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  1. #1
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    Finished my first race

    So I can officially post here now!



    Huzzah!

  2. #2
    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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  3. #3
    cmh
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    Nice work!

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    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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  5. #5
    The Slow One Alaska Mike's Avatar
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    Well done.

    Now, what did you learn?
    My self-indulgent bike blog: http://alaskanpackfodder.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Congrats. You'll never be the same again.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  7. #7
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    Awesome!

    FYI you now own a racing bike as well.
    "...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

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    Now, what did you learn?
    I learned that I'm slower than molasses and I need to study/learn strategies.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    FYI you now own a racing bike as well.
    YES!!!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Welcome to this stupid sport.

  10. #10
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    One of us, one of us, one of us

  11. #11
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Congrats and welcome. I dig your Pepto Bismol Bike, btw.
    The Workingman's Honest Bicycle Program - Heady talk about bikes, bike racing, bike racers and bike riding. standarddouble.com/whbp

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    I dig your Pepto Bismol Bike, btw.
    Thanks!

  13. #13
    Senior Member TexMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nokia8860 View Post
    So I can officially post here now!



    Huzzah!
    I'm assuming you are a guy...so congras dude and Nice shoe covers

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexMac View Post
    I'm assuming you are a guy...so congras dude and Nice shoe covers
    LOL, yes I am and thanks on the congrats and overshoes!

  15. #15
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Seriously, what did you learn/observe?

    I am... or, we are... curious to know what you encountered.

  16. #16
    Yep
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Welcome to this stupid sport.
    +1
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryanf
    its a start: 1. measure thighs 2. get on bike 3. win
    cat 2 - 1/30

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
    Seriously, what did you learn/observe?

    I am... or, we are... curious to know what you encountered.
    As someone new to the sport I had built up in my head that this would be a terrifying experience however once the race was underway I found it not too bad. The one stumbling block I did experience with my first race was registration as the whole process isn't very new user friendly and I had pre-reg so I couldn't imagine trying to register for my first race alone. Also it wasn't clear if we could use the hotel's restroom or not and it wasn't till after I was warming up did I found the port a potties on the other side of the hotel parking lot.

    As far as the actual race, I had imagined that it would had been filled with a bunch of extremely serious cyclist that would bite your head off if given the chance but as we rolled along we had some conversations along the way much like a group ride till we reached a certain point where everyone went into every man for themselves mode.

    Of course it could be the category I was in and perhaps the higher categories it would be more cut throat.

    Since my initial post I've entered several more road races and criteriums. And have learned that I tend to do a bit better at road races than criteriums but like criteriums a bit more. Go figure.

    I've accepted the fact that I can't contest a sprint so I need to figure out other ways to cross the line faster than the next person. Having the announcer call out your number as you lead the group makes it sound pro even though by the next turn you're off the back already.

    While I'm ok with having riders on both sides of me, I still would rather avoid that situation and need to figure out ways not to be there in the first place.

    Still lots to learn and that will come with time.

  18. #18
    Senior Member TexMac's Avatar
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    I've accepted the fact that I can't contest a sprint so I need to figure out other ways to cross the line faster than the next person

    Might need to work on 3/4/5 minutes intervals and attack early since most good sprinters tend to wait till they see the finish line.

  19. #19
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    For non-sprinters:
    Sprinter della Casa: How to - Beat a Sprinter

    This is coming from a sprinting-centric rider, aka me. I'm also weaker aerobically/FTP-wise than a typical sprinter so the tactics I describe are more effective on me than on better racers.

    Basically what you want to do is leverage your sustainable power and negate the effectiveness of the sprinter's jump. This can eliminate riders like me; in fact, if I average over 200w in a race I realistically won't be able to sprint, even if I make it to the finish. The problem is that doing all the stuff above is really hard and you throw away the chances of doing well if you fail to eliminate most of the sprinters. In other words you might eliminate me but not 3 or 4 other sprinters, and they'll duke it out for the win.

    At the newer categories, i.e. 5s and 4s, the biggest thing you can do is to use the wind against the others. You want to push hard when drafting is either less effective or impossible. This means that the riders at the rear are doing a similar amount of work as the riders at the front - this is what kills sprinters. (You can also go on hills but typically the hills in crits aren't enough and if it's a hilly RR then the sprinters are elsewhere anyway).

    Two general methods for breaking sprinters.

    First, you go on tailwind sections, meaning you make efforts when the wind is behind you. You might attack just before the corner into the tailwind bit or you might just go once you hit the tailwind. The longer the section the better. You need speed and a big gear because you want the sprinters to be really uncomfortable. They'll be fine for a lap or four but do this over and over for 30 minutes and they'll get tired. When I get shelled in flat but windy races I don't get shelled in the headwinds and almost never in crosswinds. I get shelled in the tailwinds.

