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  1. #1
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Strategy after losing the lead group on a climb?

    I was just thinking about racing (I do that a few dozen times per day) and came up with a question.

    In my only road race (other than the hill climb) I was dropped on a climb. ~15 minutes later I caught up with another dropped dude, and we took turns pulling, averaging much better speed. Let's say you get dropped on a climb with 1:00 remaining. Do you set your power to just what you could keep up solo for that hour, or ease up a bit and hope a buddy catches and work together, or do you drope the hamer and dial it up to 400 watts hoping to catch someone to work with?

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Just do whatever you can not to get dropped in the first place. Meaning, don't plan for how you're going to un-drop yourself; train so that you don't get dropped at all. (easier said than done of course)

    Fwiw usually a group will slow down at some point, so if they are in sight then keep hammering and hope that either you're going faster than them or they'll slow down and you can get back on.
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    Banana Pancakes furiousferret's Avatar
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    Interested to hear this as well since I get dropped weekly in our local hill repeat hammerfests....

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    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    When I get dropped my strategy is usually to do whatever I can to get as quickly as possible to a hamburger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    Fwiw usually a group will slow down at some point, so if they are in sight then keep hammering and hope that either you're going faster than them or they'll slow down and you can get back on.
    This. I will usually do everything that I can to get back on ASAP. It's easier to close a gap quickly and recover once back on then to close it slowly. If I'm dropped and can't make it back on my race is over anyway so I will explode myself fully trying to make it back. Usually if there is a downhill you can cover gaps quickly as long as you aren't afraid of taking corners quickly and pedaling all the way down.

  6. #6
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    When I get dropped my strategy is usually to do whatever I can to get as quickly as possible to a hamburger.
    So your advice would be to bring a hamburger in my jersey pocket in case I get dropped?

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    I've experienced this all too often. My problem is that I'm too heavy to climb as fast as the fast guys. There are various strategies.

    - Over the top of a climb a lot of riders blow up. It's because they start pedaling faster and your HR is linked to your cadence, especially if you're working super hard. If you're dropped then you need to increase speed as quickly as possible without blowing up. I find that shifting up aggressively as I hit the top of the hill helps keep my HR stable, i.e. I don't blow up. Then I try to increase my RPMs slowly as I build up speed after the hill.
    - Another tactic is to sprint over the top to try and close up a biggish gap all at once. If there's a descent right after the climb you may be able to recover. When I'm fit it might take me 30-60 seconds to recover from an all out effort over the top of a hill. When I'm not fit it might take me a day Since climbing speeds tend to be lower, at least for most riders, doing a big anaerobic effort at the top may allow you to close a big gap. A great illustration of this is when Delgado attacks Roche in the 1987 Tour on some mountain stage. Delgado pulls out about a 50-55 second lead. Roche knew that he couldn't go harder but he could sprint. Therefore at 1k to go he put it in the big ring and started sprinting. He made it to the line and I think lost only 4 seconds to Delgado. When they cross the line Delgado is clawing his way to the finish and just as he gets there Roche comes rocketing around the corner and to the line. Incredible.



    So despite all that you are still OTB. Now what?

    Well, if the group is less than 10 seconds ahead, you need to chase. You need to know how to corner really well so that on any descent you can descend faster than the group. You need to know how to do a good aero tuck. You should have at least a taller rear wheel to give you some boost in speed as well as stability on the descents. If you want to push it then use a more aero wheel up front.

    This is where you need to make a decision. Can you TT at 28 mph for 5 minutes? No? Well then you're not going to catch them. It takes a long time to bridge to a group going even 22-23 mph. I created a spreadsheet to see how long it would take to bridge a gap based on lead group and chase speeds. Basically you're either going to TT for a long, long time or you're going to go flat out for 1-2 minutes. In virtually all cases the "flat out" method will work better. You bridge hard, recover, and hope you don't get dropped again.

    I go through some of those thoughts in the post here:
    http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...roup-ride.html

  8. #8
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Drope da hamma and dial your guads up to 400W
    "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

  9. #9
    Senior Member lsberrios1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    When I get dropped my strategy is usually to do whatever I can to get as quickly as possible to a hamburger.
    made my day, thank you!
    Cat 6 going on PRO....

