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Old 01-13-14, 09:29 AM   #76
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Mattm, I do not know if you remember the carnage in the 4s in 2010. There were a lot of bad crashes and it was heavily discussed on NCNCA forum. One of the possible reasons were large fields with racers upgrading too quickly from Cat 5. Then the Cat 5 fields were limited to 50.

Larry put out and email pointing out that this year USA cycling has increased the Cat 5 field to 75 suggesting but yet another reason to do the early bird series and work on skills.

Field size matters and the 4s in NorCal (100 racers), depending on the race, the speed (faster is better) of the race and who shows up, can be just as or more sketchy than the 5s. YMMV.
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Old 01-13-14, 09:36 AM   #77
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And congrats to racers participating in the early bird series. Aaron, you are doing really well this season... keep it up!
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Old 01-13-14, 09:38 AM   #78
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I've learned the hard way and have been told over and over again by more seasoned teammates that almost nothing sticks in Cat 5 or 4 races, so don't chase. There will always be exceptions, but for the most part, that's been the rule.
until it does....because that's how i got 90% of my points to get out of 4's....breakaways
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Old 01-13-14, 10:28 AM   #79
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until it does....because that's how i got 90% of my points to get out of 4's....breakaways
I believe it. I haven't seen one stick, but when it does I bet most folks won't be chasing because they'll think it will be reeled back in or the ability to organize and bring back a break is still pretty limited in the 4's.
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Old 01-13-14, 10:28 AM   #80
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Not So Underground Crit - Cat 4

First race of the year, so I didn't have any real expectations going in. My goal was to be patient and not get sucked in to early moves, and I failed miserably at that. Found myself off the front with another rider about halfway through, but he either didn't want to work or couldn't ride hard. Either way it only lasted about a lap or two before I stopped working and let group catch us to reshuffle the deck. Never got another real chance to make a move. I attacked up the slight rise in the course with 2 to go, but the field was all over it. Lost position going up the rise on the bell lap and never got it back to be in position for the sprint. Pack finish. On the plus side, my fitness is way ahead of where it was last year at this time. Averaged 268/Normalized 328 watts for the 30 minutes, and felt ready to race again after I rolled around for a bit. I can race 3 races at next weeks crit, so I'm looking forward to that.
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Old 01-13-14, 10:44 AM   #81
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until it does....because that's how i got 90% of my points to get out of 4's....breakaways
As a follow up, did you find this happening more in crits, road, or both?
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Old 01-13-14, 10:51 AM   #82
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As a follow up, did you find this happening more in crits, road, or both?
I saw both in the 4's. You can use it to your advantage when people let you build a gap. They either don't think it will stick or are too lazy to chase, and with one or 2 other strong riders you can make it work pretty easily depending on the field. If you know that there are only a few people with the power to make it work, try to get them off the front with you and you'll be good to go as long as everyone is working
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Old 01-13-14, 11:02 AM   #83
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I saw both in the 4's. You can use it to your advantage when people let you build a gap. They either don't think it will stick or are too lazy to chase, and with one or 2 other strong riders you can make it work pretty easily depending on the field. If you know that there are only a few people with the power to make it work, try to get them off the front with you and you'll be good to go as long as everyone is working
Sounds reasonable. I think the challenge I've found is once we get a group of 3 or 4 off the front being able to a) organize b) assess how much effort is needed to stay away so we don't blow ourselves out or get reeled back in and c) get organzied and working

I've been in breaks where basically, its just a few guys doing solo flyers, but haven't been fortunate enough to be in a break where we quickly agree to work. I suppose the breaks that involve a bit of pre-planning while still in the field may have a better shot at sticking.

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Old 01-13-14, 11:41 AM   #84
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Sounds reasonable. I think the challenge I've found is once we get a group of 3 or 4 off the front being able to a) organize b) assess how much effort is needed to stay away so we don't blow ourselves out or get reeled back in and c) get organzied and working

I've been in breaks where basically, its just a few guys doing solo flyers, but haven't been fortunate enough to be in a break where we quickly agree to work. I suppose the breaks that involve a bit of pre-planning while still in the field may have a better shot at sticking.
That can change this year! I should have tried to get one to stick at henleyville!
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Old 01-13-14, 12:31 PM   #85
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I suppose the breaks that involve a bit of pre-planning while still in the field may have a better shot at sticking.
No, successful breaks don't require pre-planning, they just require a willingness to cooperate and an understanding of how to do it. And they need to go faster than the field, which can have as much or more to do with execution and what the main field is thinking/doing about it, as with the strength of the break.

