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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post

    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 comes from riders seriously overestimating their ability to ride hard at the end of a race and the distance they can ride hard. Even with four guys, doing something in between a 1km to one mile leadout is a really, really long leadout if you're doing it correctly (ie, railing it). Especially when you consider that you have to get the guys organized and to the front. And when a lot of people are doing that, then the field is riding quickly. So not only do you have to be able to move up when the field is moving quickly, you have to be able to hold wheels, you have to be able to stick on wheels closely, and you have to be able to do all this while your heart rate is about to explode and you're going into oxygen debt.

    Ever notice how in pro leadouts the guys pull off and are immediately popped out of the field? It's because they're completely gassed because they are absolutely killing it.

    Like I said earlier, you need to have some bad-ass riders to employ stuff like this, and your final leadout man is typically someone that could top 5 themself. And if a guy can top 5 themself and are paying all their race fees and equipment costs and everything, it becomes even more of an issue getting people together.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    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.

    Hahaha. It's so funny watching internet bs balloon over the years. In another 5 years cat 4s will be doing 50 mph and P/1/2s will have 60 tooth chainrings for their 60+ mph sprints.

    You guys are hilarious.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    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).
    I agree on some points, like the boring->adrenaline bit on sitting in and waiting. Your advice mirrors when I tell pretty much everyone that asks. Save more and then go harder, whether it be for a sprint or a 3-5 lap break or whatever.

    However as someone that has only finished a race in a break once (I happened to win but the situation was really unusual), I'm painfully aware when a break wins. They win pretty frequently in the spring when there is a high level of fitness discrepancy, in the 4s and 3s. Of the 4 races I've done this year I think 2 have been won in breaks. My teammates, stronger than me, have been in breaks in another Series and done well, going 1-3 in one race. In the later season it's less so. However breaks do win races, even flat crits like at Harlem (in 2010, the last year I did it, 4 guys stayed away in the 3s; in 2009? a guy took a late flyer and held off a charging field, also in the 3s).

    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    Hahaha. It's so funny watching internet bs balloon over the years. In another 5 years cat 4s will be doing 50 mph and P/1/2s will have 60 tooth chainrings for their 60+ mph sprints.

    You guys are hilarious.
    Strava isn't necessarily the most accurate but it gets the general feel of a lap. The two courses I've done most often are Bethel and New Britain. I post to Strava as a training log but also as a public record of my riding/racing and related stats, basically for times like this. In fact I didn't know that my friend/teammate held the KOM at the local Tues night series until he mentioned it (and I think there were 17000 laps done on that course on strava).

    Okay just looked it up out of curiosity, he still holds it and it's 17,445 laps. The top few are all Cat 3s, both in category as well as in "appropriateness of category". Avg speeds are 32 mph, give or take. We've had one current National Champ (Elite Crit) do the race but he was kind to everyone and I think it was non-Strava. A local pro also does it every now and then. One of the regulars got 3rd at the Elite RR the year it opened to pros (2002).

    Anyway the two other courses that I do more than once a year…

    Bethel:
    KOM is a local Cat 1 or 2, not sure what category. The spring races that I recall are not on here because they're earlier. Ironically my best lap in the last few years was apparently at the end of a race where I averaged 155w, I got 13th in the field, and I only hit 900w peak power. I was way off, following wheels, and averaged 29+ mph for the last lap. My best recent races there were in 2010 but no Strava so nothing to show.

    In the 2010 race, the one in my clip, my heart rate dropped 5 bpm while Cliff led me out at 35 mph (34.8 or something to be exact, based on SRM data), enabling me to do a good sprint after an 18-20 second leadout, prolonged/slowed just a touch because I wanted to wait another second or three before jumping.

    New Britain:
    KOM is the same Cliff that led me out in 2010 at Bethel, which I didn't know until just now. Brad Huff didn't win his race either, and he's 2nd on the list for some reason (minuscule time differences?). Avg speed is in the 32 mph range, and that's a manageable average speed for me, lets me sit, save a bit, and then go. I haven't done a final lap at the limit in maybe 15 years at New Britain, where I'm extended the whole last lap, pull a sprint out of somewhere, and finish totally wiped out. I either blow or back off because I got a flash of mortality.

    Ironically Cliff only focused on cross so he does crits only for training, to get in some speed work. He should be a 2, realistically, and he's obviously a good cross racer when on form.

