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  1. #1
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    Exclamation what to think during a SOLO BREAKAWAY

    hi guys!

    I just want to know what are the things you should think during a SOLO BREAKAWAY. because being in a breakaway(with others riders) are a bit easier because you guys have a certain pace and you are turning turns for set pacing. but being solo means setting a certain pace ALONE. it means you should be physically and especially MENTALLY strong to be setting a pace SOLO. I often get to be in a SOLO BREAKAWAY but often also I get caught! hahaha. and I found out I get nervous when Im alone. I get pressure that they are going to caught me. I cant think properly that my mind affects how I pedal. so what's the proper thing to do during SOLO BREAKAWAY so that you dont gets nervous and wont affect your steady pedalling?

    I really really appreciate all your answers. thank you so much!
    Last edited by GoldenBoy12; 01-29-16 at 10:59 PM. Reason: forgot to put one certain word.

  2. #2
    Padawan YogaKat's Avatar
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    I have yet to experience this because I'm VERY new. I have yet to get close to racing. After reading your question and being a primarily solo cyclist I would think that I would feel solace. I get a lot of satisfaction from competing with myself. Again disclaimer: I'm not there yet. In fact I probably have at least a good couple of years to go. Not to mention I need many more group rides.

    Interesting question and I'm sure those that are more seasoned will have a better answer for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    My opinion: ride in the rain, ride in the wind, ride in the dark, ride in the heat, ride in the cold.

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    When I raced (running) in college, I never thought of who was behind me. My thoughts always were along the lines of "go go go go go, up the hill, pick it up around the bend to lose anybody." I thought of how I could run faster, yet relax. I thought of what I was going to do next. How much further I had to go in the race. Whether or not I could keep my current pace up, when I should start my kick.

    Focus on your riding. Hit the apex of the next turn perfectly. Accelerate out of the turn, be in the right gear when you need it. Never think of what's behind you, only think of how you can ride better and finish faster.

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    This is a great question and could be a really fun thread. I think @fudgy needs to weigh in here even though he prefers to hang out in other forums with the young'uns.

    I've tried a few solo fliers in crits, and always failed. By "fail" I don't mean just that I didn't win, but rather that I failed to either a) win or b) die trying. I always rationalized my way into saving something for when I was caught...and OK that worked as it often yielded some pack finish results, but it failed in that in trying a flier I never gave it my all.

    So, my aspirational answer to your question is to "go harder...come on...TT to the finish with everything you've got...come on...go harder...quit hedging..."
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.

  5. #5
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Me, "why did I do this, I'll never survive". Which is true.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

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    Thinking is seriously overrated. I never succeeded in a solo break in my life, but if I'm going as hard as I can, no thought more complicated than "can" or "can't" is going to get much purchase on my brain.

  7. #7
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    More Crit than RR for me. Settle in, you can only go as fast as you can go, it's either fast enough or it isn't. Focus your mind on marginal gains, is there a side of the road with more shelter (buildings, etc)? Is there a "short" line thru turns?, save a few meters. Savvy breakaway riders leave a little in the tank so they can press if the gap starts to close, a little mind game.

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    I consider the failure of dialectic materialism, how the messages of the notable prophets from Buddha to Jesus were co-opted by those seeking personal power and how the time/space continuum makes virtually certain the existence of parallel universe(s).

    Or how bad ass this is going to be if I pull it off.

    I think the longest solo I did was around 65 miles, and I've got a bunch in the 20-40 range. On the long stuff you kinda zen out...pedaling meditation. One down, one up. Check the meter occasionally to see what the output is. Being a writer I'll work on the story in my head sometimes. Look back once in a while to see if help is coming and the Army status.

    Short stuff is all about power management and sitting on the knife edge. Go with 4k to the finish and you better know how hard you can go for 4k. On those there's not a lot of blood in the brain to think of much beyond that and "ouch"

    The tweener stuff you're somewhere between having enough blood to think and not. TT type effort where the occasional thought slips in ("I hope I don't get a flat, if I do where's the wheel pit?") and a dial tone. 40 minutes into the state crit, solo for 30m so far (this is just a quality picture...wish I still had the photog's name). Skinny, hot, and dehydrating in the Texas heat:



    Successful solo breaks have one key component: commitment. If you doubt yourself, if you start looking back just to measure distance, you're doomed. One thing is certain, unless everyone quits the race, they are always coming. I figure I know I'm caught when there's actually someone on my wheel. I know I'll be caught if I sit up.

