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No competitive edge.

Old 12-12-11, 08:02 PM
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Debusama
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No competitive edge.

While watching Football this weekend, I got to thinking about the ďintangibleĒ qualities that seem to turn certain otherwise mediocre athletes into superman when the game is on the line. This doesnít just happen in professional football; I see it in my life all the time. For example, I have a teammate who is my main training partner. When we are training, it is abundantly clear that I am the stronger rider: Iím the first to the tops of climbs, in long rides I usually end up pulling for the last 10-miles of the ride because legs are spent, in interval rides I have t let him catch up in the low-intensity parts of the workout because I ride away from him in the sprints.

Regardless of my larger engine, he wins races, and I donít. This is partly due to the fact that I am supporting him a lot of the time, but I fell into that roll, because he was the guy winning to begin with. At first I wrote it off as experience and better pack skills. There was one race, however, were we were about 30-miles into a race full of rollers and relentless 30mph winds when a group of 8-10 riders pulled away from the pack. I took off to bridge the gap; he got on my wheel for a bit, and then went past me to take a pull, but I couldnít hold his wheel and watched him ride away to catch the breakaway as I dropped back into the chase group. He ended up on the podium and I ended up 12th. He graciously thanked me for blowing myself up to pull him up to the breakaway, but the truth was that I hadnít pulled for that long when he pulled past me, and I didnít feel as if I had blow upÖ he was just too fast for me

Clearly that guy who rode me off of his wheel was an entirely different guy than the person I had been training with. I race with a heart rate monitor, and both my peak and average heart rates are higher in races than even my most intense training rides, so it isnít as if the fact that Iím racing doesnít have any effect on the amount of effort Iím able to put out. I, however, am not like my friend who manages to do just about everything but turn green and rip out of his Lycra when the race is on the line.

Is this competitive Mojo something one acquires? The only races Iíve won were in the C-pack of the local week-night series where there was a big enough fitness difference between me and the rest of the pack that I was able to ride far enough off to front that no amount of competitive adrenalin could have caught me in the final 200 meters. I havenít been able to do that yet in the B-pack or in a cat-4 field. I've thought about devoting one training day per week to getting as fast as I can at 1-kilometer time trials so I can take a flyer at the 1000-meter mark and maybe stay off the front. Is there anyone else like me out there who lacks a competitive edge, but has found ways to win without it?
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Old 12-12-11, 09:40 PM
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Interesting post.

I'm like your teammate. You describe me to a T. I'm helpless at the end of long rides, I get shelled by, yes, 50+ year old women in the group rides, and I've been yelled at to shift into a lower gear by absolute novices on the bike (granted this was when I was 215 lbs and couldn't really ride well at all). One of my old teammates (he still races, still friendly) said to me one day many many years ago, after some hard training ride, "It doesn't matter, once you line up at the line you'll be okay". He was implying that my motivation increases my strength and that I would be okay.

It seems to me that you're expending significant energy in training, working hard, pushing yourself, etc. This dulls the razor sharp edge you need in a race, blunts the peaks you need, and makes you vulnerable at the peak speed moments of a race.

Here are a few things that I find helps me, a guy that has been racing so long that I can't expend any significant energy training - most of my "5x5 intervals" end up something like 1x30 seconds and then "ah, screw it, I'm just gonna ride whatever".

1. I don't race on training days. In fact many of my training rides average about 16-18 mph on the flats, and 14-16 mph on short hill type rides. On longer hill type rides my average may dip down into the 12-13 mph range. You only have so much to give; best give your best when it counts. If you track wattage, my training rides typically go 140-160 watts, HR in the 140s, 150s for a hard ride. (Races I typically avg 160-165, and a 170 race means I was totally pegged).

2. I rest before races. I may do a block of training every week, but I'm fresh for my race. For a few years my block was Sunday race, Mon hard 2.5 hour group ride, Tues race, Wed hard 2.5 hr group ride or race. Then I'd spend Thu and Fri with the Missus, spin around for 30-45-60 min on Sat, and repeat. I don't go into a Sunday race ("real race") with spent legs. They're almost bloated with disuse; it takes 20-30 min for them to lose the bloating feeling once I start riding that day.

