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-   -   When to be in the drops?? (http://www.bikeforums.net/33-road-bike-racing/923445-when-drops.html)

Racer Ex 11-25-13 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carpediemracing (Post 16277588)
Part of the fragility of today's Grand Tour contenders is that they no longer deal with the push and shove of the Classics, not like before.

The winner's list from L-B-L begs to differ, as does the finisher's list from Amstel. Front to back throw Lombardia in there and look at what Rodriguez did. Not a bad GT season either.

Races like Flanders and Roubaix have become so specialized, I can't think of a GC guy that I'd pick as a strong favorite if they showed up there.

YMCA 11-25-13 05:36 PM

CDR - I'd like to blame Lance/Carmichael for the fitness craze that brought so many new racers in with zero skills, but heck, the USPS era worked it's magic luring 1000's of wannabe's, and bad press is better than no press at all.

Racer Ex -
I know you see numbers as a good thing and I understand the allure of physiological reference points, BUT how do we get racers to learn the craft? I see guys make it to cat2 with little tactical knowledge, almost no understanding of wind direction, terrible form/pedaling action, and egos that can't be taught. Then they in turn are watched by the noobs who think the badly informed cat2 must know.

Skills clinics are great, but only a few bother to put them on and even fewer show up to learn. Trying to teach at group rides is impossible, because most everyone is at their limit and conversing turns into belittling.

And any USAC requirement of attending a cat5 clinic will NOT work.

It's easy for me to say, "pay attention and learn", but these aren't juniors we're dealing with. I blame inattentive clubs, 21st century EP coaches and and not enough mentors with the right stuff.

Why does it matter, someone may ask? Because crashes happen. Much too often. And I'm going to say at least half the crashes that happen in training and/or racing could have been avoided with better skills and plenty of experience.

I spent 12 months, over a period of 6 years racing the Kermis scene in Belgium. How many crashes did I have? ZERO. How many did I see? Maybe one every twenty races. Why? Because the peloton had cat1 skills, even if some had cat3 fitness.

How many crashes do we have on any normal day at the local potato farm road race in BFE Florida? As an event promoter guy, I'd rather not tell. Too damn many.

Ygduf 11-25-13 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YMCA (Post 16277837)
How many crashes do we have on any normal day at the local potato farm road race in BFE Florida? As an event promoter guy, I'd rather not tell. Too damn many.

How many were there before? Per racer or mile raced?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/art-ma..._b_987726.html

gsteinb 11-25-13 06:06 PM

It was better when...

Ygduf 11-25-13 06:13 PM

I ride 100% in the drops. Just to be certain, I cut the off the tops.

revchuck 11-25-13 06:14 PM

YMCA - Some perspective from one of the people you're fussing about, a guy who decided to start racing at 61.

I got into cycling for fitness about five years ago. I improved to the point where a century was no big deal, and was faster than most of the folks I rode with, including the younger ones. I wanted to keep challenging myself, so I took the leap into racing and discovered what a humongous difference there is between a fast recreational rider and even a slow racer. I got a coach to help me with fitness, and she also helps as much as possible via computer with tactics (she's a Cat 1 road racer). I'm physically stronger but race-stupid, and will have to remain that way until I learn on my own because there is no alternative. I'm active on this forum and also on the Master's forum, and it's about my primary means of learning about racing. There's no possibility of hands-on mentoring and few practice races.

I understand your frustration with older guys coming into the sport and not knowing the basics, but remember - there's no way for us to learn them but the school of hard knocks. It's not by choice except in a few areas.

gsteinb 11-25-13 06:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ygduf (Post 16277882)
How many were there before? Per racer or mile raced?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/art-ma..._b_987726.html

just clicked that link…beat to the punch

Ygduf 11-25-13 06:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16277905)
It was better when...

;)

http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/up...-are-wrong.jpg

My opinion, for whatever it is worth is that more cyclists = better. If nothing else, more people out riding means I'm less likely to get run over by a car.

