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  1. #26
    Senior Member agoodale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    What category are you racing? Unless you're a 1/2, then there's no reason for you to sacrifice your race for a teammate.
    Masters exclusively. 40+, 35+. Next year I'll be racing age 45+.

    Out here the teamwork is very strong and dictates the Masters races. At a typical race you can expect to have 2 or 3 dominant teams with 5-7 riders each in the field. In addition to that you'll have 3 to 4 other teams that are also strong but not "dominant". Finally there are 20-40 other riders as pack fill.

    Nearly every race follows a strict script: The dominant teams attack over and over until they get a break formed that they all agree on. Hopefully one of the other stronger teams gets a rider in there as well. Then the pace settles down a bit (like down to 27mph) while the dominant teams control the bridge attempts. Games ensue. A few teams will keep the speed up at the end for the field sprint.

    When it does manage to stay together for the entire race then one of the dominant teams will perform a blazing fast lead out followed by a bunch sprint which will be won by 1 of the same 4 guys who win every sprint.

    Teamwork in the Masters is stressed heavily out here. If you're on a team you're expected to work for the team win. Your team would be somewhat looked down on if you all showed up together in the same kit and then went off and did your own thing.

    Like I've said, I enjoyed being a part of that. But now it's getting a little boring and I'd like to just do my own thing for awhile. There's plenty of opportunity for a freelancer as I see it.

    I'm not saying I would be all that great either. I just miss working for my own results.
    Last edited by agoodale; 03-27-14 at 12:10 AM.

  2. #27
    Senior Member agoodale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    ...So frankly, I kind of doubt that your team would even notice if you stopped working for them and started working for yourself...
    haha, they might not. Until I chase down my own teammate. Trust me, that would be noticed.

  3. #28
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    I have not noticed much in the way of effective teamwork among U.S. amateurs, at least those lower than category 1. Every once in a while a cohesive effort may appear out of the chaos, but those efforts are usually transient at best.
    As the OP noted, that's not the case in Masters racing, at least in my experience racing across the country.

    Freelancing in SoCal in the Masters group is interesting. Been there, done that. I was trying to win races vs. just place high, which is a different deal. You might get a free pass for a bit but if you start getting results expect to get worked over or watch everyone sit up on you.

    This year you better be a field sprinter from what I have seen.

    Any team I am on better be OK with me heading off in a break and they better cover my ass, because I can win races. And they know I will bust my tail to help the team win regardless. If you are quitting a team to move from 30th to 20th vs. being in a position to help someone win, I go with the latter but that's me.

    But I am working for good friends who get it and appreciate my help.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    So frankly, I kind of doubt that your team would even notice if you stopped working for them and started working for yourself.

    This. 95% of team tactics at the amateur level, especially lower amateur levels, center around two things. 1: covering moves and 2: not chasing down a teammate.

    That's it.

    The rest of that 5% could be a lead out, but really all you need for a lead out is a sprinter and another sprinter/strong man. Anything more than those two people is superfluous and unnecessary.

    So if you are not said sprinter or other sprinter/strong man, then you're not doing anything in the final kms that another team or rider wouldn't be doing. Park yourself on the wheel of someone who's consistently top fiving and follow that wheel to the line.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by agoodale View Post

    Teamwork in the Masters is stressed heavily out here. If you're on a team you're expected to work for the team win. Your team would be somewhat looked down on if you all showed up together in the same kit and then went off and did your own thing.
    But what does "team work" constitute out there that it doesn't in any other part of the world? If you're on the front the whole race trying to chase something down, then your team has already failed tactics 101 in not getting someone in the move. That's just bad racing.

    Like I just wrote, team tactics aren't exactly indepth and certainly don't require any one rider burying themselves for a teammate at this level. You or your teammates take turns covering moves and then make sure you don't chase each other down.

    At the end your designated sprinter takes the wheel of your backup sprinter and they go to the front and sprint. You do your own thing. Either take the wheel of your sprinter or take the wheel of another team's sprinter. Absolutely no reason for you to be doing any sort of lead out if you yourself are not capable of winning a sprint.

