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  1. #1
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    Tips to attack, AND stay away at the end of races?

    I have a few races coming up and I always love the idea of trying to attack, and get off the front within the last few miles of a race. The problem is I can never seem to get enough of a gap to be able to stay away.

    Trying to stay in and win a mass sprint, especially in crits, kind of takes strategy out of the equation.

    Does anyone have experiences that have worked for them?

  2. #2
    Senior Member zitter's Avatar
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    go when there's a lull in the pace and people are paying less attention/don't want to set pace
    go with somebody from a big team that won't chase or is super strong
    if the course suits you (technical, climbing, etc.)
    don't go too late or you'll never get a decent gap (if too close to finish, people will chase you down immediately)
    be insanely strong
    Last edited by zitter; 07-20-13 at 08:26 AM.
    0/35

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    Senior Member globecanvas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clones2 View Post
    Trying to stay in and win a mass sprint, especially in crits, kind of takes strategy out of the equation.
    Not sure what this means. It takes more strategy to win a mass sprint than it does to try to ride everyone off your wheel in the last few miles.

    Finishing races well is about a lot of things, but mostly it's about positioning and energy reserves. If you're not in the right place at the finish, with a good jump left in the tank, then no strategy is going to work out.

    You can get in the right position by sitting in and then spending some energy to move up in the last lap or two. Or you can try to create a break earlier in the race, which if it works will put the whole break in a good position at the end. Trying to sneak away in the last few laps is probably the least likely way to get yourself well positioned (although it does occasionally work).

    If you are trying to get away, at any point in the race, try to go when everyone else is tired -- at the top of a hill, right after catching a break, etc. Of course, you'll be tired too. There are no magic bullets.
    Ninny

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    It does take a lot of strategy to get in the right position for a mass sprint and jump at the right time. I totally agree with that. I just like the idea of trying to sneak away and make the finish a little less dramatic! hahaha. :-)

    I got close once within an early 8 man break that stayed away... we worked hard, everyone was tired and waiting for an 8 man sprint at the end... I got off the front with just over one to go... got caught about 1/4 mile from the finish...finished 6th.

    Perhaps working on being "insanely strong" would work too.

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    illusoryly superior Ygduf's Avatar
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    2 recent successes with this

    first: 1v1 in the last 6 miles of a RR. I jumped with 6mi to go, he stayed. Shut it down. Waited a couple miles, then with 4 to go the guy took a drink. I attacked and 10s in looked under my arm. He was gaining. He got into my draft so I jumped one last time. Dirty pool? I dunno, but the extra kick he had to put in from the 2sec it took to register that I was going left me with enough to ride away.

    second: circuit race with basically 0 corners and 1 hill. First 15 minutes very tough. Then you could tell the crowd was settled in and content to roll more slowly. I'd counted on this and told my teammates that at minute 20 I was going to create a break. I gave them a lap warning, then dragged myself and 2 teammates to the front at the top/flat of the 45-second hill. When we hit the front I kept the needle pegged and they eased off, inviting guys to go around them. Their 5 seconds of soft pedaling and some good fortune (meeting 2 others who broke from the other side) later, we had 20 seconds. Enough on that course that we held out for the final 20 minutes.

    If you want to get away you have to be prepared to risk the entire race. Essentially try to conserve where you can, wait until an effort that's so hard you don't WANT to go, and then GOGOGO. Throw your cards on the table and don't look back. If you get beat you get beat, but if you don't want to sit in the group for the bunch sprint you need to get out of the group.

    twitter.com/ygduf
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    Thanks Ygduf - I love reading stuff like that.

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    First, you need to know what you are capable of. This doesn't require "tips", it means practice, hard work, and taking risks. If you don't have enough 5 minute power, you're going to get caught. If you're not confident in your abilities, you're going to get caught.

    Second, you have to have the mental fortitude to stick it out, to commit 100%. If you're looking back every ten seconds, it's over right after it started. If you decide to go, you gotta GO. If after 30 seconds you look back and they're chasing like mad to close a ten second gap, you have to decide whether to pull the plug and attack again, or gut it out. Of course, in order to be able to attack again, you have to have the training to recover quickly and hit the gas multiple times. It can often take 2-3 tries to get the gap needed to stay away. If it takes you 5 minutes to recover, you allow everyone else to recover as well. It has to be more like 30-60 seconds. You have to make them hurt if you expect to stay away.

    Finally, attacking during a lull can work, but attacking when the pace is high works better. This can be during the windup for a prime, right before a break gets caught, situations like this. Plan your attack. Stay sheltered on the edge. Attack before the lull after the catch.

    Two examples for you. I won Chris Thater in 2011 by going hard for the sucker prime with 5 to go. Even with a field full of national class sprinters, nobody wanted to go, so they let me go. I kept the gas on and won clear by 21 seconds. That was about a ten minute effort. I felt like I was going to explode on the last lap, so I rested on the downhill and gave it all for the sprint. Last year I won New London with a sneaky move. I had taken every prime up to that point so I went early for the last one with 7 to go. A guy got on my wheel, and instead of playing cat and mouse, I led him out at around an 80% effort. He came around, I got on his wheel, and he towed me to the line behind him. When he started to sit up, I attacked and stayed out for the win. On the last lap that explosion feeling set in again, so I backed off, let the field close the gap a bit, then with 150m to go I hit it with a full tilt sprint. I won by a tire width.

    In both cases I knew what I was capable of. I managed my power and effort to stay below the explosion level. If there is one thing you need to learn, a "tip" if you must call it that, is what that means to you. What is your explosion point, and how do you define it? Power/time? Heart rate? Puking feeling? Mental collapse?

    Figure that out and you'll create your own "tips".

