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Old 03-26-05, 08:32 PM   #1
berny
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Best race, worst result?

First let me say I'm new to racing. I've ridden possibly 20 odd crits, one time trial and one road race. I've been racing crits twice a week this summer and I went to the national masters last week and rode the crit and the TT (woosed out of the RR). I didn't do well by any normal standards, as you'd expect, but I loved every minute of it and now I have a bench mark to work toward, but I digress.

Today I rode probably the best (strongest) race I've ever ridden but came last! Let me explain.
I was doing my regular Sunday crit. The race started rather slowly and the first lap was quite relaxed. Then a guy I don't know made a break so I chased and dragged the group up to him. The pace was on from there and he and I rode the front for most of the race. He was obviously strong and made several more breaks, all of which I chased down but each time I caught him he sat up and the group got back on. I tried a couple of attacks but he chased and caught me but wouldn't continue the attack. I wanted him to do some work but each time he caught me he just sat on and eased back. I tried to go alone but each time he brought the group back to me. Except for a couple of short lame attempts from two other riders, no one else would take a turn on the front.
Ok so we're on the bell lap and he goes again and I decide not to chase. He gets to 50 meters and eases. I'm leading the chase group but they don't want to work, happy to leave me on the front. I'm NOT happy but I'm undecided so I give it one last effort and chase him down once more and take his wheel coming into the finish straight at which time he sits up! Again the group has sat on me and as he sits up they make their move and go hard leaving me bogged down behind him, pretty much spent and so I give up.

After the race I complained that they were all a bunch of wheel sitters and should be ashamed to contest the sprint after getting dragged along for the whole bloody race. Their answer; "we couldn't take the front because the pace was too quick and we were struggling just to keep up"?????
His reason for not working; he's had two wins this season and was risking an upgrade with a third????

I think I was soundly 'done' by a cunning bunch of race smart old regulars.
Problem now is, what do I do in future races????
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Old 03-26-05, 08:41 PM   #2
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I know the exact feeling you have. I am not a verterian racer by any means, and to hang on to the pack for half the race is a victory right now. I have had those kind of days, like in my first crit where after getting dropped I pushed the chase group 5 laps at over 25 MPH trying to catch and no one would help.

Next one wiill be better.
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Old 03-26-05, 09:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berny
After the race I complained that they were all a bunch of wheel sitters and should be ashamed to contest the sprint after getting dragged along for the whole bloody race. Their answer; "we couldn't take the front because the pace was too quick and we were struggling just to keep up"?????
His reason for not working; he's had two wins this season and was risking an upgrade with a third????

I think I was soundly 'done' by a cunning bunch of race smart old regulars.
Problem now is, what do I do in future races????
Learn to play poker, like the dutch.
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Old 03-26-05, 09:39 PM   #4
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The Dutch??
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Old 03-27-05, 11:11 AM   #5
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rules to live by...............

don't work for anyone who won't work with you...

Work on your sprint. If you have no sprint, try a long break

Join a club/team (safety in numbers?)

Try sitting in a bit. Give the b........'s a taste of their own medicine.

Better to have attacked and lost. I'm sure your bunch was full of wheelsucking wannabe sprinters, who will never win a street sign burn-up; at least you finished the race tired, having perhaps improved your fitness for another day? Stay positive- but it's good to see you analysing the result:yours is a common problem, the world over. There are plenty of guys who don't want to move up -but enjoy racing at what they consider a comfortable level. Consider them an obstacle to be outgunned or outsmarted.

Next time.... maybe let someone else chase the strong guy, then attack when the chase is complete? If a guy won't cooperate, he's best avoided/worked over;-) Only experience tells you which breaks might work, and who to work with.

The Dutchman reference denotes the legendary cunning associated with riders from Holland. Playing possum is an art form, feigning exhaustion a skill which many guys cultivate (including all the sitters you described). I'm not saying you should become one of them...just know the game and act accordingly.
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Old 03-27-05, 11:23 AM   #6
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berny, methinks you need to read up on your race tactics. If you lead the chase everytime, you are going to suck wind at the end. You've got to be more of a wheel sucker, and bleat about the pace being too fast for you to lead the chase across the gap. I think the peloton realized early on with you there, they were not going to have to work - just wheel suck. There are some interesting examples in the book I am currently reading - I think the author was using you as an example!

