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First Cat5 Crit: Always this Fast?

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First Cat5 Crit: Always this Fast?

Old 06-27-21, 08:58 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Once you start getting in to p/1 races and beyond, there's only so much room at the front.
There's an infinite amount of room OFF the front.

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Old 06-28-21, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Eh, that stuff happens to world tour guys all the time. Sometimes it's just part of racing.

Once you start getting in to p/1 races and beyond, there's only so much room at the front.
Notice that the top TdF contenders don't make that mistake very often. That said, we're talking about learning how to be a better crit rider for someone who is new to the game.
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Old 06-28-21, 11:10 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
You're in CT or MA?

Which Tues races are you referring to in your later response?
I'm in CT. The races are the CCAP crits at Rentschler Field.
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Old 06-28-21, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris O View Post
I'm in CT. The races are the CCAP crits at Rentschler Field.
Okay, so this is stuff I know - I've been around a while, although this year I'm not in any kind of fitness compared to my peers.

Let me preface things by saying that the Rent course is not very forgiving. There is very little time to recover, there are no coasting spots, and for me it's one of the harder courses around. It's much easier dealing with a course that involves a little uphill, like at New Britain, so you can ease a bit on the corresponding downhill. My favorite course was the Bethel one, where I promoted races for a long time. It had a steep uphill finish and the rest of the course was a gentle downhill. Ideal for sitting in.

In 2014 I wrote a series of posts on racing at the Rent. At the time Cat 3s could do the B race. I would say right now that the B races are about as fast as they were back then, meaning it was quite fast at times. The difference now is that there are many fit racers without much experience, so they're still 5s or 4s. In 2014 I was pretty unfit 3 and my Cat 4-5 teammates were struggling to get good places, so the B race worked for all of us. They were strong, like on training rides, but they had a hard time finishing off a good race. Some of them asked me questions about the race, other non-team riders also asked me for tips on racing at the Rent, and so I wrote these:
Sprinter della Casa: Racing - Approaching A Training Race
Sprinter della Casa: Tactics - Get Lapped Less Than 4 Times
Sprinter della Casa: Tactics - Out of Position Regarding Wind
Sprinter della Casa: Tactics - Cornering
Sprinter della Casa: Tactics - Struggling With Peak Speeds

There's also some videos from that year:
My teammate Heavy D getting the win (soloing off the front, but clip is from my point of view - I tell him to wait until the next corner to go, he goes, and he is gone).

My teammate Aaron getting the win (I love it when I tell him to wait for the next attack to go because it should be the best time to go - and he goes with the next attack and it wins the race).

Heavy D and a teammate in Green helping me get the win, over my protestations. Heavy D in particular was incredible in babying me back up into position, carefully dragging me without blowing me up. My other teammate, in the green, also did some big moves to help me out, like bridging across two huge gaps to put me back in the front group. I actually didn't realize who it was the whole race because I've only raced with him and didn't know him in a non-team kit.

My first ever race as a 2, at the Rent (2010). I was suffering like a dog.

The time I got stuck in the 39T ring in the A race. The guy I follow for a bit, who didn't like it (he swerves hard at me), was apparently a very good Cat 1 from California, visiting the area. Had his team shorts but a local team's jersey.

A race at New Britain (Cat 3-4). Last race I won, last race I promoted. You can see the hill sort of affects things but not really. It's a good view of a typical last lap in the field there.

And a blast from the past, a Bethel race, probably the best one in a clip. One of the hardest races I've done, avg 187w (155 lbs). Tons of team work (by my team but also by my rivals). My leadout guy, I learned later, used to be a pro MTB racer. He avg 287w in the race. And in the finish line clip (link in vid description) he finishes something like a 25s down on me. He chased down the winner of the 4 race, a guy that would be a 1 by the end of the season - I think he mentions that race when interviewed when he was a pro, when asked "what was the first race you ever won?".

I'll add a P123 Bethel that included Eric Min (aka Zwift), Christian Stahl (former National Team Sprint rider, winner kilo at Pan Am games), Anthony Allessio (currently smashing the M50s and also placing in the P123 races), and a slew of other riders. Declining fitness for me but managed to get to the finish on this one.
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Old 06-28-21, 09:21 PM
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Great post CDR. Welcome back. You have been missed.
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Old 06-29-21, 06:23 AM
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FWIW, last week our crit lover in the team went out and again there was a crash in the 4/5. So, that makes either 3 of 4 or 3 of 5 weeks he's gone out and there's been a crash in his field. It's the one out near Winston.

