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Old 03-28-14, 10:05 AM   #51
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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.

I had a similar situation in a similar race. Also windy and rollers. We just had 3 in a field of 70 and my teammate gets into a break of about 12 on the first of 3 25-mile laps. I just made it my job to get on the front and everytime somebody tried to bridge, I'd just hop on his wheel. The biggest team in the race had about 10 guys but no one in the break and never figured out how to put 3 or 4 guys on the front to bring the break back. Instead, they all thought they would just individually bridge up there. And I would hop on their wheels. There was much elbow flicking and even some yelling, but I have a guy in the break and I am not doing any work. If you'd like to tow me up there, please proceed. This got exhausting after a lap and a half, but my other teammate came up and took over. He was a 4 at the time and I had to yell at him not to increase the pace a couple of times.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:09 AM   #52
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@needmoreair

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.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:12 AM   #53
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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.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:18 AM   #54
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@needmoreair

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.
Plus without a teammate you couldn't do those upgrade memes.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:18 AM   #55
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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 don't see prior responses to you, so I don't know exactly what you're saying.

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.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:23 AM   #56
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I don't see prior responses to you, so I don't know exactly what you're saying.

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'm saying there's no way to win an argument with the guy who's putting it forth because everyone who says anything that disproves the basic premise he offered is an exception and clearly not relevant. As a two, you can't disapprove tactics at the cat 3 level, because clearly you should have been a two. Rather than what's more realistic what allowed you to become a two was learning to race tactically so you could highlight situations where you could get points.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:24 AM   #57
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Plus without a teammate you couldn't do those upgrade memes.

True. It was fortuitous that my breakmake held first that day, limiting my guy to 2nd.

Maybe I planned it!
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Old 03-28-14, 10:26 AM   #58
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I'm saying there's no way to win an argument with the guy who's putting it forth because everyone who says anything that disproves the basic premise he offered is an exception and clearly not relevant. As a two, you can't disapprove tactics at the cat 3 level, because clearly you should have been a two. Rather than what's more realistic what allowed you to become a two was learning to race tactically so you could highlight situations where you could get points.

Ahh, that is clearer thank you.

I'll just back away and imagine all the c3 races in the southeast rolling along at 18mph until the final 200m.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:27 AM   #59
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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.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:32 AM   #60
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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?
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Old 03-28-14, 10:34 AM   #61
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depends
maybe
probably
possibly
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Old 03-28-14, 10:37 AM   #62
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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?
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Old 03-28-14, 11:12 AM   #63
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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.
Sure, why not? I did a 79-mile road race last year (Fouche Gap, Georgia), a break went in the first mile. I had one experienced (normally races Masters) teammate with me. The big area team had something like ten riders in the race, and they didn't seem to be too concerned about the break, even when it got out past two minutes in the first. We were looking to get me into a successful break at some point in the race, so we needed this break to come back, but we couldn't work ourselves to death doing it. So my teammate went up and got the big team to start an organized chase through social engineering and a few pulls at the front. If you think that's not an example of solving a fairly complex problem, let me know how the usual scenario of people whining at everyone else to work at the front tends to go. The break stopped pulling ahead, and then got pulled back, and the actual racing started.

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.
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Old 03-28-14, 11:17 AM   #64
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One time a guy attacked and I followed him but he got mad.
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Old 03-28-14, 11:27 AM   #65
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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.
"Real Masters of SoCal" - Can you beef up the drama a bit and then send the synopsis to my people @ Lifetime by Monday? We'll do lunch...
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Old 03-28-14, 11:38 AM   #66
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"Real Masters of SoCal" - Can you beef up the drama a bit and then send the synopsis to my people @ Lifetime by Monday? We'll do lunch...
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Old 03-28-14, 11:43 AM   #67
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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.
The world needs a good new bike racing movie. Stuff like this, Ex's songs… instant cult classic. And in real life, not the cartoon robot talking thing.
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Old 03-28-14, 11:54 AM   #68
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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?
Not looking for another team necessarily. I've already decided I'm going to quit and race unattached next year. I just need to race selfishly for awhile. If I blow up in spectacular fashion I don't want to have to worry about messing up my team's chances in the race. Nuf said.

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.
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Old 03-28-14, 12:00 PM   #69
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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.
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Old 03-28-14, 12:07 PM   #70
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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.
In the situation you describe, I think you should have gone with and not worked. then you would have finished 6th (or 4th or 5th). instead, just using #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.
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Old 03-28-14, 12:13 PM   #71
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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.
I rarely get mad at my teammates, and would not have in this case either, but I would have expressed that you should have covered the new move and it was a mistake to hesitate and miss it. Also blowing up or not often happens with teammates, I would thank any teammate who blew up, they obviously rode so hard for the team that they could not even finish the race. If that happened every time we would need to talk, but that is the point of teammates, you only need one to finish up front, the rest kill themselves to make that happen. It is much worse when your whole team comes to the finish fresh and wants to go ride another 20 miles to get some work in and no one from the team makes the top 3.

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.
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Old 03-28-14, 12:15 PM   #72
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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.
Well they got the jump on the field so they already had some distance. Like I said if we went then the other teams would react also. The break wasn't completely out of danger so any move that got everyone closer would not have been good in my opinion. The other "dominant" teams let them go so I wasn't the only one who saw it that way. But hey we could have been wrong. That's racing.

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.

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Old 03-28-14, 12:36 PM   #73
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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?
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Old 03-28-14, 12:39 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
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.
i don't know, but i know if my job was to "cover moves" and 2 guys launched to bridge up to a 3 man group where my teammate is already isolated i would 100% jump on the back of that, unless physically unable to. as g said, textbook.
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Old 03-28-14, 12:52 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
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.
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