Bike Forums

Bike Forums (
-   "The 33"-Road Bike Racing (
-   -   Thinking about quitting team and racing unattached... (

agoodale 03-28-14 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by mike868y (Post 16620355)
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.

Think of it from the other team's point of view. If you had a man in the break and then a teammate (me) of one of the other riders in the break went off to join a bridge attempt. What would you do?

You'd jump and try to bridge also. You're not going to let another team increase their numbers in a break.

Now you're the 3rd team. And you see 2 teammates of riders in the break attempt a bridge. What are you going to do? You're going to go also.

Now we've got 5 guys headed up the road to a 3 man break. What will the field do? Chase!

A minute later we're all closer to the break.

I admit the 2 got the jump & some distance on the field. If we had all reacted sooner it would have been shut down immediately.

shovelhd 03-28-14 03:16 PM


Originally Posted by Ygduf (Post 16619907)
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.

That's it. I'm putting in for my downgrade.

shovelhd 03-28-14 03:21 PM


Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16620226)
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.

That's what I would have done, but covering moves is lame and isn't real racing tactics.

shovelhd 03-28-14 03:24 PM


Originally Posted by agoodale (Post 16620206)
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.

Again, I would encourage you to start making the contacts this year. Not all teams have designated leaders, especially in Masters. The best fit is when you are close in capability and knowledge to your teammates. Then it's all about who is feeling it that day, who needs points, who is feeling charitable, who had the last win, etc. Don't resign yourself to racing unattached.

shovelhd 03-28-14 03:27 PM


Originally Posted by aaronmcd (Post 16620341)
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?

It takes a team full of guys with a lot of horsepower. You're not going to see that often in the lower categories. They're also all gunning for upgrade points and it is hard to find 3-4 guys who are willing to sacrifice their points for one rider. Technically, it's easy once you practice it.

agoodale 03-28-14 03:27 PM


Originally Posted by shovelhd (Post 16620923)
That's it. I'm putting in for my downgrade.

That sounds like fun until you go 8 wide into the last turn.

shovelhd 03-28-14 03:28 PM


Originally Posted by agoodale (Post 16620965)
That sounds like fun until you go 8 wide into the last turn.

It's the thing for 40+ Masters to do around here.

agoodale 03-28-14 03:36 PM


Originally Posted by shovelhd (Post 16620964)
It takes a team full of guys with a lot of horsepower. You're not going to see that often in the lower categories. They're also all gunning for upgrade points and it is hard to find 3-4 guys who are willing to sacrifice their points for one rider. Technically, it's easy once you practice it.

Horsepower & timing. In my experience most 3/4 teams overestimate their power and get on the front too early. Then the leadout bogs down with 1/2 lap to go. Even in the 4s a good leadout should be 30 - 35mph progressively getting faster the closer you get to the line. Guys get out there and realize it's tough to do even 400m at that pace after racing for an hour.

gsteinb 03-28-14 04:57 PM


Originally Posted by shovelhd (Post 16620941)
That's what I would have done, but covering moves is lame and isn't real racing tactics.

and the brownie points go to shovelhd. :thumb::love:

jmikami 03-28-14 05:57 PM


Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16621186)
and the brownie points go to shovelhd. :thumb::love:

Why is covering a move not real tactics? I would consider covering moves to be a primary racing tactic, if you were to work in that group that would be called training and not racing, IMO. If you have the sprinter in the field, you cover moves to ensure your sprinter and the leadouts don't have to work before the sprint. If you have someone else in a break up the road, your job is to ensure no one else makes it to the front group. If you are watching the front for your teammates, I can't think of anything else you should be doing at that time. The only thing left to do once things come back together is counter, but until then cover and cover again. Heck if you have no teammates and riders with teammates are in the group, cover that. You will likely need to soft pull to get them to work with you, but you don't need to kill yourself to keep a power team up the road. Race with tactics not power.

