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tting for road racing....rkwaki

Old 12-15-11, 11:11 AM
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rotti
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tting for road racing....rkwaki

I didn't want to hijack your thread, so I started a new post.

Honestly, my long-term goal is race in the elites and win. Short-term, I'm a cat5 (2nd year racing) and my up coming goal is to win or at least be in position to win. I know it's general, but I really am motivated by winning. TT on a road bike is my training focus, because based on what I observed during races last year, tting is what would win races. I didn't see strategies or attacks taking place in cat5 races. It was just ride people off. I think riding along and tting the last 1/2 will win most races. Plus most cat5 races last about 60-90 minutes, so I figure training to try and break an hour in 40K will make me pretty tough to beat in cat5's. Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-15-11, 11:18 AM
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After 10 races you should be upgrading to a cat 4, not strategizing about how to win cat 5 races.
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Old 12-15-11, 11:25 AM
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Do it and don't look back.
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Old 12-15-11, 11:29 AM
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Important thing to remember is that is at the Cat 5 level. Please understand I am by no means trying to downplay things but as a 5 there is such a huge difference in talent. There are those who ride for fun and want to try racing. There are those who are just getting started. Some are just trying to learn how to handle a bike. This continues into the 4's and at both levels you are correct in thinking that you can win on sheer strength alone. IMHO pure power and strength can get you to the 3's. When you get to be a 3 things will become more serious as you have guys who are strong enough to upgrade but have families etc and don't want to make the sacrifice everything to train and race. There are also those who have already been a 1/2 and have asked for a downgrade to be able to enjoy racing and manage other commitments in life.
Power, strength and a little smarts as a 3 will get you to a 2, the start of the elite level you want to be at.

Not to sound arrogant (all you other clowns keep your comments to yourself ) but this is where the men are separated from the boys. Once you get to this level you need the power, strength, smarts, patience and experience to continue to move on. I have often let guys try to TT off the front (at 28mph for ex) and left them there long enough to get cooked, then bridged and passed them at 30+ only to see them demoralized and drop out, that is the difference that experience makes. Most guys instinct is to give chase right away, that can often be like letting a guy get up and catch his breath in a fist fight.

I was fortunate to go from a Cat 4/5 to a Cat 1 when I was 18 over the course of less than a summer, much of it was due to my experience in other sports. Just by reading what you have written I can point out one thing that will cost you progressing as quickly as you would like, patience. A quality elite level rider is like good red wine, it takes time to make. Often I have seen young, strong riders without patience who have had the opportunity to go on to bigger and better things but get impatient and give up too early. I can assure you that rising through the ranks will test you as you will make great strides then plateau, it is working through these plateaus that will make you better.

I think with the tutoring of many on this board your passion and drive can be meshed together and you will succeed, just remember patience. It will take time.
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Old 12-15-11, 12:49 PM
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Being able to TT at XXX watts or speed for a sustained time in training or a TT...

And

Being able to attack, get a gap and then hold that same intensity for that same time 3/4 of the way through a rr or crit after having responded to XX number of surges and accelerations during the race are two completely different things IMO.

I've seen several very (good) strong riders that could do it without any problems in the 5's & 4's, but had to work for their money in the 3's. The P12 fields more times than not will have a break, but it isn't a solo rider.

That being said, I have never and will never be able to do it solo. Attack and open a gap? Sure, but I don't have the FTP to make it stick. We used that tactic to get our man in the winning break at a RR this year... I opened up a gap and the group caught me. The second they let up, my teammate hit the launch button and was able to make it up to the break.

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Old 12-15-11, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
I have let guys try to TT off the front (at 32mph for Ex) and left them there long enough to get a big gap and win
Sorry, couldn't resist.

Winning OTF requires four things: commitment, self knowledge, motor, and separation.

It's never a high percentage deal, but you have to be willing to commit 100% to the effort. You'll get caught more often than not and more often than not you'll have burned enough matches where recovery isn't going to happen.

You need to know how hard you can go for how long...too much and you're cooked before the finish, not enough and you get caught.

The top two of course are irrelevant if you don't have the motor in the first place.

And if you have the top three you need either the tactical nous or big acceleration to get enough of a gap to hold off the initial chase. Terrain and wind can be your friend, and you can often find a lull that will let you get away. Listen for a lot of heavy breathing. Or a lot of chatting. Sometimes you drill it, sometimes you roll off; you need to develop a feel for what's appropriate and going to work.

The typical Cat 4/5 scenario is that someone attacks, everyone chases, attack is caught, everyone recovers, repeat to a field sprint.