Regarding chasing in Cat 4: "don't chase" isn't very useful advice. What you need to learn is WHEN to chase, either because this time the rest of the field isn't going to do it for you, because the rider(s) rolling off the front constitute a real threat, or (often) both. The problem is that this isn't easy to learn, and most Cat 4s, however "seasoned," haven't managed it yet. What's even more valuable to learn is how to convince the other guys at the front to help you with the work. The usual "I'm frustrated and want someone else to help with the work" move of going to the front and pedaling hard for 10 seconds then pulling off angrily flicking an elbow while everyone slows to 15 mph doesn't usually work so good.

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Old 01-13-14, 01:13 PM   #86
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No, successful breaks don't require pre-planning, they just require a willingness to cooperate and an understanding of how to do it. And they need to go faster than the field, which can have as much or more to do with execution and what the main field is thinking/doing about it, as with the strength of the break.

Regarding chasing in Cat 4: "don't chase" isn't very useful advice. What you need to learn is WHEN to chase, either because this time the rest of the field isn't going to do it for you, because the rider(s) rolling off the front constitute a real threat, or (often) both. The problem is that this isn't easy to learn, and most Cat 4s, however "seasoned," haven't managed it yet. What's even more valuable to learn is how to convince the other guys at the front to help you with the work. The usual "I'm frustrated and want someone else to help with the work" move of going to the front and pedaling hard for 10 seconds then pulling off angrily flicking an elbow while everyone slows to 15 mph doesn't usually work so good.
Sounds somewhat familiar. Except maybe pull 20 seconds so ppl don't think I'm being TOO lazy, flick the elbow before pulling off, wait 5-10 seconds at moderate effort, nothing. Finally start coasting. Once the slower pace travels back in the pack someone will pull out and go to the front. I don't think it's the most efficient way to chase lol.

So... what's a good way to get people to help chase?

Maybe... go to the front and start riding easy with a pained expression, muttering how they are getting away, and hope some show-off wants to show how it's done... ?
Or just ride up next to the front and ask if people want to help chase - straight to the point?

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Old 01-13-14, 01:13 PM   #87
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Mattm, I do not know if you remember the carnage in the 4s in 2010. There were a lot of bad crashes and it was heavily discussed on NCNCA forum. One of the possible reasons were large fields with racers upgrading too quickly from Cat 5. Then the Cat 5 fields were limited to 50.
I didn't live here back then, so I missed those discussions. But it seems to me the cause could probably be attributed to a few bad riders, rather than "5's who upgrade too early" in general. Every year is different, with a different crop of riders etc.

One of our 5's broke his collarbone in one of the 5's crashes yesterday.. that's racing I guess.
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Old 01-13-14, 01:14 PM   #88
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And they need to go faster than the field,
Not necessarily.

I mean at first yeah, but once a gap is established you only need to go just as fast as the main field to maintain the gap.
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Old 01-13-14, 01:21 PM   #89
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Not So Underground Crit - Cat 5

I spent most of last season trying to get a feel for bike racing and spent the offseason trying to build a bigger engine. I won a local crit in October which boosted my confidence going into this one.

Nothing too exciting happened for most of the race. I focused on staying near the front and near the edge of the pack so I could catch the occasional free ride. Basically just tried to not do more work than necessary. I heard a few crashes, but they were all behind me - definitely a benefit of the top 15 positions.

Going in, my plan was to follow any move in the last two laps since I felt pretty good about my ability to sustain an effort. If that didn't happen, I planned to launch an early sprint just after the second to last corner. Nobody made any moves and, on the last lap, I found myself at the front of the pack a lot earlier than I wanted to be. I didn't want to go quite that early, but also didn't want to get swallowed up by a fast-moving train (and lose good position), so I tried to bait someone into attacking by surging a couple times. Nobody bit, but we had eaten up enough of the course that I wasn't going to get overtaken on all sides. I drifted back one position just before the second to last corner, attacked hard exactly where I wanted, and finished well ahead of the pack for the win.

It's just cat 5, but I've been happy seeing improvements each race. I'll be upgrading after next week and kind of expect to get my ass kicked in the 4s - we seem to have a lot of strong racers in that category out here.
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Old 01-13-14, 01:23 PM   #90
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Nice job!
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Old 01-13-14, 01:26 PM   #91
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As a follow up, did you find this happening more in crits, road, or both?
both - my only two wins ever (both as a 4....its been awhile) were on breakaways in road races. 30 miles+ in both cases. we escaped early enough that no body took us seriously. and by the time they did it was too late. I also in a couple of races where i was in the 2nd breakaway group behind the winning group and we fighting for 4-6. My second ever EB crit, I got in a break on the 2nd lap with 4 other strong dudes (who are all cat 2 or higher...except me) and we held it for the entire race. I didn't win that and i had to let go about 1/4 lap left but still finished ahead of the field. But that experience definitely influenced how I have raced. I'm not a sprinter and I'm not a climber so I had to put in alot of effort to get those points. obviously most of the breakaways i was in failed, but it definitely can happen.

