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Discussion Starter #1
Frequently I enter races where the fields are very small: maybe 8 in my category. Many are racing w/o teammates. I'd rather not pull unless there is a breakaway
1.What are some tactics when others say" we're working" and want to rotate?
2.What are some tactics when our field gets combined with the lower categories and others want me to pull in the peloton?
 

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grasso e lento
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Try this

Make short pulls. It's your choice but it makes for a better race even if you pull for 5 seconds.
 

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velobellagirl said:
Frequently I enter races where the fields are very small: maybe 8 in my category. Many are racing w/o teammates. I'd rather not pull unless there is a breakaway
1.What are some tactics when others say" we're working" and want to rotate?
2.What are some tactics when our field gets combined with the lower categories and others want me to pull in the peloton?
If there's not a breakaway that you need/want to catch, there is no need to work together, that's stupid. Remeber the strongest rider normally dosen't win, so play it cool, and let them blow themselves up. Why are they trying to go faster anyways, there's no point.... Dosen't make any sence. It's not a groupride, it's a race, do what you want to do, if they want to keep the pace up, for no reason, let them, that's great for you, fantastic. Tactics? Suck wheel, stay fresh, let them wear themselves out, if you have a teammate, perhaps you should think about a break late in the race after the other people have been chasing casper for a while.

Eventually they will figure out that racing should really be called, "sucker out front", and the game is to not be the sucker out front.
 

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FTF said:
If there's not a breakaway that you need/want to catch, there is no need to work together, that's stupid. Remeber the strongest rider normally dosen't win, so play it cool, and let them blow themselves up. Why are they trying to go faster anyways, there's no point.... Dosen't make any sence. It's not a groupride, it's a race, do what you want to do, if they want to keep the pace up, for no reason, let them, that's great for you, fantastic. Tactics? Suck wheel, stay fresh, let them wear themselves out, if you have a teammate, perhaps you should think about a break late in the race after the other people have been chasing casper for a while.

Eventually they will figure out that racing should really be called, "sucker out front", and the game is to not be the sucker out front.
How should I respond when they start talking or getting pissed off with me? Ignore it and keep quiet?
 

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FTF said:
If there's not a breakaway that you need/want to catch, there is no need to work together, that's stupid. Remeber the strongest rider normally dosen't win, so play it cool, and let them blow themselves up. Why are they trying to go faster anyways, there's no point.... Dosen't make any sence. It's not a groupride, it's a race, do what you want to do, if they want to keep the pace up, for no reason, let them, that's great for you, fantastic. Tactics? Suck wheel, stay fresh, let them wear themselves out, if you have a teammate, perhaps you should think about a break late in the race after the other people have been chasing casper for a while.
That's a good idea, but in a group as small as 8 with everyone else working, it's risky to sit at the back and not contribute. If the group knows what they're doing, they'll do the inverse of relay attacking. The wheel sucker is last wheel and the next to last wheel lets a gap open. Either the wheel sucker comes around and pulls back to the pack, or the rider who opened the gap jumps so both must bridge alone. Either way the wheel sucker is doing a fair amount of work. Then another rider takes up next to last position and the process repeats over and over. It doesn't take long for the wheel sucker to either get the message and contribute to the group (less work than constantly bridging back on) or get dropped for good.
 

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velobellagirl said:
How should I respond when they start talking or getting pissed off with me? Ignore it and keep quiet?
Well, I dono, but after you crush their little bones in to the ground maybe they will decide that working isn't a good idea? I would probably tell them that I'm racing to win, and that I assume that they are doing the same, no hard feelings.
 

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asgelle said:
That's a good idea, but in a group as small as 8 with everyone else working, it's risky to sit at the back and not contribute. If the group knows what they're doing, they'll do the inverse of relay attacking. The wheel sucker is last wheel and the next to last wheel lets a gap open. Either the wheel sucker comes around and pulls back to the pack, or the rider who opened the gap jumps so both must bridge alone. Either way the wheel sucker is doing a fair amount of work. Then another rider takes up next to last position and the process repeats over and over. It doesn't take long for the wheel sucker to either get the message and contribute to the group (less work than constantly bridging back on) or get dropped for good.
Yes, this is true, and I did think of it, but if they are chasing nothing, then I doubt they would do this. Honestly though, I've never ran in to this problem, nor have I ever raced in a pack this small before, so I'm applying what I've encountered, and what I'd do, if I were ever in this situation, which I'll probably never be.

