Thread: Big Gears
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Old 06-27-17, 06:28 AM
aka mattio
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Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
I mostly agree with queerpunk here, with a little caveat on elimination races - it depends on who's there and how you plan to ride it. If you're going to be the devil, it's easier to make the accelerations if you're geared a little lower than everybody else, if you're going to ride it like a tempo until it turns into a series of sprints where everybody fits across the track, bigger is better, though it can make the last few eliminations harder to stay in unless you managed to stay out of the wind for most of the early race.
My frame of reference this year has been big, fast fields for UCI races at TTown. It changes the calculus and it's a whole new learning experience. Hard to explain, but compared to local or regional races, it's just a consistently high pace instead of sprints and lulls.

In the first few races, nobody was really sure of who else would ride how: there are some familiar names from previous years or international competitions, and dozens of question marks. You see some national team squads and you assume they're at least semi-balleur and that's not always the case; you see some privateers on beat-up bikes and it turns out they're total crushers. You line up at the start of the race and the riders, on both the blue band and the rail, stretch back from the start/finish line nearly all the way back to turn 4.

Compare that to a local or even regional field in which you're racing against the same sixteen or eighteen familiar faces - some of those races you can practically predict the finishing order before it starts.

So instead of the predictable "front vs devil," everybody is constantly surging toward the front, even if they're safely midpack. The unknown factor, plus the fact that there were 40 riders on a wide track, meant that there wasn't a "front vs devil" dynamic - not yet, not for those first twenty laps. It was just speed and chaos, and having a little extra to push against in order to make a surge around the outside really really helped.

The eliminations happening every 333 meters, too, instead of every 500 (on a 250) was a factor too.
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