I pretty much consider myself a huge jerk to anyone who is not a teammate and will go to the front to sit on moves just to piss certain people off. I am not racing to hurt others or be dangerous, but if I wanted a good workout I would go train in the hills. If I want to race it is because I want to play with tactics and try and win the race for myself or teammates and test our ability to race with tactics, not just see who the strongest riders are. I have always loved jumping up to a break and watching other riders berate people in the break who they think are not working hard enough. Sure that is a tactic in itself, you want to get everyone else to work for you, but at somepoint you stop racing your own race if all you are worried about is playing the whip. Racing to me is more fun because of the fact that the strongest riders don't always win, it takes an amount of patience and thought to win a bike race. Although having more power than everyone in your group is a really good starting point.

As for lower cats messing up the sprint train, that happens everywhere ... even with the pros. Timing your final 3 or 4 guys to leadout for the final 1 to 2km of a race is not easy and takes a lot of trust. I much prefer to play off other teams than to put 3 or 4 of my own guys on the front, I like the solo leadout rider who keeps you out of the wind and drops you on a rival sprinter wheel with 1k to go or less. A true leadout requires someone to man the group from 2k to 1k leaving them at the front with 1k, not always pulling the whole time, but this is the key person that sets up the train and is very experienced. Then a 1k to 600 guy (your best TT guy), then a 600 to 400, then a 400 to 200 and finally the sprinter. None of them can blow early and they all have to be fast and fresh. Doing that at the cat 3/4 level is very difficult. Doing that at the cat 1/2 level fails often, and we have all watching many many pro races where the team that leads out from 2k to 400 meters ends up with no one in the top 5.

gsteinb 03-28-14 06:20 PM

[QUOTE=jmikami;16621331]Why is covering a move not real tactics?/QUOTE]

You missed the sarcasm. It is a real tactic. Shovel is my teammate.

jmikami 03-28-14 06:24 PM


Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16621392)
You missed the sarcasm. It is a real tactic. Shovel is my teammate.

Yes I did, bad on me. I still enjoy being called a jerk or worse in a race because of tactics.

Racer Ex 03-28-14 06:57 PM


Originally Posted by agoodale (Post 16619611)
Actually those are exactly the Masters races I was originally talking about.

I thought I made that clear.

carpediemracing 03-28-14 07:38 PM


Originally Posted by aaronmcd (Post 16620341)
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?

Leadouts are hard because for two reasons: organization and commitment.


They need to start somewhere. Getting more than two teammates together is hard, and even two can be hard. The teammates need to be super strong, super committed, and super smart. A lot of times someone will say "Okay, you lead out because you're strong but inexperienced". Problem is that such a rider doesn't know what to do. Getting 3-4 teammates lined up and up to the front of the group is tough.

Remember also that taking a wheel is infinitely easier than holding a wheel. In the ProTour etc there's a pecking order. Not so in the 3s and such. People start edging into the train and it's hard to fight them off. The most experienced riders need to be in the train else they get derailed. Many riders, even while being led out, leave huge gaps, inviting others to move up and over.

Yes the sprinter dictates where the train goes but it's tough trying to read things from a couple riders back. The guy up front knows his legs, he knows how much fuse he has left, and he can adjust accordingly. However if he doesn't know to shut down the left side instinctively, or that he needs to leave 3 staggered riders' worth of lane to the right because the wind is from the left, etc etc etc, he can do more harm than good.

I've followed riders in a long crosswind section where I'm brushing weeds with my inside shin. If I was being led out that's where I'd want to be, as far to the edge as possible so that no one could get a draft off of me. How do I direct the leadout guys? It should be instinctive, they should know that the sprinter needs to be in the weeds so they should all stagger just right so that I would be there.

I have teammates who would are willing to do lead outs but most of them lack the experience to do a good leadout. I'd rather say "just go super hard with 500m to go" and I'd just surf wheels. Super hard is usually faster than many racers expect, even my teammates, that's part of the problem.

Usually the leadout riders are significantly stronger than the sprinter, just the sprinter has a better kick. This leads to some problems like leadout men shelling or blowing up their own sprinters. This has happened to me many times, I'm blown before I even sprint.


True lead outs are supposed to be so fast that no one can move up or come around. The sprint is a formality, the leadout wins the race. Back in the Carpe Diem Racing days the CDR 4s had a solid leadout guy ("Doc" in this story) who could absolutely demolish a field with 500m to go. The sprinters, depending on who was going for it, would win pretty handily. The secret was that Doc sprinted to the 200m line like that was his finish. The story refers to how long it took for him to finish a race at Bethel after he finished his leadout.