Racer Ex 11-25-13 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YMCA (Post 16277837)
Racer Ex -

I know you see numbers as a good thing and I understand the allure of physiological reference points, BUT how do we get racers to learn the craft?

Skills clinics are great, but only a few bother to put them on and even fewer show up to learn....

And any USAC requirement of attending a cat5 clinic will NOT work.

I hear you and hugely agree that (at minimum) basic skills should come before fitness. And that group rides aren't the place to learn. But I'll disagree (from personal experience) that clinics aren't well attended or a requirement won't work. Hear me out.

Prior to doing the mentoring gig with NCNCA (more on this later) I taught and did the checkout for new motorcycle racers at our local track. It was MANDATORY and you weren't just given a free pass. Yep, you'd have some egos that knew everything (and sometimes wouldn't get their ticket punched to be able to race the next day if they didn't show the skills needed) but most of the people came up later thanked us for the teaching.

The risk factor isn't all that different between the two sports, and the similarities are many.

Take 90% of the guys (or gals) showing up at their first race and they are scared. Mostly because they don't know what the heck is going to happen. Or what to do. But how many guys have so little ego that they are going to come up to someone and say "I'm a complete dolt. Teach me". Or be able to pick the right teacher out of all the noise.

I've taught a lot of classes on a wide range of subjects and no one raises their hand in the first 10 minutes. Start engaging and they start learning. Start teaching and they start realizing they don't know everything. Hands start to go up.

The Early Birds and clinics in NorCal draw a lot of folks. I've done the teach/ride along in a half dozen Cat 5 races in two states and I saw ONE crash. That's 6 Cat 5 races with one crash. Holy carp. And, like the m/c thing, I got a lot of follow up questions and thank you's. Nothing but positive feedback.

That pretty effing amazing crash rate was partly because they learned some stuff (among other things we'd take them around several times and show them the racing line after the class before they raced) and partly because someone was looking over their shoulder going "easy" "smooth" "get in the drops". And we could quickly identify "that guy" and take them aside.

The rest of the folks were a lot calmer and confident. I went over 325 races between crashes. And both of those were solo "well that was a bit too hot" falls. 6 years and more than a few head/shoulder/tire bumps, and guys flying through the air around me. You got through all those races in Belgium upright. You and I know that most of the crashes come from nerves and over reaction. Fix that and things improve dramatically.

Hard to learn the more nuanced stuff if you're worrying about crashing, and think a racing line is something the horse race bettors use. The model is there to fix that and it works. It starts small but I've never seen it do anything but build.

The problem is with no clinics (and these horrible one day licenses), half the field is "that guy". Much carnage ensues.

I don't know another sport with a risk factor this high where people get seriously injured on a regular basis that hands out licenses like candy for $10 with zero instruction. You don't even get a one page "Do's and Don'ts" flyer. My flipping electric razor does better than that. No one checks your helmet, your bike, and whether you are even capable of riding in the right direction.

Sorry, my head just exploded.

YMCA 11-25-13 07:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ygduf (Post 16277882)
How many were there before? Per racer or mile raced?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/art-ma..._b_987726.html

I never said it was better in the past.
I didn't race then.
But from what I hear, they may have been, so...

shovelhd 11-25-13 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YMCA (Post 16278076)
I never said it was better in the past.
I didn't race then.

Bummer.

YMCA 11-25-13 07:23 PM

Racer Ex,

Nice write-up. You are doing your part. I try to do mine. CDR does his at the BSS. As do many others on this board.

I probably should have brought up this issue more when I was on the original local association board for 5 years, but we were too worried about ways to get women and juniors involved. Short answer; it's on other women and juniors to recruit. Little else works. Trust me, it's been tried.

I'll speak with the new board when they get elected and see if some funding can be set aside for clinics, because you are very correct; a dangerous sport that allows anyone to join with a simple $10 one-day license fee, is not taking its liability very seriously.

YMCA 11-25-13 07:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shovelhd (Post 16278099)
Bummer.