    Look at every major lead out guy at the protour level. All guys that can put out a ferocious sprint on their own. If that's not you, then don't do a leadout. Follow wheels and go for your own placings.

  6. #31
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    But what does "team work" constitute out there that it doesn't in any other part of the world? If you're on the front the whole race trying to chase something down, then your team has already failed tactics 101 in not getting someone in the move. That's just bad racing.
    Happens all the time in the pros. There's a constant ebb and flow, attacking, catch attack; sit up, attack again. Try to get the mix right and put the other team on the back foot and force them to chase. Guys who race way above the "101" level get caught out. Same here in the master's fields. It's not "bad" racing, it's actually "good" racing if I can force your hand. Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail.

    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    Like I just wrote, team tactics aren't exactly indepth and certainly don't require any one rider burying themselves for a teammate at this level
    Count the number of sleeves with stripes in this picture and rethink your comment as it applies to the OP:



    I've been in 45+ fields here with 10 Nats Champs, 2 WC's, and 2 guys that went to the Olympics. Not a rare thing. And a bunch of former pros. This is the level where the OP goes to play on the weekends. 100-125 rider fields and large teams that actually know how to race (see qualifications).

    If he drops down and races Cat3 or whatever it's a different ballgame. That may be where he ends up (shrug).
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 03-28-14 at 12:39 AM.

  7. #32
    Senior Member agoodale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    I've been in 45+ fields here with 10 Nats Champs, 2 WC's, and 2 guys that went to the Olympics. Not a rare thing. And a bunch of former pros. This is where the level where the OP goes to play on the weekends. 100-125 rider fields and large teams that actually know how to race (see qualifications).

    If he drops down and races Cat3 or whatever it's a different ballgame. That may be where he ends up (shrug).
    I am cat 3 but I've switched my priority to the Masters races. I actually like the fact that they are faster and I'm able to move around in the field easier. Next year I'll get you join you in the 45s but right now I'm doing 35+, 30+ 3/4, and 40+.

  8. #33
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    What category are you racing?

    Unless you're a 1/2, then there's no reason for you to sacrifice your race for a teammate.
    I'm glad you're not on my team. That is a ridiculous statement.

    I'm 57 and race up on a M45+ team. When I race M45+ I am the hammer. We are capable of dominating race series. There is a ton of teamwork involved. I struggle for results in these races but that's what I signed up for. How long I will want to do this, I'm not sure. I take it year by year.

    When I race M50+ or M55+ I am normally solo. The teams beat the crap out of me. I could really use some help in those races.

    When I race P/1/2/(3) I may have teammates but if I'm in a break I am hanging on for dear life for as long as I can. If I'm in the field, I try and steal a prime or a placing whenever I can. I do them primarily for fitness, and because it's great racing.

  9. #34
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    That may be a bit unfair. You are a cat-2; most of your teammates and competitors are cat-1 or cat-2. The dynamics are different

  10. #35
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Not really. Gary is a Cat1, I am a Cat2, and the rest are Cat3's. Those around me are Cat1-4. Some of the most winning Masters in my fields are ex-pros and national champions who race as Cat3's. USAC lets them downgrade indefinitely.

  11. #36
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echappist View Post
    That may be a bit unfair. You are a cat-2; most of your teammates and competitors are cat-1 or cat-2. The dynamics are different
    From where I sit, the Masters races look fairly similar to the 1/2/3 races I've done. The 1/2/3 races are definitely different from the straight Cat 3 races I've done, but I would still very much beg to differ that teamwork is irrelevant in Cat 3. The implementation is certainly less consistent as you go down-category, but I've both seen and been involved in more sophisticated teamwork than "cover moves" and "don't chase your teammate."

  12. #37
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    That is a ridiculous statement.
    I'm sensing a pattern

  13. #38
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    Unless you're a 1/2, then there's no reason for you to sacrifice your race for a teammate.
    The 3s in your area must really suck.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    I'm sensing a pattern
    No kidding, certainly not writing down any of these pearls for use later.

  15. #40
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    The 3s in your area must really suck.