What she could do which is also sneaky, is roll through the paceline, and fall off when the first rider falls back, sucking their wheel, and using them as a draft to get back in the paceline, the term escapes me at the moment, but it's what you do in a TTT when your too tired to pull, or when your in a break and too tired to pull.

I just don't get why they are killing themselves to chase nothing, it serves no purpose except to wear themselves out, seems like bad racing to me, which is probably why I'm guessing they wouldn't do what your thinking they would do.
 

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A wise man...

velobellagirl said:
Frequently I enter races where the fields are very small: maybe 8 in my category. Many are racing w/o teammates. I'd rather not pull unless there is a breakaway
1.What are some tactics when others say" we're working" and want to rotate?
2.What are some tactics when our field gets combined with the lower categories and others want me to pull in the peloton?
A wise man, and a very good bike racer once told me the following idiom:

"Only do as much work as the person doing the least amount of work when in a small group or a breakaway."

Find or figure out who the person is doing the least amount of work (say she's only pulling through once every 3 rotations) and copy what she is doing. Go with any break attempts (if you can and if they look good). If combined fields are riding, figure out who around you is your direct competition, and work with them only. Don't do work for someone else. It's a race, and you're trying to win, and sometimes if you get too tired, you ain't gonna win, which is fine if you have a teammate or 2 that you've been helping, but if you're a lone wolf, ride to win. If that means sitting on, oh well, tell them they have to drop you. Like I said, it's a race.
 

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FTF said:
I just don't get why they are killing themselves to chase nothing, it serves no purpose except to wear themselves out, seems like bad racing to me, which is probably why I'm guessing they wouldn't do what your thinking they would do.
I can see why it makes sense for the riders who feel they are strong or have good endurance but a poor sprint to keep the pace high to tire some of the other riders especially the sprinters early. Also, if there is a climb coming, strong heavier riders might want to tire out the lighter, better climbers before the climb starts. That explains why some of the eight would want to ride that way. It doesn't explain why the rest of the group would want to go along with it, which I agree makes no sense.

My advice would also be to roll through the rotation, take the shortest, easiest pulls possible to make it look like you're working, skip as many turns as you think you can get away with, and never respond to anything a rider on another team says.
 

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asgelle said:
I can see why it makes sense for the riders who feel they are strong or have good endurance but a poor sprint to keep the pace high to tire some of the other riders especially the sprinters early. Also, if there is a climb coming, strong heavier riders might want to tire out the lighter, better climbers before the climb starts. That explains why some of the eight would want to ride that way. It doesn't explain why the rest of the group would want to go along with it, which I agree makes no sense.

My advice would also be to roll through the rotation, take the shortest, easiest pulls possible to make it look like you're working, skip as many turns as you think you can get away with, and never respond to anything a rider on another team says.
Yup, that's pretty much what I was trying to say, pretty much. :D
 

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Why race?

I don't like wheel suckers ie sit on the back and skip rotations. You will always do better to work as a group on a longer road race. If you goof off a little to much, the next group (probably working together) will catch you. I can't imagine training like a fiend all year long to race in that mode. This is not to say stay on the front and burn yourself out. I did not start finishing in the top 10 until I raced more aggressivley and took a little control of my demise. Sitting on the back can get you a good old finish on in the back.
 

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rdbike said:
I don't like wheel suckers ie sit on the back and skip rotations. You will always do better to work as a group on a longer road race. If you goof off a little to much, the next group (probably working together) will catch you. I can't imagine training like a fiend all year long to race in that mode. This is not to say stay on the front and burn yourself out. I did not start finishing in the top 10 until I raced more aggressivley and took a little control of my demise. Sitting on the back can get you a good old finish on in the back.
We're not talking about working in a break, but about working when the whole peloton (~8) is still together. There is no other group to catch back on no matter how slow the pace. No one is saying not to race aggresively. The question is whether effort should be spent moving the whole field down the road at some quicker pace or whether it makes more sense to expend that effort in a more productive way.

In their recent book on Training and Racing with Power, Allen and Coggan refer to data showing the most successful racers are the ones who spend the highest fraction of time during the race not pedaling.
 

