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last week after my training crit i posted "blowin up" about my dying after making an effort to make a break and later bridge to a break. thanks for the responses all. i followed some of the advice during training this week, and will continue to.

so this week i rode a fair bit smarter, getting to the front early to avoid being in the back as the slower riders drifted back and having to work a ton to get back on. this was a 25 lap race. at lap 18, things started to calm down a bit, and i started to drift to about the 1/2 way point i nthe pack. 2 laps later a breakaway went. same spot as last weeks, about the same number of riders. i moved up to the front, but missed as a few riders went to bridge. i stayed in the wheels and watched as about 15 riders hovered maybe 150m up the road. slowly, that lead group started to slip away, and a few riders slipped off the back of it. at lap 10 the break was at 50 seconds, at lap 8 it was down to 35. It was starting to seem like the break wasnt going to be reeled in, and alot of the riders who didnt have huge teams started getting to the front, myself included. i talked to a rider whom i sort of know, and we agreed that when he got the front (i was behind him the paceline) we were gonna go for it and try to bridge up, somewhere around 35 seconds at this point. the timing worked out well that he got to the front just over the crest of the hill that makes up the start/finish. we attacked. by the time we were down the (gradual) backside of the hill we looked back to see we had a considerable gap on the pack, and had made it about 1/3 of the way to the break. the rider i was with looked at me and said he was done. i kept on pushing it, maybe 80%. i got to about 2/3 of the way to the break and then the break started taking off, while the pack stayed the same distance behind me. i started riding a good tempo, but nothing crazy. within a minute it became clear i wasnt gonna make it so i sat up and waited for the pack to swallow me up. i got back in and rode in the pack to the finsih, getting somewhere in the top 5 in the pack's sprint (worthless, because 10 riders were off the front). so my question this week is, how can i know when to go and when not to go on the break? last week things didnt work out for the break, they got swolled up pretty quickly, this week they stayed away, what gives. i realized after the race that this week most of the bigger teams i nthe race had riders i nthe break and hence werent working to chase. is there any general guidline to knowing when to go, other than know you opposition well and look for big breaks that have riders from the big teams in them? thanks in advance
 

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CC09 said:
what gives. i realized after the race that this week most of the bigger teams i nthe race had riders...
Well, is this still Cat 4/5 racing? If so, I've always seen "team tactics" be limited to "generally don't chase down your teammate. Try to win."

The 4/5s chase EVERTHING, pretty much.

In Criteriums, the time is so short it's a big lottery. It'll sometimes get brought back, but if it's a big break, it won't. There's no magic way to "know," but if you see a bunch of guys go off the front, just go with them!

In flat road races, it will almost never stick, unless a couple of riders are so strong they can put time into the whole field, at which point you're dead anyway.

In a hilly road race, once a good gap is formed with a few strong riders, it can stick, and if you've missed it, you're in for a tough chase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Argentius said:
In Criteriums, the time is so short it's a big lottery. It'll sometimes get brought back, but if it's a big break, it won't. There's no magic way to "know," but if you see a bunch of guys go off the front, just go with them!

In a hilly road race, once a good gap is formed with a few strong riders, it can stick, and if you've missed it, you're in for a tough chase.
i knew that about hilly road races. my "tactics" on those are follow the front 5 guys as long as I can, cause once I can't, its over.

these are crits are actaully pretty long(well, for me) . the first one i did was about 55 minutes (30 laps on a .8mile course, the second one was a bit over 45 minutes, this one as well (25 laps of .8 miles). in a short, flat crit id expect stuff to get pulled back. but this is a fairly long crit (at least compared to the cat 5 crits ive done that are like 25-35 minutes). and it has one small hill in it that can tend to mix things up a bit, which is why i was asking. i guess next week ill just go with the break? last week i tried and it burned me up, so maybe not go as hard but still make the break? thanks
 

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Yeah, I mean, if you're in the break and get burned, you did all you could, right? It's better than my race last week; there wasn't a break, but I hung out in the pack too much and didn't use all my gas. Didn't help, eh?
 

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There's no certain way to know if a break WILL make it... especially in a cat 4/5 situation. In the 1/2's team tactics play a larger role but that's a different discussion.

The main thing here is that you were doing a "training crit". Thinking that sprinting for 15th place is "pointless" is the wrong approach. The way I would look at it is that you got a good effort in (when you tried to bridge) and you got a sprint in at the end. So it sounds like you got a good workout physically, however what it sounds like you're missing is....

