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Noob Racing Questions Part II - How do you move up in a field?

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Noob Racing Questions Part II - How do you move up in a field?

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Old 03-02-07, 12:11 PM
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Ghostman
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Noob Racing Questions Part II - How do you move up in a field?

I've done lots of paceline work on group rides and club rides, and when you pop out and into the wind for whatever reason, or you get displaced or whatever, a nod of the head or a flick of the finger and the other folks let you back in.

My question: Since you are supposed to ride smooth and hold your line, how do you move up in a crit field? Meaning, how do you pass other riders, who don't want to be passed and what is the difference between fairly moving up versus being a danger to other riders?

In group rides, everyone says "don't cross wheels" -- how does this apply in a race? How do you pass and how do you know if there is room? What relationship should there be between your front wheel and others?

Thanks.
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Old 03-02-07, 12:24 PM
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Get your bars ahead of their bars, and just gradually move over. Easy as that...
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Old 03-02-07, 12:31 PM
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Wierd drafting trick I've used, on long straights:

Basically, if the pack is strung out pretty long, and it's single file or near it at the head of the group, I move to the outside, put in a quick burst, and then move up to the front or near the front hugging the line as tight as possible. You almost get sucked along, even though you aren't in the draft. A lot easier than being completely in the wind, and it might only work because I'm small. Not sure how it works, to be honest, and this wasn't the best description.
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Old 03-02-07, 12:32 PM
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Good reply.

The easiest way in Criteriums is to improve your cornering speed. A lot of riders leave gaps into and out of turns, if you can carry more speed in the turn you can slide right up into that gap w/o even touching a pedal. You are only a danger if you are taking a significantly different line than the field, (eg you are way inside entering a turn).

Then there is the brute force method, just get on the outside of the field and ride up (or look for someone else making this move and get on their wheel).
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Old 03-02-07, 12:41 PM
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Great question. Difficult to answer from a keyboard as there are alot of scenarios or situations at play.

If out in the wind and want back in, I like to ride alongside the line of riders and wait for a gap, then you kind of "drift" into the void. This isnt a herky jerky move, it's a subtle slide and requires going just a touch slower than the line you want to get into, a momentary acceleration to drift into position and to get going as fast as the line without disrupting it. I always figure that if my handlebars are in front of the rider I'm sliding in front of, and there's sufficient gap to get into, the space is mine. If done correctly no one will ever shout at you for this move. I dont know if I explained this very well, maybe someone else who's a more descriptive writer can chime in.

Moving up - there are a few ways to do so.

- around the pack to the front. requires alot of energy and room on the outside of the pack, both of which might be in short supply. This as an emergency measure, like if caught too far back, see a couple of marks moving up with some momentum and if not there, yer toast.

- follow wheels and occupy available space through the pack. This requires patience and sometimes nerves, but saves alot of energy. Some racers are really good at this, it's skill that I'm really working on, I find it's difficult for me to do unles the field is strung out and going fast.
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Old 03-02-07, 12:43 PM
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It hard to explain but when you are in the pack you just know how to move up.
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Old 03-02-07, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by riskus
It hard to explain but when you are in the pack you just know how to move up.
Ha ha. I hope that is true. "Use the force Luke...."
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Old 03-02-07, 12:56 PM
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i mean you just see the right times to do it. ive only been in two races but each time there were obvious times you could move up. Mostly comming out of corners when quick gaps would show up.
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Old 03-02-07, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by riskus
i mean you just see the right times to do it. ive only been in two races but each time there were obvious times you could move up. Mostly comming out of corners when quick gaps would show up.
Yeah. I am sure some of this will become obvious....
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Old 03-02-07, 01:02 PM
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so are you racing tomorrow or just watching i cant remember.
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Old 03-02-07, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by riskus
so are you racing tomorrow or just watching i cant remember.
Racing, baby. I am going to dial it up to 234 watts and watch the field blow apart....
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Old 03-02-07, 01:11 PM
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See, this is exactly the kind of tactical coaching I'm proposing over the coaching thread.

Great responses everyone.

To add to the cornering idea: when you go into a corner, downshift one or two cogs to make the sprint out of the corner easier. I always get 2-5 places ahead just sprinting out of the corners, without burning any extra energy. Everyone else is just grinding at 20mph in their 30mph gear trying to shorten the accordian.

Getting your elbows in front of theirs really does work great -- but not so much so in Cat 3 an above. They know how to defend their position better. Nobody's moving in on me like that...
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Old 03-02-07, 01:14 PM
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If you get your bars in front of someone else's you basically control where they go, you just have to remember that you racing and not in a "friendly" group ride. If you want the spot, just take it, safely of course.