    32+ mph is okay for me, with short 35 mph lead outs being fine (it's definitely fine if my HR drops a touch while I'm being led out). 40 mph is way too fast for me, and a sustained 35 mph mile or two will saw me off for sure.
    "...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

  4. #104
    Senior Member Wylde06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    Hahaha. It's so funny watching internet bs balloon over the years. In another 5 years cat 4s will be doing 50 mph and P/1/2s will have 60 tooth chainrings for their 60+ mph sprints.

    You guys are hilarious.
    Whats really funny are your responses

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Strava shill.
    I would also have accepted Ride w/GPS, Garmin Connect, MapMyRide, Cycling Analytics.

    Though Strava does make it easy to go to google and type "land park finish" and find the segment and see the top recorded times/speeds.

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    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 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).
    OK, see though, if y'all over there had more teams and teamwork you would see many more breaks sticking it out.

    You're arguing very hard for one way of racing that reflects exactly what you experienced. I'm not saying my way is the right or only way, just that um... all of my points came from breaks that stuck. I got to 38pts or whatever in 22 races. Not a bad rate given that when a break doesn't stick I go straight to the back.

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  7. #107
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    ygduf, I seem to recall about a year ago you taking the advice "always be attacking' (ABA) to heart and pulling the field around for hours for no reason and no result, I think it was some kind of circuit race.

    It seems to me the difference of opinion here is mostly between, on one hand, the advice to find out what you're capable of by trying things that might be stupid, and on the other hand, the advice to focus specifically on skills that maximize your chances of winning a race, like conserving energy and learning to sprint.

    Both pieces of advice are clearly useful. Especially, in my opinion, the advice to learn to sprint. People tend to decide they are sprinters or not very early in the learning process, and if they decide they aren't, give up on trying to get better at it.

  8. #108
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needmoreair View Post
    Hahaha. It's so funny watching internet bs balloon over the years. In another 5 years cat 4s will be doing 50 mph and P/1/2s will have 60 tooth chainrings for their 60+ mph sprints.

    You guys are hilarious.
    There is one thing we agree on, at least.

    It's only twice as difficult to achieve 40mph as it is 30. Then another 10% to get to 42, which is the key in all things.

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
    ygduf, I seem to recall about a year ago you taking the advice "always be attacking' (ABA) to heart and pulling the field around for hours for no reason and no result, I think it was some kind of circuit race.
    I'm going to need more specifics to pin anything down. I certainly have had days where I didn't get any separation, sure, but that's part of practice and learning.

    I think learning to sprint is great, but to advocate people go all the way from 5->2 (anyone can do it!) by ONLY sitting in and waiting for the finish? That's what I disagree with.

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  10. #110
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I think learning to sprint is great, but to advocate people go all the way from 5->2 (anyone can do it!) by ONLY sitting in and waiting for the finish? That's what I disagree with.
    We agree on this 100%.

    This does not mean that you are going to be able to keep racing like you did in Cat3 and be equally successful in Cat2. You are going to have to start working seriously on your sprint. Maybe not this year, but over the upcoming offseason. You won't be able to ride away from the Cat2 field every race and win, especially in criteriums, without a sprint. I expect to see a lot less postings from you about your monster TSS weeks and a lot more postings about how you were able to hold sprint power for 21 seconds this week versus 19 seconds the week before.

  11. #111
    Senior Member agoodale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    There is one thing we agree on, at least.

    It's only twice as difficult to achieve 40mph as it is 30. Then another 10% to get to 42, which is the key in all things.
    It's important to note that few people actually post all their races to Strava when looking at this segment. The 40mph sprints go 4 pages deep. Quite a few of the names on there are Cat 3s. Not sure about the 4s since I don't know any them at the moment. (edit: I do see one cat 4 in there. Right above Thurlow Rogers. )

    Ontario, CA 300m flat sprint
    Strava Segment | Ontario GP Sprint

    The entire course:
    http://www.strava.com/segments/622808?filter=overall

    I should also say that the typical wind pattern on this course is a headwind/crosswind for the sprint. So, I'm sure most of the 41mph+ times are from the few days when we get a tailwind.

    In CDR's defense he did say it was a downhill run in to the sprint. It's pretty easy to hit 42mph like that.
    Last edited by agoodale; 03-29-14 at 08:44 AM.

  12. #112
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    The New Britain sprint is very fast. It is not only a downhill, turn four is banked for speed. You get a slingshot of of it. The prevailing wind in the sprint is a tailwind.

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    You're arguing very hard for one way of racing that reflects exactly what you experienced. I'm not saying my way is the right or only way, just that um... all of my points came from breaks that stuck.
    If a man speaks in a forest, and there's no women around to hear him, is he still wrong?

