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More hand wringing: summer racing

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More hand wringing: summer racing

Old 05-10-11, 03:33 PM
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More hand wringing: summer racing

I need some more hand wringing over racing.

I'm not a sprinter no matter how many people compliments my kick. I appreciate it, but i'm not cut out to be a field sprinter, simple as that.

Alas, all of the local races are sprinter's races. One criterium series in NJ (should also mention that this is where i face planted last year) and a few racing series in Prospect Park (where a pothole trashed my wheel). There are races in Central Park, but they don't count for upgrade points.

I'm thinking of taking the next eight weeks or so off from racing (haven't raced for the past three either) and focus an building a stronger aerobic engine through a ton of base, though I have no idea how strong i might eventually get. I'll race in the races mentioned above, but the hope is that i get the hell out of dodge when people get dodgy in the pack: either OTF or dropped out after getting caught.

If i'm lucky, i might be able to do a few real road races (Pawling, Tokeneke, and Bear) by hitching a ride with a friend, but there's no guarantee that i'll get to do them.

Please critique away.

Thanks
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Old 05-10-11, 03:50 PM
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Nothing pushes me like the combo of being OTF of a race, and knowing I don't have to save anything.

You say everything around you is a sprinter's race, but somebody's gotta chase down attacks.... make them work for it?
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Old 05-10-11, 03:55 PM
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Work for teamates?
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Old 05-10-11, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by brianappleby
Nothing pushes me like the combo of being OTF of a race, and knowing I don't have to save anything.

You say everything around you is a sprinter's race, but somebody's gotta chase down attacks.... make them work for it?
Yeah, i can just be the "stupid guy who goes OTF." And frankly, i could care less if i get caught.
Originally Posted by ericm979
Work for teamates?
I wish i could, but i'll be riding solo this summer
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Old 05-10-11, 04:25 PM
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You called your last thread just about the same thing.
I promise I'm not being rude here, I'm in much of the same boat as you... here are some helpful links.

This loafer of a guy I know
"Attack. If that doesn't work, attack again. Train to attack. They are a low percentage deal but for most people sprints are a no percentage deal and I'd rather win a couple of races a year than have a great collection of 6th places."... remember - Aki has lapped the field in a 2 man break before. (no disrespect to Aki, just an example)

This guy who works 3 jobs, is a dad, and still goes out guns blazing
"We are there to race. Get in there and kill it. Look for weakness. Go off the front. Stick your nose in the wind every now and then. What are you saving it for? The next race? The “sprint?” Get over yourself. You’re probably not going to take either of those. You’ll learn more by trying something new and aggressive RIGHT NOW"


I think we all know that you aren't Jens... no one is really - your engine isn't that big.
You aren't Hushovd, you don't have his engine either.
You haven't been doing this for years and years - give yourself time to grow into what your skill set is.


Spend time finding what does work for you, then do it.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:27 PM
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Old 05-10-11, 04:42 PM
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Ian, you are right. Though whereas in the first few threads i was mainly concerned about physical fitness, this one is more about what to do come race time.

I guess all in all, what i really need is a good coach, but i can't afford one. Alas, the 33 is my source for inspiration and knowledge.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:49 PM
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Are building a big aerobic engine and racing over the next 8 weeks mutually exclusive? Around here if I took the next 8 weeks off I'd miss a big part of the season. So, I'd recommend racing when you can and trying to learn from those races even if you don't taper for them and therefore reduce your training. Sounds like that is kind of your plan anyway?

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:50 PM
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I think you could race a bit without a coach and just try different things, no?

It's a problem I have too, waiting to race until I think I can win. If we're racing only to win, we're both likely going to end up seriously disappointed.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:51 PM
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I still don't get why you gave up on sprints, jimbo.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mcjimbosandwich
Ian, you are right. Though whereas in the first few threads i was mainly concerned about physical fitness, this one is more about what to do come race time.

I guess all in all, what i really need is a good coach, but i can't afford one. Alas, the 33 is my source for inspiration and knowledge.
No you don't. You just need to stick to the plan you make instead of changing it every time something happens.
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Old 05-10-11, 05:01 PM
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cmh and Ygduf, you raise a good point regarding the purpose of racing. I recall MDCatV's advice for me on moving through the pack. Worst comes to worst, i'll do that for 2/3 of a race, take off, get caught, and call it a good outing.

Originally Posted by mattm
I still don't get why you gave up on sprints, jimbo.
that one crash that made me look like this




Originally Posted by ridethecliche
No you don't. You just need to stick to the plan you make instead of changing it every time something happens.
I didn't have a plan for the summer. Thought the team was going to organize trips to nearby road races, but it isn't.
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Old 05-10-11, 05:27 PM
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Yeah... I can understand that.

However, couldn't a similar injury happen at any point in a race? One of our guys got sent to the hospital with all sorts of injuries while in a break (of 2-3, guy in front of him reached for a bottle and swerved)..