You need to pay attention to positioning. This is the main reason you weren't in the break in the first place, right? You said that at "lap 18 things started to calm down a bit", but yet you fell back to midpack. Why? One thing is certain... when things "calm down a bit" you can expect an attack. Therefore, you should be alert and near the front. If you find yourself falling to the back because you just took a pull at the front and are now drifting back, you need to really make an effort of picking your speed back up to close to that of the pack. If you STAY CLOSE to the paceline as it passes you, and you're going just slightly slower (as opposed to much slower), you are more likely to get a rider (probably someone who's tired) sit up a bit and create a gap for you to jump back into. You'll find this harder to do as you move up in category, but if you're just cruising and the pack is flying past you, you'll never get someone to "let you in". Now you're at the back. This is basically me telling you to stay at the front. If you do this, you'll be able to respond by either reacting yourself, or following a wheel.

Lastly, because this is a "practice crit", don't be afraid to go with whatever goes. So what if it's a failed attempt. Best case is you stay away, worst case is you get caught but got a good effort in (and improving your recovery time). After a while, you'll be able to go with more and more breaks until eventually you're going with everything!

Keep at it! :thumbsup:
 

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Pick a stronger bridging companion.

You aren't going to reach yourself unles you have amazing 5 minute power.

Or, be in the first break. If this means going with every one and being more attentive, so be it.
 

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The break that will have a higher chance of sticking, even in Cat 4 or 5, is the one that occurs after several previous attacks and that has a few different teams represented. That way, the peloton is tired from reeling in the other attacks and the teams represented in the break are going to do nothing to bring it back. That is why it always helps to be on a bigger team. Bigger teams can send break after break. They use up the "sacrificial lambs" earlier in the race, wear down the peloton and then start attacking with their bigger guns later in the race.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks all, i think its just something ill start to pick up with more experience

pullthrough - your right, 15th isnt pointless, i did get in some good training and a few good efforts. also, ill spend more time at the front next week, even when thinigs slow down, and try to go with more of the breaks. its tough to go when everyone is counterattacking though

spunout - no way i have that kind of 5 minute power....so ill just go with the first break, maybe

otoman - i think next week im gonna look up some of the results from the past few weeks online, see who the "big guns are" of the bigger teams and keep an eye on them. if all of a sudden 4 or 5 of them are up front and loook like they may make a move, im guessing i should be there too.
 

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CC09 said:
i kept on pushing it, maybe 80%. i got to about 2/3 of the way to the break and then the break started taking off, while the pack stayed the same distance behind me. i started riding a good tempo, but nothing crazy. within a minute it became clear i wasnt gonna make it so i sat up and waited for the pack to swallow me up.
You can't bridge halfway. And you can't win if there's a break up the road. If you have to burn a match (or a whole book of matches) to get to the break, then so be it. Sometimes your race winning (or losing) move will come well before the last 5K. Or sit up and try to motivate more bridging companions from the pack. But being in no-mans-land and working, but not quite bleeding from your eyeballs to try to bridge is a waste of energy.
 

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I just bought this book yesterday @ my lcoal Borders, "Smart Cycling" by Arnie Baker.. he's got some non fluff information in it on the questions you ask.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/06...f=pd_bbs_1/102-2136585-6824157?_encoding=UTF8


As a side note - I was suprised to see a book from 1997 still in print!
I also found a 1994 Chris Carmichael training book still in print - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/08...102-2136585-6824157?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
I passed on this book.




CC09 said:
last week after my training crit i posted "blowin up" about my dying after making an effort to make a break and later bridge to a break. thanks for the responses all. i followed some of the advice during training this week, and will continue to.

so this week i rode a fair bit smarter, getting to the front early to avoid being in the back as the slower riders drifted back and having to work a ton to get back on. this was a 25 lap race. at lap 18, things started to calm down a bit, and i started to drift to about the 1/2 way point i nthe pack. 2 laps later a breakaway went. same spot as last weeks, about the same number of riders. i moved up to the front, but missed as a few riders went to bridge. i stayed in the wheels and watched as about 15 riders hovered maybe 150m up the road. slowly, that lead group started to slip away, and a few riders slipped off the back of it. at lap 10 the break was at 50 seconds, at lap 8 it was down to 35. It was starting to seem like the break wasnt going to be reeled in, and alot of the riders who didnt have huge teams started getting to the front, myself included. i talked to a rider whom i sort of know, and we agreed that when he got the front (i was behind him the paceline) we were gonna go for it and try to bridge up, somewhere around 35 seconds at this point. the timing worked out well that he got to the front just over the crest of the hill that makes up the start/finish. we attacked. by the time we were down the (gradual) backside of the hill we looked back to see we had a considerable gap on the pack, and had made it about 1/3 of the way to the break. the rider i was with looked at me and said he was done. i kept on pushing it, maybe 80%. i got to about 2/3 of the way to the break and then the break started taking off, while the pack stayed the same distance behind me. i started riding a good tempo, but nothing crazy. within a minute it became clear i wasnt gonna make it so i sat up and waited for the pack to swallow me up. i got back in and rode in the pack to the finsih, getting somewhere in the top 5 in the pack's sprint (worthless, because 10 riders were off the front). so my question this week is, how can i know when to go and when not to go on the break? last week things didnt work out for the break, they got swolled up pretty quickly, this week they stayed away, what gives. i realized after the race that this week most of the bigger teams i nthe race had riders i nthe break and hence werent working to chase. is there any general guidline to knowing when to go, other than know you opposition well and look for big breaks that have riders from the big teams in them? thanks in advance
 

