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If you know you will be dropped in a race

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If you know you will be dropped in a race

Old 08-07-14, 11:12 AM
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Gramercy
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If you know you will be dropped in a race

Would you even show up? I have some questions and would like opinions.

I have a race this Saturday. It's been less than 3 weeks since I went over the handlebars in a crash (my first crash) and while my back is still in pain I've done 3 rides this week as it doesn't bother me during the ride. This morning was the first time I put some effort in and did a group ride, but was struggling to hold wheels during a 23mph paceline for an hour or so. I'm planning on doing the Cat 4 race Saturday morning since it's the 2nd to last race in Central Park, and it's less than a mile from my apartment to the starting line. And it's free (club races are free all year if you pay the membership cost - it's a good deal).

Now, I probably will not be able to hang with the pack of 50 riders while they're doing 25-26mph laps, and am thinking I may get dropped on the hills. I may be in the wrong mindset by expecting to struggle but I'm trying to manage expectations.

If you were in this scenario, would you try a specific tactic? Would pushing the pace right out the gate help to try and drop a few immediately? I know in Cat 5's the pack usually just lets people go off by themselves but from what I've read recently, in the 4's usually a break wins the race. Should I put all my effort into attacking on the main hill? Just try to hang in the center of the pack and see if I can hold on for the 40 mile race? Try a new tactic?

Any and all opinions are welcome and appreciated.
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Old 08-07-14, 11:23 AM
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So what if you get dropped. You learn from every race. Try a tactic that you think may work, and if it doesen't, so what, you learned something.
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Old 08-07-14, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Gramercy
Would you even show up? I have some questions and would like opinions.

I have a race this Saturday. It's been less than 3 weeks since I went over the handlebars in a crash (my first crash) and while my back is still in pain I've done 3 rides this week as it doesn't bother me during the ride. This morning was the first time I put some effort in and did a group ride, but was struggling to hold wheels during a 23mph paceline for an hour or so. I'm planning on doing the Cat 4 race Saturday morning since it's the 2nd to last race in Central Park, and it's less than a mile from my apartment to the starting line. And it's free (club races are free all year if you pay the membership cost - it's a good deal).

Now, I probably will not be able to hang with the pack of 50 riders while they're doing 25-26mph laps, and am thinking I may get dropped on the hills. I may be in the wrong mindset by expecting to struggle but I'm trying to manage expectations.

If you were in this scenario, would you try a specific tactic? Would pushing the pace right out the gate help to try and drop a few immediately? I know in Cat 5's the pack usually just lets people go off by themselves but from what I've read recently, in the 4's usually a break wins the race. Should I put all my effort into attacking on the main hill? Just try to hang in the center of the pack and see if I can hold on for the 40 mile race? Try a new tactic?

Any and all opinions are welcome and appreciated.
show up, hang on for as long as you can. work on your positioning above all else, and chances are it'll benefit your fitness. if you were able to hang on previously, chances are, you should be able to hang on. Sag climb the hills if necessary, which then would test your skills in moving up as you'd have to move back up again in order to sag climb the next hill

i do early season 1/2/3 races on tired legs just for s**** and giggles. no way i'll be shaping the outcome, but a 3+ hour road race is great for conditioning.
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Old 08-07-14, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Gramercy
Would you even show up? I have some questions and would like opinions.

I have a race this Saturday. It's been less than 3 weeks since I went over the handlebars in a crash (my first crash) and while my back is still in pain I've done 3 rides this week as it doesn't bother me during the ride. This morning was the first time I put some effort in and did a group ride, but was struggling to hold wheels during a 23mph paceline for an hour or so. I'm planning on doing the Cat 4 race Saturday morning since it's the 2nd to last race in Central Park, and it's less than a mile from my apartment to the starting line. And it's free (club races are free all year if you pay the membership cost - it's a good deal).
Yes
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Old 08-07-14, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Wylde06
Yes
this, for the bolded reasons. free and close? why not. be a +1 to the race count
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Old 08-07-14, 11:33 AM
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less than a mile from your apartment, free, and early in the day...why not? what else do you have to do with your Saturday morning? if you get shelled you can always go for a ride and still have a decent day on the bike.
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Old 08-07-14, 11:34 AM
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Going hard from the start of a race will probably drop you before it drops anyone capable of making the race hard enough to drop you later. Why not take the opportunity instead to work on hiding in the pack, conserving energy and hanging on as long as you can? As an added bonus, if you find that you are feeling better than you expected, you won't have wasted that by blowing up in the first five minutes. Racing with poor fitness can be frustrating, but it is also instructive. You find ways to make every match count. And that knowledge remains useful when you are strong and not hanging on for dear life. And of course I agree with everyone else, if the race is nearby and free, you might as well do it. If nothing else, you'll get a good workout and be stronger for the next one.

