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First Cat5 Crit: Always this Fast?

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First Cat5 Crit: Always this Fast?

Old 08-11-21, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
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.
Two separate things here.

The first... the older rider may be getting something out of it. I'm sure he realizes that crits are just not for him, at least not normally. So to do better for the team overall, it behooves him to be a great leadout racer. There's pride in that work. I've tried it myself, although I'm not super suited for leadout duties - too peaky power curve, too short on the bike (no draft). So I ease onto the power and I leadout on the tops while sitting up as much as I can.

I had one teammate that had to have a perfect storm of circumstances to do well in a race. He had decent but not race winning power and speed. So he committed himself to leading out his teammates, and he loved it. He was super proud of his leadouts, and, trust me, the guys he was leading out were super appreciative. This was from the 1995 season.


(I forgot, many of the team riders were also building my shop, after shop hours, so we were working a full day at the shop, walked down the block to the new shop location, then worked another 5-6 hours literally building the new shop - loft, walls, etc. So the team was more than just a team, we worked together, we held the Bethel races together, we trained together, we leaned on each other for support, and we'd known each other for a while.)

And leadouts - it's really for the greater good, so to speak. This is my absolute favorite clip because so much went into the race before. The team was new (for 2010), we'd come together because we wanted to race with each other (many of us were friendly rivals the prior year, and in fact I raced "with" one teammate SOC even though we were on different teams in 2009), everyone came out to help with the race, they did Sweep Day the day before the first race of the Series, and they all came out to support me in my week of need. I was on form, yes, but I really struggled in some of the earlier races. This last week I had all the pressure built up after a month and a half of stress promoting the Series, dealing with perturbed land owners, the various grumpy racers, regular promoter stuff, and trying to be race well also.

Final week:

Cliff, my leadout guy that race, crosses the line at the very end of the finish line clip. He averaged about 100w more than I did for the race. My teammates managed to control a large, aggressive field, and they were, except for Cliff, basically Cat 3s and 4s. One strong rider was Lance, he upgraded from 5 to do the 3-4 race, and, as he put it, "the 3s go really hard compared to the 5s". Yes they do. In the clip you can see how demolished the field got. Leadout was at 35 mph, my HR dropped 5 bpm during the leadout, and I had one of my better sprints:

And as far as pulling goes - in lower level races (like Cat 3-4-5) I think most riders aren't thinking of just letting a break sit out there. It's catch them or not. So if I'm pulling to chase a break, it's a huge effort for me, 400w or something like that, and my 5 min record is about 270w. So the pulls are gigantic and short. Anyone pulling easy is "blocking" so everyone just goes around them.

In breaks, really, the onus is on the break to maintain a good speed. Initially it's relatively high, maybe 27-28 mph for a 3-4-5 field, to break the field's spirit, but then once established (30 second lead?) then the break can back down to a typical average speed, like 24-25 mph or so.

There's a story I love to tell about a very good Cat 1 (got 3rd at Elite RR in 2002 or so). He was fit, he was in a P12 crit (with some very good domestic pros present), and he attacked about 5 miles into a 50 mile race. He said that his tactic was really a mental one. He knew that if he could go 28 mph then the field would have to chase at 31-32 mph, and most riders wouldn't want to do that right off the bat. Plus it hurts, it's tiring, and other riders are sitting in.

Thing is that whenever he saw the field start to chase hard, he'd just step it up to 30 mph for a couple miles. Because, as he put it, then they'd have to go about 35 mph to catch him, and that's much harder than 30-31 mph.

So he raced algorithmically (he's a math teacher now). He held 28 mph on his "easy: laps, did 30 mph for a few laps at a time whenever the field chased. For a long time the gap was tantalizingly close, like 20 or 30 seconds, and every lap I thought, "wow, this is about the dumbest move ever, he's going to waste himself and get caught whenever the pack feels like catching". But the gap kept constant, and started creeping up 20-30 minutes in. There was one huge effort where he had to sustain over 30 mph for a bit when one rider, Graeme Miller, made a concerted effort to close the gap. That was spectacular as Miller, a very good pro, closed from bout 40 seconds out to within about 10 seconds of my friend. However my friend was churning out 30+ mph laps for 5 or 6 minutes and Miller could not close the last 100-150 meters or so.

What blows my mind is how nonchalantly my friend talked about going 28 or 30 mph, like it's no big deal. He rode alone for 45 miles. No aero wheels. No aero frame. Big helmet sitting high on his head. Cables all over the place. The most unlikely Cat 1. The field was NOT strung out in single file for half a lap - they were riding pretty hard the rest of the race. They only threw in the towel a couple laps from the finish, but only because now it was game on for second place.

I did a race there where I had no hopes of finishing, so I hoped they'd ring a bell for a prime early. I launched myself, went about 28-30 mph for one lap, sat up, and dropped out. haha. That was all I could do. My friend did that for 45 laps. Crazy.

So moral of the story is that if the break gets caught, it's not the field's fault. It's the break's fault. Either the break wasn't strong enough (normally the story) or the break messed up.
"...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. Itís a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. Thereís skills, thereís tactics Ö thereís all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson
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Old 08-11-21, 09:29 AM
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True that. Nice post.

I make a pretty small hole in the air due to being pretty average height and in a pretty aggressive riding position. So my draft isn't going to be nearly as helpful as a larger rider would be.

I'm not sure what my true power capabilities are under 2min. I don't really train that given the TT hobby. I've done indoors and outdoors both an honest 350 for 5min on the road bike and 1:40 at 475 on the TT bike. Indoors recently did 340 for 6:45min up Box hill. But those are one and done kind of things. I don't really have a 1min number. The hills in town are either longer than a minute OR shorter. Not really tried.

Life right now just doesn't really tailor itself to me racing anything but TT and cross. Someday. Once or twice a month weeknight worlds is it. Tried it all, always 2nd if the "big boys" show up. I'm just not strong enough.
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Old 08-11-21, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing

The first... the older rider may be getting something out of it. I'm sure he realizes that crits are just not for him, at least not normally. So to do better for the team overall, it behooves him to be a great leadout racer. There's pride in that work.
Being a good leadout rider is a skillset on it's own. In my days as a Cat 3 sprint monkey, one of my best friends was also one of my favorite leadout guys. He was fearless, crafty, tactical, and sometimes hair-raising to follow, but he made holes and knew exactly where he needed to get me to so I could do what I did best. I couldn't do what he could, and he couldn't do what I could.
"Swedish fish. They're protein shaped." - livedarklions
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Old 08-12-21, 11:28 AM
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Hmmm. My power intervals are dishonest. I get a little bit more speed that way.
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Old 07-28-22, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001
We always say that there is an inverse relationship between talent and the amount of talking about the race after the race finishes.
I was chatting up a storm after I won this week. Lol.
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Old 07-29-22, 07:21 AM
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I think the most trash I ever talked about a race after it was over was this week when I raced (on Zwift) and "won" the A+ race as a low B. Of course, I was the only one in the race (it was part of a series where the points for finishers in all divisions get added together and I noticed no one from any team had signed up to race A+, so I won it with what was essentially a Z2 ride in order to help our total out), but after the As were going crowing about how they'd won our club championship chase race, I felt that I needed an easy win. Probably the only time I'll ever win an A+ race (unless no one shows up again this week and I sneak into the pen at the last minute again).
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