    I mean, either he's the 1 who blew through the 3s in a couple races with a huge fitness gap, or he's not racing 3s in NCNCA...

    twitter.com/ygduf
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    I'm glad you're not on my team. That is a ridiculous statement.
    You couldn't afford me.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I mean, either he's the 1 who blew through the 3s in a couple races with a huge fitness gap, or he's not racing 3s in NCNCA...
    Not in the NCNCA. Not sure what that is. I am in the southeast. I wouldn't say they suck. The southeast had and has its fair share of fast guys, just like any other region.

    I didn't really blow the 3s. I upgraded to a 3 halfway through my second season and upgraded to a 2 two months into the following season. I never had to sacrifice a race for a teammate, though, nor did they have to sacrifice for me. In fact, a teammate and I both pulled top fives together in multiple races. And it was just the two of us.

    What did we do? We raced smart. If there was a dangerous break one of us was always in it and the other one was always sitting back out of the wind. If it came down to a sprint, we'd both stay out of the wind until the last 250 meters or so and then one of us would lead the other out. Not only was that enough of a leadout to pull a win or top 3, it was also little enough of a leadout to ensure the other person also finished quite high.

    I'm genuinely curious what tactics you guys think are so vitally important. If covering every move Joe Cat3 feels compelled to throw out is what constitutes "tactics", then that might be where we differ. There are breaks, and then there are legit moves. It shouldn't take too many races to figure out which is which.

    And I still chuckle at the idea of leadout trains in 3s,4s, or 5s. Hell, the majority of 1/2 teams can't even get a consistent lead out going.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Happens all the time in the pros. There's a constant ebb and flow, attacking, catch attack; sit up, attack again. Try to get the mix right and put the other team on the back foot and force them to chase. Guys who race way above the "101" level get caught out. Same here in the master's fields. It's not "bad" racing, it's actually "good" racing if I can force your hand. Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail.



    Count the number of sleeves with stripes in this picture and rethink your comment as it applies to the OP:

    I've been in 45+ fields here with 10 Nats Champs, 2 WC's, and 2 guys that went to the Olympics. Not a rare thing. And a bunch of former pros. This is the level where the OP goes to play on the weekends. 100-125 rider fields and large teams that actually know how to race (see qualifications).

    If he drops down and races Cat3 or whatever it's a different ballgame. That may be where he ends up (shrug).

    But we're not talking with pros. Pro-level tactics are far and above what this thread is about.

    Fair play on those master's fields. Those are not 3/4/5 level fields that the OP or whoever would be in. Those are what, legit 1/2 teams in their own right, regardless of whether they're racing masters or not? And I mentioned 1/2 races having different scenarios where sacrificing for teammates does become more important.

    My mistake in not including such master's fields. Our master's fields have 1/2s, but not really any master's teams that could legitimately compete in 1/2 races as well.

    So, disregard my previous posts (not that anyone hasn't already).

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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Not really. Gary is a Cat1, I am a Cat2, and the rest are Cat3's. Those around me are Cat1-4. Some of the most winning Masters in my fields are ex-pros and national champions who race as Cat3's. USAC lets them downgrade indefinitely.
    Then you really are not talking about the same thing I'm talking about, are you?

    So argumentative for no reason whatsoever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    From where I sit, the Masters races look fairly similar to the 1/2/3 races I've done. The 1/2/3 races are definitely different from the straight Cat 3 races I've done, but I would still very much beg to differ that teamwork is irrelevant in Cat 3. The implementation is certainly less consistent as you go down-category, but I've both seen and been involved in more sophisticated teamwork than "cover moves" and "don't chase your teammate."
    Can you give an actual example?

    What are your teammates doing that's so sophisticated and benefiting you so much?

    Because here's the thing about high-level tactics in my experience: they require some pretty bad-ass riders because putting the most effective tactics into play takes some pretty strong dudes. And those strong dudes don't typically stick around the 3s long enough to ever pull together in a team effort.

    So I'm quite curious to hear about it and how these riders are pulling it together so much at such an amateur level.
    Last edited by needmoreair; 03-28-14 at 06:54 AM.