Need some keirin armor yo. Geez.
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Old 06-29-21, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by colombo357 View Post
There's an infinite amount of room OFF the front.

I've heard stories of that.
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Old 06-29-21, 02:18 PM
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Iím thinking the amount of space between the front of the pack and the finish line is finite.
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Old 08-05-21, 07:20 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Iím thinking the amount of space between the front of the pack and the finish line is finite.
pretty sure when I race its infinite.
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Old 08-05-21, 11:46 PM
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I try to explore it often.

Difference is now, with stacked LA L3gion and KHS Elevate teams at SCNCA races, I don't get quite as much daylight as I did when I was a cat 3/4/5, nor does it last as long. If I'm by myself, maybe a lap or so tops.
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Old 08-10-21, 11:45 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
Okay, so this is stuff I know - I've been around a while, although this year I'm not in any kind of fitness compared to my peers.
Man, so after watching a few of those videos, I realized that if I raced like you I'd never even finish a race. That's not an insult, its just that your power profile is the exact opposite of mine (well, really, what mine WAS haha) and I think we'd need opposite race strategies. You're pretty modest in your post(s), but your surge is really really good, and oddly enough you don't seem to tire from rubber banding around on the back of the pack for an hour. I'd be dead after two laps of that "rent" course if I sat where you did, those short, 1-2s accelerations to close those small gaps after turns just absolutely wreck me. I've read that if you bump your FTP, then you'll go over your threshold by less on those surges and you'll be able to do more of them, but you *ahem* obviously don't have great threshold power. Do you/did you train that specifically, or just get it from lots of racing?
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Old 08-10-21, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
Man, so after watching a few of those videos, I realized that if I raced like you I'd never even finish a race. That's not an insult, its just that your power profile is the exact opposite of mine (well, really, what mine WAS haha) and I think we'd need opposite race strategies. You're pretty modest in your post(s), but your surge is really really good, and oddly enough you don't seem to tire from rubber banding around on the back of the pack for an hour. I'd be dead after two laps of that "rent" course if I sat where you did, those short, 1-2s accelerations to close those small gaps after turns just absolutely wreck me. I've read that if you bump your FTP, then you'll go over your threshold by less on those surges and you'll be able to do more of them, but you *ahem* obviously don't have great threshold power. Do you/did you train that specifically, or just get it from lots of racing?
In my experience (Cat 3 sprint monkey, many years ago), boosting my FTP was one of the best gains I made to help me be a stronger finisher. Being able to respond to surges, move up, or just fight for my preferred spot, while staying below threshold, left a lot more in the tank for the finish. Once I figured out the timing for my sprint, wins started happening more often. I never had that punchy acceleration for the last 100M that some guys have. My best game was to wind up a 53x11 from 200M+ and hold it to the line. Being the first to make a move meant that everyone else had to respond to my game, and try to beat me at my best.

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Old 08-10-21, 12:15 PM
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Mine experience is similar to Eric F's. The more you boost up your FTP, the fresher you'll be when you need it.
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Old 08-10-21, 12:28 PM
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FTP is important but the ability to access anaerobic sources over and over again is more important to deal with the surges in criteriums in my wheelsucking experience.

CDR might have a modest FTP, sort of like the gas engine in a Prius but the battery reserve component of his is like the top of the line Tesla. Functional Reserve Capacity or W' is just as important if not more.

In Cat 5 races, there is constant action and it is hard to know what break efforts has the chance to stick.

The last Crit I did was a couple years ago, 55-65 year olds. Many of them were Cat 1-2 back in the day. I could not compete with them then or now. There were exactly three moves in the race, including the sprint. After the first Prime, an attack by three at the gutter with no place for others to draft. Two laps of chasing all out. When it ended after we caught, I looked over to fellow at my right elbow and said, "thank GOD" and he said, "No ****". This was the move that many riders got shelled. I made it to the final sprint, which was fine for me.

New racers probably don't realize that if you are off the back, you are done and that you and average Cat 5 must stay in good position and do everything you can as if the race is right there and right now when you start to get out of position or worse start to slip off the back. There is so much going on in Cat 5, I suspect it is hard to tell but the bottomline in my opinion is not to let gaps open no matter the effort it takes because once you are off, you are off and done.

I always enjoy watching CDR's video. I was looking for one to post and then lo and behold, he posted to this thread.
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Old 08-10-21, 12:34 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
FTP is important but the ability to access anaerobic sources over and over again is more important to deal with the surges in criteriums in my wheelsucking experience.