1992 is as far back as I go.
Colleagues that started in the 60's, 70's and 80's tell a much different story.
That Huffington Post article may help them.

Racer Ex 11-25-13 07:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YMCA (Post 16278116)
I'll speak with the new board when they get elected and see if some funding can be set aside for clinics, because you are very correct; a dangerous sport that allows anyone to join with a simple $10 one-day license fee, is not taking its liability very seriously.

If you need names for folks running the programs for a reference point or I can help, please ask.

Quote:

Originally Posted by YMCA (Post 16278116)
1992 is as far back as I go.

I've got a vague recollection of 86. There are some gaps in between that and 1973.

YMCA 11-25-13 07:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by revchuck (Post 16277926)
YMCA - Some perspective from one of the people you're fussing about, a guy who decided to start racing at 61.

I got into cycling for fitness about five years ago. I improved to the point where a century was no big deal, and was faster than most of the folks I rode with, including the younger ones. I wanted to keep challenging myself, so I took the leap into racing and discovered what a humongous difference there is between a fast recreational rider and even a slow racer. I got a coach to help me with fitness, and she also helps as much as possible via computer with tactics (she's a Cat 1 road racer). I'm physically stronger but race-stupid, and will have to remain that way until I learn on my own because there is no alternative. I'm active on this forum and also on the Master's forum, and it's about my primary means of learning about racing. There's no possibility of hands-on mentoring and few practice races.

I understand your frustration with older guys coming into the sport and not knowing the basics, but remember - there's no way for us to learn them but the school of hard knocks. It's not by choice except in a few areas.

Good for you finding the sport and being aware of its required skillset.
Common sense and an open mind is all one needs.

Jandro 11-25-13 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 16278015)

The problem is with no clinics (and these horrible one day licenses), half the field is "that guy". Much carnage ensues.

I don't know another sport with a risk factor this high where people get seriously injured on a regular basis that hands out licenses like candy for $10 with zero instruction. You don't even get a one page "Do's and Don'ts" flyer. My flipping electric razor does better than that. No one checks your helmet, your bike, and whether you are even capable of riding in the right direction.

Sorry, my head just exploded.

As a graduate (lol) from those clinics, it amazes me that they aren't mandatory. I rode a LOT prior to racing. Group rides, hammerfest rides, ally cat races (I can hear botto scoffing), unofficial road races, etc and I thought I had a pretty good handle on the basics. I still learned a metric ****tonne of techniques on how to race my bike better and, more importantly, safer.

When I see guys do the one-day license thing, I cringe.

gsteinb 11-25-13 07:39 PM

I don't dispute we should always aim to improve the skills of folks. Hot beds of skills building usually become regions where great things happen. For reference read Coyle's The Talent Code. Still, I don't really have a recollection of the good old days being safer, or faster or in any way better.

needmoreair 11-25-13 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining (Post 16273675)
I generally rock out on the hoods 90% of the time. If i'm bridiging to a break or driving the break i will be on the hoods with my arms bent at 90 degrees. If i'm sitting in i'm most likely on the hoods unless we are descending, then i will use the drops. I almost never use my drops when training. I use my tops and my hoods a lot

This is how I ride as well. If I'm sprinting or attacking, I'll be in the drops. Otherwise it's the hoods for the entire ride or race. Road races or crits.

All personal preference and it honestly just doesn't matter.

YMCA 11-25-13 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16278148)
I don't dispute we should always aim to improve the skills of folks. Hot beds of skills building usually become regions where great things happen. For reference read Coyle's The Talent Code. Still, I don't really have a recollection of the good old days being safer, or faster or in any way better.

Every generation was better than the following. Just ask Cipo or Van Steenberg.

Hell, according to "America's greatest generation", they were the best. As though this generation wouldn't do the same thing in their places circa 1941-45

needmoreair 11-25-13 07:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YMCA (Post 16273287)
Do whatever feels best to you, but fast descending should always be in drops.

