on the line
    3. Too many big teams
    4. I'm a pack sprinter and too lazy to do the 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

  12. #12
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hida Yanra View Post

  13. #13
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    You also have to give them good reason not to chase. Attack at the appropriate point. Plan on a kilo effort. Don't look back for at least 30 seconds. And be all in or don't even bother.

  14. #14
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    You can (and IMO should) train up your recovery ability so it isn't always a "one and done" proposition. As is frequently demonstrated, it often takes several attempts to get a mix in the break that has a decent shot at staying away.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  15. #15
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    You can (and IMO should) train up your recovery ability so it isn't always a "one and done" proposition. As is frequently demonstrated, it often takes several attempts to get a mix in the break that has a decent shot at staying away.
    My experience in the higher cats (and I do this in group rides when there are ******rs out there) is to leave a break out just long enough for them to be one and done then reel them in. Owing to my experience with this I am a one hit wonder if you will.
    "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

  16. #16
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Many packs try to do that. Our Masters groups certainly do that routinely, and I've been on both sides of the coin. But that doesn't mean the break has to cooperate. If you look around, and realize you'll be pulling some wheel-sucking sprinter to the line, or have someone ahead of you on GC in the break, you just might want to consider shutting it down and trying a different mix. Once the break is a "go", then it is more likely (but not always) one and done.Depending on where and how soon you are caught, and what the pack is up to, you just might have the ability to recover and attack again. If the pack has closed a big gap, and is 200m behind and closing, it just might be best to pack it in, recover as they approach, jump back on, recover more, and then attack again. I'm trying hard to become good at breaks. They clearly represent my best chance to actually win, and I'm not interested in tooling across the line near the front of the pack. There is a lot of skill, and also specific training involved to get good at it. Fortunately, I'm learning from someone who usually attacks during pre-reg.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  17. #17
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    i like to wait and watch.... but what the hell do i know
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  18. #18
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining View Post
    i like to wait and watch.... but what the hell do i know
    Nevermind...

    For me I don't really care as I would often rather see it come down to a flat out drag race (in a crit) for a few laps then pack sprint. One big issue for me I that I would rather have a run in like you see in stage races with a few miles of straight road to get organized and form trains, hard to organize trains like that in a crit.
    "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

  19. #19
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    i can do both, but my best advice for people who have never had success in breaks is to sit back nd relax and read the race. i do alot better when i wait for the break rather than force it.
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  20. #20
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Nevermind...

    For me I don't really care as I would often rather see it come down to a flat out drag race (in a crit) for a few laps then pack sprint. One big issue for me I that I would rather have a run in like you see in stage races with a few miles of straight road to get organized and form trains, hard to organize trains like that in a crit.
    thetrain3.jpg

    Not that hard.

  21. #21
    Super Moderator
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    A few thoughts.

    - if you tried a few times to get away you were eating up reserves. Make one move but make it real.
    - if you got 10 seconds on the field then stalled then you weren't gaining on the field after that. It means that the field (were they chasing?) was going the same speed as you. I made a pretty dumb start line move last year, going at the gun. My first lap was 30 mph. My second I think 24. My third was like 18. It took a few minutes for the group to catch me but I was all but stopped for a good portion of it. I had 10-15 seconds after the first lap, so a similar type of gap.

    btw 10 seconds is a non-gap. Anyone with commitment can cross it solo. 20 seconds is starting to get real. 30 seconds is a gap to me.

    Can you go 26-27 mph for a while on your own, like an hour? If not then you absolutely need help to stay away.

    The biggest successful move I know of personally was when a local guy took off out of the field at Elite Nationals in 2002 or so. He bridged a minute gap on his own in 5 miles, then towed the break the remaining 3 miles to the finish. He got 3rd out of 5. The Texas national champ (Dave Wenger) I think was in that break. The local guy said his strategy was to do absolutely nothing until the end. He knew he could sustain 30-32 mph solo for a good 20 minutes. He was unsure about the hot/humid conditions. Therefore he went when it was less than 10 miles to go.

    Without that level of sustainable speed (meaning 26-27 mph) you're at the mercy of your break companions. Assuming that's the case you should make some allies before the race, do nothing as a group, then make the move at a preplanned point.

  22. #22
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Nevermind...

    For me I don't really care as I would often rather see it come down to a flat out drag race (in a crit) for a few laps then pack sprint. One big issue for me I that I would rather have a run in like you see in stage races with a few miles of straight road to get organized and form trains, hard to organize trains like that in a crit.

    The problem for me is that I have no sprint. I can survive to the end of the races just fine it seems. Even with heavy attrition. And truthfully, I'm not very taxed. I'm tired of sprinting and hoping for a top 10. I want to make something else happen.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

  23. #23
    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    A few thoughts.

    - if you tried a few times to get away you were eating up reserves. Make one move but make it real.
    - if you got 10 seconds on the field then stalled then you weren't gaining on the field after that. It means that the field (were they chasing?) was going the same speed as you. I made a pretty dumb start line move last year, going at the gun. My first lap was 30 mph. My second I think 24. My third was like 18. It took a few minutes for the group to catch me but I was all but stopped for a good portion of it. I had 10-15 seconds after the first lap, so a similar type of gap.

    btw 10 seconds is a non-gap. Anyone with commitment can cross it solo. 20 seconds is starting to get real. 30 seconds is a gap to me.

    Can you go 26-27 mph for a while on your own, like an hour? If not then you absolutely need help to stay away.

    The biggest successful move I know of personally was when a local guy took off out of the field at Elite Nationals in 2002 or so. He bridged a minute gap on his own in 5 miles, then towed the break the remaining 3 miles to the finish. He got 3rd out of 5. The Texas national champ (Dave Wenger) I think was in that break. The local guy said his strategy was to do absolutely nothing until the end. He knew he could sustain 30-32 mph solo for a good 20 minutes. He was unsure about the hot/humid conditions. Therefore he went when it was less than 10 miles to go.

    Without that level of sustainable speed (meaning 26-27 mph) you're at the mercy of your break companions. Assuming that's the case you should make some allies before the race, do nothing as a group, then make the move at a preplanned point.
    Yeah, so my 20' efforts are around 24 mph. Skinsuit might help a bit. Race wheels will help a bit. So I might be looking at 24.5 mph for 20' on my standard loop. It's a long ways from 26/27mph.
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

  24. #24
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    thetrain3.jpg

    Not that hard.
    Noted.

    I should have also mentioned that I need some distance to get 'all that' up to speed.
    "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

  25. #25
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    The problem for me is that I have no sprint. I can survive to the end of the races just fine it seems. Even with heavy attrition. And truthfully, I'm not very taxed. I'm tired of sprinting and hoping for a top 10. I want to make something else happen.
    You're just a youngin' try something, anything and see what happens.
    "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

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