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    The best advice I can give is to climb within your limits, there is a reason Froome stares at his stem, it tells him his limits. If you ride within what you can do and get dropped the chances of you chasing to catch back on are much better that if you turn yourself inside out to stay with the group, burn every match you have then get dropped, you are done for the day. If you climb within your limits and get drop stay in that zone the when you crest hammer it to catch on. In the lower categories they will ease up as they crest the top, in the higher categories (i.e. p/1/2) we will drop the hammer to keep stragglers from joining back on. Though I am a bigger rider now (ie last year I rode at 180ish pounds) when getting ready years ago I was 156 and very dangerous on the climbs as I was not a true climber but could stay with anyone, when the road flattened out the lighter climbers were in big trouble so I learned to climb at tempo then attack once the flats arrived.
    For all new riders to be an effective climber (notice I said effective not dangerous) you need to learn what your limits are and ride within them. Far too often I have had guys join for a group ride to see them blowup on the first serious climb owing to the fact they are turning themselves inside out to keep up rather than accept they are falling off, ride at temp then re-join at a re-group point (I am big on not leaving people behind).
    "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

  11. #11
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    When I get dropped my strategy is usually to do whatever I can to get as quickly as possible to a hamburger.
    I usually start unwrapping my McDs right on the climb.

    twitter.com/ygduf
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  12. #12
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
    So your advice would be to bring a hamburger in my jersey pocket in case I get dropped?
    real answer: depends.

    try not to get dropped, meaning start at the front of the group so as you filter backwards you can climb a little slower and stick with the group. on our 20+ minute climbs, that won't really work for you, but at races where the climbs are short (2-3-5-7) minutes, an extra 20 seconds will help a lot.

    Another part depends on which climb you're on. Can you make it up on the descent? Is it 5 climbers off the front and the pack will catch them on the flats, or is it 15 strong guys off the front who are going to stay away? If it's the latter, better work harder. If the prior, relax a little and let the pack help close the gap.

    Etc, etc. You're very lucky to live where you do. All these climbs we have are good practice. Work on shedding some of that muscle you're carrying around and you'll fly up hills.

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  13. #13
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    The best advice I can give is to climb within your limits, there is a reason Froome stares at his stem, it tells him his limits. If you ride within what you can do and get dropped the chances of you chasing to catch back on are much better that if you turn yourself inside out to stay with the group, burn every match you have then get dropped, you are done for the day. If you climb within your limits and get drop stay in that zone the when you crest hammer it to catch on. In the lower categories they will ease up as they crest the top, in the higher categories (i.e. p/1/2) we will drop the hammer to keep stragglers from joining back on. Though I am a bigger rider now (ie last year I rode at 180ish pounds) when getting ready years ago I was 156 and very dangerous on the climbs as I was not a true climber but could stay with anyone, when the road flattened out the lighter climbers were in big trouble so I learned to climb at tempo then attack once the flats arrived.
    For all new riders to be an effective climber (notice I said effective not dangerous) you need to learn what your limits are and ride within them. Far too often I have had guys join for a group ride to see them blowup on the first serious climb owing to the fact they are turning themselves inside out to keep up rather than accept they are falling off, ride at temp then re-join at a re-group point (I am big on not leaving people behind).
    Good to hear that, because I tend to climb like that. I do wonder though - why do so many start out extra hard at the base of a climb? To f*** with the rest of us mentally? I end up passing the ones that can't keep it up anyway.

  14. #14
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    real answer: depends.

    try not to get dropped, meaning start at the front of the group so as you filter backwards you can climb a little slower and stick with the group. on our 20+ minute climbs, that won't really work for you, but at races where the climbs are short (2-3-5-7) minutes, an extra 20 seconds will help a lot.

    Another part depends on which climb you're on. Can you make it up on the descent? Is it 5 climbers off the front and the pack will catch them on the flats, or is it 15 strong guys off the front who are going to stay away? If it's the latter, better work harder. If the prior, relax a little and let the pack help close the gap.

    Etc, etc. You're very lucky to live where you do. All these climbs we have are good practice. Work on shedding some of that muscle you're carrying around and you'll fly up hills.
    Not sure the wife would appreciate that advice.

    I'm surprisingly stable in my weight though. 165 2 lbs for years. I hit 175 back when I lifted 1 to 2 hours and ate my weight daily.
    Last edited by aaronmcd; 10-08-13 at 03:33 PM.

  15. #15
    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    That was a cool video, but what struck me was that Sherwen had a bit of scouser in his voice back then (2:35 -- "cooming oop those lost few kilometers"). He's since cleaned up his accent.

  16. #16
    Powered by Borscht ovoleg's Avatar
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    My strategy is do everything imaginable not to get dropped in the first place. I'll get far far far into the red before its game over. After that I'm usually barely able to keep pedaling...so I'll crest and then start hammering again but usually its too late.

    Sometimes if I feel like I'm about to pop within 10 seconds, I'll attack the group in my last ditch effort to expel any energy I have left to see what happens, if people chase, they will either counter and diss me(was about to happen anyways) or they'll catch me and slow way down to recover(at which point I can maybe pray I can sustain the slower pace).