It sounds however that soon the boys on the podium will have to look to the center to see you!
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Old 03-27-05, 11:48 AM   #7
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I found out this weekend that getting a flat in the run up to a big hill is probably the worst spot to get a flat. There is no way you are going to get back on.
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Old 03-27-05, 12:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by skydive69
There are some interesting examples in the book I am currently reading - I think the author was using you as an example!
What books is that?
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Old 03-27-05, 03:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berny
First let me say I'm new to racing. I've ridden possibly 20 odd crits, one time trial and one road race. I've been racing crits twice a week this summer and I went to the national masters last week and rode the crit and the TT (woosed out of the RR). I didn't do well by any normal standards, as you'd expect, but I loved every minute of it and now I have a bench mark to work toward, but I digress.

Today I rode probably the best (strongest) race I've ever ridden but came last! Let me explain.
I was doing my regular Sunday crit. The race started rather slowly and the first lap was quite relaxed. Then a guy I don't know made a break so I chased and dragged the group up to him. The pace was on from there and he and I rode the front for most of the race. He was obviously strong and made several more breaks, all of which I chased down but each time I caught him he sat up and the group got back on. I tried a couple of attacks but he chased and caught me but wouldn't continue the attack. I wanted him to do some work but each time he caught me he just sat on and eased back. I tried to go alone but each time he brought the group back to me. Except for a couple of short lame attempts from two other riders, no one else would take a turn on the front.
Ok so we're on the bell lap and he goes again and I decide not to chase. He gets to 50 meters and eases. I'm leading the chase group but they don't want to work, happy to leave me on the front. I'm NOT happy but I'm undecided so I give it one last effort and chase him down once more and take his wheel coming into the finish straight at which time he sits up! Again the group has sat on me and as he sits up they make their move and go hard leaving me bogged down behind him, pretty much spent and so I give up.

After the race I complained that they were all a bunch of wheel sitters and should be ashamed to contest the sprint after getting dragged along for the whole bloody race. Their answer; "we couldn't take the front because the pace was too quick and we were struggling just to keep up"?????
His reason for not working; he's had two wins this season and was risking an upgrade with a third????

I think I was soundly 'done' by a cunning bunch of race smart old regulars.
Problem now is, what do I do in future races????
In your position, I probably would've bridged (not chase w/ pack) up on the first break, then done my pull. If he tries to sit on, we'd go back to the pack. I'd probably sit in, recover, then try a break myself.
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Old 03-27-05, 05:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ZackJones
What books is that?
Zack, I'm currently reading "Smart Cycling," by Dr. Arnie Baker. Great section on race tactics. BTW, anyone who has not read this book, I highly recommend it. I didn't even know about it (and my cycling library is up to about 15 books now), until someone on the forum listed it as a must read. I agree.
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Old 03-27-05, 08:41 PM   #11
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Thanks guys, I appreciate the help, God knows I need it.
Yes I am an analyser which I know in the long run will, with help, get me to the front. I'm going to win a medal at next years nationals.
I definitely have no sprint at present and I have trouble staying away on my own so until I get my fitness up I'll just have to sit tight and wait for an opportunity. I've placed twice so far this year (a 3rd & 2nd) so I'm not stressing about that, I just hate getting taken for a ride .
I'm also very naive when it comes to bike race cunning (dher) so I'll try to get a copy of that book sd69, tanx for the suggestion. In my last sporting endeavour I raced sailboats which is a very technical/tactical activity but I had no idea cycling was that complicated. I honestly thought it was a matter of fitness and brute strength with a little tactical savvy.

a street sign burn-up, Flanuer???

bridged (not chase w/ pack) Phatman???

I'm officiating next week so I wont have a chance to retaliate till the following week . I do plan however to sit, conserve energy and make a play at half distance on the bell lap unless an opportunity which I can recognise, presents earlier. I'm quick through the corners and can usually pull 50m there but there's a small hill right after which hammers me and then I need to get from there to the finish on my own, big call.
Tanx again for the support,
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Old 03-27-05, 08:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berny
Thanks guys, I appreciate the help, God knows I need it.
Yes I am an analyser which I know in the long run will, with help, get me to the front. I'm going to win a medal at next years nationals.
I definitely have no sprint at present and I have trouble staying away on my own so until I get my fitness up I'll just have to sit tight and wait for an opportunity. I've placed twice so far this year (a 3rd & 2nd) so I'm not stressing about that, I just hate getting taken for a ride .
I'm also very naive when it comes to bike race cunning (dher) so I'll try to get a copy of that book sd69, tanx for the suggestion. In my last sporting endeavour I raced sailboats which is a very technical/tactical activity but I had no idea cycling was that complicated. I honestly thought it was a matter of fitness and brute strength with a little tactical savvy.

a street sign burn-up, Flanuer???

bridged (not chase w/ pack) Phatman???