    More than once I've had margins go down to 5-7 seconds over a big pack. One 70 mile race I went out at mile 5 and sat between 5-8 seconds for an hour. I won that race by 5 minutes in the end. My teammates said eventually the 3-4 guys that were doing most of the chasing threw in the towel.

    Another part of this is you need to pick the right spot to go, and realize that you might have to attack a lot before you get space. I think I've gone like 8-10 times in some races before I got that separation. People wait till they feel rested, when often it's better to go when the whole field is out of breath. Most of chasing comes down to will, if you can get them thinking that they'll catch you later you've won a big part of the battle. Most people in the pack don't quit because they can't chase, they quit because they don't want to hurt anymore.

    And finally, it's a low percentage deal. But when it works it's the best thing in bike racing...maybe equal to a perfectly executed team pursuit.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 01-31-16 at 08:57 PM.

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    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    Very interesting stuff.

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    Interesting reading Ex's stuff. My thoughts (on not thinking) were really directed at going with a few km to go in a crit, I can barely imagine what it is like to hold it together for 100km off the front in a road race. But Ex's account reminded me of Tim Krabbe's "The Rider" for which I know @valygrl shares my enthusiasm. Krabbe was an international master chess player as well as a keen amateur bike racer, and his hero contrasts his brain when playing chess - all points and irregular surfaces and complexity - with his brain when on the rivet in a bike race - too smooth for any complicated thought to gain traction, so that he can barely calculate the gear inches he is using.

    Riding solo - not being in a break, endurance riding or even touring will do it - has a similar effect on me. When I'm in a rhythm and cranking along I'm often not really what you could call thinking, I'm just in the moment, aware of my surroundings and of the physical sensations of the ride, highly awake but wordless. It's very meditative and it's a big reason why I keep getting on a bike.

  12. #12
    Padawan YogaKat's Avatar
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    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Racer Ex's post.

    @chasm54 I just added that book to my Amazon list (along with another that I found when looking that one up.) It sounds like a good read.
    Quote Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
    My opinion: ride in the rain, ride in the wind, ride in the dark, ride in the heat, ride in the cold.

  13. #13
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    Also enjoyed Ex's post!

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Tim Krabbe's "The Rider" for which I know @valygrl shares my enthusiasm.
    One of my faves too!

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Riding solo - not being in a break, endurance riding or even touring will do it - has a similar effect on me. When I'm in a rhythm and cranking along I'm often not really what you could call thinking, I'm just in the moment, aware of my surroundings and of the physical sensations of the ride, highly awake but wordless. It's very meditative and it's a big reason why I keep getting on a bike.
    Flow.

    Flow is the best part of any sport I've participated in. Every sport I've enjoyed has it. Cycling really allows for it. Rock climbing may well require it.
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rapwithtom View Post



    Flow.

    Flow is the best part of any sport I've participated in. Every sport I've enjoyed has it. Cycling really allows for it. Rock climbing may well require it.
    I'll read that, thanks. It isn't just about sports, either. There have been times in my life when I've had to write, and It can be torture. But at times one gets into the zone and the words come involuntarily, as if they've been lurking inside you - or maybe outside you - just waiting to be uncovered. "Flow" - if that's what she's talking about - describes it well.
    Last edited by chasm54; 02-01-16 at 09:30 AM.

  15. #15
    Has a magic bike Heathpack's Avatar
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    @rapwithtom, I'm going to read that book, the striving for excellence thing is what it's all about for me with cycling and it has been from day one. Racing is the best structure for that kind of striving, perhaps, because it makes sense to all involved. And races can punctuate/inform the process that you go through to try to get to that place of excellence.

    The interesting thing is the way people react to what you're doing when you're on that path, when what you care about is that excellence. You do things that don't make 100% sense to people riding for other reasons- fitness or sociability for example. Power meters, riding in the cold, intervals, scouting courses, hard efforts up a climb etc.

    It's fairly common for other people to try to read into what you're doing and make it about them. Somehow it's an implied criticism and they become a little defensive, feel compelled to make some kind of disparaging comment. On the opposite side, some people find it interesting or inspiring.

    Anyway, its stuff I've been thinking about a lot because it's getting increasingly hard to ride with my current cycling friends. There's logistical constraints to developing a new set of race oriented friends (not many racing women in my town, riding with the boys is not the best fit either and I also have major schedule related logistics). I decide not to worry about it and just do my own thing, which fortunately my personality lends itself too.