3. I eat before hard days (races or training). When I say eat, I eat a lot of simple foods, pasta, meat sauce, juice, water. I probably eat close to a pound of pasta (weighing 160-180 lbs). I know I can carry about 2-2.5 hours of glucose in my body (in the liver?) and I want it saturated. I don't want to make an effort 2 hours into the ride and feel my legs crumble. I can't stand the idea of bonking in a crit, but I've done it. I've placed high in important crits after eating just before the start - one big summer crit I downed a hot dog and a large coke right before a hot, hard crit. I dropped both my bottles immediately (super light cages, idiot me), and the 32 oz of Coke sloshing in my stomach became my fluid for the next hour. I got second after watching a friend of mine attack and not responding because we raced together collegiately. I want to be fully fueled when I race. Dieting is over 36 hours before the race. I can start it again after, but it's counterproductive to limit calories before a race then feel a bit weak.

4. I race as best as I can. My good races are those where I average 170-180 watts (race speed might be 26-27 mph; I might win or place top 6). The hard races I average 190-200 watts, race speed similar, I DNF or finish at the back of the field. I try not to see wind for more than 60 seconds in a one hour crit. If I feel great, if my HR is 120 30 minutes into the race, it means I need to keep doing what I'm doing. It doesn't mean I go for a prime or piddle my reserves away doing some stupid move. It means I save and save and save for my one big move (for me the field sprint, for you it might be something else). If I'm not feeling good I do something stupid. Last summer I attacked at the gun at one training race. I soloed for 3 laps. I was off the back on the 4th.

5. I've learned speed. I'm much slower than I used to be, but I used to attack at 40-42 mph. I considered a leadout under 38 mph to be slow (and even in 2010, a 35 mph leadout meant my HR dropped 5 bpm in about 20 seconds, so it was still pretty slow; I won the sprint). I can pull at 35 mph for a bit now; it used to be 38 mph, tickling 40. Without a higher maximum speed you will be maxing out your speed without going fast. I consider a minimum speed solo-but-assisted (slight downhill into a flat sprint) to be about 35 mph. 40 mph is better. 42 mph gets you decent places in a Cat 3 race. If I used to sprint at 42 mph consistently, then responding to a "sharp" attack of 35 mph is really easy. Accelerating to jump on a 35 mph leadout train is really easy (I once cramped with 500m left in a race, had a 4-5 person leadout train pass and drop me, then uncramped, sprinted past the leadout train at about 250-200m to go, and won the race). You must have good speed in your legs, 30 mph should be reasonable almost any time, 35 mph should be a good push when you're trying to bridge, 38-40 mph should be tough but doable.

Now go do it

Hope this helps
cdr
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Old 12-12-11, 11:29 PM
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Riffing off CDR's post for the OP...

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
1. I don't race on training days.
Training is training. Racing is racing. If you trained with me you might think you were stronger. You'd probably know you were smarter because I do the same thing on every group ride.

Good.

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
2. I rest before races.
It seems so obvious. Yet so many people just don't get it.

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
3. I eat before hard days (races or training).
Racing yes. Training, not always. There are some physiological gains that can be made by training "on empty"

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
4. I race as best as I can.
Know your matchbook. Try to learn your competition's matchbook. Bike racing is high speed chess. To many racers tool along waiting for something to happen, then decide if they should react or not. Think ahead. You should know what you're going to do if someone attacks. Or if someone bridges. Or tries to bridge. Or when you're going to attack (and attack again). Or where someone else might.

Unless I'm going to work for a teammate I know several days before a race what I might roll out and when. And I go there to win. I don't go hoping to maybe get a top ten. If my best odds are a long shot, I take the long shot. If I fail, at least I tried. There's no such thing as winning the field sprint. That's just missing the winning break.

Two of the best statements to race by:

"Failing to plan is planning to fail" -John Wooden

"I like to attack when I'm hurting, because if I'm hurting, the others must be dying" -Wim Van Est

Wim is saying is that sometimes it just comes down to will. Take your HRM off and chuck it for racing. It tells you where you were. And you don't need it to know when you're "done". You'll know that when you can't pedal anymore.
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Old 12-12-11, 11:46 PM
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Good points. I agree about not using up your best efforts in training when fit. I've done some great stuff on group rides and thought "why didn't that happen last weekend?"