I'm officiating next week so I wont have a chance to retaliate till the following week . I do plan however to sit, conserve energy and make a play at half distance on the bell lap unless an opportunity which I can recognise, presents earlier. I'm quick through the corners and can usually pull 50m there but there's a small hill right after which hammers me and then I need to get from there to the finish on my own, big call.
Tanx again for the support,
bern
bridging is when you launch an attack from the pack to catch a rider that has broken away. You gotta have a real hard acceleration, to get the pack off your wheel, then go like hell until you get a draft from the rider that broke away. with any luck, you wont bring the pack up with you.
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Old 03-27-05, 09:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phatman
bridging is when you launch an attack from the pack to catch a rider that has broken away. You gotta have a real hard acceleration, to get the pack off your wheel, then go like hell until you get a draft from the rider that broke away. with any luck, you wont bring the pack up with you.
Yep, I get it thanks
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Old 03-28-05, 05:29 AM   #14
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berny: I guess that is why I like time trials. No BS, no tactics, no sprint, no accidents - just brute force riding. Having said that, I am going to race my first road race on May 8th. AAMOF, I have entererd two races that day - 20 & 40 KM road races. I will have a good warm-up, because I will race two time trials the day before. I suspect I will be a veggie by Monday.
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Old 03-28-05, 05:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skydive69
berny: I guess that is why I like time trials. No BS, no tactics, no sprint, no accidents - just brute force riding. Having said that, I am going to race my first road race on May 8th. AAMOF, I have entererd two races that day - 20 & 40 KM road races. I will have a good warm-up, because I will race two time trials the day before. I suspect I will be a veggie by Monday.
That's cool 69, each to his own but I bet you enjoy the roadracing allthesame
That's a lot of work for one w/e and I'm sure you'll feel it later It just might be the case that because you're totally wasted Sunday, you'll find the RR's difficult and maybe not as enjoyable as they should be. You wouldn't consider resting Satdy maybe?
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Old 03-28-05, 06:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by berny
That's cool 69, each to his own but I bet you enjoy the roadracing allthesame
That's a lot of work for one w/e and I'm sure you'll feel it later It just might be the case that because you're totally wasted Sunday, you'll find the RR's difficult and maybe not as enjoyable as they should be. You wouldn't consider resting Satdy maybe?
My personality is more suited to road racing because I love to chase down anything in front of me. The guys in my club tell me that many of our rides are much faster than road races, so it will be interesting to see how it goes. I have a great chance to get the gold in the TT's so, I can't resist that. Last weekend I recovered pretty good after doing two TT's on Saturday, and was able to race two the next day. I'm just going to have to taper into the weekend, and store up some reserves. Anyway, I can't wait for the thrill of that first road race. With TT's you have no idea how you did until the results are compiled. At least with a road race you get immediate gratification - or disappointment.
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Old 03-28-05, 06:41 PM   #17
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I prefer road races. Crits can be fun if on the right course. We have enough RRs in New England to avoid crits most weekends.

Say, 69, I may be living in Florida by year's end... How's the racing down there? Good clubs? Any weekly training races?
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Old 03-28-05, 07:35 PM   #18
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I prefer road races. Crits can be fun if on the right course. We have enough RRs in New England to avoid crits most weekends.

Say, 69, I may be living in Florida by year's end... How's the racing down there? Good clubs? Any weekly training races?
What part of Florida are you coming to? Central Florida has the Orlando Road Club, a very active club with junior, elite and masters teams with plenty of organized, coached training rides. http://www.orcracing.com/

The Miami area has very active clubs. I spend five days a week in St. Petersburg, and that also has a very active club with everything from ex olympians, ex pros, current national, state and world masters champions, etc. Florida has a very active racing schedule, including a packed calendar for senior racing.

Then there are very active clubs like the Florida Freewheelers. There is always something going on close to wherever you might be in Florida.
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Old 03-29-05, 06:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berny
The Dutch??
Maybe 2wheeled is referring to some of the Dutch pro's of the past (think TI Raleigh, Peter Post, etc.). Jan Raas was probably the best example of a 'bike poker player': reading the race well, outsmarting the competition, picking the right wheel, avoiding 'unnecessary' work, etc. berny, you should take to heart Hennie Kuiper's definition: 'Road bike racing is to first eat your opponents' plate, before eating your own.'
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Old 03-29-05, 07:38 AM   #20
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Berny

Some interesting points above. But take it from someone who's bread and butter was sitting in and contesting sprints. No ammount of scolding will get me off your wheel, I have no shame . There is no tactic that you can read up on that will prove succesfull either. Untill you develop speed to either bridge w/o me catching your wheel, or you develop a sprint, the result will be the same. The key word in both of the above is speed.
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Old 03-29-05, 09:40 AM   #21
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it does sound like people have already identfied you as the guy they can get to do all their work for them... sounds like you want to sit in a bit more.