    Then you read posts like @Racer Ex's above and you realize there really is benefit to having friends who share your motivations and aspirations cycling-wise. Because things like that come up in conversation or you come to understand it by osmosis. And you don't get that by riding solo.

    Food for thought.

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    @Heathpack, I forget, but are you a member of a club? There must be some in the LA area with some half-decent female racers.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have pulled a few solo break aways during Sr. Olympic competitions.
    Usually a couple guys will chase and latch on to my wheel.
    If they cooperate and take turn pulling, that's fine.
    If not, then I'll breakaway again. Separates the wheat from the chaff!

  18. #18
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Actually, I have been in breaks that survived, but I wasn't by myself. I know my limits, I know what I can do solo. It's not going off the front and expecting to stay away. I can commit, but I'm not a strong solo rider, I'm a sprinter. I do know if I can work with two or three other riders, a break is definitely worth doing. In my case, this is largely age dependent, in a race where I can pretty much expect that the riders I'm with are pretty close to me in age and therefore fitness. In a "normal" 3/4 crit or road race, it's hard enough given the age difference just to stay in position in the peloton.

    The thoughts I've had in the (two) successful breaks I've been in were more along the lines of organization, making sure we were working together and not frying each other on the front - until the last lap! Then it's gaming to make sure I'm not on the front on the final corner.

    I tried a break at the State Crit last summer, also not solo. I chased another woman for a prime, which was a pre-planned setup to get a teammate off the front and up the road. It didn't work, my teammie didn't follow, so I went for the prime win instead. Got it, too.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  19. #19
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    ...so I went for the prime win instead. Got it, too.
    Was that with my stem? Wondering when all that percentage of the wins is coming my way?
    Racer Ex ..."But no one summits K2 and starts building a house; because you can't live on K2. They go down to base camp, and start planning an assault on Everest."

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    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    often it's better to go when the whole field is out of breath.
    Word.

    Back when I was racing the sprinters didn't put in lots of miles especially in lousy weather and expected to dominate Crits on sheer finishing speed honed on the track. A strong gusting wind and teammates who know what an Echelon is and how to drag misery down the gutter can open up the opportunity for a solo to clear for a win with good timing.

    What to think?
    "I hope it starts to Rain......"

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  21. #21
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBOHUNT View Post
    Was that with my stem? Wondering when all that percentage of the wins is coming my way?
    Of course!! And, 100%!!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  22. #22
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    A strong gusting wind and teammates who know what an Echelon is and how to drag misery down the gutter can open up the opportunity
    I love the wind, because other people hate it. Ended up with a lot of good finishes and wins when it's been howling.

    Couple years ago my tandem partner and I ended up in a 3 man break for most of the VOS stage race RR. Cleave may remember that one. It was blowing so hard left to right on one leg that when a big truck would come by in the opposite lane and block the wind we'd move 3-4 feet over.

    "TRUCK!"
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 02-02-16 at 10:52 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    ... how to drag misery down the gutter ...

    -Bandera
    I have nothing to add since I have never been in a solo break for enough time to actually form a coherent thought - but I am in love with this phrase, thank you for that.
    ...

  24. #24
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Belgian Gutter Racing is an integral part of racing in Texas in the Spring. It produces Qatari-like echelons.



    The pros are smart about this. They know the group is more likely to get across and integrate. Mostly the P1/2 folks get this. Trouble arises when guys stop counting the seconds, stop considering that the guy on point is pushing 350w, and just look at the distance.

    Look how close they are! I'll just jump across (what is in reality a 30 second gap in a howling wind that's going to take 3 minutes at 450w).

    Although it is amusing to watch them come through their prior safe haven and continue backward with that shocked look

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Belgian Gutter Racing is an integral part of racing in Texas in the Spring. It produces Qatari-like echelons.



    The pros are smart about this. They know the group is more likely to get across and integrate. Mostly the P1/2 folks get this. Trouble arises when guys stop counting the seconds, stop considering that the guy on point is pushing 350w, and just look at the distance.

    Look how close they are! I'll just jump across (what is in reality a 30 second gap in a howling wind that's going to take 3 minutes at 450w).

    Although it is amusing to watch them come through their prior safe haven and continue backward with that shocked look
    That's an interesting thread in itself - "how do you judge whether you can make the junction with the lead group?" The temptation (my temptation, anyway) was to try to TT my way across. Wrong. Never made it, or if I did make it was so screwed I was spat out again by the next attack. Learned I had to sprint across and hope they didn't counterattack for a few seconds while I regrouped. They usually did...

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