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Race/Fast Pace Line Etiquette

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Race/Fast Pace Line Etiquette

Old 05-24-19, 12:10 PM
  #26  
wphamilton
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This is in a race, and the objective is to win or place or help a teammate win, or something along those lines? I can see staying near the front - not wanting to get left out of the action - but I don't get why you'd want to be in front pulling the field. Explain?
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Old 05-24-19, 12:48 PM
  #27  
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If your team is employing cat 5s as domestiques, ask your coach. Do what he says. If you're in a race on your own, you're not there to make friends, you're there to win. Let someone else pull. If you're just talking about training rides, then let 30 riders cycle through. You won't be helping the group much if you pull more than everyone else and then blow up or bonk halfway through the ride.

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Old 05-24-19, 01:35 PM
  #28  
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There's better folks in the 33 forum to answer this.

In the couple race things I've done, it's all about picking your battles. People may choose to not let you in so you move rearward into a less favorable position in the back (more accelerations due to accordion effect). But, the problem if you never let someone in is that they remember. Then they won't let you in later. And that may mean an impasse at a key moment. Give and take.

Make the decision quick. I have wasted too much energy not getting back on and recovering and ended up with poor results. I also don't abandon attacks soon enough and get into recovery mode. That'll kill ya. If you're somewhere up front and hurting but you or the group you're in isn't gapping the others, call it sooner than later.

In the group ride, move to the back. If folks are treating the group ride like a race, same answer as the race.

Next......I don't care how experienced you are, if it's a group ride call out the ****ing hazards. I get so freaking pissed when a bunch of know it all Cat 3's and a lone 2 or 1 thinks they're the hot **** and won't call anything. It's a group ride, not a race.

Race? Might not be reasonable to be able to call stuff as people are taking more unpredictable lines than a group paceline. So it's pointless to point out a bad hole if people are strung all over the road. People may yell gravel if the race crew missed a part of road and it rained heavy overnight strewing some out.

Race smarter than me.
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Old 05-25-19, 06:02 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Misnomer - there are riders who wear the same jersey that enter the same race as cat 5's. Many think of themselves as a "team".
You'd be surprised at how much tactics can be picked up through hundreds of hours of watching Youtube & listening to Trainer Roads
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Old 05-26-19, 06:00 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Psychocycles View Post
You'd be surprised at how much tactics can be picked up through hundreds of hours of watching Youtube & listening to Trainer Roads
Tactics are only as good as your fitness. A team with a bunch of weak riders doesn't have a lot of tactical options to play.
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Old 05-26-19, 07:04 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Tactics are only as good as your fitness. A team with a bunch of weak riders doesn't have a lot of tactical options to play.
Fair enough, although we are stronger than our category would suggest as Cat 4/5 just means we haven't raced much, but is no indicator of how long/how hard we've trained on our bikes. That said, we'd easily get absolutely crushed by a Cat 1 team, and we know it. That's one reason I'm here, to learn what I can to punch above my weight
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Old 05-26-19, 12:50 PM
  #32  
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From my perspective , the only tactics a 4/5 category racer should be concerned about is getting out and in to the category 3. If a rider is always working for others, they will be stuck. Make sure the guys you are working for are willing to return the favor.
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Old 05-26-19, 01:03 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Psychocycles View Post
Fair enough, although we are stronger than our category would suggest as Cat 4/5 just means we haven't raced much, but is no indicator of how long/how hard we've trained on our bikes. That said, we'd easily get absolutely crushed by a Cat 1 team, and we know it. That's one reason I'm here, to learn what I can to punch above my weight
Sure. I don't know about your particular situation, but I find that talk of tactics is almost always simply that; talk. Cat 5s, cat 3s, cat 1s/2, doesn't matter most of the time. And for racing, it doesn't matter how long or hard you've trained. What matters is how much racing experience you have. Because racing is not training, and group rides aren't races.

Even if you're "stronger" than your category. Most of the time, that simply means that someone doesn't understand tactics or racing because if they were truly stronger than their competitors and they have a sound ability to tactically carry out a race objective, then they won't be in that category very long. I think people tend to overestimate their strength and then, due to that, overestimate their tactical ability. And I've certainly done that as well in the past, to the point now that I don't "plan" anything. I know what can happen in the races and I'm either fit enough to do something with it or I'm not.