    I went from 5-1 in 3 seasons. I never won a field sprint and most of my points came from breaks. None of my 130 or so wins came from field sprints in an intact field, unless you consider scratch races and points races field sprints.

    The problem with sitting in as a strategy is both physics and long term. If everyone eschews the front of the race eventually the peleton begins to travel backwards, as riders begin backing up to avoid being on the front. The long term thing is that most people aren't sprinters, so eventually the find themselves in a category where they have exactly one mediocre skill to apply to they only way they know how to ride.

    Then you ride like poop and I have to elbow you out of the way to attack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    We agree on this 100%.

    This does not mean that you are going to be able to keep racing like you did in Cat3 and be equally successful in Cat2. You are going to have to start working seriously on your sprint. Maybe not this year, but over the upcoming offseason. You won't be able to ride away from the Cat2 field every race and win, especially in criteriums, without a sprint. I expect to see a lot less postings from you about your monster TSS weeks and a lot more postings about how you were able to hold sprint power for 21 seconds this week versus 19 seconds the week before.
    Aha! There's a crumb of wisdom from a successful master...noted. And a bit of irony from somebody who just boasted about 1600 TSS this week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    If everyone eschews the front of the race eventually the peleton begins to travel backwards, as riders begin backing up to avoid being on the front.
    ROFL best put down of 4's ever.

    Now I want out of 4's just so that I can race my bike going forward. I imagine there's a whole new world out there. And dang, just as I mastered a 45 minute track stand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I would also have accepted Ride w/GPS, Garmin Connect, MapMyRide, Cycling Analytics.

    Though Strava does make it easy to go to google and type "land park finish" and find the segment and see the top recorded times/speeds.
    My point was not to brag that I have gone faster than you or faster than you think I should go or prove with a signed doc from an official my top speed. I was trying to point out a couple of things.

    1) I have seen first hand speeds over 40, I agree they are not normal for all sprints, but I also remember seeing them more often when I was a cat 3/4 in the late 80s and 90s when I was coming up through the ranks and younger in 8 to 20 mile races.
    2) When I upgraded to a 2 and eventually a 1 my top speeds went down because the races were harder and longer, although I won more races then. So the point that you see a 40+ sprint in a cat 3 race makes sense to me more than a cat 1/2 race. That is why I also mentioned that I won a race at 31 mph, not even my top speed for the race, but lost a race where I hit 39 and the winners were over 40.
    3) The strava times for PIR finishes are in the 100mph+ ... they mean nothing. there are also pages of 40+ sprints which are more realistic, but strava sucks for sprint speed and is worthless for short segments so there is no point.
    4) Leadouts in the lower cats are no where as fast as the upper cats, but the freshness of the top 2 or 3 guys will still allow for 40+mph sprints. Just look at our local track riders who can reach 40+ mph in 700 meters by themselves on our track. Give them a leadout to 30 and race speeds that rarely top 25 in a cat 3/4 race and they can easily reach that final 10 mph. It is all about being fresh for the finish.

    Not that it matters and now I am only a braggart, but I have raced over 1,000 races in my home state or Oregon. 40mph with a true sprinter is not that hard ... if you have a short, easy and flat race. The trick is doing that at the end of a cat 1/2 race or a pro race ... much harder to do the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agoodale View Post
    It's important to note that few people actually post all their races to Strava when looking at this segment. The 40mph sprints go 4 pages deep. Quite a few of the names on there are Cat 3s. Not sure about the 4s since I don't know any them at the moment. (edit: I do see one cat 4 in there. Right above Thurlow Rogers. )

    Ontario, CA 300m flat sprint
    Strava Segment | Ontario GP Sprint

    The entire course:
    Strava Segment | Ontario Crit

    I should also say that the typical wind pattern on this course is a headwind/crosswind for the sprint. So, I'm sure most of the 41mph+ times are from the few days when we get a tailwind.

    In CDR's defense he did say it was a downhill run in to the sprint. It's pretty easy to hit 42mph like that.
    I wouldn't put much faith in Strava peak speeds for short segments. Take a look at the KOM on the segment you posted and you'll see he was actually doing 56kph and his GPS recorded a 1S blip at 75kph. The 3rd place guy supposedly hit 87kph at peak speed even though his cadence was steady at 120rpm.

    These anomolies probably explain many of the overinflated numbers that get bandied around. Without seeing the actual data you can't tell much.

  18. #118
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapwithtom View Post
    ROFL best put down of 4's ever.