CDR might have a modest FTP, sort of like the gas engine in a Prius but the battery reserve component of his is like the top of the line Tesla. Functional Reserve Capacity or W' is just as important if not more.

In Cat 5 races, there is constant action and it is hard to know what break efforts has the chance to stick.

The last Crit I did was a couple years ago, 55-65 year olds. Many of them were Cat 1-2 back in the day. I could not compete with them then or now. There were exactly three moves in the race, including the sprint. After the first Prime, an attack by three at the gutter with no place for others to draft. Two laps of chasing all out. When it ended after we caught, I looked over to fellow at my right elbow and said, "thank GOD" and he said, "No ****". This was the move that many riders got shelled. I made it to the final sprint, which was fine for me.

New racers probably don't realize that if you are off the back, you are done and that you and average Cat 5 must stay in good position and do everything you can as if the race is right there and right now when you start to get out of position or worse start to slip off the back. There is so much going on in Cat 5, I suspect it is hard to tell but the bottomline in my opinion is not to let gaps open no matter the effort it takes because once you are off, you are off and done.

I always enjoy watching CDR's video. I was looking for one to post and then lo and behold, he posted to this thread.
Hah. I have totally had races like this.
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Old 08-10-21, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Mine experience is similar to Eric F's. The more you boost up your FTP, the fresher you'll be when you need it.
I definitely agree, and I've done a lot of 20 minute intervals to specifically train my ability to recover from repeated efforts. But I guess what I was trying to say is that CDR seems to have the unique physical trait outlined below, basically cat 5 level FTP with pro level ability to surge 800-1000 watts over and over again. Its a very unusual power profile.

Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
FTP is important but the ability to access anaerobic sources over and over again is more important to deal with the surges in criteriums in my wheelsucking experience.

CDR might have a modest FTP, sort of like the gas engine in a Prius but the battery reserve component of his is like the top of the line Tesla. Functional Reserve Capacity or W' is just as important if not more.
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Old 08-10-21, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
Man, so after watching a few of those videos, I realized that if I raced like you I'd never even finish a race. That's not an insult, its just that your power profile is the exact opposite of mine (well, really, what mine WAS haha) and I think we'd need opposite race strategies. You're pretty modest in your post(s), but your surge is really really good, and oddly enough you don't seem to tire from rubber banding around on the back of the pack for an hour. I'd be dead after two laps of that "rent" course if I sat where you did, those short, 1-2s accelerations to close those small gaps after turns just absolutely wreck me. I've read that if you bump your FTP, then you'll go over your threshold by less on those surges and you'll be able to do more of them, but you *ahem* obviously don't have great threshold power. Do you/did you train that specifically, or just get it from lots of racing?
haha no offense. I know what I am and I am what I am.

Honestly at the back of the field I do very few big efforts. Generally I coast into the back of the group as they exit each turn, I try not to accelerate much, and my average power is quite low, 160-200w, with 200w being an absolutely insanely hard race for me. Even the really intense races were under that, like 187w for the 2010 Francis J Clarke race. In 2015 the Limerock races were under 160w I think, and I was absolutely suffering in them.

My little surges are specifically usually just one pedal stroke, maybe two, mainly to close gaps to the wheel in front. And when I say "gap", I mean a 2 foot gap, not a 1-2-3 bike length gap. Two gets tiring really quickly so it's usually just one pedal stroke, like one downstroke.

For jumping out of corners the efforts aren't that big, 400-500w, and often it's preceded by several seconds of zero power. Also I don't post the boring corners where I'm right on top of the next wheel, am coasting for forever, and then ease onto the pedals as the other rider is still out of the saddle sprinting. But that's how I do most of my corners.

As far as training, I never really trained my sprint except for sprinting on group rides or, when riding solo, going "truck hunting". Which I'd still do if I rode outside, but I'm much slower now than I used to be. I did start lifting last year but that's it, and I haven't noticed much other than I'm heavier. Sprint power is maybe broader but not much higher.

When I started racing I was so light that everyone assumed I'd be a good climber. I was okay but not great, but I also weighed about 85-90 lbs. When I turned 18 I was 103 lbs, when I turned 21 I was 112 lbs, and by then I considered myself a sprinter and not a climber. I had a dedicated group of 5-8 guys helping me in races and at SUNY Purchase Tues Night Sprints. I mean, I wanted them to do well too, but it seemed that when it came down to it, they'd much rather work for me. That went on for maybe 10-12 years, and made me focus more on sprinting and not as much on anything else. But in terms of training I didn't do anything different. Long rides in the winter, races in the summer, SUNY Purchase, or truck/car hunting on training rides (Thursday Night Summer Street Sprints - I'd do a couple few hours at night looking for cars/etc to draft on Summer St, a one way 3-4 lane road near my bike shop).