  21. #46
    In the Pain Cave thechemist's Avatar
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    @needmoreair slightly off topic but where in the southeast? You racing my region at all this year?


    btw I am really enjoying this thread some good insight in here

  22. #47
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    Can you give an actual example?
    This is a pretty basic scenario, but one we see in central TX. 3/4 race, Walburg, TX. Windy as hell -- every year. Exposed rolling hills road race, maybe 40F. Kinda strong guy (maybe 4th strongest 3 in TX) goes, and my teammate goes with him (this was before I joined RX's team). I went and found the other guy, who should have won the race that day. He can't sprint too well, but can diesel like crazy. I got on his wheel and camped. He tried to get across without me a few times, but always called it off b/c he didn't want to get into a 2-on-1 with me, towing a sprinter up. He complains to me, I explain the math to him (he knows already, but we're going through the motions). Anyway, my guy won from the break and this other guy did finally get away, but it was way too late.

    Also had a combined masters field in a Sat crit and Sun RR one year when they were experimenting with categories. They decided to count Cat 3 40+ separately from Open 40+, but same race. My team decided to protest and signed up half of our team on the 3s side, which I was on. In the crit, I worked alone b/c we didn't have many there that day -- made the big break with the 1s and 2s, so won the 3s by getting 3rd overall. In the RR I attacked about 3 times, then a couple Cat 1s bridged up to me along with two of my other teammates (a Cat 2 and a Cat 1). There were 9 of us in the break, and I was the only 3. I had already won the 3s race. So I stayed in there and tried to protect our other two guys. There was a known badass sprinter who made it in with us, so I started gapping him off the back until he finally cracked, as there's no other way we'd have beat him. I only managed 7th overall in that group, one of my Cat 2 teammates got 2nd. Behind me, our 3s squad laid waste, and we swept up most of the rest of the 40+ cat 3 money. They didn't organize those categories any more after that.

    Another time, just me and a teammate in a straight-up 3s field. He and I took turns attacking for the first 20 minutes until he finally got away. I went to the front and let a pair off the front every so often to bridge up to him, but shut down anything else. The whole race, there were never more than two guys attempting a bridge. I finally got a pair up to him and they stayed away. I slammed anything else that tried.

    You're correct though, nobody involved in these tactics stays a 3 for very long, but the next tier comes up and does the same thing the following season. Maybe we just have a couple teams that are good at development? It takes some maturity for a 3s field to watch a break go and think that it's a good idea in some cases.
    Last edited by waterrockets; 03-28-14 at 10:17 AM.

  23. #48
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    Then you really are not talking about the same thing I'm talking about, are you?

    So argumentative for no reason whatsoever.
    Not really. You are trying to state your opinion as undisputable fact. I am challenging that premise. You must have missed that the OP is a Master and a Cat3. I did catch your Masters qualifier.

    I understand where the OP is coming from. My suggestion is to finish the season out with the team and evaluate. Maybe have a few conversations with potential teammates. If you end up solo at a race this year, try to cut a deal with one if those guys in the race. See how you could work together. The bottom line is that if you enjoy racing but racing on this team isn't fun anymore, then it's time for a change.

  24. #49
    Senior Member agoodale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    Fair play on those master's fields. Those are not 3/4/5 level fields that the OP or whoever would be in...
    Actually those are exactly the Masters races I was originally talking about.

    The 3s out here aren't too shabby either. I admit they're not as organized as the Masters teams but they occasionally shine. And leadout trains in the 3s? It can happen...

    RedTrolleyLeadout.jpg
    SDBC earlier this year. Heading into the last lap.

    I believe 33er #Kleinboogie took that photo.

  25. #50
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    There are outlier Cat 3 teams that work well together. The picture above is a good example, it's something I dream about but almost never see. One team in the area, a while ago, set out to be a "pro Cat 3 team". They had their break guys and their sprinter guys. They'd usually line up 4-5 riders at the bell and their sprinter would win handily. They only lasted two years or so because so many of them got upgraded.

    The Masters scene in SoCal seems too serious for me. I watched some documentary type clip on some team (MRI? I dunno) and I didn't realize they were a Masters team, I thought it was like a Colavita or some other smaller domestic pro team.

    I have no idea what I'd do in your situation. Race the category races? Ride off of another team's efforts? I dunno.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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