if your sprint is non-existant then you do have to be pretty smart or extremly strong to win races... to defeat a really stong guy with no sprint... all you have to do is sit on his wheel (you may even do the odd pull...) and if you have any kind of a sprint you just go around him on line... that is one of the most simplest strategies.

if you want to take a pull and don't want to have everyone benefit from your effort, ride on the side of the road opposite to where the wind is comming from. leave room for only about 1 or 2 guys to get a draft. at least about 1/2 of rest of the group will be suffering as much as you are behind you... the more of a cross wind the better... good technique to split a group too... hopefully only the stong ones that want to work will remain with you... but at least your odds of placing well will improve with less people in your group.

no sprint... you have no choice but to go early. but you need to get a gap so you aren't just draggin everyone with you... remember they aren't doing anywhere near as much work as you are... go just before a corner, on a slight incline or on or even just before a big hill... you want to go when it's going to be hard for people to follow you or people are not going to be too enthus'd to follow you and you are going to get your gap

only take a pull when you mean it... some other times you may want to test the people you are with or even yourself, but just don't be out there burning up energy let it be for some purpose.

just being strong isn't going to win you bike races... you need to be smart. being able to climb, sprint, timetrial etc well just mean you have more tactical options at your disposal in different situations, but those abilities in an of themself will ot win you bike races... mass start cycling is more like a game where you need alot of physical ability just to play and be competative... and team work can trump other with much greater phyical abilities. Road racing probably has more in common with BB ball and soccor than it does with something like running.

Last edited by doctorSpoc; 03-29-05 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 03-29-05, 09:46 AM   #22
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Yeah except if you only do a half bridge you're out in no mans land.
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Old 03-29-05, 10:01 AM   #23
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just one more comment... sometimes it is in your interest to drag the whole group sometimes there is a break up the road and it's pretty early in the race and no one is doing anything. sometimes rolling to the front and taking a pull can entice others to do the same. but take your pull and get off. don't be doing monster 10min pulls. if no one is still doing anything then try a break... if it's early try to do it in such a way as to take some people with you.. if you see some people chasing you, you may even want to wait for them... it's going be easier to stay away with a small group than by yourself. remember when they catch you they are going to need some time to catch their breath, don't expect them to pull right away. if they are taking a little too long to catch their breath then you need to try and get rid of the free loaders in the group. you can try and unload the small group later when you are closer to the line
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Old 03-29-05, 10:05 AM   #24
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Great points by doctorspock. Conserving or using energy at the right times is very important. Part of my point however was that on a local level you are not racing in a vacuum. Good racers know and play off the strenghts of other riders. Ride a few succesfull breaks and you will attract strong riders when you attack.

From a strategic viewpoint I think it is more difficult to race dependent on breaks in lower levels than in Cat 2 and up. In lower levels the field tends to be impatient, and will chase down pretty much anything that goes. In 4,5 races I don't so much see breaks, more field splits or selections. In higher levels there is a bit more patience in letting a little break develop, just to see what happens.

Based on this my observation has always been that to have success at lower levels you need to either be significantly stronger than 90% of the field, or develop a sprint. The outlook is pretty bleak for a moderatly strong TT type racer as a 4 or 5.
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Old 03-29-05, 10:20 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voodoo76
...4,5 races I don't so much see breaks, more field splits or selections. In higher levels there is a bit more patience in letting a little break develop, just to see what happens.

Based on this my observation has always been that to have success at lower levels you need to either be significantly stronger than 90% of the field, or develop a sprint. The outlook is pretty bleak for a moderatly strong TT type racer as a 4 or 5.
for sure in 4 or 5 (SR 3 in Ontario Canada) a sprint is great asset... i got out of senior 3 in three races 'cause i have a sprint.

the only option, without a sprint and a really agressive pack is to go early for the sprint... i.e. 1.5km to 800m. again you want to go when no one else wants to. in a pack as you are describing at the end of the race everyone is setting up for the sprint taking a little breather and shaking out their legs. at this point no one really want to do a great amout of work. you are going to throw a wrench in the works by going for a flier. the pack is going to hesitate, everyone is going to be looking at each other saying you better go... just enough for you to get your gap and that is your chance... it may work and it may not but what is the alternative? you are not going to do anything in the sprint so you may as well go for it... 40th in a feild sprint or a chance at victory... sometimes in cycling luck is a great asset... sometimes you have to put yourself in a position to be lucky though
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