  8. #8
    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Shovelhd already commented, but I would also suggest you check out this thread, mentioned in the sticky at the top of the forum on "Making the most of your attacks".
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

  9. #9
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clones2 View Post

    Does anyone have experiences that have worked for them?
    I do. And someday I'll write a book. In the mean time here are three words: separation, surprise, ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
    It takes more strategy to win a mass sprint than it does to try to ride everyone off your wheel in the last few miles.
    True in a 4/5 race or a 3 race if you're massively strong. Try it with a bunch of 1/2's or Masters with decades of racing experience. Strategy is just as important then if not more so.

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    I think I have finally learned my lesson the hard way once again... At the finish line, two laps to go, right before the one small hill in the course... the pace slows a bit, as the pace was very high the previous couple laps and I assumed correctly that the 8 in front of me are satisified with waiting for one more lap before the final lap to go.

    I move up from 9th and make a move, and gap maybe 15 yards at the top of the hill.... Adrenaline is going, my heart and lungs are in good shape... but the legs just weren't there... Caught about 200 yards later...tried to recover back in my 9th place spot... and didn't have much of anything left for the sprint. Still finished 9th - top 10.

    I wasted energy early on chasing from the front to catch a couple of attacks, and I'm guessing it cost me at the end.

    Could've sat in for the sprint and maybe would have moved up a couple, but that was best case scenario... Still satisfied with the race when I saw the quality of finishers in front of me when results came up.

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    Need to keep trying, the only way you'll know if you can do it is if you try. Nice job!

  12. #12
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    My first few attack wins were all 1' efforts. Shovel, Ex, ydguf nailed it with the surprise, separation, and ability (great summary, Ex) thing. When I got a power meter, I learned that 1' power was my best weapon, then I learned how to maximize that (all out every pedal stroke, not a moment of pacing). So, when I launched at 1500W, there were only a handful of guys who had the ability to follow, but the surprise and absurdity of remaining distance got me the separation -- also launching from about 5-10 riders back, diving for opposite gutter. Then, it was 100% commitment and ability that maintained to the finish. I've had the pack catch me just a meter over the line, going 10mph faster... but too late.

    No race is won without an attack, and even a sprint off a wheel in the final 50m is a solo attack, where surprise, separation, and ability come into play. The separation may only be that extra couple inches that can't be overcome, but there it is.

  13. #13
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    just slam it into the 55x11 and dial it up to 800 watts with your massive guads.
    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

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    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    just slam it into the 55x11 and dial it up to 800 watts with your massive guads.
    I mean, really. Come on guys, am I the only one who still cares about tradition?
    "have fun and be kind"
    - an internet post

  15. #15
    Cat 5 Mod Jandro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    I mean, really. Come on guys, am I the only one who still cares about tradition?
    Well, I'm doomed. I only have a 53x11. Maybe I should take up Ultimate Frisbee...
    Attack in the feeling because it says I'll win absolutely.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    just slam it into the 55x11 and dial it up to 800 watts with your massive guads.
    I ran a 55 last year, borrowed it off our tandem. A 59, now that's a chainring. This is off of my teammate's dad's bike, for his annual 350-400 mile ride from NH to CT or vice versa.


  17. #17
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    Good Lord! My knees hurt just looking at that!

  18. #18
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clones2 View Post
    I move up from 9th and make a move, and gap maybe 15 yards at the top of the hill.... Adrenaline is going, my heart and lungs are in good shape... but the legs just weren't there... Caught about 200 yards later...tried to recover back in my 9th place spot... and didn't have much of anything left for the sprint. Still finished 9th - top 10.
    honestly if you're getting caught 200m after attacking you're probably not strong enough to solo away from the field.

  19. #19
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clones2 View Post

    Does anyone have experiences that have worked for them?
    yes.

  20. #20
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jandro View Post
    Well, I'm doomed. I only have a 53x11. Maybe I should take up Ultimate Frisbee...
    You're more of a hacky sack guy.

  21. #21
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    I mean, really. Come on guys, am I the only one who still cares about tradition?
    Tevye?


  22. #22
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    First, you need to know what you are capable of. This doesn't require "tips", it means practice, hard work, and taking risks. If you don't have enough 5 minute power, you're going to get caught. If you're not confident in your abilities, you're going to get caught.
    You can work on winning intervals. In the power meter book Allan and Coggan describe what they call winning intervals, based upon the power profiles they saw in winning moves.

    Basically it goes something like this: you go all out for one minute, threshold for 10 minutes, all out sprint for 20 seconds. Replicates getting away, staying away, and the sprinting away from the break group for the win.

    Doing them trains you for the necessary effort, and also gets you information on what you're capable of.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  23. #23
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    That race winning interval description used to bug the crap out of me. There's no way to do a real all-out 1' interval, then go straight into threshold, right?

    I was incorrect. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ll-out-CP-test

  24. #24
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    FWIW, my most successful attacks come from following. Why do all the work? Follow wheels. You'll save your energy to follow other attacks more often if this one doesn't stick, or you'll save your energy to attack the break when it counts.
    Category 2 | | Velogames BikeForums Leagues: 1st - 2012 Veulta, 1st - 2011 Vuelta, 2nd - 2013 Vuelta, 3rd - 2012 Giro, 4th - 2012 TdF

  25. #25
    Senior Member globecanvas's Avatar
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    This isn't necessarily about "tips to attack" any more, but FWIW I do a shorter version of those intervals: 30 second sprint, 3 minutes at threshold, 10 second sprint.

    Having had this scenario come up in races, I know that the most important part is the jump for the sprints, especially at the end of the interval, so that's what I focus on. It takes a good bit of mental energy to really jump away at the end.
    Ninny

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