too much to quote.
Here's my experience. I have a relatively good FTP, extremely poor sprint. Resulting from that, I tend to bias towards RRs, the longer and more "difficult" the course, the better.
Anyway, first half of my 3s races I was doing ok. I had to cover moves myself, or gamble that they'd eventually get brought back. After I started having some success covering moves I became known and marked. Suddenly, any move I went with was dragged back relentlessly. I found myself trying to cover counter after counter after counter. Became very challenging even to place top-10.
Changed from a team where I was alone every race to a team this year where we're putting 4-5 guys in most races. Suddenly, I was allowed to sit in, let my teammates go in breaks up the road, let other guys chase and pull them back, then be the guy to counter. I still can't sprint, but it was a rapid succession of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 3rd, etc...
After I had my points, I raced a few races to help my teammate. I was the guy attacking relentlessly, making guys chase me if they wanted to beat me. My teammate, who had never placed higher than like 8th in a 3s race, sat in for the 75-minute circuit, surfed every response to my moves, and took 2nd. Beating a field that was mostly cat-2 in a 2/3 race. Then we did the same thing immediately after and he took 5th in a 3/4 race.
So when I hear you say that team tactics don't matter, etc, I leap to the conclusion that the teams in your area suck. Out here, there will be 4-5 teams with 4-5 guys making up half of any 50-person field, and they all try to work tactics.
see here's the problem with this argument...anyone who's proves to be an exception to the rule, is an exception and thus doesn't negate the rule. You're a two now, so clearly you're different.
I feel like I'm stuck in a talk radio program.
I'm contending that if the rule as proposed is to "always sit in, be conservative, wait for the sprint" in order to get points, that's a bad rule in that there are more exceptions than not. That's the point. I'm an exception to the rule and I think most people are. Also, there's teamwork in the 3s around here.
Also, makes for super lame racing.
I would quit the team in spectacular fashion.
next race, when doing the pre-race strategy pow wow, look extra aloof. I think the best aloof look is one foot clipped in, sitting on top tube, leaning over with forearms on the tops of my handlebars and kind of rocking back & forth. while the tactics are being discussed, take off your eyewear and stare at the ground in front of you, and be sure to not say a word or show facial expression. when discussion is over, put eyewear back on and just say "**** this **** man, you guys blow, i'm outta here" then go to your car, put on a different jersey, line up and race for yourself.
If you were unattached, and then saw a team of 4 or 5 in a race that were doing things you liked, and then sat in on their moves/leadouts, how would that play out? Would they be mad? Would they not care since you're unattached? Would they invite you to join the team?
As it happened, despite several attempts, it just wasn't possible on that day to get a break to stick, it came down to the final mile-long hill climb and I didn't have the legs for that finish. But the teamwork was there.
It doesn't happen often at this level, no, but it's definitely possible from time to time. I will add, too, that this is one example where the tactics didn't involve raw power, but smart riding and ability to read moods in the field. FWIW from my experience racing in the Southeast, even in 1/2 or 1/2/3 races around there the tactics aren't usually all that sophisticated, there's lots of attacking and hard riding, the goal is mostly to make sure the team is represented in the eventual break. I've almost never seen an amateur team at any level pull off a true sprint leadout. I've definitely been at team sprint practices where (say) some Cat 4 on the team is all "let's practice a leadout!" and yeah... there's definitely some temptation to laugh at that point. A team of riders who can organize a successful sprint leadout in Cat 4 is a team that is collectively so strong they won't be 4s for very long anyway.
One time a guy attacked and I followed him but he got mad.
But since we're now talking about teamwork & tactics we've seen....
One example of what got me thinking happened at a recent Crit. We had our best man up the road in a 3 man break with riders from 2 of the "dominant" teams. Coming down to the last 3 laps it was near certain they would stay away. At that point an attack went with a strong man from a small (in that field) team. Another rider latched on. I was near the front covering at that point for our team.
If I were on my own I would have jumped for that move. But instead I hesitated to watch what the other teams would do. The move had a slim but real chance of bridging. It someone from my team went then the other 2 teams would most likely react as well. At that point the whole field would react and we'd all be closer to the break. Everyone else decided to let them go also. They didn't bridge but they stayed away to finish 4th & 5th. I would have been more than happy to finish 6th.
not sure I follow you assessment. text book, for a guy with a teammate up the road, would be to latch on and sit third wheel. if they tow you up great. if not, they're neutralized and back in the field.
#s and not taking individuals into account, which is overly simplistic and flawed but I think good for illustration, you initially had a 1 in 3 chance of winning. 2 people started going across. by not going, you reduced your teammates chances from 1 in 3 to potentially 1 in 5. had you gone, you're now back at 2 in 6.
My rule when covering for a teammate in the break, is first follow everything, don't hesitate, that is your job. 90% of the time just me getting on their wheel makes them stop and this slows the group even more. You don't want more people to join the break and lessen your guys chance to win from 1 in 3 to 1 in 5. Plus if you don't like the guys moving up, just sit on them. You have no need to work and get a free ride to the break or they don't like that and sit up and the group catches them and slows down even further. regardless the break either stays, or gets caught, but you are the fresh one who sits on. Now you can counter and create more chaos or prep your team to setup for a sprint.
That said, I have done the same thing and left bigger teams to rider smaller so that I didn't have to worry about all that team stuff. I think it just goes in cycles and that sometimes it is good to go on your own for a bit, but overall I have had more fun when being a part of a team than when being solo. Enjoy your time solo, but keep talking to your old teammates as well as new guys and see if you can find a better fit for the following year, maybe an old teammate will follow you to the new team as well.
I should add that it was a known risk letting them go. As mentioned above there was a possibility of reducing the chances of my teammate from 1 in 3 to 1 in 5. But in weighing those chances against the chances of a reaction getting the field closer to the break, everyone chose to let them go.
Question along those lines. From what I've seen, there always seems to be some point where the next guy to attack and try to bridge somehow brings life into the whole field and suddenly everyone is chasing hard. I have trouble figuring out when that point is. Agoodale says if he went at that point, so everyone would chase. Is there reason to believe he was wrong about this? Maybe... in reality everyone would chase only to shut down the bridge attempt and then sit up again? Just wondering.
Second thing: Leadouts were brought up a few times in this thread, and how they don't work in lower categories. Why is this? It seems to me that a leadout train would be one of the more simple things. It seems like you just have to go very hard, pull off, next guy repeats, etc. Can someone with more experience explain what makes this more complicated than it seems?
1: when I feel there is a chance the group up the road could stay away. depends on conditions, legs I know, legs I am worried about, and number of dudes up there vs. who is back where I am.
2: it's just hard to get guys in the 3-4-5s who have raced together long enough and have close enough fitness levels and profiles for it to work. it's one of those easier-said-than-done items.