I optimized my bike for crit sprinting. In the summer I had a right side bar end shifter (until Ergo came out in 1992), 40 cm crit bend bars, big gears (54x45 for example, or 54x42), and whatever tiny cassette (11-21 or 12-21 typically). In the winter I'd put wider bars on, a bigger cassette (11-25 or 12-25), downtube shifters, heavy wheels, smaller rings (51x42, 51x41 - I had 144BCD so no 39T) and do long, long rides, explore dirt roads, stuff like that.

One of my best seasons (until I stopped training) I did VO2Max intervals, which helped me a lot, but it brought my FTP to what seems to be my normal peak, 218w. I was 220w in 2010 when I upgraded to 2, that was an even better year, and I didn't stop training until the season ended. It seems that 220w is about it without some dedication that I'm not willing to put in, because, honestly, if I did massive hours to get to, say, 240w, that seems pretty pointless.
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Old 08-10-21, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
I definitely agree, and I've done a lot of 20 minute intervals to specifically train my ability to recover from repeated efforts. But I guess what I was trying to say is that CDR seems to have the unique physical trait outlined below, basically cat 5 level FTP with pro level ability to surge 800-1000 watts over and over again. Its a very unusual power profile.
Shorter and more intense intervals are a key component to train, also.
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Old 08-10-21, 09:18 PM
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I responded to the one thing but didn't realize there was other stuff because however I got into the comment.

I found that VO2max intervals really helped me. I hate intervals though so I generally don't do them. Did them at beginning of 2015 (at the end of the intervals I won that 2015 race in one of the clips above) and got third in three races. The ability to go again and again is important in a crit.

I'm suited to Cat 3 crits because the races aren't so hard that you have to go super hard all the time. This means I can make, say, two efforts in the race, one "freebie" and the sprint. I'll avoid the freebie if I can, but if the field splits or something, I'll go and make the effort to get across.

Now I've never done that with the race staying split, but it could be said that if I jumped across, so will others, and that split gets closed. And maybe if I didn't jump, and one or two other guys also didn't jump, then the field *will* split and stay split. I've seen that many, many, many times, where I'm too cooked to go and watch a third of the field just ride away.

When I do 123 races I have to be really fit, or the course has to suit me (more wind is better because I never see it, and a short hill is good because an uphill implies there's a downhill also, and I can recover a bit). The fast steady A race stuff at the Rent, for example, I am done in 6 or 7 minutes right now, 250w, and there's just no way to use less power because the speeds were so high. So sitting in is 250-300w. I try to ease when I can, I'm sheltering as well as I can, but I need the power requirement to drop 50-80w so I can stay in. And it doesn't so I can't.
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Old 08-11-21, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
My little surges are specifically usually just one pedal stroke, maybe two, mainly to close gaps to the wheel in front. And when I say "gap", I mean a 2 foot gap, not a 1-2-3 bike length gap. Two gets tiring really quickly so it's usually just one pedal stroke, like one downstroke.

For jumping out of corners the efforts aren't that big, 400-500w, and often it's preceded by several seconds of zero power. Also I don't post the boring corners where I'm right on top of the next wheel, am coasting for forever, and then ease onto the pedals as the other rider is still out of the saddle sprinting. But that's how I do most of my corners.
Yup, its these little efforts that I've always struggled with. They're small individual efforts but doing a bunch of them over the course of the race means I'm cooked. The FTP training mentioned above helps, but I've always had to do the traditional tactic of staying in the top several places to minimize the little jumps. You're light and I'm pretty heavy though and even at my fittest I was 175 pounds, so your 400-500 watt effort is a 700-800 watt effort for me. Perhaps that's what makes the big difference.
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Old 08-11-21, 07:43 AM
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Our two crit boys on the team have been doing well in 4/5 lately. It is what it is, but the vet guy has basically relegated to the newer younger guy to get that guy to win. That's what a team is all about. And proves it is a team sport.

I guess it made me a touch sad as the vet guy has done those races every weeknight for years to only net a single podium this year and only one ever. While the newer guy is just a perfect build for crit racing. Not tall, not a lightweight, not a diesel, and can sprint.

The veteran racer just suffers from a size versus power profile discrepancy. Imagine if Phil Gaimon wasn't 150 lbs but heavier given the same height, knowing the Gaimon power profile isn't really sprinter stuff. But he just loves doing crits mostly.