Originally Posted by jbenkert111
So what if you get dropped.
Well, no, not really. If you are dropped, you aren't really racing anymore, and you learn a lot more from actually racing than you do suffering OTB.
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Old 08-07-14, 11:35 AM
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As long as you aren't a danger to yourself or others, there is a lot to be learned from doing a race with less than optimal fitness. I also vote for going. Especially since it's free and you can ride there from your place.
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Old 08-07-14, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Gramercy
Would you even show up?
Yes, definitely. In 2011 I had 3 months off the bike due to injury, and the first few races back were DNFs.. few months later, won. Racing is the best way to get back into race shape!

If you were in this scenario, would you try a specific tactic? Would pushing the pace right out the gate help to try and drop a few immediately? I know in Cat 5's the pack usually just lets people go off by themselves but from what I've read recently, in the 4's usually a break wins the race. Should I put all my effort into attacking on the main hill? Just try to hang in the center of the pack and see if I can hold on for the 40 mile race? Try a new tactic?
Lol pushing the pace to drop people, if you're weak, is just about the opposite of what you should do. You'll only drop yourself..

Best bet is to ride conservatively as possible - stay sheltered/don't get in the wind/let the break go. Your goal is to just finish.
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Old 08-07-14, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm
Yes, definitely. In 2011 I had 3 months off the bike due to injury, and the first few races back were DNFs.. few months later, won. Racing is the best way to get back into race shape!



Lol pushing the pace to drop people, if you're weak, is just about the opposite of what you should do. You'll only drop yourself..

Best bet is to ride conservatively as possible - stay sheltered/don't get in the wind/let the break go. Your goal is to just finish.
I raced the day before Patterson last year and was so sore that I decided to attack on the 2nd climb. It narrowed it down to a selection which made it a more comfortable ride for me, but ultimately dropped at the end anyway. That's also a hilly RR with a tailwind hill so much much easier to shell people on than in any crit, though.
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Old 08-07-14, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf
I raced the day before Patterson last year and was so sore that I decided to attack on the 2nd climb. It narrowed it down to a selection which made it a more comfortable ride for me, but ultimately dropped at the end anyway. That's also a hilly RR with a tailwind hill so much much easier to shell people on than in any crit, though.
Yeah but you were strong - even if sore. It makes sense to try to "force a selection" then.

Although if you got dropped in the end... maybe you "selected" someone else rather than yourself!
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Old 08-07-14, 12:06 PM
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there's really nothing in central park that qualifies as 'hills.' if you could finish a few weeks ago and you're not in pain you really should be able to hang in there if you just ride smart and follow wheels. since the season is almost over and you've had a recent crash it likely behooves you to get back out there and end the season with a different taste in your mouth.
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Old 08-07-14, 12:12 PM
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yes.

in your specific circumstance, I'm going to assume you are OK medically and not exacerbating injury (which I'm not certain is a good assumption, but it's what I'm going with). So, your tactic should be to work on positioning, staying in the draft, and not getting dropped. I cant remember ever seeing a hill in NYC but I think there is one in your CP race, so part of your tactic should be getting near the front of the pack before the hill so you can "drift climb" it (start at the front and pedal at your climbing pace while people pass you in an effort to catch back into the draft after you go over the hill, it's a tactic I've used more times than I can count). Dont hit any wind, dont do any attacking, dont close any gaps unless you have to, let others do the work for you and hang on as long as you can. You might surprise yourself.
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Old 08-07-14, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by grolby
Going hard from the start of a race will probably drop you before it drops anyone capable of making the race hard enough to drop you later. Why not take the opportunity instead to work on hiding in the pack, conserving energy and hanging on as long as you can? As an added bonus, if you find that you are feeling better than you expected, you won't have wasted that by blowing up in the first five minutes. Racing with poor fitness can be frustrating, but it is also instructive. You find ways to make every match count. And that knowledge remains useful when you are strong and not hanging on for dear life. And of course I agree with everyone else, if the race is nearby and free, you might as well do it. If nothing else, you'll get a good workout and be stronger for the next one.