    Second, you work super hard any time there's a crosswind. If the wind is hitting you from the right then get on the left curb and drill it. Even better if (in this situation) the next turn is a left, giving you a tailwind section next. It's almost as good as having the crosswind after the tailwind. At any rate you put the whole field in the gutter. There is effectively no draft - the savings according to the Win Tunnel is something like 8% or whatever (I checked, riding in line in a crosswind was 5%, riding in echelon saved 38% energy). You want to do some big efforts, 350 or 400 watts or something, forcing everyone to do similar power numbers. For a rider like me I can barely do 400w for a minute so in a couple efforts I'll be done. For me, a 200w-ish rider, doing 250w for 8-10 minutes is enough to get me shelled.

    Remember that one lap won't do it. 10 minutes might, so that might make 10 laps or 15 laps of hammering in the gutter. If I'm fit this is what I do - I'll go to the front, in the gutter, and I know that no one is getting shelter. Then I "pull off" and tuck in on a wheel. I know that my effort in the crosswind benefited no one, that everyone was redlined for a bit, and now I'm sheltered and someone else is working harder than me.

    In crosswinds I'll do pretty much anything to get shelter. I'll lean forward and to the side to get my body closer. I've ridden with weeds and stuff brushing my legs. Sometimes I have to coast so my pedal doesn't hit the curb from above. It's super intense but if you can shelter in a crosswind then you're going to be way ahead of the game in the next minute or two of the race.

    There's a great story about Roy Knickman in the Tour de L'Avenir. He decided to attack in a crosswind bit. He drilled it for 20 km before he turned around. There was one guy there. Knickman told him to pull through. The guy refused. So Knickman went another 20 km, leaving the guy behind in the gutter. The other guy started pulling through. Knickman turned off the gas when the lead got to 8 minutes, relaxed, and when the chase started in earnest he put the hammer down again. He gained something like 5 minutes on the field that day.

    The crazy bit is the length of Knickman's attack. He didn't look back to see what was going on for 20 km, partially because it was a long way to go but partially because he understood that he was demolishing the field behind him, he just didn't realize just by how much. Likewise if you're trying to literally crack the sprinters you can't be worried about a 15 or 30 second effort. You need to think about making repeated efforts for 15-20-25 minutes in situations where the other riders really can't draft off of you.
    "...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

  20. #20
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    Incidentally if you "just attack" that doesn't do much if you're not attacking into cross or tailwinds or other situations where it's hard to draft. In a headwind I've followed a rider that I know can do 500w for 5 minutes 5 times with only a brief recovery between each effort (he placed 3rd at the Elite RR one year), and he was doing a typical 500w pull. I was soft pedaling because even little stabs at the pedals made me go too fast. In that race I placed well ahead of him because his attacks didn't really affect my reserves.

    He's not weak, it's just that in that situation even a rider like him couldn't break the field. The same rider, in a different venue, went to the front and pulled me along at about 30 mph "for fun", i.e. he told me to just sit on his wheel and sat more upright in the tops. After 2 laps I couldn't hold his wheel. The combination of some significant tailwind plus a hill meant that I couldn't go easy enough and I ended up blowing up in about 4 minutes. He regularly soloed away from "lighter" P123 fields, meaning say 10 or fewer domestic pros (some quite strong) in a field of 100 or so racers. In one race he was away for about 45 out of 50 miles, the field was strung out for all but about half a lap, and he'd averaged over 28 mph solo. His tactic was to go "slow", 28 mph, if the field wasn't gaining, and then he'd go "fast" for a few laps, 31 mph, if the field chased. Sometimes a rider that strong can't get away because it's too easy to sit on wheels. However, once he does, it's very hard to get him back.
    "...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

  21. #21
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    @carpediemracing super big thanks for the tips. I've noticed when I start an attack to bring up the speed of the race I can't shake people on my wheel so while I may end up making others, including myself, go into the red I know that everyone behind me wasn't working as hard. Never thought about riding in the gutters, especially in the crosswinds to minimize any shelter others can gain.

    I'll read your blog post tonight as well.

    @TexMac currently I can only do, at max, 2 minutes at an eyeball popping effort before my legs start to loose steam. But based on carpediemracing post I'll need to work on longer intervals that you pointed out if I'm going to have any chance at all.

  22. #22
    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    I don't accept that people can't be sprinters. Maybe you can say that if you race Cat 2 or up, but at the lower cats one can train themselves to be competent.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
    I don't accept that people can't be sprinters. Maybe you can say that if you race Cat 2 or up, but at the lower cats one can train themselves to be competent.
    I like this line of thinking.

    So much of sprinting is really about just finishing strong. It's rarely ever a drag race between the strongest guys all starting from the same line (luckily). Meaning it's not just about peak power, or 10-second power. It's about showing up to the line fresh, or at least fresher than the next guy.

    When I was a cat 5 a cat 3 on our team told me, "you'll never win a field sprint, so go with break aways".

    It motivated me to sprint better, and a year later he was leading me out for wins in cat 3 crits.
    cat 1.

    blog

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    It's about showing up to the line fresh, or at least fresher than the next guy.
    This is what I've been experiencing and no doubt my fitness and lack of racing plays a large part of this. I try to save what I can for the end but find that my efforts prior to it just left me flat or by the time I decide to go, someone else went 2 seconds before me then by the time I start ramping up a good speed more people pass on by.