Weeknight worlds isn't a world tour race, but when the pro peloton is letting a break bake in the sun before pulling them back............what % of ftp are the folks on front of the peloton taking pulls at? Even if they pull on the front at 350w, 350 divided by a huge number is still well under 100% Our weeknight worlds, everyone seems to want to pull at VO2 power. Even if it isn't a rotation breakaway situation. It just makes no damned sense.
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Old 08-11-21, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Our weeknight worlds, everyone seems to want to pull at VO2 power. Even if it isn't a rotation breakaway situation. It just makes no damned sense.
I guess it kind of depends on your goals for the ride. When I do group rides, my main goal is to just squeeze my legs a lot. This implies a lot of pulling through (potentially with light acceleration) and keeping the speed high. Also lots of attacks of course - I always want to try and create a breakaway situation. In an actual race, I'll take some hard pulls but it's more selective contingent upon the overall goals of our 1/2 team.
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Old 08-11-21, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
Yup, its these little efforts that I've always struggled with. They're small individual efforts but doing a bunch of them over the course of the race means I'm cooked. The FTP training mentioned above helps, but I've always had to do the traditional tactic of staying in the top several places to minimize the little jumps. You're light and I'm pretty heavy though and even at my fittest I was 175 pounds, so your 400-500 watt effort is a 700-800 watt effort for me. Perhaps that's what makes the big difference.
haha I'm not that light. I mean, okay, when I was at my better times recently, I was in the 158 (2010) to 163 (2015) range. But my normal weight for the last 10-20 years is about 180, and for many years (2001-2009, 2012-2014, 2016-now) I raced in the 180-195 range (I'm 5'7"). In fact when I hit about 215 (2003-2004) I had to change my bike because my legs would hit my gut, so I sized up so I could raise my bars a couple inches. Those heaviest years, 2003-4, my races were either just under the cusp of getting dropped, so I could finish well once I survived (could win field sprints, and could place overall), or above the dropping cusp so I'd make 1-2-3 laps before I got shelled.
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Old 08-11-21, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
The veteran racer just suffers from a size versus power profile discrepancy. Imagine if Phil Gaimon wasn't 150 lbs but heavier given the same height, knowing the Gaimon power profile isn't really sprinter stuff. But he just loves doing crits mostly.
I don't know the guy, but it kinda sounds like the veteran is doing the wrong type of crits and/or racing poorly. Speaking as someone who is kinda big and had decent sustained power but poor sprinting/VO2 power, your tactics really need to be in line with your abilities. Aka, find a flat, technical crit and attack into the turns to get your gap because with no jump you're not going to get away cleanly. I'm not sure what venue the weeknight worlds are in your area, but a lot of times they're just oval tracks, and they suuuuck for people like me. They do bring the pain though and are a good workout, which could be the other reason the "vet guy" you're referring to is doing them.

Man I love that I'm speaking in present tense btw. I haven't raced or really trained since 2015 and my 20 minute power is down to 280ish and my weight is 195ish. My VO2 is finally catching up with my FTP!
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Old 08-11-21, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
I don't know the guy, but it kinda sounds like the veteran is doing the wrong type of crits and/or racing poorly. Speaking as someone who is kinda big and had decent sustained power but poor sprinting/VO2 power, your tactics really need to be in line with your abilities. Aka, find a flat, technical crit and attack into the turns to get your gap because with no jump you're not going to get away cleanly. I'm not sure what venue the weeknight worlds are in your area, but a lot of times they're just oval tracks, and they suuuuck for people like me. They do bring the pain though and are a good workout, which could be the other reason the "vet guy" you're referring to is doing them.

Man I love that I'm speaking in present tense btw. I haven't raced or really trained since 2015 and my 20 minute power is down to 280ish and my weight is 195ish. My VO2 is finally catching up with my FTP!
I cheer them on in the results postings on Facebook. I've never been to the two sites so cannot comment. Their elevation gain for a 30min and 45min race are typically very little. I think both have more sweepy curves than really sharp ones, by looking at their Strava activities. Still, without seeing or doing I can't say.

Most results are top 10 he gets. He claims he often gets to a reduced sprint or bunch sprint but they then fly past him. So not sure if sprint isn't there OR too gassed at the end to sprint.

I'd have to default to you all's knowledge. I've never dug into what his coach has him do during crit season for workouts. I'm no expert so never bothered to look, that's what he's paying someone for I would hope. Given that, I don't ever ask or offer any advice. I assume they all know 10x better than I do.
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