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Old 03-27-14, 07:37 AM   #26
sijray21
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^ a rider couple weeks ago in the 4s attacked early on. He was off solo for 14 laps. He sat up because the field hadn't given up. Ironically the field sat up one corner before he did but he couldn't see them sit up. When they came around the corner and saw him sitting up they went bananas and went after him. They caught him that lap.

If the rider had gone literally 300 more meters, checked behind, he'd have seen the field spread out, defeated. In a few laps he'd have realistically put another 10-15 seconds on the field and that would have been that.
that sounds similar to a mistake I made last year. I didn't think I had a chance in the finish, but I wanted to go home with something. I left it on the table for a 5-to-go prime lap. I got the prime and continued on the front section (lots of headwind). I began to sit-up thinking I didn't have what it takes to last 5 more laps solo....only to find out that the group took a lap to catch me... I should've just kept going to see what would've happened.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:38 AM   #27
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I just started racing this year and have 2 races under my Cat 5 belt.
I learned a TON of things in my 2 races and gradually getting the hang of doing crits.
In my last crit, I tried moving up the pack, going nearly OTF, middle and back of the pack, learning about the best lines to take in corners etc.

Anyway, one thing I noticed in my 2 races is that nobody ever succeeds in their attacks and nobody goes into a successful break.
In my next crit, I plan on launching an attack/s just to see how it is like.
Question is, in your experience, when is the best time to launch this that may be successful? Is it during a lull in the pace, before/during/after corners, on straightaways, during the last X laps?

The answer might be "it depends," but what signs are you looking for in the peloton, or any tips in general, if you want an attack to succeed?

When to attack? When you feel like your legs are about to fall off. EVERY successful break I've been in has been AFTER the fourth, fifth, tenth, etc. attack or AFTER the big money prime or AFTER a hard chase to bring in another break.

When everyone is dying is when they'll be most likely to set up and let a break go.

The problem, of course, is that you need to be a strong rider to be able to do that. And if you're not, you shouldn't be attacking anyway.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:43 AM   #28
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The problem, of course, is that you need to be a strong rider to be able to do that. And if you're not, you shouldn't be attacking anyway.
As someone who hasn't been strong enough for two years now, it's still more fun to attack. The one time I stopped attacking to just sit in the field, there was a crash right in front of me that took me down. Screw that. Off the front or off the back.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:46 AM   #29
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It's Cat 5 - breaks never stay away. You are like a rabbit and all the dogs want to chase said rabbit
True, but attacking and making the race hard can cull the heard. So even if a break doesn't stick in the 5's, repeated breaks, and the ensuing chases will often cause splits in the pack and end up with a smaller front group to sprint against.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:47 AM   #30
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If the rider had gone literally 300 more meters, checked behind, he'd have seen the field spread out, defeated. In a few laps he'd have realistically put another 10-15 seconds on the field and that would have been that.
I tried to launch my teammate to him. I failed to get him away, but cut the lead from 40+ to under 20 seconds in a lap. I sat up to let the field take it from there, but I had more matches.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:50 AM   #31
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As someone who hasn't been strong enough for two years now, it's still more fun to attack. The one time I stopped attacking to just sit in the field, there was a crash right in front of me that took me down. Screw that. Off the front or off the back.
Guess you have to figure out if you want to race for fun or race to win. Winning's pretty fun, too, but you're not going to do it with silly attacks. The winners are the guys loving all these silly attacks and the people that chase them down.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:53 AM   #32
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True, but attacking and making the race hard can cull the heard. So even if a break doesn't stick in the 5's, repeated breaks, and the ensuing chases will often cause splits in the pack and end up with a smaller front group to sprint against.
That makes no sense at all. What does it matter if you're sprinting against 10 or 100 if you're so gassed from silly attacks that you can't actually contest the sprint?

If you guys are serious about racing and serious about upgrading, then you have got to stop deluding yourself into thinking you're doing anything with these attacks but wearing yourself out and sabotaging your races.

Don't put your nose into the wind until the last 200 meters. That's how you place, that's how you get the points, that's how you upgrade. There are no points for leading the most laps or putting down the fastest attack. It's only about crossing the line. That's it.

There is no "culling the herd" to improve your odds. Again, that's just silly. You're just messing up your own race.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:55 AM   #33
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9) When the old guys are arguing about the best time to attack.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:56 AM   #34
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Old 03-27-14, 08:01 AM   #35
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That makes no sense at all. What does it matter if you're sprinting against 10 or 100 if you're so gassed from silly attacks that you can't actually contest the sprint?