As to the op I am hot and cold when it comes to killer instinct. Sometimes I'm "pissy" and break legs, other times I just want to quit, sometimes in the same race. I can't control or predict it yet.
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Old 12-13-11, 05:45 AM
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Of the things described, the big thing that I'm not already doing is the low intensity training. I tend to feel like I'm wasting my time if I'm not completely spent at the end of the ride. Although I do rest a few days before a big race, I wonder if I might be over-training a little bit. I have the weekly Tuesday night race, and a group ride I do every week that gets kind of competitive. Between those two, I'm sure that is probably all the practice I need at turning myself inside-out. I definitely do have a tenancy to push myself hard in training rides if I'm not trying to beat someone to the top of hills, I'm trying to beat my best time on that rout. I may very well need to dial it back in my training, particularly in my solo rides.
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Old 12-13-11, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Unless I'm going to work for a teammate I know several days before a race what I might roll out and when. And I go there to win. I don't go hoping to maybe get a top ten. If my best odds are a long shot, I take the long shot. If I fail, at least I tried. There's no such thing as winning the field sprint. That's just missing the winning break.
Somebody famous said that, and I can't remember who it was. Maybe it was you.

I started my comeback season last year with a strategy of marking riders. Since I had no teammates that was one option. It worked out OK but it was not satisfying racing. Then I decided to get more aggressive. I chased a lot of bad sh*t down. Sometimes it went well, most of the time it didn't. At least it was a lot more fun. Then I got to the point where I was confident enough and had made enough tactical errors so far that I was willing to take the long shot. Coupled with the knowledge of the fields, and learning from my errors, that's when the magic started to happen. It is such a mental game that's decided by split seconds. Even on days where you get more than one shot you still only get two or three unless you're the class of the field. Planning ahead, knowing the competition, having a strategy and the sense to call the audible, that comes with time and practice, and knowing your matchbook. I use the weekly training races to hone all three. I use the weekly hammerfest for stress only, and the rest of the group rides for enjoyment. They are not races so why waste mental energy on them.

OP, you may have been overtraining. You may also be overthinking things to the point of frustration. Stop comparing yourself to others. Focus within. Stop asking yourself why you can't and start planning on how you will.
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Old 12-13-11, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Debusama View Post
Of the things described, the big thing that I'm not already doing is the low intensity training. I tend to feel like I'm wasting my time if I'm not completely spent at the end of the ride. Although I do rest a few days before a big race, I wonder if I might be over-training a little bit. I have the weekly Tuesday night race, and a group ride I do every week that gets kind of competitive. Between those two, I'm sure that is probably all the practice I need at turning myself inside-out. I definitely do have a tenancy to push myself hard in training rides if I'm not trying to beat someone to the top of hills, I'm trying to beat my best time on that rout. I may very well need to dial it back in my training, particularly in my solo rides.
That's a problem right there. You need to rest enough to go hard enough to train correctly. And you need to rest enough to race hard enough.
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Old 12-13-11, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
and the sense to call the audible
You lost me there.
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Old 12-13-11, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by plantrob View Post
You lost me there.
Plans are just that, plans. "Calling the audible" is a football term for when the quarterback calls a play, lines up, reads the defense, and calls a different play at the line based on what he sees. In cycling it means reading the race and being willing to drop whatever plans you and maybe your teammates made before the race started and be willing to change them on the fly.
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Old 12-13-11, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by plantrob View Post
You lost me there.
Audible is the "on-the-spot, spontaneous plan restructuring based on new information/tactics ahead". So in football if the QB sees a huge hole in the defense, the QB may call an audible and override the play planned for that down.

It's like when someone (say me) goes to a race. "I'm going to wait for the field sprint". Then 15 rider breaks keep going up the road, but each time just one or two teams that missed it would chase. After 2 failed breaks it was obvious who wanted to be in the break. Therefore instead of thinking "field sprint", it'd be a 15 rider break but with at least the four teams that chased the first two times. When riders from those four teams are launching attack after attack, you need to get up there.