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shawndoggy said:
You can't bridge halfway ... If you have to burn a whole book of matches to get to the break, then so be it.
That's what I'm starting to learn, too. You can't be trying to make / bridge a move, and also "hold something back." I finally put that together in a road race a while back, where a move of 7 guys got up the road, and I missed it. Finally I got to the front, and they had a minute's lead. I completely buried myself, somehow caught the break, sat in for a few turns, and managed to recover enough to go with the winning move and get 2nd. Not quite, but if I had tried to "save myself for the sprint" in bridging, I would not have made it.
 

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CC09 said:
i think next week im gonna look up some of the results from the past few weeks online, see who the "big guns are" of the bigger teams and keep an eye on them.
This can help a lot, as you can be pretty sure that the "big guns" know who each other are and are marking one another. If a break goes with none of them in it, they'll let it go as they'll assume it doesn't have the horsepower to stay away. But if there's one of them in it, they'll all try and get in. Then their teams (assuming some teamwork -- a 50/50 assumption in 4/5 at best) will work the front to let the break get away, as "their guy" is up the road.

Sometimes, though, you just have to gamble. There's no sure way to know if a break will make it, but that's racing. Just try to read the situation to make your bet on a likely candidate and go for it.

That said, a 15 person break should usually be able to make it, assuming some cooperation in the break and some teamwork behind. It's just math: say 15 guys up the road, 30 in the pack. But of those 30, at least 15 probably have teammates in the break, so even if they don't know how to block, they at least won't work, so now instead of 15 vs. 30 it's 15 vs. 15. And of the remaining 15, half will be just pack fill (never work, just trying to finish with the pack), and we can also assume that they're at least slightly less strong on average than the breakaway members, as they weren't agressive enough to get in the break to start with. As for the break, particularly one that large, not everybody will be working well, but if at least 5 of them are, and another 5 willing to at least pull through, then the break should have the numbers to stay away. Watch out for breaks where one or two guys go hard and tow another 13-14 away, then when they pull off, the other 13-14 just look at each other, unwilling to do anything.
 

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I need to find my way to the front instead of sitting on the back. :blush2:


CC09 said:
last week after my training crit i posted "blowin up" about my dying after making an effort to make a break and later bridge to a break. thanks for the responses all. i followed some of the advice during training this week, and will continue to.
 

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bas said:
I need to find my way to the front instead of sitting on the back. :blush2:
I feel your pain. You ride around in circles, you suffer some, but not all that much, you think, I'm doing well, I'm conserving my energy, your victories are VERY small (I didn't crash, I'm turning a little better, I'm descending a little better, etc., etc.), but you finish the race with gas in the tank, and no glory at all.
You need to set a goal for every race, and the goal for your next race shall be this. This and nothing more.
Get thee to the front.
It's not really that hard. Yes, it can be nice and cozy in the pack, and you want to finish, and you don't want to be dropped. But it's not racing.
You just need to get your nose out in the wind and get up there. It's not as hard as you think it is, and it's worlds more fun. And don't worry another minute about being dropped. It is a far, far better thing to get dropped with a story to tell than to finish 56th.
 

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Argentius said:
That's what I'm starting to learn, too. You can't be trying to make / bridge a move, and also "hold something back." I finally put that together in a road race a while back, where a move of 7 guys got up the road, and I missed it. Finally I got to the front, and they had a minute's lead. I completely buried myself, somehow caught the break, sat in for a few turns, and managed to recover enough to go with the winning move and get 2nd. Not quite, but if I had tried to "save myself for the sprint" in bridging, I would not have made it.
That is the conclusion I have come to.If I am going to try and save some gas for the sprint then I am going to go with whatever runs up the road and try to be lazy in the break.I'm not going to be a complete waste but I'm not going to work hard.

I think trying to save some fuel for the finish is something you decide to do when you are in a position to do so.Trying to bridge to a break and save fuel for the finish aren't things I think that go hand-in-hand.I'll either go for it with everything I have and when/if I get there decide how much ammo I have left after I am there or go with it when it first takes off the front.
 
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