If you guys are serious about racing and serious about upgrading, then you have got to stop deluding yourself into thinking you're doing anything with these attacks but wearing yourself out and sabotaging your races.

Don't put your nose into the wind until the last 200 meters. That's how you place, that's how you get the points, that's how you upgrade. There are no points for leading the most laps or putting down the fastest attack. It's only about crossing the line. That's it.

There is no "culling the herd" to improve your odds. Again, that's just silly. You're just messing up your own race.
I totally disagree with this. The way to learn to make smart, winning attacks is to try it and make mistakes. Even the perfect move is going to fail the first few times because you won't have the experience of "having been there before." You'll panic and go too hard or too easy or pace it wrong with the wind, the hill, or something else. Trying and failing develops the skill to know when to attack better the next time and its improving your fitness for exactly that type of effort at the same time. In bike racing, trying and failing is also a repeated, necessary step to trying and succeeding. And stupid, hopeless, pointless attacks may not work all of the time or most of the time, but they sure as hell work some of the time.
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Old 03-27-14, 08:03 AM   #36
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Guess you have to figure out if you want to race for fun or race to win. Winning's pretty fun, too, but you're not going to do it with silly attacks. The winners are the guys loving all these silly attacks and the people that chase them down.
Explain to me really fast how anyone wins a race without an attack.
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Old 03-27-14, 08:42 AM   #37
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That makes no sense at all. What does it matter if you're sprinting against 10 or 100 if you're so gassed from silly attacks that you can't actually contest the sprint?

If you guys are serious about racing and serious about upgrading, then you have got to stop deluding yourself into thinking you're doing anything with these attacks but wearing yourself out and sabotaging your races.

Don't put your nose into the wind until the last 200 meters. That's how you place, that's how you get the points, that's how you upgrade. There are no points for leading the most laps or putting down the fastest attack. It's only about crossing the line. That's it.

There is no "culling the herd" to improve your odds. Again, that's just silly. You're just messing up your own race.
Sprinting against 10 people is a heck of a lot easier than sprinting against 100.

I've placed well in a number of races because no one pushed the pace on the hills, leaving my fat ass in the race to sprint at the end. Make the race harder and people like me aren't left hanging around.
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Old 03-27-14, 08:50 AM   #38
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That makes no sense at all. What does it matter if you're sprinting against 10 or 100 if you're so gassed from silly attacks that you can't actually contest the sprint?

If you guys are serious about racing and serious about upgrading, then you have got to stop deluding yourself into thinking you're doing anything with these attacks but wearing yourself out and sabotaging your races.

Don't put your nose into the wind until the last 200 meters. That's how you place, that's how you get the points, that's how you upgrade. There are no points for leading the most laps or putting down the fastest attack. It's only about crossing the line. That's it.

There is no "culling the herd" to improve your odds. Again, that's just silly. You're just messing up your own race.
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Old 03-27-14, 08:59 AM   #39
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That makes no sense at all. What does it matter if you're sprinting against 10 or 100 if you're so gassed from silly attacks that you can't actually contest the sprint?

If you guys are serious about racing and serious about upgrading, then you have got to stop deluding yourself into thinking you're doing anything with these attacks but wearing yourself out and sabotaging your races.

Don't put your nose into the wind until the last 200 meters. That's how you place, that's how you get the points, that's how you upgrade. There are no points for leading the most laps or putting down the fastest attack. It's only about crossing the line. That's it.

There is no "culling the herd" to improve your odds. Again, that's just silly. You're just messing up your own race.
Remember it's all relative. In the ProTour, okay. In the 1s and 2s, it's different. In the 3s and 4s I think your advice is most pertinent. In the 5s it's less so.

The big thing to remember (I have to keep this in mind) is that not everyone can sprint. There's a local who placed 3rd at the Elite RR (2002?) after doing some massive work in the final (bridge minute gap solo, pulled the break to the finish, led them out, 2 guys beat him out of 4 others). He says he's never hit 1200w yet he can do repeated 500w 5min intervals (based on graphs I saw of his power).

Get me to the finish, get me there at less than 200w average, and I will do a massive sprint. I can't do 500w for much more than a minute (my record is 587w for 1m and that included a couple 1200-1400 jumps before blowing up) but 1250w is a normal peak jump for me. 1100w for the duration of the sprint, 18-19 seconds, is "good", 650w is pretty pitiful like I was braking and coasting, 800-1000 is normal. Not everyone has those numbers.

However if I average over 200w then my sprint basically fades to nothing. I struggle to pass just one or two riders. My jump doesn't break the elastic behind me. Etc.