It's like when Mike McCarthy led out the Subaru Montgomery team, doing something like 42 mph for the final lap of a crit. Gaggioli, a rival sprinter, moved up from 7th to 3rd in that lap and said that the move basically used up his sprint. A Subaru Montgomery guy won the race, I don't remember who, McCarthy's pull is what did it. Other good examples are Petacchi's Fasso Bortolo lead outs, they were so fast, or if you ever get to watch Adam Myerson's team, they do it right, phenomenal when they hook it up successfully.

In a few of my clips I go blasting by "lead outs" which are way too slow (here, here, happens to be the same team). In those clips I'm the only leadout guy or I'm sprinting for myself, so I'm making conservative efforts when I motor past them. For a Cat 3 race I think a slow leadout (meaning into a headwind) would be 35 mph. That's what my very strong teammate did in the wind here.

For a fast leadout (tailwind) I don't know but at one course we regularly hold 38 mph on the straight when the wind is kind. I move up hard on some of those 38 mph laps, so a good leadout would need to be significantly faster. I would guess they'd be in the 40-42 mph range there, which is about my limit if I still have to jump.

In the old days we sprinted at SUNY Purchase (State University of NY in Purchase, NY). 2 mile loop, 1 mile of "open road" (meaning you can attack etc) to a line, 1 mile of neutral recovery. My Cat 3 team would go there and dominate the sprints. It was fun because we could do a "finish" every 7 minutes or so. I had at times 3-4 guys leading me out, the last guy was the guy that first led me out, taught me a lot of what I know about sprinting and tactics. I pretty much won every sprint I contested if one particular guy wasn't there (that guy could out jump me at will and pretty much always beat me). Whoever was on my wheel had a chance but not many other guys did, and there were a lot of good riders there. The course, the informality, it made it great fun for the team, and the sprint was good for me. They knew that if the pace went over 40 mph I'd be done so they kept it under that. With about 200m of downhill bit of road to the line we'd hit 46 mph on the normal days, 42 mph on the slow ones.

I've been in (p123) races where I expect to move up aggressively in the last lap, like 20-30 spots, based on past races, the riders in the field, etc. But then a team does a committed leadout, the lap goes by at 35-40 mph, and if I move up 5 spots that would be good. I'm usually in the 2nd-3rd group because the field blows apart under that stress. I rely on moving up going into the sprint and in the sprint itself. Sometimes my tactics work, sometimes they don't. A committed leadout (35-40 mph) by an opposing team would effectively neutralize me every time.

Leadouts are really sweet when they work. The reason they're so sweet is that they're hard to put together.

agoodale 03-28-14 07:51 PM


Originally Posted by Racer Ex (Post 16621501)
I thought I made that clear.

I thought you did too. The other guy didn't seem to get it.

Ygduf 03-28-14 08:43 PM

Having just come out of the threes around here, I assure everyone the numbers above are pure fantasy.

NCNCA is only one of the biggest and deepest districts. But I'm sure somewhere the threes are taking laps of any course at 35mph.

jmikami 03-28-14 09:04 PM

Hitting 40+ in the lower cats is almost easier as you are racing most of the time under 25 mph and the races are shorter. I often hit 42mph+ in sprints as a cat 4, and I had a teammate that did the same so we would usually trade off and leave the other off at around 40 with 150 meters to go ... the leadout could coast in and get 2nd/3rd after that. Then I upgraded and found that I was winning sprints at under 40 mph in the cat 1/2 races and never really figured it out until years later with a power meter. Something about those near 30 mph average races kill max speed for me and holding wheels at a 35mph leadout with 1k togo also make it very hard to have anything left for the actual sprint. These are very flat races of course and the average is under 30, but the last few laps can all be over 30mph.

That said, I would be happy if leadouts in some of my races would just stay over 30mph but the numbers above do seem on the higher side. I just had a race where we were at 30 from km2 to km1. Then dropped to 25 mph from 1K to 500meters, sucked big time. I would say leadouts over 30mph in the lower cats is enough to keep people back until 1k for sure, after that it just depends on who is at the front and who wants to pass who.