Well, no, not really. If you are dropped, you aren't really racing anymore, and you learn a lot more from actually racing than you do suffering OTB.
Could not agree with this more.
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Old 08-07-14, 12:28 PM
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so everyone basically said the same thing. smart place.
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Old 08-07-14, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV
yes.

in your specific circumstance, I'm going to assume you are OK medically and not exacerbating injury (which I'm not certain is a good assumption, but it's what I'm going with). So, your tactic should be to work on positioning, staying in the draft, and not getting dropped. I cant remember ever seeing a hill in NYC but I think there is one in your CP race, so part of your tactic should be getting near the front of the pack before the hill so you can "drift climb" it (start at the front and pedal at your climbing pace while people pass you in an effort to catch back into the draft after you go over the hill, it's a tactic I've used more times than I can count). Dont hit any wind, dont do any attacking, dont close any gaps unless you have to, let others do the work for you and hang on as long as you can. You might surprise yourself.
+1

Originally Posted by grolby
Well, no, not really. If you are dropped, you aren't really racing anymore, and you learn a lot more from actually racing than you do suffering OTB.
+2

I'd just hang for as long as possible while trying to take it easy on your back. The "new tactic" I'd try is to be exponentially more efficient sheltering in the field than before. May not be possible but that'd be my goal. That and the drift back on the hill.
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Old 08-07-14, 12:40 PM
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I've driven a couple of hours then paid to race in a race that I knew that I was going to get dropped. Experience is worth something IMO and racing with people faster than you also helps.
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Old 08-07-14, 12:43 PM
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Well, no, not really. If you are dropped, you aren't really racing anymore, and you learn a lot more from actually racing than you do suffering OTB.[/QUOTE]


Well, yes, really. My point being, if you race and try your best (that's how you learn) and end up getting dropped, it's not the end of the world. To paraphrase an old saying, Better to have raced and get dropped, then to have not raced at all. Unless of course it might hurt your pride.
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Old 08-07-14, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jbenkert111
Well, yes, really. My point being, if you race and try your best (that's how you learn) and end up getting dropped, it's not the end of the world. To paraphrase an old saying, Better to have raced and get dropped, then to have not raced at all. Unless of course it might hurt your pride.
No, go back and read the advice again. No one is suggesting that Gramercy go out hard and try to drop people, because that would be foolish. Every race is a learning opportunity, but that doesn't mean those opportunities should be wasted on foolishness. Going out hard early on when you have low fitness and might be struggling to stay in contact regardless isn't "trying your best," it's writing a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Old 08-07-14, 01:33 PM
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1 mile away and free

next question...
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Old 08-07-14, 01:36 PM
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I'm gonna be the guy against the grain.

But as a sucker at crits I know a bit about getting dropped early in a race. If you know...like KNOW you will get dropped in 5 minutes, you need to think about what you have to give up for those 5 minutes. Do you need race experience? Can you gain something in those 5 minutes? If not, it can be depressing as hell to get dropped after 5 minutes and may be worth it to skip and get in a solid ride by yourself.

With that said, if you think you have a possibility to survive you should probably go. Because there have been races where I don't think suit me and I end up on the podium. But I also know in a 8 corner .5 mile crit, there is a 1% chance I'll last more than 5 minutes.
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Old 08-07-14, 03:44 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback, I like that just about everyone agrees and feels the same way. I do to. I'll report back with results. Definitely going to work on positioning and sheltering more than I usually do.
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Old 08-07-14, 04:04 PM
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My first Cat 2 crit, I lasted 11 minutes. I learned a lot in that 11 minutes though, showed up the next day on a different and tougher crit course against the same guys, and hung in for 21 minutes, and learned even more -- and it wasn't better fitness that I got over night there...

Good luck and soak in what you can. Be honest with yourself about your mistakes.
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Old 08-07-14, 05:56 PM
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What Gary said.
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Old 08-07-14, 08:19 PM
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I would be more worried about making the injury worse. Either due to effort, or potential crash.
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