I can't tell you what to do, but if I was your coach, I'd coach you to get back into sprints.. they aren't so bad if you start out in the top 5 - it's starting 10+ back when things seem really dicey I think.
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Old 05-10-11, 05:59 PM
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Jimbo, your OP has many different threads running through it. Let me see if I can break them down.

You say you're not a sprinter, but you have a kick. Forget about the ewang for now. Can you bridge a gap? Can you catch riders in a sprint? Have you done any sprint specific workouts? Do you challenge the sprints on your weekly club rides? You may have what it takes, it just may be latent. Or you may be psyching yourself out. Unless you're a fast twitch genetic freak, sprinting is a developed skill that takes not only quick reflexes but split second timing.

You are afraid of crashing and hurting yourself seriously again. That is a very legitimate concern. I've been there so I can relate. You have to ask yourself if you are willing to go all out and only back off when you are in real danger. There's a boatload of difference between that and backing off because the sprint looks dicey up ahead. Do you understand the difference? The best way to get your mojo back is to go out and do it when there's nothing on the line. Training crits, weekly worlds.

You won't do "sprinter's races" because they don't count for upgrade points. So what. See above. If you want to develop a sprint, forget about the points. Develop your sprint. Prioritize what you want out of your racing.

You have an issue with travel and teammates and getting to races. That's a tough one. All I can say is that if you really want to get there you will find a way. Rent a car. Take the bus and ride to the start. If I'm there you can use my truck as a staging point. Seriously. You can find a way if you want.

Overall in your most recent posts I see a guy who likes to ride, train, and race, but is never satisfied with his results. He is always pushing for the next level and never getting there. If it's not fun anymore Jim, do your eight weeks of base deal and do your best to just have some fun. Go on a B ride and beat up some people. Go on the Nyack ride and kill yourself to hang with the P/1/2/'s until you crack. Take some longer rides to the beach, to the country, preferably with others. Enjoy the beauty of New England on your bike. If you're missing all this, then you're missing the best part of cycling.
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Old 05-10-11, 06:21 PM
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jimbo, you are too new to racing to worry about all of this crap.

I say this because I feel I am still new myself.
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Old 05-10-11, 08:11 PM
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i took off the last two weeks that i'd originally planned to race, one on account of a cancellation and the other on account of deciding i didnt wanna spend a really nice day in the car for nearly 3 hours to pay 40 dollars for an office park crit so we and a bunch of teammates went for a long, spirited but friendly ride in the rockies.

i used to ride up in the rockies all the time before i started racing, but in the last year i've spent way too much time looking at my garmin and focusing on my cadence and zones and not on how lucky i am to live so close to beauty like this.

anyway, all that is to say i feel really recharged and optimistic about this weekends race, which is a priority race for me. my volume has been good, but i backed away form the rigid intervals and instead just went out and played with friends. we played pretty hard, mind you.

after this weekend i'll dig back into the structured training for the summer, but this was a welcome change, without actually being a rest. highly recommend it to anyone whos in a rut.
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Old 05-10-11, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mcjimbosandwich
...
Please critique away.

Thanks
You're panicking. Don't worry about it. I do too. Every April. It's a stupid time of year when the weather is too unpredictable to consistently plan training rides outdoors and you really aren't looking at your indoor training with any relish. And it's also the intersection between the spring classics road races winding up and crit and track season just getting going.

If you have a kick, you need to learn to use it. Sprinting in a field is a skill just like any other and if you have the capability, then you'd be remiss to let that capability go to waste. Do whatever it takes to get comfortable in the field. If you aren't comfortable in the front, tailgun. Just learning to ride comfortably in the field is a huge thing for a sprinter; it's something I'm just now getting the hang of. You've crashed and you are cautious. That's natural. Instead of getting the hell out of dodge when things get "dodgy", you need to learn how to protect yourself in the midst of all that. That'll take time and a ****-load of practice.

Until then, why sell yourself short on your attacks? If you attack with a plan to get caught, guess what, you're going to get caught. There's no such thing as a "sprinter's race". A race is a "sprinters race" only if everyone sprints. So why not attack? Not with the intent to get caught, but with the intent to win.

First and foremost though, you are panicking. Whatever race you have planned for this week, cut it. This weekend, or the soonest you next have some time, strip your bike of all its electronic bits and just ride for 3-4 hours. Take a break from racing, but only for a week or two. Make a definite plan for the next race you enter (no "conditionals-I'll-race-if..." stuff) and concentrate on just getting some hours on your bike in the meantime. Make a plan for your training schedule, including your weekly race series; what you will work on in training and what you will try to practice in the practice races. The key is you practice stuff in the practice races. If you want a win OTF, then you attack. But only if you want to learn to win that way. A better idea is to just practice sitting in the field, moving around from the front to the back and to the front again. Most of the time when things get "dodgy", its not so much other people doing stupid things, it's really about your comfort level being violated by what is going on around you. When things stop getting "dodgy" when you are sitting in the middle of the field, then you can start practicing the finish sprint.