It also helps to get comfortable riding in tight spaces. Last weekend I was moving up, at one point i had a guy touching my left hip and another touching my right forearm. As long as you don't make any sudden movements you should be fine, riding my rollers all winter really helped me with this one.

One thing I learned this past weekend is to not get boxed in by the pack and the side of the road, makes really hard to move up at all. I think it comes down to picking the best wheel to follow, I guess this one comes with expierence.

I have only been in two races and I have learned tons, I try to watch the more expierenced riders and learn what they do, joining a team also helps with this.

Here is a interesting article about racing tactics that you may find interesting:
http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fu...30&status=True
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Old 03-02-07, 01:26 PM
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You find an open space, and move in. If there is no open space, create one, but dont cause a crash. A little elbow rubbing never hurt anyone.
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Old 03-02-07, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghostman
Racing, baby. I am going to dial it up to 234 watts and watch the field blow apart....
Are you going to know anyone else there? Ill be getting there around 10:15 or so if you want someone to warm up with.
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Old 03-02-07, 01:49 PM
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Moving through fields is purely experience. Don't do anything you are uncomfortable with yet. Just keep aware, make smooth moves and don't over react if someone starts leaning on you. Shoulder and elbows are useful in the last few laps of a crit, but if you are just starting, better to just wait until the last lap and make your big move to the front, even if it blows a bit of your sprint legs.
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Old 03-02-07, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by riskus
Are you going to know anyone else there? Ill be getting there around 10:15 or so if you want someone to warm up with.
No. All my friends play basketball or jog or do some reasonable, non-crazy sport. And I have not joined a team yet so I will be an unaffiliated orphan. I'll definitely try to catch you for a warm up. I plan to get there at 10 to register. I will be on a light blue Bianchi. I'll be wearing my replica World Championship Road Race Winner's jersey for good luck ....
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Old 03-02-07, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
Getting your elbows in front of theirs really does work great -- but not so much so in Cat 3 an above. They know how to defend their position better. Nobody's moving in on me like that...
Agreed. It's also a great way to cause a wreck if you try it coming into a turn. If you're trying to squeeze onto someone else's wheel, you're likely to get an elbow flick instead of a gap.

The best thing to do is move up and try to find a gap in the pack. If you don't find one, then you'll be at the mercy of someone in the field to let you in.
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Old 03-02-07, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo76
Then there is the brute force method, just get on the outside of the field and ride up (or look for someone else making this move and get on their wheel).
Be patient and someone else will pull you. Another way which is not so popular is to get to the front, do a short pull and every fourth or fifth pull do this again. If you show people that you are willing to pull, they will gladly let you stay up front.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:37 AM
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If its a CAT 5 race you move up very carefully. I would not force your way into a hole while racing CAT 5. Most of the guys wont know how to react properly.
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Old 03-04-07, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
...Getting your elbows in front of theirs really does work great -- but not so much so in Cat 3 an above. They know how to defend their position better. Nobody's moving in on me like that...
So what do you suggest? I've done lots of 3/4 races, and never had any problems moving through the field like that. Especially if I can get my hips in front of someone else's bars...it could be because I'm bigger than most people I 'spose, but failing that the only other thing I've used to any success is the old stick my nose in the wind and drill it move - which isn't the smartest way to race most of the time
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Old 03-04-07, 01:09 PM
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The pack is an ebb and flow,speeding up and slowing down. Stay near the outer edges of the pack and when the pack slows, don't use the brakes, start going around people. You'll be coasting and getting a few places.

Even when you are stuck in the middle, there is almost always a hole in front of you that you can stick your front wheel into when the pack slows.
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Old 03-04-07, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus
So what do you suggest? I've done lots of 3/4 races, and never had any problems moving through the field like that. Especially if I can get my hips in front of someone else's bars...it could be because I'm bigger than most people I 'spose, but failing that the only other thing I've used to any success is the old stick my nose in the wind and drill it move - which isn't the smartest way to race most of the time
Well, maybe my experience is a side-effect of my size too, at 6'4" Still, I draft pretty close, and for someone to move in with their hips in front of my bars would have them contacting the guy in front of me first. I've also just had a lot of bump drills (push-over trackstanding contests at lights, etc.), so I would be more likely to let your hip touch my hand on the hoods, and push you back out of the way, if I really wanted to keep my spot.

A lot of times I get some position advantage by not shifting when the pack in front of me shifts, like the wheel I want just happens to move over for me, and I don't let the other guy follow it.

Certainly some light contact and close pressure can get you around. Sometimes I let people in because it doesn't really matter at that point in the race.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:06 PM
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Lots of good advice in this thread. I'd add time when you move up. When the race is fast, and the pack strung out in a long line, it costs a lot of energy to move up. Improve your position in those lulls where the race slows and people relax momentarily.

Also hold you position into the headwind portion; Improve your postion on the downwind leg.
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