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DNF Question

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Old 03-18-18, 06:56 AM
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Poonjabby
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DNF Question

A teammate of mine is obsessive about never getting a DNF. I’m a woman Cat 3 and I often try men’s cat 3/4 races just to see how long I can hang on. If I get dropped, I usually just pull myself resulting in a DNF. I never cared before, but since my teammate avoids them like the plague, it makes me wonder. Other than a “blemish” on your results listing, do DNFs do anything like towards rankings? Should I care that I’m adding DNFs to my race history?
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Old 03-18-18, 07:11 AM
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There's no point in riding around when you're dropped, in my opinion, though in some crits that are super fast they'll usually pull you 2-3 laps later so you don't get lapped and then they'll place you, so not technically a dnf results-wise.

I DNF a few times a year. Do enough races and it just doesn't matter anymore for most people.

USAC rankings are only taken from your top five finishes. Different BARs may go deeper.
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Old 03-18-18, 12:33 PM
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When I first started racing, I was committed to never DNF'ing. But that was a very long time ago.

Now, I don't care.
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Old 03-18-18, 01:46 PM
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Pretty much all of my DNF's have been due to mechanicals, crashes, or being late to races, those don't really bother me that much, because **** happens. I also quit once on account of rain, after a guy slid out in front of me. there are a couple of occasions where I gave up on bell lap because I was way out of position, or out of matches to burn. and I recall 2 occasions where I was just out of fitness. But I use all my DNF's as learning opportunities.

when i first started, I was also gun ho about finishing. getting up from crashes, testing my grit, letting my ego get the better of me. now, I'm much more utilitarian in my approach. Unless I'm in position for the win, podium, upgrade points, sacrificing for a teammate, or prize money, there is no difference between a placing and DNF.

and as we race for better teams, get more team support, there is even less emphasis on individual results, and more on team results.

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Old 03-18-18, 03:57 PM
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Everyone knows you can finish the distance. That was not the point. For a fondo, finishing is often is the point.

If you are on a short crit course being lapped and high speed riders behind you, get off the course. Stop. Don't get lapped, get off, check ego. This is a safety thing and I blame officials first for even allowing it, but get off - DNF.

Exceptions:
If you have never finished and it is not a safety thing as above - go finish.
If you are racing collegiate and your team gets points even if you have been double lapped - go finish (stupid rule due to safety in crits).
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Old 03-18-18, 07:06 PM
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Thanks for reaffirming my decisions to DNF if I get dropped. I don’t need another OCD tendency to keep in check haha
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Old 03-18-18, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
There's no point in riding around when you're dropped, in my opinion, ...
i generally agree with, but there are a few exceptions:
* what if a rider shows up to a race and gets dropped early? DNF'ing means that rider may miss some training. why not just ride hard and get in the workout?

* stage races -- a DNF in one stage may prevent the rider from racing the next one.

i realize those weren't in the OP's post, but i'm just making a bit more broad.

that first (self-selected) DNF is always the hardest! ;-)

i've heard some riders say that they won't take the DNF by choice only because they are worried that it's something that will give them a small excuse to quit that next time it gets really hard. not saying that matters to me, but i can see some logic in it.
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Old 03-19-18, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post

i've heard some riders say that they won't take the DNF by choice only because they are worried that it's something that will give them a small excuse to quit that next time it gets really hard. not saying that matters to me, but i can see some logic in it.
this, for me. it would be a quick step from electing to DNF to electing to not drive to races for me.
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Old 03-19-18, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
i generally agree with, but there are a few exceptions:
* what if a rider shows up to a race and gets dropped early? DNF'ing means that rider may miss some training. why not just ride hard and get in the workout?
.
If I get dropped, training on that day isn't going to matter. I'd rather get home, rest up, and go after it again tomorrow. Besides, personally, I don't want to train while races are going on on a course I'm likely not super familiar with in a locale far away from where I need to be.
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Old 03-19-18, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
If I get dropped, training on that day isn't going to matter. I'd rather get home, rest up, and go after it again tomorrow. Besides, personally, I don't want to train while races are going on on a course I'm likely not super familiar with in a locale far away from where I need to be.
my comments weren't meant to be universal -- just sharing a perspective that a busted race, for many people, is a lost day of training in-season that may not be made up depending on what someone else has going on. "ride hard the next day" isn't an option for everyone.