Hands near the stem on the tops of the bars and elbows pulled in has always been fastest for me on rather nontechnical descents. Other descents I'll just be on the hoods.

furiousferret 11-25-13 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YMCA (Post 16277837)
CDR - I'd like to blame Lance/Carmichael for the fitness craze that brought so many new racers in with zero skills, but heck, the USPS era worked it's magic luring 1000's of wannabe's, and bad press is better than no press at all.

Racer Ex -
I know you see numbers as a good thing and I understand the allure of physiological reference points, BUT how do we get racers to learn the craft? I see guys make it to cat2 with little tactical knowledge, almost no understanding of wind direction, terrible form/pedaling action, and egos that can't be taught. Then they in turn are watched by the noobs who think the badly informed cat2 must know.

Skills clinics are great, but only a few bother to put them on and even fewer show up to learn. Trying to teach at group rides is impossible, because most everyone is at their limit and conversing turns into belittling.

And any USAC requirement of attending a cat5 clinic will NOT work.

It's easy for me to say, "pay attention and learn", but these aren't juniors we're dealing with. I blame inattentive clubs, 21st century EP coaches and and not enough mentors with the right stuff.

Why does it matter, someone may ask? Because crashes happen. Much too often. And I'm going to say at least half the crashes that happen in training and/or racing could have been avoided with better skills and plenty of experience.

I spent 12 months, over a period of 6 years racing the Kermis scene in Belgium. How many crashes did I have? ZERO. How many did I see? Maybe one every twenty races. Why? Because the peloton had cat1 skills, even if some had cat3 fitness.

How many crashes do we have on any normal day at the local potato farm road race in BFE Florida? As an event promoter guy, I'd rather not tell. Too damn many.

FWIW, our town has a Junior Cycling program with about 30 HS and Junior High kids that are mentored by some very experienced coaches. They meet up a few blocks from my house and I've seen them do bumping drills and overhead a lecture. Some of these kids are scary fast, and hopefully more towns start these types of programs.

Redlands also has least 4 skills clinics each year in town for the older people as well (which some of our clubs require). From what I heard a few years back some inexperienced riders put two guys in the ICU at the practice crit, so now its not mandatory, but highly frowned upon if you do not attend.

Of course, what I have just covered comprises maybe 5% of the cycling population around here.

furiousferret 11-25-13 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YMCA (Post 16278161)
Every generation was better than the following. Just ask Cipo or Van Steenberg.

Hell, according to "America's greatest generation", they were the best. As though this generation wouldn't do the same thing in their places circa 1941-45

America's 'greatest generation' may have saved us from the Nazi's, but they didn't do a very good job keeping their kids off LSD and Marijuana.

Homebrew01 11-25-13 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16274427)
I'm in the drops right now.

I thought you were a hoods guy last time we went through this.

needmoreair 11-25-13 07:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkwaki (Post 16277437)
As we have discussed before you and I are about the same age, came the same pathway, etc and I agree with this post.
I have posted in the past what it is like to race (i.e. crits) at the elite level.
Locally there are a lot of guys who can't stand me and I have had many confrontations post race. Take a look at those that mutual respect as well as some of my friends, true monsters on the bike. They know what it takes.

I have said it a bunch of times, off the bike I am a super nice guy, training I am a super nice guy, racing I am a ****ing ******* that will bump, hook, chop you in a second, not trying to start an argument about it but go in the racing video thread and watch guys like Rahsaan amongst other and tell me that they are 'playing nice'...

And that stuff is absurd.

There's no need for it and there shouldn't be a place for it.

I absolutely don't think there should be any sort of "mindset" for it, either. Pulling sketchy moves and risky maneuvers is b.s. and WILL come back on you some day. It's not necessary to win and it isn't acceptable.

Having confrontations post race? Come on. Why ride that way to begin with? Honestly, think about the reasoning. It's so silly.

Homebrew01 11-25-13 08:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by echappist (Post 16276376)
i know. haha. how about junoesque or curvaceous?

they just don't roll off the tongue as well as zaftig...

or rubenesque


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