Be on the front.
Suffice to say that moving up and taking wheels is much more about technique than brute force.
...I always miss the good threads...
"have fun and be kind"
- an internet post
"If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."
Was reviewing footage from my race today right after catching up on this thread. This just made me laugh for a few reasons...
There was a shoving match of a different sort in my masters CR today. Guy was moving around a lot, and another guy put his hand gently on his hip to keep him from moving into him. The guy who was moving around took exception, words were exchanged, then elbows, then shoulders.. one of them shoved over the yellow line. Moto ref came up and it quieted down.
The question may not have been worded the best, and what he did is definitely not something you want to do, but, I'm sure many of us here have watched pro races as we grew up and/or heard about the pros shoving a bit with their elbows in the pack, maybe I'm wrong but I heard that stuff and even saw it in pro races. So maybe the OP is just unsure of whats right and wrong in the sense of how far to go when 'fighting for a wheel'. The video is a perfect example, a LITTLE bit of elbow contact is fine because its just the adrenaline of racing and being aggressive and what not, but then the guy takes it too far when it starts to become a little to aggressive so the other backed off to avoid any trouble, than karma set in and a wheel opened right infrint of him. This thread could've been ended with a single post. I enjoyed it though
Ps. We all have to learn somehow and sometime. I was an idiot when I first joined this forum (just go look at my posts/threads) and I can admit it, but I learned a lot here and now I can safely say that I am a much more knowledgable rider/racer than I used to be.
Last edited by sstang13; 03-17-13 at 09:31 PM.
"You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex
The topic of contact is valid. I think we've made it clear that the examples given in post #1 are to be avoided.
Last edited by Homebrew01; 03-18-13 at 05:06 AM.
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike
this forum takes a tough love approach
I can't believe I missed this thread. Enough of the static, back to the topic. I'm all for tough love, but I'd rather show a newbie the right way than to have them continue to endanger the field by doing things the wrong way.
We do a lot of bumping work in the Cat5 clinics, repeating the following phrase before every session: INTENTIONAL CONTACT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR POOR RACING TACTICS. It's the bully's way out, and it will catch up to you. Try that sh*t in the upper categories and we will chew you up and spit you out. No mercy. What goes around comes around. Reputations are made and tend to last a long time. How you race defines you.
It's funny, I usually have these kind of encounters when racing P/1/2/3 that have a lot of Juniors and collegiate racers. Good, solid, capable riders, but they don't understand that there is absolutely no need to defend your wheel 10 laps into a 50 lap race like it's the last lap. It breeds this kind of unnecessary escalation. I'll just move on to the next wheel.
To understand how to take a wheel, you need to understand how to defend it. Stay close to the rider in front of you. If you sense that a rider is moving up along side of you, drift a little bit over in his direction. We're talking 6" or less. Just enough to make it harder for him to shoulder into you. Most will move on or drop back. So how do you take a wheel from someone using that tactic? Stand your ground. Flow with the field. As soon as the rider drifts off the wheel away from you, drift over to the wheel. It's all about moving with the currents, not forcing things.
This is all fine and good for most of the race, but the OP was talking about the final laps. That is a completely different thing altogether. Intentional contact is more common at the end of a race, but there's a right way and wrong way to deal with it. I'm a small guy and I get bumped around a lot leading up to the sprint. Most of the time it's just because guys are getting wide, standing their ground, and watching for the holes. No problem. Just stand your ground. By no means should anyone be pushing, shoving, or leaning unless it's to keep themselves upright in a tight final turn. What you need to do instead is burn some energy. What Ex says is so true. Never, ever on the front is not the same thing as save everything for my world class sprint. You have to be willing and able to burn power to keep yourself at the front in order to be able to sprint through it. Patience is key. The holes will open up as riders start sprinting. You have to be ready to shoot those holes even if it's not at your optimal sprint distance. It's all about opportunity, and definitely has nothing to do with contact.
As a sidebar thread hijack there are some race skills I wish I worked on over the past winter to help my sprint set up and sprinting position. While I'm not sure the added fatigue would be a good idea at this point of the year does it seem I'd be better off studying Thai boxing or mixed martial arts?