    But then again I'm a sprinter so I probably don't have the best advice in this department rofl.
    -Cat-3-o-meter: TBD :/

  17. #17
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    you aint no sprinter! your wattage is just as bad as mine!
    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    - Over the top of a climb a lot of riders blow up. It's because they start pedaling faster and your HR is linked to your cadence, especially if you're working super hard. If you're dropped then you need to increase speed as quickly as possible without blowing up. I find that shifting up aggressively as I hit the top of the hill helps keep my HR stable, i.e. I don't blow up. Then I try to increase my RPMs slowly as I build up speed after the hill.
    +1. I only learned this by accident in a recent race. Got gapped on a climb and at the top I was about 50m off the back. I was spinning my tail off and HR was maxed, not getting anywhere. Without think I just slammed it into my big ring, shifted down, stood and stomped like hell. Took about 20-30s to close the gap and then quickly recovered.

  19. #19
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi, as an old guy, who is short for his weight, racing against other old guys who are taller and weigh less, I get dropped regularly on big climbs. What depresses me even more is that at several road races I've chased back on with other dropees, only to get dropped again when we hit the hill again. Kind of like rinse and repeat.

    Since I'm not going to get any taller and my wattage isn't going to get a lot higher, my strategy for the off season is to lose some serious weight. I'm a good 20 lbs heavier (and no shorter) than when I was 30 years younger (and a decent Cat 3 climber). We'll see what happens.

    My advice? Train to climb better: > watts or < weight or whatever combination works best for you. Or race to your strengths and stop doing hilly road races. Changing nothing destines you to my Ground Hog's Day road racing nightmare. Tactics to do better with what you have are only stop gap measures. YMMV.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    If it's a reasonably long climb, not some little bump - you need to not get dropped. Sometimes you can help yourself out with smart pacing, that is, don't blow yourself up at the bottom of the climb. But when you get right down to it, it's still about W/kg, and if the climb is long enough for the leaders to get any real separation, you're in big trouble. What can I say? That's what I don't like about races with huge climbs: they're tactically boring (I say that because I'm one of the guys that gets dropped, obviously).

  21. #21
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    If it's a reasonably long climb, not some little bump - you need to not get dropped. Sometimes you can help yourself out with smart pacing, that is, don't blow yourself up at the bottom of the climb. But when you get right down to it, it's still about W/kg, and if the climb is long enough for the leaders to get any real separation, you're in big trouble. What can I say? That's what I don't like about races with huge climbs: they're tactically boring (I say that because I'm one of the guys that gets dropped, obviously).
    Yeah, tactically boring to get dropped - but I really think I would love those races if I can hang on. I'll probably need 5 w/kg next year if I want to stay with the group. Could be possible. I'll definitely try.

  22. #22
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
    Yeah, tactically boring to get dropped - but I really think I would love those races if I can hang on. I'll probably need 5 w/kg next year if I want to stay with the group. Could be possible. I'll definitely try.
    In what category? P/1, yeah. Any other, NFW.

  23. #23
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    In what category? P/1, yeah. Any other, NFW.
    Uh, 5. Well 4 actually if I do some clinics and move up. No way I can keep up in 5s without a good 15% power boost (judging by the cyclists that choose hilly courses). Maybe cat 4 will be easier... not holding my breath though.

  24. #24
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    In my experience the categories get easier as you go up.

  25. #25
    \_(ツ)_/ Ygduf's Avatar
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    What duration do you think the 5s are climbing for 5w/kg for? Not FTP, for sure.

    Patterson Pass RR in the E3s. I was a little too fat.
    http://www.strava.com/activities/72227708

    race is climbs
    * 20min x 4.2w/kg
    * 8min x 5w/kg -> which was my attack and it cut the field in half
    * 20min x 4.1w/kg
    * 9min x 4.3w/kg
    * 20min x 4w/kg -> there is where I got dropped off the lead group

    From when I got dropped, I rode a solo tempo for 15mi to the finish. I finished 12 or 60 or so, such was our lead after the first 2 laps.

    I did Diablo in 51:30 at 4.8w/kg. That put me on the 2nd page of Strava out of thousands, and fully half the top page is ToC riders. There are plenty of dudes faster than I am who don't indulge in the Strava, but 60min is generally considered "fast".

    A pure 5w/kg is like 16:45 on Old La Honda, for reference.

    It's a good goal to aim for, but in RRs, especially long ones, the overall duration of the climbs is usually below 1-hour threshold. Guys are typically holding a little bit back as no one wants to pull or be on the front AND be red-lined.

    At Boonville the first 5 minutes were at 5.5w/kg, and the leader cut the group from 30 to 5 people.

    The full long climb was 26min at 4.4w/kg and the leader was a minute clear OTF, and I was in 2nd with one other rider who stayed with me. Our group times mirrored the times from the p12 race in the KoM timing.

    http://www.strava.com/activities/63681683

    5w/kg is a huge number for for even 5 minutes in every race I've done.

    When I'm "on" I'm a good climber, even in the 3s. If there's anyone in the 5s with an ftp of 5w/kg they are the next Nate English and they'll be out of your and my hair soon enough.

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