IOW their schedule might have anticipated a hard race, and instead they got 20' before being dropped/pulled. continuing to ride hard (without being an idiot/interfering) is sometimes a good option to keep going, even if "just finishing" doesn't mean anything.

in RRs the course is usually safe(-ish), swept, marked/marshaled -- sometimes that is better for a person than local roads/traffic.

plus it can have a bonus of seeing the course for future attempts if it was one's first time there.

i've also seen crazy stuff like where an entire field was held up due to a big accident or other issue on the road -- and this meant that people who were 10' behind caught back up. (i was annoyed by this once as some people i'd worked hard to drop and were knocked out of GC contention got back in on the last stage--and the officials let everyone back in. amateur racing!)

no judgment on my part -- only posing some scenarios where merely finishing may make sense.
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Old 03-19-18, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
this, for me. it would be a quick step from electing to DNF to electing to not drive to races for me.
this is real.

after a full winter of nordic racing last year, i skipped the first road race because i wasn't feeling ready, and that lead to skipping the next one, and the one after that.

wound up not racing on the road at all, and it feels easier to make the choice not to race this year. (haven't made that choice one way or the other yet.)

at any level, racing on the road is hard and requires one's head to be in the game. i draw an analogy to lead climbing. the moves themselves may be easy, but if you lose your head for it it can become very hard to start back up.

it's kind of like giving oneself permission to go a little easier in an interval, or skip a workout; in a subtle way it's a little harder to get going for the next one.
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Old 03-19-18, 12:35 PM
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I dunno. I race for a very specific reason: either to go for a top placing or to get relevant/necessary experience for going for a top placing later on.

Getting dropped accomplishes neither of those things. I've been racing a long time, though, and my perspective and ambitions are likely a bit different.
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Old 03-19-18, 12:47 PM
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I had my first DNF last week. It was the B race, right after the C race. Usually I am fine to do both. For example the day before I had done both B and C races. And I got a top 10 in the B race.

However this C race was different, and I had pushed myself to the absolute limit. And my legs were scorched. And I didn't clip in on the start, and the start was fast, single file line. I was done from the start.

I kept riding with two female racers until I was lapped about 20 minutes in. Then I stopped. I don't feel bad about it. It's just a thing.
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Old 03-19-18, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
There's no point in riding around when you're dropped, in my opinion, though in some crits that are super fast they'll usually pull you 2-3 laps later so you don't get lapped and then they'll place you, so not technically a dnf results-wise.

I DNF a few times a year. Do enough races and it just doesn't matter anymore for most people.

USAC rankings are only taken from your top five finishes. Different BARs may go deeper.
Pretty much what I was going to say.
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Old 03-19-18, 01:02 PM
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Does not matter.
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Old 03-19-18, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I dunno. I race for a very specific reason: either to go for a top placing or to get relevant/necessary experience for going for a top placing later on.

Getting dropped accomplishes neither of those things. I've been racing a long time, though, and my perspective and ambitions are likely a bit different.
yup, a pro or a cat 1 usually isn't concerned with minor placings, and when it is obvious that is not going to happen it actually may make sense (in the bigger picture) to withdraw.

that's a pretty rare case for most people on these boards, though.
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Old 03-24-18, 06:49 AM
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It's much better to "race and get shelled" than "not race and finish".

This is assuming "finishing" means being off the back. If you're in the field then no big deal, sitting in and finishing is a legitimate racing thing.

If you're racing (in the field, partaking, on wheels, drafting), that's zillions better than plodding along at your own pace behind the group. Racing means riding uncomfortably hard at times, well beyond your perceived limits at times. Plodding along behind the field means you're just reinforcing what you're doing in training, and by definition you're not in the field and therefore something needs to change.

The old school "race goal progression" was the following:
1. Hang with the field as long as possible. Note that this does not say "finish race".
2. Once you can hang on the field to the finish, go for a prime. Note that this does not say "finish race", and in fact I treated my first primes as race-end-sprints and had zero left after them.
3. Once you can win a prime then go for a good finish.
4. Upgrade and repeat.