Help break the cycle. Send your donation to the Racer Ex Memorial Fund For Field Sprinters. PayPal info to follow.
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Old 12-15-11, 01:28 PM
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The guys I've seen that TT off the front of a 4/5 race to win have also been the same ones to have their Cat 2 upgrade within a year or so.

YMMV.
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Old 12-15-11, 01:29 PM
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Thanks for the advice. That's kind of along the lines of my tentative long term plan. Win cat4/5's with pure strength and threshold. Then when I get to the 3's, start focusing on my limiters at that level. I have no visions of tt'ing away from that level of riders. At least by then I should have the edurance and threshold built to a respectable degree. Of course all of this is subject to change based on changing strengths and weaknesses. You right about his being a great site. I've learned alot on here.
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Old 12-15-11, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Sorry, couldn't resist.

Winning OTF requires four things: commitment, self knowledge, motor, and separation.

It's never a high percentage deal, but you have to be willing to commit 100% to the effort. You'll get caught more often than not and more often than not you'll have burned enough matches where recovery isn't going to happen.

You need to know how hard you can go for how long...too much and you're cooked before the finish, not enough and you get caught.

The top two of course are irrelevant if you don't have the motor in the first place.

And if you have the top three you need either the tactical nous or big acceleration to get enough of a gap to hold off the initial chase. Terrain and wind can be your friend, and you can often find a lull that will let you get away. Listen for a lot of heavy breathing. Or a lot of chatting. Sometimes you drill it, sometimes you roll off; you need to develop a feel for what's appropriate and going to work.

The typical Cat 4/5 scenario is that someone attacks, everyone chases, attack is caught, everyone recovers, repeat to a field sprint.

Help break the cycle. Send your donation to the Racer Ex Memorial Fund For Field Sprinters. PayPal info to follow.
Just realized that was supposed to say for example, not for ex
BTW I drill it. Good advice RX - too often people make semi-serious attempts at breaks - when I go, I am gone. That's the difference between losing and getting beat. Losing is when you commit 85% and get caught, getting beat is when you commit 100% and get caught. I can guarantee that I will never lose but can often get beat.
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Old 12-15-11, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Sorry, couldn't resist.

Winning OTF requires four things: commitment, self knowledge, motor, and separation.

It's never a high percentage deal, but you have to be willing to commit 100% to the effort. You'll get caught more often than not and more often than not you'll have burned enough matches where recovery isn't going to happen.

You need to know how hard you can go for how long...too much and you're cooked before the finish, not enough and you get caught.

The top two of course are irrelevant if you don't have the motor in the first place.

And if you have the top three you need either the tactical nous or big acceleration to get enough of a gap to hold off the initial chase. Terrain and wind can be your friend, and you can often find a lull that will let you get away. Listen for a lot of heavy breathing. Or a lot of chatting. Sometimes you drill it, sometimes you roll off; you need to develop a feel for what's appropriate and going to work.

The typical Cat 4/5 scenario is that someone attacks, everyone chases, attack is caught, everyone recovers, repeat to a field sprint.

Help break the cycle. Send your donation to the Racer Ex Memorial Fund For Field Sprinters. PayPal info to follow.
This is exactly why I'm planning to train like a TT specialist. My typical race last year went like this.
Wife: "what's your game plan for this race?"
Me: "I'm going to just sit in, let eveyone else do the work, attack near the finish?"
Wife: "sounds good"

5 miles in, the numbingly slow pace eats at me and I launch off the front. Ride alone for 5 miles or so, get caught. Ride along, then get dropped on the first big climb. Bridge back, attack, get caught, get dropped, fight like hell to bridge back but end up towing 2-4 guys to the finish and get blasted the last 100m by the 2-4 guys. This was pretty much every race. I usually finished in the 10th-15th range. This year the plan is to hold it all in without burning matches and wait. Then launch 1 attack and solo off the front the last 10 miles or so based on the terrain. I just don't know if I have it in me to wait, but one of these days I will ride off the front and not be seen again.
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Old 12-15-11, 01:50 PM
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Breaking an hour for a 40k isn't rare, even amongst cat 5s.
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Old 12-15-11, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Winning OTF requires four things: commitment, self knowledge, motor, and separation.
....and lots of wind.