    Now I want out of 4's just so that I can race my bike going forward. I imagine there's a whole new world out there. And dang, just as I mastered a 45 minute track stand.
    Just turn around, face the other way, and you'll be unstoppable. You can keep backing up, but you'll really be going forward. Don't let that freak you out to the point you psych yourself out. Just roll with it.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  19. #119
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    As a young Cat2 I routinely sprinted over 40mph. Nowadays I need to be at the front and have a tailwind and/or a down grade to hit that number, but I am old. What I can do is string out the front of a M40+ criterium at 34mph for 3/4 of a lap to help a teammate win.

  20. #120
    Senior Member agoodale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    I wouldn't put much faith in Strava peak speeds for short segments. Take a look at the KOM on the segment you posted and you'll see he was actually doing 56kph and his GPS recorded a 1S blip at 75kph. The 3rd place guy supposedly hit 87kph at peak speed even though his cadence was steady at 120rpm.

    These anomolies probably explain many of the overinflated numbers that get bandied around. Without seeing the actual data you can't tell much.
    Ignoring 4 pages of 40+ speeds because the KOM is an anomaly is a little ridiculous. There is a big enough dataset there to prove the point that 40+ sprints are not unusual.

  21. #121
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    I hit 39 sprinting uphill at bethel don't i?

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agoodale View Post
    Ignoring 4 pages of 40+ speeds because the KOM is an anomaly is a little ridiculous. There is a big enough dataset there to prove the point that 40+ sprints are not unusual.
    I've seen a guy who can do a 40-mph sprint. There are many, surely.

    But like, Bethel requiring 35mph laps for a cat 3 leadout? That's ridiculous, and we should strive to hover somewhere closer to reality in our internet-ing.

    Anyway, I honestly don't mind. I know what reality is and I am confident with that, and I've been beaten handily by some strong guys. I know what and who is out there, sometimes from up-close. I just find it a disservice to the newer riders who read "35mph laps!" and think that's like, a thing they need to race. It really isn't.

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Shovel actually has one of the top strava'd times for Bethel at 30.1 mph. I'm sure with a good crowd and good weather you guys could do 40 the whole way around and sprint to 50.

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    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I'm going to need more specifics to pin anything down.
    I actually found it.

    July 2012. Advice from Racer Ex to ygduf:

    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex
    Those guys are going to hurt when you drill it. Go for 2 or 3 laps as hard as you can. Then see who is left. Then go again. This isn't a Strava game. It's about kicking people in the nuts knowing you'll take a shot or two but at some point they'll double over and you can ride off.
    Advice from an unnameable cat 2 to ygduf:

    Quote Originally Posted by some guy
    Attack like your murdering someone for the first 10 seconds. Then pedal like you're just stomping on faces. Then when the gap is there, get that sweet ygduf FTP going. Don't quit. Be relentless.
    Result:

    Quote Originally Posted by ygduf
    I made this face for about 40 minutes though, so you know I was trying.



    I absolutely love that the guys behind are smiling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I've seen a guy who can do a 40-mph sprint. There are many, surely.

    But like, Bethel requiring 35mph laps for a cat 3 leadout? That's ridiculous, and we should strive to hover somewhere closer to reality in our internet-ing.

    Anyway, I honestly don't mind. I know what reality is and I am confident with that, and I've been beaten handily by some strong guys. I know what and who is out there, sometimes from up-close. I just find it a disservice to the newer riders who read "35mph laps!" and think that's like, a thing they need to race. It really isn't.
    I never said at any level a 35 mph final lap, just that I want to be in the range of 35+ for my final leadout guy, a speed to reach during the 500 to 200 meter phase. I pointed out the fastest race I was in during 2013 that I have in my database to show something that gets the job done. get it up to 30 as you enter the final 1k, get it up to 35 after 500 meters and before 200 meters ... assuming no wind and flat, adjust as needed for wind/hill, etc. If you are below 35 during the 500 to 200 you might get jumped, the whole point of this was to mention just how hard it is to get a leadout train to work for a cat 3/4 race, not brag about average last lap speeds. As it seems we have all said, the sprinters at any level can hit 40ish mph, so a proper leadout needs to be fast.

    To lead them out proper and make it work with your final 4 guys the speeds I mentioned are what, IMO, is needed 30 at 1k and build to 35ish or even more before the 200 meter mark. However, most races do not end with a perfect 4 rider leadout train, most races start the sprint between 25 and 30mph at between 200 to 500 meters to go because no one has 4 guys for a leadout train in a cat 3 or 4 race, because it is very hard work. If you get your 4 guys and hit numbers less than mentioned, at least in my neck of the woods, your leadout train will fail and you will be passed by a wheel sucker who used you. And that is why leadouts don't work at the cat 3 or 4 level.

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