So when I talk to people about tactics I have to put me in their place. When they jump do they immediately think they jumped on the wrong lap because no one else went? Do they think that they're committing a faux pas because it seems like no one else decided to contest the sprint? Do they beat their teammates in town line sprints by bike lengths? If that reflects their experience then theyr'e a candidate for going for a sprint finish.

However if when everyone jumps they go backward, if they jump only to find themselves simply staying on wheels... that's not a sprinter. Unless they happened to be totally redlined going into those sprints they're not going to get significantly better.

For those non-sprinting riders it's much more interesting to try and make the attack stick. They have a (remote) chance, better than if they saved it all for the sprint.

There's a local now-Cat 2. He kept attacking at the Bethel races as a 3. 10 laps out. 7 laps out. 5 laps out. 4 laps out. We'd catch him, at the bell, on the backstretch, at the bottom of the finishing hill, halfway up the hill, the last time about 20-40 feet from the line. A teammate, who'd been leading me out and therefore had been watching each week at the poor rider's efforts, asked me why the guy kept attacking when it wasn't working. I answered that he has to attack. He can't sprint with the sprinters so he needs to go it alone (he commented privately on one of my videos "did you see how many riders he passed in the sprint?" and a teammate later showed me the comment). I said that in a crit like ours the sprinters win 90% of the time but I rely on luck, teammates, etc. If this guy's break sticks then he'll win guaranteed. My teammate seemed a bit skeptical but we had a good system down so we didn't mess with it.

The next week I caught him again 10 feet after the line. He'd won his race and I was probably the second most psyched about his win (him being the most). I went into the sprint thinking that "oh, man, we are going to kill him again!" but he'd saved just enough to get to the line. I went blasting by him when I caught him but he'd won the race already. Impressive.

Related to that... if you attack you shouldn't kill yourself to stay out. If you can get into an uncomfortable level of effort and it seems to hold then fine, that means that the break is appropriate for your strengths/fitness/etc. But don't go way anaerobic just to stay out. I've gone out on the attack and been redlined within a minute. If the race averages 26 mph then doing 23 mph won't keep me away, but that's what I'm reduced to after a couple minutes effort. If I could do 25 mph at the same level of "blowed-up-ness" then it would be slightly different. If I could do 26 mph then I could win the race if things work out behind. If I could do 28 mph then yeah, I'd be a break specialist.

Relating to that 3rd at Elite RR guy. I've posted the story before but I'll repeat it again. He was in a P123 crit, basically flat. Couple strong pros there (Graeme Miller, Jeff Rutter), a slew of local crit hot shots, etc. He took off. He figured the race would average 28 mph. Therefore once he got a gap he held 28 mph. He knew the group would have to do 30-31 mph to bring him back. Therefore any time his gap dropped he'd do 31 mph, until the gap started to level off again. He knew that if he was going 31 mph the field would have to do 33-35 mph and that would require massive efforts, even for a pro or Cat 1.

He was away for something like 45 laps, 45 miles. He did maybe eight or ten 31 mph laps, including a few strung together. I was one of the guys giving him time gaps, no one on the backstretch, so he was making his speed decisions basically near the start/finish. Miller and Rutter both made massive moves, Miller I think closed something like 30 seconds in a lap and change, but he blew when he was only 15 seconds behind the EliteRR guy (who was doing a bunch of 31 mph laps). The EliteRR guy won his race by a minute and change.

To put things in perspective I tried to do a lap solo there. I did 28 mph and blew up after a lap. It was ridiculous. 28 mph, on the slow laps? 31 mph on the fast ones? For 90 minutes? What?
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Old 03-27-14, 09:29 AM   #40
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I'm a serviceable sprinter. I'm a breakaway guy depending on who else is in the field on any given day.
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Old 03-27-14, 09:41 AM   #41
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I'm a serviceable sprinter. I'm a breakaway guy depending on who else is in the field on any given day.
Liar

You can sprint. You can also do breaks. It's disgusting is what it is because I can't do that. When I saw you tag along with the winning 3 man break on that wind-blown day… yeah.
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Old 03-27-14, 09:47 AM   #42
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yeah, so I might be in the top 1 or 3 of northeast 45+ sprinters. But there are better sprinters in some 35+ races. Some of those NYC guys, who have wind allergies. If I end up in a crit with those guys I'll be attacking for sure.
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Old 03-27-14, 09:55 AM   #43
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I'm a serviceable sprinter. I'm a breakaway guy depending on who else is in the field on any given day.
I'm basically the exact opposite of CDR. For perspective on the below, I am a beanpole. I am 6'5" and weigh 80kg. I am a Cat 4 who is 1 more result from a mandatory upgrade. (I plan to upgrade voluntarily right after Battenkill, if I'm not required to do so after this weekend.)