In a couple big races (Tour) some close-to-overall-contenders have blasted the race apart on one day only to withdraw the next. They wanted to leave their mark, and when they were done they stopped. Bernard Hinault was one, forcing everyone to suffer to chase him down, then he withdrew the next day. He knew he was hurting them and wanted to put them deep in the red before he left. Pantani was another, at the front in the mountains until suddenly one day he simply quit. If you're into making others suffer but you're not feeling good for whatever reason then you can launch some vicious attacks, get caught, then sit up and go back to the car. I've done it when I'm too tired or haven't eaten enough or need to leave early for other obligations. In one race I was off the front for the first 2.5 laps, I was out at 3.5 laps. Then we packed up to go do whatever we needed to do.
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Old 03-24-18, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
It's much better to "race and get shelled"
I personally just call that "racing"....the get shelled part is implied.
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Old 03-24-18, 12:09 PM
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CDR made the point in a blog post, if you are off the back in a race and riding by yourself, you might as well be pedaling on a trainer. Last year, I was dropped at the beginning of a race because I was in the bathroom at the start. Tried to catch on but failed and sat up to rejoin a lap down. And raced (got criticized for semi-contesting the finish, but that's another story). But I got some experience.

With my recent and only DNF, I rode around with a couple of other riders until I was lapped and then I quit. The next week in the same B race, I was first from the bunch (behind the breakaway). Fortunes can change very quickly, based on luck and race craft and fitness.
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Old 03-24-18, 12:13 PM
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Lanterne Rouge.. off the back , but finishing.. ?
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Old 03-24-18, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs View Post
CDR made the point in a blog post, if you are off the back in a race and riding by yourself, you might as well be pedaling on a trainer.
I said that?

I actually don't remember.

People ask me why I don't "try" road races. I did when I was new, and I did again about 14 years later when an employee's parents paid for my entry so I could be my employee's chaperone at two "away" stage races. I raced really only because I was there, but I'd have never gone if it wasn't for the parents paying my entry, and me feeling useful off the bike. But now, to enter a hilly race, it's just a waste of time/energy. Even the local big road race, on a 22 mile circuit, which is maybe a 20 minute drive away, I haven't done. I worked it, yes, but I didn't enter it. Last time I raced on that course I was a minute or so from getting LAPPED when I stopped. On a 22 mile loop.
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Old 03-24-18, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Lanterne Rouge.. off the back , but finishing.. ?
I think that racing the Tour... that's a different story. Often the Lanterne Rouge is contributing to the team effort, and in a stage race you have to finish within a particular time to keep going. So they're not just tooling around, they're fetching water and wind vests and stuff and killing themselves to get over the mountains so they can sit at the front and pull for the first 100km of the next stage.

Last place in a crit, if you're not in the field... not the same thing.
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Old 03-24-18, 01:53 PM
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Here 20 years ago the Group rides dissolved into drop the other guy competitions , so I quit..

Visiting England * and the Social group rides in the 80s in SF were about riding with friends ..


* I was on my touring bike , just minus the bags, mid tour, I was the one that someone dropped back to keep me company..
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Old 03-24-18, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Here 20 years ago the Group rides dissolved into drop the other guy competitions , so I quit..

Visiting England * and the Social group rides in the 80s in SF were about riding with friends ..


* I was on my touring bike , just minus the bags, mid tour, I was the one that someone dropped back to keep me company..
There's plenty of rides like that in Dallas, TX. Slow, social rides. By people who don't even know what a crit is.

Of course there are also rides where the fun is seeing how fast you can go and how much you can make your friends suffer.
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Old 03-24-18, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Here 20 years ago the Group rides dissolved into drop the other guy competitions , so I quit..
2 different kind of group rides. That's why I've started calling my tuesday night ride a race ride. Because that's what it is; a race with no officials and no rule enforcement. Group rides, sure go out and hammer with your buddies, but we all meet up at the tops/bottoms of the hills and ride together.

They both have their place!

And my opinion about DNF's. I wish that officials would be more harsh about pulling people in some crits/CRs. Just because it's a wide road with lots of space doesn't mean you aren't getting in the way. If I'm off the front, I should not have to drag my breaks in corners because i'm catching the "[2nd, 3rd...] chase" that's a full lap or two behind. If you're gonna race for fitness be in the right category. It's not racing if you're off the back 2 laps in.
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