But tactics. Eh, especially in lower categories. Someone plans to start a break. Or cover a break. Or counter a break. And all of that. But then they can barely push 4 w/kg or ride in a paceline or take a corner at a decent speed and no break with them driving it is going to succeed because they lack the fitness and skills to carry out such tactics. And then they can't finish. Which, to be frank, is probably the most important, least utilized and understood skill there is in all of amateur racing, but especially in the 3s/4s/5s.

If a team is "stronger" than their racing category, it genuinely should not be a big deal to set a hard enough pace the last mile to keep your team in front and start the sprint. Even if you're abysmal spinters, if you're lined out 3-4 deep when the sprint starts at 200 meters to go you should have guys in the top five.

To me, that's what would actually represent being "stronger". You do what you want in the finale of a race. That that doesn't hardly ever happen is testament to the fact that most people aren't nearly as strong as they think and those that are lack the know-how to actually do anything with that strength. If I'm one of the strongest people in the race, I go to exactly the spot I want to go to in the last mile. It doesn't matter if I have to spend that entire time in the wind, or jump 3-4 times, or cover a last minute attack or whatever. If I can go to the spot I want, then I'm one of the strongest. If not, then I'm not and I don't make the podium and next time I don't make a tactical plan I can't complete.

Anyway, those are my observations from racing and spectating hundreds and hundreds of races throughout the years. Of course, that may not be germane to some situations, but it seems 9 times out of 10, race-winning tactics aren't tactics. They're strong racers racing well, and everyone else trying to figure out why their "tactics" don't ever actually produce a result.
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Old 05-26-19, 01:26 PM
  #34  
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This reminds me of watching Lutz Hesslich, who was the dominant match sprinter at that time from Germany, compete at the Seoul Olympics. His opponents would try all sorts of tactics against him and he would really wouldn’t respond. When the bell rang for the final lap, he would unleash his sprint and win. He was so much faster then the rest of the field, he really didn’t need to employ a lot of tactics.
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Old 05-27-19, 08:03 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by firebird854 View Post
Group rides are different altogether
This is really important to understand, and it is often misunderstood as is regularly demonstrated on group rides and by some posts in this thread. For example, on a group ride, you should be working together to move the group faster--your focus should largely be on the greater good and the best way for you to contribute. If you are just trying to hang on, then your contribution should be to stay at the back. When a good group ride works together, it is really fun and it allows people of varying abilities to learn and progress.

In a race, you are all working against each other (excepting teammates or possibly in a break). Racing is about leveraging your strengths and exploiting the weaknesses of your opponents.

But, I often see people show up to a group ride who just watched a grand tour stage ready to crush it. This sucks! I had to deal with that last Saturday for 100 miles. Know what kind of ride you are on and act accordingly. If you don't know, ask the ride leader. If they can't provide a substantive answer, it's on them.

For many years, I competed, trained, and judged retrieving dogs for field events at a fairly high level. The mantra among knowledgeable dog trainers/handlers was to, "Train don't test." Meaning, when you are training, focus on training your dog's various skills. Don't just go out and try to copy what they will face in competition all of the time. As a judge, it was easy to identify those that didn't understand and apply this concept. The same applies here.

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Old 05-27-19, 08:49 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Psychocycles View Post
Fair enough, although we are stronger than our category would suggest as Cat 4/5 just means we haven't raced much, but is no indicator of how long/how hard we've trained on our bikes. That said, we'd easily get absolutely crushed by a Cat 1 team, and we know it. That's one reason I'm here, to learn what I can to punch above my weight
Plenty of good advice in this thread from experience racers. I always thought the point of Cat 5 was a place to experiment and observe, and less about winning. Learn how to animate the race by attacking at various times including when you (and everyone else) are hurting. Observe and think about why other riders might not want to let you in front of them. You're not the only rider who read it's good to be near the front of the pack.

Regarding tactics, I like Mike Tyson's take: Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.
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Old 05-27-19, 09:15 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Plenty of good advice in this thread from experience racers. I always thought the point of Cat 5 was a place to experiment and observe, and less about winning. Learn how to animate the race by attacking at various times including when you (and everyone else) are hurting. Observe and think about why other riders might not want to let you in front of them. You're not the only rider who read it's good to be near the front of the pack.

Regarding tactics, I like Mike Tyson's take: Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.

Or if that isn't enough, get their ear/nose bitten off...
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