For my level, my time trial power is pretty darned good. I can sustain 450w for over 5:00 and I can do over 375w in a 20 minute breakaway to close out a race.

On the other hand, I rarely break 1100w peak in a sprint interval, and at the end of a 20 second effort my power has dropped to the 800s. That's rested, nevermind at the end of a hard race. More often than I care to admit, I've failed to break 1000w in a race, even when I sprinted.

In other words, it wouldn't matter if I protected myself and saved all my matches for the end, because i will never, ever win the sprint if I let guys like CDR stick around to see it. For a guy like me, I often will either win epically or (much more often) fail equally spectacularly. On the other hand, I do 4 hour endurance rides at 230w and recover between my intervals at 210w, levels that CDR says will take his sprint legs right away from him. We're just totally different.

For me, I truly believe that I have to be utterly willing to risk the massive failure in order to win once in awhile. I will frequently bury myself 1 or 2 laps into an attack knowing that I'll often come through it and somehow recover and push on. Those times that I don't, I'm okay with it and just happy that I gave it my all. It's not that there's one right way, but that different things work for different people.
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Old 03-27-14, 10:47 AM   #44
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yeah, so I might be in the top 1 or 3 of northeast 45+ sprinters. But there are better sprinters in some 35+ races. Some of those NYC guys, who have wind allergies. If I end up in a crit with those guys I'll be attacking for sure.
I don't like being suspicious but some of those guys seem awfully suspicious. Watching some of them sprint I actually wonder if the frame or the bars or the stem or the wheels are going to break. Yet another reason I avoid M35 races. M45 maybe I'll do a few more this year. Give me a normal Cat 3 field any day and I'm happy.
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Old 03-27-14, 10:54 AM   #45
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On the other hand, I do 4 hour endurance rides at 230w and recover between my intervals at 210w, levels that CDR says will take his sprint legs right away from him. We're just totally different.
My rides are 130-150w and if I do more than 170w on a training ride I start checking for errors or I'm on a spectacular day.

I'm also within 5kg of your weight, which is a bit more my problem rather than something I can blame on my parents.
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Old 03-27-14, 10:57 AM   #46
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...many Cat 4's and 5's have zero chance to win because they won't risk their "pack finish" to try. Getting dropped is not a big deal, and I'd be willing to get dropped 3 weeks in a row to win the 4th. Sitting in and saying you got boxed in or cut off in the last lap for 4 weeks in a row is just nothing to write home about..
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Old 03-27-14, 10:59 AM   #47
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I am a Cat 4 who is 1 more result from a mandatory upgrade. (I plan to upgrade voluntarily right after Battenkill, if I'm not required to do so after this weekend.)

(mutters) hope that sandbagger's not in my field...
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Old 03-27-14, 11:13 AM   #48
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I had this same question that I posted in the race results thread. I was hoping to establish a break and bring some riders with me but it was just myself and essentially I attacked solo. I was advised (in the thread) to try and go as far as possible by myself but with 13 miles to go, I just came back into the pack as I thought it was the right thing to do at the time.

From my 3 races of experience, in Cat 5's everyone chases someone that goes off the front, or no one goes. I have yet to see a break form with a few riders. Maybe chatting with people in the pack would help if you were going to attack if you wanted company?
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Old 03-27-14, 11:16 AM   #49
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yeah, so I might be in the top 1 or 3 of northeast 45+ sprinters. But there are better sprinters in some 35+ races. Some of those NYC guys, who have wind allergies. If I end up in a crit with those guys I'll be attacking for sure.
kind of like a skyline gt-r is a serviceable sports car :-)


OP - note, there are 2 pages of discussion here and counting, with little consensus and replies ranging from at the registration table to the last 200M. I think the answer is to try different things in different situations, find out which ones are successful for you based on your skill set relative to your competition, and have fun doing it.

there are 2 thoughts that govern my racing and have served me fairly well; 1) if in a race, you should only be doing 2 things, attacking or planning your next attack; and 2) you have 3 matches to use in any race, the first is to make the break, the second is to split the break, and the third is to win the race, so use them wisely. i'm sure exceptions abound.

Last edited by MDcatV; 03-27-14 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 03-27-14, 11:32 AM   #50
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I've had a problem with having too much left at the end of the race, because I was afraid to blow up. And I probably could have had better placements had put the hammer down earlier. Although being patient and staying sheltered has given me good results, I plan to take more risks and do more attacks in cat 4.
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