This kind of happened at a P12 race I did this past summer. Big break went. I figured it'd "catch itself". The field chased hard. Another break went, this one gaining huge amounts of time (1 min on a 2 min lap). I chased a bit the second break with all the places up the road and no catch in sight. Then one of the missing teams punched it, it came together, and the correct combination of riders went off. Specifically there was a rider missing, a lone Livestrong guy that the other teams wanted to isolate. The field slowed about 10 mph after that third break - there were no teams left who wanted to chase.

The Livestrong guy bridged solo after the break established itself, bridged a huge gap, 30 or 40 seconds, maybe more, catching them I think with a lap to go. Then he won the sprint. So the tactics were for naught, but it was a good try.

For me? I sat up and watched the sprint from the last turn.
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Old 12-13-11, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Debusama View Post
I wonder if I might be over-training a little bit. I have the weekly Tuesday night race, and a group ride I do every week that gets kind of competitive. Between those two, I'm sure that is probably all the practice I need at turning myself inside-out. I definitely do have a tenancy to push myself hard in training rides if I'm not trying to beat someone to the top of hills, I'm trying to beat my best time on that rout. I may very well need to dial it back in my training, particularly in my solo rides.
Overtraining is a different thing. This is where your body is so exhausted you can't recover. If you did, say, 20 races in 30 days and went from a super lean 157 to a non-sustainable 138 lbs then you're overtrained (I think that's what happened to Joe Parkin one year). Training too consistently hard is different, and can produce results; your peaks are lower and your valleys are higher.

Remember, you don't get stronger by training. You get stronger by resting.

In other words, if you wanted to get better at bench presses, you don't do bench presses 24x7x365. You just get sore, you damage muscles, you start to smell, whatever.

When you rest and recover, you rebuild. Your body overcompensates and builds more muscle. You're not doing bench presses at that moment; in fact, if you were, you'd be tearing down your body more than it could build itself up. After you get enough rest (muscles are rebuilt) you should be better than you were before. Now you repeat the process - work, rest, work, rest, etc.

So if you do some hard training rides (that's not overtraining), then you need to have some appropriate rest.

Pushing hard is only admirable if there's a plan. If there's no plan, it's of no use.

btw as a general rule you should only try and beat a training route time maybe once every blue moon. When I do solo rides I generally do just one loop, at least since about 2006 when I moved to the area. I've tried to break my PR on that loop twice in about 3 years (total maybe 10-12 times total), didn't even think of it in 2010 or 2009. My PR was accidental, I just went out and did a ride and annihilated my regular time. But a PR should never be a consistent goal. By definition a PR requires extensive preparation, rest, food, etc, else it's just a regular hard effort.
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Old 12-13-11, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by plantrob View Post
You lost me there.
I think that was a reference to my football analogy... When the quarter back watches the defense line up, realizes the plan he walked onto the field with wont work, and changes the play. I find my original plan rarely happens. Maybe it's just my area. I plan to race against the Local riders I see on Tuesday nights, but the weekend are 80% strangers.
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Old 12-13-11, 08:26 AM
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Had this exact conversation with someone last week.

There are two rkwaki's: the training and the racing. Apparently I have a lightswitch. When I train I am easy going and delightful to ride with, racing is completely different and to me having been competitive in many sports I had developed the ability to turn it on. The saying "Second place is the first loser" is embedded in my brain.
I agree with all of the statements above regarding diet, rest, etc and I think the one thing that must be mentioned is envisioning what you want to happen. Alpine skiers will close their eyes and imagine themselves running the gates, when I race I run through my gameplan in my head and envision what I want to happen, once I have "sold" myself on the idea I am 100% committed to achieving that goal. BTW the personalities that come with the two Rkwaki's are quite different, the training rkwaki will let you talk a big game, will be helpful and considerate to everyone, will be concerned if you are hurting. The race rkwaki is a "stone cold killer ", a heartless peleton wrecking machine. There's a little stretch but the underlying thought is true.