In most races at the master's level I am happy with a build to 35mph at 500meters and then if it is anything under that someone is very likely to jump early, I would say somewhere around 32mph is the min you want in the 1k to 500m range. If you can have a sprinter jump at 400 or 500 meters and bring up the speed over 35 I am very happy if I am near the front. Starting my spring at 35 at 200meters to go is perfect. If the pace is closer to 40 at the end I would have to wait until 150 meters to make my final jump.

jmikami 03-28-14 09:35 PM

I just reviewed a few races from last year and the fastest finish was 28mph at 1 mile to go ... pretty much the average pace of the race. Then the trains started and got the pace to 32 at the 1k mark. From there it went to 35 at 600 meters to go and 37 at 400 meters and 39 at 200 meters where I lost wheels and finished 11th at 38mph, I was about 4th or 5th wheel when I lost it. I am guessing the leaders were well over 40, but even at this fast pace they did not hit 40 until the final sprinters took off. This was a masters 1/2/3 race in Oregon on a flat open course with little to no corners.

That same year I won a masters 1/2/3 crit with a sprint of 31mph ... granted it was a tight crit with an uphill before the finish and I was in a break, but mph is not everything.

Ygduf 03-28-14 09:42 PM

link to gps

jmikami 03-28-14 10:15 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Ygduf (Post 16621850)
link to gps

I assume you are asking me? I don't do GPS for races, but sprints at our weekly race series often hit 40mph ... just come out any Monday or Tuesday night. I am including an image of my powertap for the last lap, average pace for the 28 mile race this night was exactly 27 mph, but I can't provide the top speed this night because it was not me. Pace starting ramping up with about 1 mile to go, which is also typical.

Racer Ex 03-28-14 11:43 PM


Originally Posted by Ygduf (Post 16621850)
link to gps

Strava shill.

needmoreair 03-29-14 01:11 AM


Originally Posted by Ygduf (Post 16619841)

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.

No worries, but your conclusions are completely invented.

I bolded the only part of your paragraph that stuck out. Does every race you do end with a break up the road? I would be shocked if they all do. So certainly there are some aspects of your racing that you can be adjusted, right? Covering every move will definitely wear you down. So then it comes down to recognizing A) when a break has the best chance to stay away and B) when the break has the composition and horsepower to stay away. Requires experience for sure, and it certainly isn't foolproof. But it can be helpful.

needmoreair 03-29-14 01:20 AM


Originally Posted by Ygduf (Post 16619868)
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 disagree. Winning breaks definitely seem to be the exception in the vast majority of Cat 3,4, and 5 races I've seen or been a part in.

I told a guy the other day that racing can be super boring at times, but then it can be super crazy hard and that last km is a ridiculous amount of adrenaline fueled excitement.

If he can just bottle that energy and save it for the finish instead of going out and attacking every time the field slowed to 20 mph, he might actually be able to get stuck in and go for a result rather than trailing in at the back of the pack because he's worn out.

It might be really interesting to compile where upgrade points are gained.

I stuck a break in exactly one cat 3 70 something mile road race for upgrade points. Every other upgrade point I had in fours and threes came in field sprints (though some were reduced fields).

needmoreair 03-29-14 01:28 AM


Originally Posted by grolby (Post 16620044)
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.

Is Fouche Gap up north with the rest of the "gaps"? Mile 1 of a 79 mile road race?

But why would a team be worried about a 2 min gap that went mile one into a 79 mile road race? If the big team wasn't worried about it, there was probably very good reason.

If that group had two minutes at 60 miles and were maintaining it and/or increasing it and that team still wasn't worried about getting a rider up there, then your teamwork story could be a good example.

But I really don't see it in this scenario, to be honest. 70+ mile road races in the mountains play out in certain ways. The mile 1 attack doesn't usually work unless this race happened a few years back and Saul Raisin came up to do it or something, i.e., a huge caliber rider.

needmoreair 03-29-14 01:30 AM


Originally Posted by gsteinb (Post 16620226)
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.

Agree with this one.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:19 PM.