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Old 12-15-11, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by rotti View Post
This is exactly why I'm planning to train like a TT specialist. My typical race last year went like this.
Wife: "what's your game plan for this race?"
Me: "I'm going to just sit in, let eveyone else do the work, attack near the finish?"
Wife: "sounds good"

5 miles in, the numbingly slow pace eats at me and I launch off the front. Ride alone for 5 miles or so, get caught. Ride along, then get dropped on the first big climb. Bridge back, attack, get caught, get dropped, fight like hell to bridge back but end up towing 2-4 guys to the finish and get blasted the last 100m by the 2-4 guys. This was pretty much every race. I usually finished in the 10th-15th range. This year the plan is to hold it all in without burning matches and wait. Then launch 1 attack and solo off the front the last 10 miles or so based on the terrain. I just don't know if I have it in me to wait, but one of these days I will ride off the front and not be seen again.
Hahahaha -patience my friend.

Watch Le Tour - some breaks can get more than 15 minutes and the group still doesn't have the urgency to chase - not only are they professionals but have the learned the art of patience.
In a race last year everyone stormed the line at the start to get a good position. Ole rkwaki sauntered up to the line dead last whistling and goofing around. It was a crit with a 1.8 mile lap. Having worked out approximately how many places I had to make up per lap to get to the front I figured things backwards so that I would be up at the front with about 5 laps to go. As the laps went on I slowly worked my way up, by the time I got there there was a 2 man break about 20 seconds up on the field. Sat in at the front for a lap 100% committed to launching an attack next lap by the start finish line. 5 laps to go - start/finish banner and BOOM off I go - bridged the gap in 1/2 a lap, the two in the break jumped on and good ole rkwaki started pulling - 4 laps straight - last lap I saw there were only two of us left and friends estimated we had 40+ seconds on the field with less than a mile and 2 corners to go. Looked back at the guy on my wheel and told him to pull through which he did then subsequently crashed us both out on the second last corner (broke my wrist and grade 5 shoulder separation) - moral of the story - patience would have won me the race as the third man in the group actually won solo BUT I never should have let up to have someone else pull.
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Old 12-15-11, 02:54 PM
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having a few alliances to help you block the field will also help. Try and make some friends to help you. Offer to pay them your winnings. (bribe, just like the cops!)
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Old 12-15-11, 03:12 PM
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One of the problems I foresee in the strategy is that you won't learn how to ride in a group if you're soloing off the front regularly (or, conversely, sitting at the back or off the side waiting to make a move). This skill is critical at the more advanced categories, even "only" the Cat 3s.

A huge casualty of this "solo off the front" thinking was Rebecca Twigg, in her early career. She was so afraid of the field she'd ride behind by a few lengths or off to the side a few widths away from the group. She lost a couple big races by very small distances (notably the Olympic RR), but she was strong enough to do a 160km 42x18 training ride before a 50km men's points race at the Olympic Training Center (which she won).

Strength-wise if you can win solo in the 5s and 4s you'll be a 2 or a 1 by the end of the summer, if you can handle yourself in a field. A couple Cat 5s did that last year, one going from 5->2 (and getting 4th? in his first P12 race) and another 5->2 (winning a few road races on the way). Both were extremely good pack handlers, able to read a race, etc - in fact that first person beat me regularly as a 3 no matter what I tried.

There's a local Cat 1 who used to solo off the front and win. This was his strategy:
1. Get free of the field, usually early, usually by doing a hard effort, 30-33 mph for a couple minutes.
2. Steady TT at 28 mph.
3. Listen for time gaps from friends/allies/spectators/etc.
4. If gap drops by a few seconds, go 31 mph for a lap.
5. If he wants to increase gap, go 31 mph for a lap.
6. Whatever happens, don't go slower than 28 mph.
7. Continue until you win race. For him that meant, one time, doing 47 or 48 miles solo, in front of a chasing P12 field.

I lose his strategy at #2, sustaining 28 mph minimum for the next 60-90-120 minutes.
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Old 12-15-11, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post

Winning OTF requires four things: commitment, self knowledge, motor, and separation.

It's never a high percentage deal, but you have to be willing to commit 100% to the effort. You'll get caught more often than not and more often than not you'll have burned enough matches where recovery isn't going to happen.

You need to know how hard you can go for how long...too much and you're cooked before the finish, not enough and you get caught.

The top two of course are irrelevant if you don't have the motor in the first place.
OP, print this out and hang it up in front of your trainer so that you can read it over, and over, and over again until you believe it.

In my mind nobody on this board knows more about what it takes to solo to victory than him. Read. Absorb. Work hard to learn what he's telling you. Do your homework. Train hard. Most importantly, learn who you are and what you are capable of as a rider. I say this over and over but if there's only one thing you can do to make yourself a better racer it's this. Know what you are capable of.