Due to my size I am regularly discounted as a rider and considered to be weaker than others. Last year on a group ride I showed up to ride with a group where I only knew two of the guys. It was a rather hilly ride and was being treated as a race simulation. Rkwaki was part of all three breaks (we would sit up and wait at rest stops) and after the really steep climb of the day I had someone comment that there was no way a sprinter my size could climb like that (I initiated another break) my comment back was simple, I was committed to make everyone suffer and to break apart the group.

If given the choice I will undertrain and rest rather than overtrain and fight to recover.

Sometimes I question some of the guy's training on the board and wonder if they are overtraining and not recovered. When I was getting ready to go pro I trained in that 20 hour a week range and the only other things I did was eat and sleep (10 or more hours a day).

CDR makes a good point about building muscle and he is bang on, I believe building a big engine on the bike follows the same principle. I raced last year training between 6 and 10 hours (my biggest week was 12 hours) on the bike and about 4 hours in the gym but all of that training was purposeful and with a goal in mind. Much of my training has always been by feel not structure, if I am tired I will skip it or take it easy.
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Old 12-13-11, 08:37 AM
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What kinds of intervals are you doing?

Races end up being more about shorter intensity bursts at lower levels. If you're getting wiped out on the surges, it doesn't matter how good you can go steady. Unless of course you can ride everyone off your wheel when you're just going steady state.
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Old 12-13-11, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
What kinds of intervals are you doing?
My interval training when I'm building for the beginning of the season usually isn't so regimented. My area had lots of rolling hills, so I usually pick a course with a lot of short rollers, sprint up the short climbs, and recover until I hit the next hill. when I'm pressed for time, I'll sprint to stop signs during my commute to work recover for a few blocks and sprint to the next intersection. when the race season gets going, I usually just call the Tuesday night races my interval workout.
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Old 12-13-11, 09:17 AM
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If you close your eyes and imagine yourself in the heat of a race, does your heart start thumping? Do your legs start twitching? Can you feel your grip tighten on handlebars? Do you feel the urge to grind every other rider into submission?

I think that is the mojo that you need to be able to call on somehow. I know that a lot of top athletes seem very cool and unattached. But I think that may just be a result of throwing all of their emotions into their competition, using it as fuel for their engine. You need strong emotions to drive yourself past the edge of physical suffering. Sometimes when things are tough, I find that you can get your head back into it by just slapping a big ****-eating grin on your face.
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Old 12-13-11, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
If you close your eyes and imagine yourself in the heat of a race, does your heart start thumping? Do your legs start twitching? Can you feel your grip tighten on handlebars? Do you feel the urge to grind every other rider into submission?

I think that is the mojo that you need to be able to call on somehow. I know that a lot of top athletes seem very cool and unattached. But I think that may just be a result of throwing all of their emotions into their competition, using it as fuel for their engine. You need strong emotions to drive yourself past the edge of physical suffering. Sometimes when things are tough, I find that you can get your head back into it by just slapping a big ****-eating grin on your face.
Those who have ridden/raced with me enough know when I'm going to get ready to go, my one foot twitches when I soft pedal.
I am not ashamed to say I am a pretty emotional guy and when I am really suffering I look at my partner in crime on my stem (see attached) remind myself (this may sound familiar) of all the sacrifice that I as well as my family have made for this god foresaken sport and I use that emotion to drive through the pain.
A good friend and former teammate (pro rider, Gila winner, multiple Olympic attendee) once told me on an unrelenting climb that cycling is 20% physical, 80% mental and to be successful you have to be able to find something deep inside you to pull you through the pain, my something is the Hello Kitty, my little princess' favorite character
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Old 12-13-11, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
I think the one thing that must be mentioned is envisioning what you want to happen. Alpine skiers will close their eyes and imagine themselves running the gates, when I race I run through my gameplan in my head and envision what I want to happen, once I have "sold" myself on the idea I am 100% committed to achieving that goal.
I done more miles on some courses in my head than I have on the bike, at least certain sections.

Do you pre ride or drive every course? Or at least look at it on a satellite and topo map if you can't make it out there? (I hate it when promoters throw up unreadable course maps on their website BTW...inexcusable). I'm looking for places where I can get separation, or where the wind might bust up the field. Or if I really need to bury it to stay on at certain points.