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Why race?

rdbike said:
I don't like wheel suckers ie sit on the back and skip rotations. You will always do better to work as a group on a longer road race. If you goof off a little to much, the next group (probably working together) will catch you. I can't imagine training like a fiend all year long to race in that mode. This is not to say stay on the front and burn yourself out. I did not start finishing in the top 10 until I raced more aggressivley and took a little control of my demise. Sitting on the back can get you a good old finish on in the back.
Why race? To win of course. Isn't that the point really? If I wanted to go out and train hard, well, I'd just do that. When I go to race, I go to win, although that hasn't happened for me in a long time, but I always go in expecting to do well, and then let the chips fall where they may. If I'm sitting on the back of a break and taking a turn here and there, then get caught, and another break goes away you will be ready to go with the next move. It's knowing how and when to expend the right energy. If I am in a move with some people that I know can motor, and have good fitness, I'll take my pulls as required and work hard. But if I do get in a group with some shlubs like myself, I'll work less because the chances of getting caught are pretty darn good.
 

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rdbike said:
I don't like wheel suckers ie sit on the back and skip rotations. You will always do better to work as a group on a longer road race. If you goof off a little to much, the next group (probably working together) will catch you. I can't imagine training like a fiend all year long to race in that mode. This is not to say stay on the front and burn yourself out. I did not start finishing in the top 10 until I raced more aggressivley and took a little control of my demise. Sitting on the back can get you a good old finish on in the back.
I'm assuming it's a crit, your assuming it's a roadrace, it would depend on what type of race it is.
 

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velobellagirl said:
How should I respond when they start talking or getting pissed off with me? Ignore it and keep quiet?
Attack them. Keep attacking until there is a select group (2,3 or even 1 if you think you can go alone). Then you'll have an interest in working together.

Women's racing is great when they're free to attack, but I agree that the small groups make it difficult. If you have a teammate, even better.
 

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asgelle said:
My advice would also be to roll through the rotation, take the shortest, easiest pulls possible to make it look like you're working.......
Taking the 'pretend' angle further, don't ever look strong, instead, wince and pant and do things that make you look like you're just hanging on - but do it believeably if at all. Also, do distracting things like fumbling with your shoes, getting some water, anything that'll give you excuses for slacking off or cutting your pull short.
 

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Why Race with Eight?

Perhaps you should be racing in a different category. I am assuming you are racing with beginning women. Maybe you should be racing with the men and taking advantage of learning in larger packs where no one will notice you sitting on the back. If anyone complains you can always play the girl card. Read the rules because as a woman you have lots of choices with category adjustments and age adjustments (see page 23). Once my son stopped entering small junior races and started racing in the regular mens category races he learned to race and moved up quickly in ability and skills. If the races are crits you could double up and do two races (Mens Cat 4/5/? and Womens). Then you would have an excuse to sit out of the rotations.
 

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Only pull when it benifits you.

This may include some half-hearted pulls to preserve your rep in the pack. Wait until the strongest rider takes her pull, then attack. If you have a teammate, have her attack when the pack catches you. Just keep repeating this over and over.
 

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in larger packs, stay around the second or third row deep, if the person ahead of you is pulling (or in the front row of the echlon), you should have already dropped back.

the heavy breathing/tired crosseyes helps to avoid pulls. But like in poker if you bluff too much you'll get called on it.

in development catagories where no one can/will send teamates to set the pace its pretty dificult to catch a good breakaway. So since you can't beat them, join them. Or better yet keep your head up and see them leave in the first place.

when you get a small group like often found in womens catagories, try to encourage a double paceline. Its hard to not work in that situation and those who don't stand out.
 

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Keeping up with Junior said:
Perhaps you should be racing in a different category. I am assuming you are racing with beginning women. Maybe you should be racing with the men and taking advantage of learning in larger packs where no one will notice you sitting on the back. If anyone complains you can always play the girl card. Read the rules because as a woman you have lots of choices with category adjustments and age adjustments (see page 23). Once my son stopped entering small junior races and started racing in the regular mens category races he learned to race and moved up quickly in ability and skills. If the races are crits you could double up and do two races (Mens Cat 4/5/? and Womens). Then you would have an excuse to sit out of the rotations.
Even in the biggest district by license holders, Northern California, some P12 races for women have one to ten entrants. This includes 60 mile road races, and 45 minute crits. For the field to come close to filling here would require women to come from out of district. That is why many races have P123 women and not just P12 women.

re: OP
Tell them you are tired, and kill them in the sprint, or take really short pulls. If they can't shake you by attacking you, that's racing.
 
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