    I do appreciate everyone's advise and don't plan on throwing in the towel anytime soon.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
    I don't accept that people can't be sprinters. Maybe you can say that if you race Cat 2 or up, but at the lower cats one can train themselves to be competent.
    I think the opposite applies. I think at the lower categories the fast twitchers come out and play. Once you get to about Cat 2 you have to be a superb aerobic rider just to get to the finish and to be a truly good Cat 2 sprinter you have to be really good. Yes, saving up for the finish helps, yes, being tactically better helps, but the jump (peak power), from what I can tell, is mostly genetic. Also, in Cat 2, the sprinters got there by sprinting, so the field sprints are just crazy. It's like going to college from high school - suddenly everyone around you got 1300 in the SATs or whatever (I'm dating myself because I think SATs have 3 things now but whatever). Instead of sprinting against 3 or 4 others, like a typical Cat 3 race, you're sprinting against 30 guys, and all of them used be the guys winning Cat 3 sprints. When I did the Cat 2 Tour of Somerville I realized that no one really cared about breaking away. Somerville, at some level, is a sprinter's race, so the Cat 2s that showed up were all thinking "I'm going to crush it in the sprint". A strong Cat 2 who doesn't sprint would realistically skip that race unless a friend/teammate was looking for some help.

    In my post about beating a sprinter someone asks about how to beat a Boonen, who can actually ride aerobically strong guys off his wheel. That's what happens at the higher levels - to get there you have to be so good that even the "weaker" riders can do significant work. A domestic pro, when he first came to the US, came into the shop a couple times. I of course peppered him with questions, especially since he happened to know a family friend of ours in Switzerland (he actually lived at their house for a short time). He said that his strength was "medium length climbs", like 5 to 10 km. He said the long climbs, 15 km, were too long, and he wasn't fast enough on the short climbs. He related to me that he was on a shorter climb in a bigger-to-him race, like 5 km long or something, and he was feeling pretty good. He looked over and saw Olaf Ludwig, a decidedly non-climber, next to him. He said that was the point at which he realized that the top pros were at a different level. The guy (the Swiss guy, not Ludwig) went on to race for many years for Navigators in the US.

    My first mentor happened to be an absolutely ferocious sprinter. We rode once, he was super out of shape, hadn't ridden in forever, hadn't raced in 10 years or something. I was about as fit as I ever was. We ended doing a loop around a beach area and he pointed to a garbage can about 100-150 yards away. We were going slow, like 10-12 mph. "Sprint to the can?" We both jumped, both in similar gears, both of us sprinted the exact same way (because really I learned from him). He just crushed me for the first 50 feet, there was no way I could stay on his wheel. It was like a Tesla and name-a-supercar. He just rode away from me. Of course once I got up to speed I blew by him, just before the can, but still, I realized at that moment that a jump is a jump, it doesn't go away.

    This is me, not fit, sprinting to the line against one of the better Cat 2 sprinters in the area. Our jumps are similar but he pulls away from me as I fade hard. Another guy there is a 2000+w peak sprinter, former National Team member for the Team Sprint. For Zwift lovers/haters Eric is in there also.

    Sustained power is training, to some degree - my sprint when I'm unfit is more like 8-10 seconds (like my mentor in the garbage can sprint), when I'm fit I can go 18-19 seconds - but after that you start relying on aerobic stuff.

    A teammate posted this article recently. Basically to win a Tour stage the typical sprinter (that publicized his power) peaked at 1248w, sustained 1120w for 13 seconds, was sprinting at 66 kph (almost 41 mph), and weighed about 72 kg.

    Those numbers basically mirror my numbers at the end of an hour crit in 2010. For a good sprint in a race I'd do 1250w peak, 1100w for 18-19 seconds, speeds range from 37-41 mph, and I was 70 kg or so (155 lbs). In training I don't know my sustained sprint number but my peak is 1550w. I've never come close to that in a race, ever, and obviously I'll never be in a field sprint of the Tour, forget about domestic P12 races etc. A local pro posted a "wanted ad" of sorts, looking for a crit racer for his team. One guy posted a pretty telling comment. "So you're looking for someone that can go 300w for 90 minutes then do a 2000w sprint." I guess that's what it takes to win an NRC race. The local pro, btw, once placed 6th or so in a big race while averaging something like 270w, I think his peak was 1200 or 1400w. Realistically he's in the 145 lbs range, maybe less.

    Based on my pretty informal but widespread survey of riders in the area, the 1200w isn't that special, 1500w is getting up there, but the 1100w sustained is pretty significant. I'm small on the bike so more like a Cav than a Boonen, so my power gets me more speed than it would someone that rode a taller bike than me. In different reports in the same year Cav allegedly put down 1600w, Boonen 1800w or more, and Cav beat Boonen constantly. I think my numbers work in part because I'm small on the bike.
    "...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

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