Do you ride the run in to the finish several times, then go over and over it in your head? There are some crit course where I can draw you every manhole cover, street marking, and cracks in the pavement.

While I'm going over this in my head I'm playing out scenarios...big field, small break, me and the guy that's left...and who that might be.

And BTW that's one of the ways I can tell when I'm getting cooked and ready for a break; I just show up and ride.

There's also a lot of subtlety to race management. Watching team and individual dynamics as noted. Knowing when to ease up slightly if you're chasing or driving a break. And BTW unless you're trying to get caught or soften the field, commit to every break 100%. I want to strangle guys who sit up when the pack gets close and say "They're coming". I had one really strong legged and weak brained guy who did this all the time. He should have won 10-15 races a year and barely won at all. I stopped getting in breaks with him.

You know what? They're ALWAYS coming and if you sit up or throw a half ass effort out there, you'll always get caught. After one 40 mile solo win I had the following conversation:

"You took off but you never got more than 100 yards. At one point we were almost on you then the guy pulled off the front and the other guy sat up. Around the second lap you started to get a little further away then everybody started looking at each other and your teammates and we never saw you again".

A few years ago I won the State crit solo against several teams. I knew I'd be the marked guy but also figured only the strongest team would commit 100% to chase me while the other guys would just be opportunists and hope the strong team burned themselves out (as would I). I know how hard I can TT and for how long, and I knew that anybody chasing would have to ride harder than that, and to keep me close they'd be riding fast enough where a bridge would be unlikely. If I sat in the race wasn't going to be hard, and would end up in a field sprint where teams would be setting up lead outs. I would have a shot, but it would be much smaller. I'd have to pick the right train and muscle my way in on a course that was notorious for last lap crashes.

I needed a break. Took me two tries but I noticed a lull right after our first break had gotten caught where guys were catching their breath. I went on a downhill right before a fast corner where I knew my MotoGP background would help create a bigger gap, and before an uphill twist where I knew I'd make more room.

20 minutes in the strong team got tired of dragging the field around without much help. And that was that. I had this strategy planned out weeks in advance, along with a plan "B" if I couldn't get away.

Last edited by Racer Ex; 12-13-11 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:19 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
I done more miles on some courses in my head than I have on the bike, at least certain sections.

Do you pre ride or drive every course? Or at least look at it on a satellite and topo map if you can't make it out there? (I hate it when promoters throw up unreadable course maps on their website BTW...inexcusable). I'm looking for places where I can get separation, or where the wind might bust up the field. Or if I really need to bury it to stay on at certain points.

Do you ride the run in to the finish several times, then go over and over it in your head? There are some crit course where I can draw you every manhole cover, street marking, and cracks in the pavement.

While I'm going over this in my head I'm playing out scenarios...big field, small break, me and the guy that's left...and who that might be.

And BTW that's one of the ways I can tell when I'm getting cooked and ready for a break; I just show up and ride.

There's also a lot of subtlety to race management. Watching team and individual dynamics as noted. Knowing when to ease up slightly if you're chasing or driving a break. And BTW unless you're trying to get caught or soften the field, commit to every break 100%. I want to strangle guys who sit up when the pack gets close and say "They're coming". I had one really strong legged and weak brained guy who did this all the time. He should have won 10-15 races a year and barely won at all. I stopped getting in breaks with him.

You know what? They're ALWAYS coming and if you sit up or throw a half ass effort out there, you'll always get caught. After one 40 mile solo win I had the following conversation:

"You took off but you never got more than 100 yards. At one point we were almost on you then the guy pulled off the front and the other guy sat up. Around the second lap you started to get a little further away then everybody started looking at each other and your teammates and we never saw you again".
Racer you and I approach it exactly the same, I can tell you every bump, crack, etc. on a crit course in fact I do laps between races to make sure there are no sticks, leaves, dirt, glass, etc. and I can usually envision what sprint line I plan on taking as well as where I will take every corner - I commit to it being "my line". I even pick the point of no return on a sprint - I ramp up from 15 seconds out and the final 10 seconds is all out no matter what but I have a visual trigger that I have picked out on the course.
Everything you said in this post is my exact thought process with the exception of one. I listen to music before a race - I pick one song that has a consistent beat to it and replay it over and over again, this is the song that I replay in my head when I am in the pain cave. I ensures that I am driving a consistent cadence.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:20 AM
  #20  
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Just when I thought I had seen it all...ever see that Saturday Night Live skit with Bob Newhart who runs a store that has everything (e.g., someone comes in for a half of a tv)...I'm going to go looking for the head/cowl of a batman mini-figure and put that on my bars. (yeah, yeah, I know, I could buy an entire figure and dismantle it.)

I'm not quite in the same "flow" in cycling as I was in track & field, in which I was more successful. But, I'm guessing that some of the principles that I trained and competed by would apply in cycling and might be helpful to you.

My recollection is that I used training to focus on building the right kind of strength (both physical and mental) and great technique and, in turn, confidence (a confidence that would allow me to trust myself and to just do and not think about whether I would be doing the "right" stuff when in the heat of competition). When I was competing in an event, I didn't think, I just acted and brought what I had; practice was about teaching my body and mind what to do. Competing was about channeling my energy into one little dot, exploding with energy, and going out and bringing the best that I had that day. When I was competing in my events, I was in my own world, totally focused on acting and going after it.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:20 AM
  #21  
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One more point to add to Racer's - when I am 100% committed to a break I do not look back to see where the group is, the second you look back you are no longer committed to winning...
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Old 12-13-11, 10:22 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by bostongarden View Post
Just when I thought I had seen it all...ever see that Saturday Night Live skit with Bob Newhart who runs a store that has everything (e.g., someone comes in for a half of a tv)...I'm going to go looking for the head/cowl of a batman mini-figure and put that on my bars. (yeah, yeah, I know, I could buy an entire figure and dismantle it.)

I'm not quite in the same "flow" in cycling as I was in track & field, in which I was more successful. But, I'm guessing that some of the principles that I trained and competed by would apply in cycling and might be helpful to you.

My recollection is that I used training to focus on building the right kind of strength (both physical and mental) and great technique and, in turn, confidence (a confidence that would allow me to trust myself and to just do and not think about whether I would be doing the "right" stuff when in the heat of competition). When I was competing in an event, I didn't think, I just acted and brought what I had; practice was about teaching my body and mind what to do. Competing was about channeling my energy into one little dot, exploding with energy, and going out and bringing the best that I had that day. When I was competing in my events, I was in my own world, totally focused on acting and going after it.
I had a very successful rider lean over one time and ask me about it - I told him my story (there is actually much more to it than I wrote), he got choked up and didn't have much to say, other than he understood.

BTW here she is on my ZX-10

Last edited by rkwaki; 12-13-11 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 12-13-11, 10:46 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
Racer you and I approach it exactly the same, I can tell you every bump, crack, etc. on a crit course in fact I do laps between races to make sure there are no sticks, leaves, dirt, glass, etc. and I can usually envision what sprint line I plan on taking as well as where I will take every corner - I commit to it being "my line".
If I have time I'll walk the course. If not, my warmup laps are scouting sessions. In addition to what's already been mentioned, I look for exit routes as well. One particular downtown twilight crit I did this year had granite curbing surrounding the inside and two sharp, off-camber corners. I made sure I knew where the handicap ramps were in case I got squeezed as I'm no linebacker like rkwaki. I get shoved around a lot. Sure enough I got squeezed pretty bad, and jumped the curb using the ramp and stayed upright.
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Old 12-13-11, 11:49 AM
  #24  
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On the course thing it's important to check out the non-line stuff. It's when you're way off line that you need to have an idea of what's coming up (i.e. huge crash in field and you're trying to skirt clear of it).
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Old 12-13-11, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
If you close your eyes and imagine yourself in the heat of a race, does your heart start thumping? Do your legs start twitching? Can you feel your grip tighten on handlebars? Do you feel the urge to grind every other rider into submission?
hah! that's happening to me right now. This thread is making my palms sweaty.
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