If anything I've found its been harder as a 3 and M123 in breakaways because it takes more effort to get into a break, you have to work harder in the break and the chasers are more organized. I'm pretty much pack fill at this point

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Old 01-13-14, 01:26 PM   #92
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I didn't live here back then, so I missed those discussions. But it seems to me the cause could probably be attributed to a few bad riders, rather than "5's who upgrade too early" in general. Every year is different, with a different crop of riders etc.

One of our 5's broke his collarbone in one of the 5's crashes yesterday.. that's racing I guess.
Out of curiosity, who'd you end up with after your year of scouting?
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Old 01-13-14, 01:29 PM   #93
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That can change this year! I should have tried to get one to stick at henleyville!
There were a couple of attempts. I recall you getting about a 10-second gap with one other guy, but you guys got realed in. We also had that single rider take off when we got neutralized. I suppose that could be a winning tactic
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Old 01-13-14, 01:31 PM   #94
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No, successful breaks don't require pre-planning, they just require a willingness to cooperate and an understanding of how to do it. And they need to go faster than the field, which can have as much or more to do with execution and what the main field is thinking/doing about it, as with the strength of the break.

Regarding chasing in Cat 4: "don't chase" isn't very useful advice. What you need to learn is WHEN to chase, either because this time the rest of the field isn't going to do it for you, because the rider(s) rolling off the front constitute a real threat, or (often) both. The problem is that this isn't easy to learn, and most Cat 4s, however "seasoned," haven't managed it yet. What's even more valuable to learn is how to convince the other guys at the front to help you with the work. The usual "I'm frustrated and want someone else to help with the work" move of going to the front and pedaling hard for 10 seconds then pulling off angrily flicking an elbow while everyone slows to 15 mph doesn't usually work so good.
Good feedback/info. Thanks...as I realize after each race there is always so much to learn. On top of that, you can do everything "right" and in line with your plan and still have an lousy result.
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Old 01-13-14, 01:38 PM   #95
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Yeah my team mate was not helping with that effort. Chasing us down and all. I need to get them to have some strategy meetings with me, so we know what to do in situations like that.
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Old 01-13-14, 01:40 PM   #96
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Yeah my team mate was not helping with that effort. Chasing us down and all. I need to get them to have some strategy meetings with me, so we know what to do in situations like that.
Ha...yeah, a few of us in the group were a bit confused by that one, but were more than willing to let him do the work for us
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Old 01-13-14, 01:44 PM   #97
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So... what's a good way to get people to help chase?
talk, make friends, get a couple of people who want to bridge up to the break together and do that instead of chasing and dragging the entire pack up.
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Old 01-13-14, 02:20 PM   #98
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Not So Underground Crit - Cat 5

I drifted back one position just before the second to last corner, attacked hard exactly where I wanted, and finished well ahead of the pack for the win.

I'll be upgrading after next week.
congrats!!!
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Old 01-13-14, 02:38 PM   #99
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Sounds somewhat familiar. Except maybe pull 20 seconds so ppl don't think I'm being TOO lazy, flick the elbow before pulling off, wait 5-10 seconds at moderate effort, nothing. Finally start coasting. Once the slower pace travels back in the pack someone will pull out and go to the front. I don't think it's the most efficient way to chase lol.

So... what's a good way to get people to help chase?
Well, I can't say I've got it figured out, but generally you can't make anyone work if they don't actually want to on some level. And it's very easy to make people decide that they don't want to cooperate with you.

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talk, make friends, get a couple of people who want to bridge up to the break together and do that instead of chasing and dragging the entire pack up.
There's more than one way to skin a cat, and it may be that dragging the pack up is what you want to do in some cases, but "talk and make friends" is pretty much universal good advice. When I've seen someone successfully organize a chase effort by the stacked team in the field (who should have been doing tempo from the time the break got one minute, but weren't because getting organized isn't necessarily obvious and requires actual communication between team members), it hasn't been by browbeating.

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Good feedback/info. Thanks...as I realize after each race there is always so much to learn. On top of that, you can do everything "right" and in line with your plan and still have an lousy result.
Yep. It can be tricky, in some circumstances, to figure out whether you lost because of a mistake or miscalculation that you made, or whether you were just plain beaten. See Fudgy's thread opener for an example of how this can be difficult to determine, or how sometimes it can be a combination of both. I spent a couple years beating myself up for losing a crit (my second or third ever) by half a bike length. I was sure I had waited too long on the wheel of the solo escapee I had just chased down in the last 800 meters. Now... I'm less sure than ever if it made a difference. Maybe! But you know, so what.
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Old 01-13-14, 03:16 PM   #100
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Out of curiosity, who'd you end up with after your year of scouting?
Pinnacle-Reactor p/b JL Velo (and that's the short version lol) - they were Leopard-Sapporo last season.

Should be easy to spot, our p/1/2 team wears bright orange helmets!!
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