Can I interrupt this to ask another newb etiquette question?
At the end of the Circuit Race yesterday with several hundred meters to go, I was in 5th position or so. The guy on the front starts to swerve to the left then to the right, across the whole lane. The sprint had not started yet but we were just about ready to go. It didnít feel overly dangerous but if someone had jumped it might not have ended well. Is this cool?
The sprint is usually defined at 200m out but that is not a hard and fast rule. One must hold their line in the sprint. Intentionally impeding others by riding off of your line is not allowed. It does sound like this guy was trying to shake the riders behind him. I will do that when attacking but never in a sprint. It's not only dangerous is is a waste of energy.
Well though many of you may find this hard to believe I have had a run in, or two, in my day.
From what I have read this kinda sounds like inexperienced racers trying to play the tactics of pro. Guys see them do it and think it is part of racing.
My last run in was in a masters crit. 4 laps to go sitting on a former World Champ's wheel (track rider and great sprinter) probably 5 guys back, the perfect spot. Another rider (1, track rider, Belgian coached) comes along side to fight for the wheel as it is the perfect spot in this crit with that kind of distance. First came the comments:
Him: Thats my wheel, get off
Me: F@ck you
Him: yada yada yada
Me: Get the f@ck outta here
Remember this is at about 30 miles an hour
Next he came into me with the elbows but rather elbow to elbow it was his elbow to my ribcage many times. Naturally based on our experience there was no give by either guy. Now this is the difference, the elbows and such at that level (both experience and category) is alright, I have done it lots but where I got pissed (many of you have heard this story already) is when he came into my wheel on a corner and took away my line forcing me into a sidewalk, I didn't go down but flatted and free laps were done. Yes I absolutely lost it with the ref and he was also pulled from the race and thank goodness I had as much respect for the official as I did or I would have hit him.
Accidental contact in racing at any level is inevitable, intentional contact at higher levels is often necessary but intentional contact with the intent to take someone out in not acceptable.
I might joke around a lot but I have never gone after someone who didn't deserve/instigate it.
How do you get someone off your wheel? Learn pack strategy, train hard, race smart.
"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
i think this is a reasonable question that the orig poster should have asked at least 10 races ago. people talk about contact, leaning, moving people off wheels, taking wheels, etc. all the time and should learn what is appropriate and what isnt. best way to learn is to ask.
first of all, to reiterate to the original poster, your actions as you describe them were wrong on nearly every level. you endangered yourself, the guy you were banging into, and everyone behind you. uncalled for and uncool. were i the guy you were whacking into, i would have given you the damned wheel then abused you in the sprint.
you need to focus on learning how to occupy space. CDR has written volumes on it with his front wheel sphere or whatever he calls it on his blog - find his post, click on it, and read.
in my experience, you need to setup on the wheel you want several laps or several K in advance of when you really need it. if you dont get it, take one nearby and work your way up. i've found the most successful way to get a wheel is to accelerate alongside the racer you're after, stay there with your front wheel about level with the pedal or mid bike of the wheel you're after, then when there's a crack you drift into the position and accelerate again to maintain the wheel. the opportunity to move in is anything where your handlebars are in front of whomver is occupying the space you want, and their front wheel is on the opposite side of the rear wheel of the rider you want to tuck in behind. I dont know if that's described very well, but it's the approach i take. if you're in the last 500M or last lap of a crit type race, you waited too long and have no business doing anything but slotting in or finding an open space and taking your chances.
i'm not a very big guy, but i dont really mind contact. i've been elbowed, head butted, armhooked, hip checked, etc. and honestly, if someone is doing that ****, i'll back off and come around you. BUT, if i'm on the wheel of my leadout (i.e. team mate), i'll lean back.
Something to keep in mind, the racing community isnt that big, pull BS stuff and all of a sudden when you find your self dangling in the wind? it's tougher to get back into the draft, find yourself on the inside of a tight line? spaces dont open up. find yourself off the front? you get chased or people wont work with you. etc.