I apologize for the WoWs I just published. I feel strongly about what you are going through with your issue with sprint finishes because I went through it myself after a few very hard crashes at our weekly training race and on the track the first couple years I was racing. Three big crashes in two years and they all f-ed me up pretty good, though not nearly as bad as yours (lots of contusions, concussions, sprained shoulders, a couple cracked ribs, and a ripped tendon in a finger). So I know where your reluctance about sprinting comes from. Hell, last year basically all my good race results came from me going off the front, despite being a good sprinter on paper. I worked all last year on getting comfortable in the field so that this year I can start learning my way around a field sprint.
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Old 05-10-11, 10:49 PM
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Non-sprinters win sprinter's races all the time.

Do as suggested and keep attacking week after week, attack after attack... don't be surprised if you get so strong that you can roll around in the top 5 positions with relative ease on the last lap... sprinting gets much simpler then. It also sets you up for WR / kilo attacks.

And don't let this crap get you down... it's only a stupid bike race. If it's not fun, treat yourself to some "reward rides" in beautiful country with good friends, enjoy your fitness.
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Old 05-11-11, 03:51 AM
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I'm impressed with the amount of care, concern and wisdom articulated. Jim, you are a lucky soul to receive that (and us readers benefit too)!!

Create enjoyment and happiness with your riding and racing. Sounds like you got some nice pushes above for getting there. Yes, this is easy for me to say because I'm not in your boat.
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Old 05-11-11, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees
Non-sprinters win sprinter's races all the time.
Ayup. I'm a good example of that.

If you don't feel like racing, don't race. It's supposed to be fun, not a job.

And I'm not at all a fan of the advice here to jump back in on field sprints, if you're not comfortable the chances of your nervousness causing you to do something that'll take your or someone else down raises considerably. Most crashes in the lower cats happen because of nerves and over reaction to little things. I saw the same thing when I was teaching m/c racers, the more nervous people were, the worse they rode. It's the same way in a lot of sports.
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Old 05-11-11, 10:24 AM
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maybe you can figure out what you either enjoy or are good at, or both, if not sprinting and work that into the crits. anything from going off the front with 1 lap to go, to going off the front on the first lap, can win a crit. crits can be great fun even for non sprinters.
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Old 05-11-11, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bostongarden
I'm impressed with the amount of care, concern and wisdom articulated. Jim, you are a lucky soul to receive that (and us readers benefit too)!!

Create enjoyment and happiness with your riding and racing. Sounds like you got some nice pushes above for getting there. Yes, this is easy for me to say because I'm not in your boat.
BG, you are absolutely right on this. I am grateful for having this knowledgeable group of people from whom i receive valuable advice. It's like having a coach, and for that, grazie mille to all!
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Old 05-11-11, 11:19 AM
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there's no such thing as a sprinters race at the level of racing we do. there are non-sprinters races, but not sprinters races.

if you dont want to be caught up in field sprints, you need to get yourself off the front. it's as simple as that really. over and over again, accepting that most of the time you'll not be successful and have a lot of races that you dont finish. physically, that's pretty easy. mentally, accepting an all or nothing proposition is really difficult. who wants to talk to others about finishing OTB, or tell they're buddies they finished 50th and 5 minutes behind the winner but they raced aggressively? it's way easier to explain that you finished 18th in the main pack. that sounds more impressive, when really, it's the same.

i can relate to the sprinting thing. i have some pop, have pretty good timing, and know how long my finishing kick can last, but i also possess a fear gene that frequently leads me looking for open space too soon, abandoning a lead out, and basically ****ing up a sprint. it's something i've struggled with since i started racing.

if you dont want to race because it's causing you anxiety and not fun vs. good nervousness and having fun then dont. but rationalizing it as i'm not going to do the sprinters races and i'm going to train instead during the heart of the racing season is kind of silly. you'll find more form and learn how to race by training and incorporating racing into your training like cmh describes.
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Old 05-11-11, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mcjimbosandwich
Yeah, i can just be the "stupid guy who goes OTF." And frankly, i could care less if i get caught.
I'm that stupid guy. I've gone solo in each of my races. I'm going to bury myself to try to stay away but I don't care if I get caught. I have faith that other riders will start investing with me and that more victories (and skills/fitness) will come.

Have some fun. Lighten up. Devote a block of days to unwinding and smelling the flowers if you want. I recently did the same myself after having a few off days in a row.

It sounds like you're competitive...race if you want. Maybe make some different goals for yourself. For instance...l take at least one prime....I will bridge to attacks by so-and-so...I will hit xyz watts for a certain number of minutes, etc. Goals don't need to be oriented to the finish line and I think you're doing yourself a serious disservice if you only feel success when standing on the podium or collecting points. My goal at the last race was simple - be aggressive. After not sprinting at the prior race (doh), all I wanted was to go home knowing that I erred on the side of being too aggressive. I got caught and I don't care.
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Old 05-11-11, 11:40 AM
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I race to, in equal parts, 1) learn how to race in a pack and 2) get a high intensity work out in. I'm not going to win anything for a long time, if ever. But if I let that stop me from doing crits and road races, I'd never get any better, which is the part I enjoy.

So go do the sprinters' crits and don't sweat the last 200 meters.
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