The last race I won was a USA Crits race with some of the best riders in the country in the field. I soloed OTF for 10 minutes for the win. The lull that started it was a prime that nobody wanted. I went for it and opened a decent gap, looked back, and drilled it. I am no RacerEx and can't go balls out for 10 minutes straight without blowing up. There was also a hill on the course. So I modulated my power on every lap, giving it 100% up the hill, 80% down the back side, and 90% on the flats. I did that for three laps, eased off a little on the fourth, and gave it everything I had on the last lap.

My point is, everyone would like to think that they're strong enough to ride off the front balls out and win. Some of us can do it, a few can do it consistently. They are the exceptions in the upper categories. If you manage your power well, you'll have a chance, but you have to be listening to your body the whole time, and not be afraid to give up a little time to make sure you don't blow on the penultimate lap.
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Old 12-15-11, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rotti View Post
I didn't want to hijack your thread, so I started a new post.

Honestly, my long-term goal is race in the elites and win. Short-term, I'm a cat5 (2nd year racing) and my up coming goal is to win or at least be in position to win. I know it's general, but I really am motivated by winning. TT on a road bike is my training focus, because based on what I observed during races last year, tting is what would win races. I didn't see strategies or attacks taking place in cat5 races. It was just ride people off. I think riding along and tting the last 1/2 will win most races. Plus most cat5 races last about 60-90 minutes, so I figure training to try and break an hour in 40K will make me pretty tough to beat in cat5's. Thanks for the help.
In addition to attempting to solo away from the field and beat everyone by a mile, you might also think about winning a sprint too, e.g. beating them by an inch.

You never know which will suit you better.. I wouldn't put all your eggs in one basket so early in your career, but that's just me.
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Old 12-15-11, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
Breaking an hour for a 40k isn't rare, even amongst cat 5s.
Not if you do it Merckx style
Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
snip.
Damn, sorry to hear you were robbed out of a podium like that
Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
snip
Shovel also belongs to the group who went from scratch to cat 2 in one year, though he did have previous racing experiences.
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Old 12-15-11, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
In addition to attempting to solo away from the field and beat everyone by a mile, you might also think about winning a sprint too, e.g. beating them by an inch.

You never know which will suit you better.. I wouldn't put all your eggs in one basket so early in your career, but that's just me.
Good point Matt. Took me a while to understand what I did best, for me I prefer not to solo as I am a sprinter and have been for a long time. I'd rather hold on to my matches and burn them all at one time - lap 99 of 100.
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Old 12-15-11, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
Not if you do it Merckx style

Damn, sorry to hear you were robbed out of a podium like that - should have buried him... oh well lesson learnt...

Shovel also belongs to the group who went from scratch to cat 2 in one year, though he did have previous racing experiences.
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Old 12-15-11, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
I'm curious, how does one crash oneself out in a two-man break?

Next time you seen him, should give him the ole Cinzano
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Old 12-15-11, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
I'm curious, how does one crash oneself out in a two-man break?

Next time you seen him, should give him the ole Cinzano
He came by me a pedaled through a 90 degree corner at about 26-28 mph clicked his fn pedal and pancaked in front on me, hitting a manhole cover and stopping dead - couldn't avoid his sprawling body and t-boned him. He came up to apologize to me in the tent and me and my wife both advised him to keep on walking... f@cker
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Old 12-15-11, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
Shovel also belongs to the group who went from scratch to cat 2 in one year, though he did have previous racing experiences.
Technically yes, but in reality, no. I raced as a Cat2 in the 80's and quit. USAC didn't have my old number so I got my license again this year as a Cat5 and immediately requested an "upgrade" to Cat3 based on previous experience, which was granted as the Upgrade Coordinator knew who I was and verified it with a few people. I never raced one race as a Cat5. I upgraded to Cat2 this year on points and previous experience.
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Old 12-15-11, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
Technically yes, but in reality, no. I raced as a Cat2 in the 80's and quit. USAC didn't have my old number so I got my license again this year as a Cat5 and immediately requested an "upgrade" to Cat3 based on previous experience, which was granted as the Upgrade Coordinator knew who I was and verified it with a few people. I never raced one race as a Cat5. I upgraded to Cat2 this year on points and previous experience.
Nice. You racing category or Masters?
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Old 12-15-11, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
I'm curious, how does one crash oneself out in a two-man break?

Next time you seen him, should give him the ole Cinzano
I've seen guys solo otf crash out in a crit on the last lap several times. It happens, people get tired and careless and overcook corners or pick stupid lines.
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