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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hopefully this isn't a dumb question, but what strategies does everyone use for bridging up and having enough left to continue in a break? Scenario: Yesterday I put in a good 1 min effort at 200% my threshold against the wind. I was motivated to get up there as soon as possible so I could get out of a 20+ mph headwind. When I got up there my HR was pegged, so I hung on skipped a turn, did a short pull, skipped a turn, short pull... there was only four of us in a paceline with a crosswind, so even when resting I was at threshold. It was frustrating to say the least. I eventually felt that I couldn't keep it up, so I sat up and joined two others that were a minute back. I was pretty much recovered, but I would have appreciated a larger group. I did win the sprint for forth. This was a short 23 mile 4 lap circuit where the initial break went just over a lap into it. I'm kicking myself for being a little back in the pack when the attack went off the front, then I hesitated before going for it. Obviously, even though I'm friends with two of the riders in the break, I didn't feel right if I couldn't contribute. I gave myself some extra rest skipping a few pulls, but I couldn't recover enough.

I don't think going easier would have made a difference, they were still getting organized otherwise I wouldn't have made up the gap.
 

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I guess my first thought would be sit on the break. If they're going too hard for your to hang on, don't pull. If the pace settles or you recover, start pulling, but while your HR is pegged don't push yourself. If they start attacking you or you feel guilty, tell them you won't contest the finish. At least you're guaranteed 4th and you aren't totally spent if the break gets caught.

As for recovering, get aero: Use the drops most of the time, get your body low and find that sweet stop in the crosswind where the draft is best. Soft pedal your pulls just enough so you don't slow anyone down but you're not expending much energy. And most importantly, get in better shape. Built your FTP and do your VO2 intervals and you'll have no problem recovering quickly.
 

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...As for recovering, get aero: Use the drops most of the time, get your body low and find that sweet stop in the crosswind where the draft is best...
This is huge, and saved my bacon many times. Being in the drops can make more of a difference when drafting than when not drafting, as it can get you almost entirely in the burble of the leaders. Become adept at finding the draft in crosswinds. You want to be centered in the buffeting. Many things affect/change the position of the draft; changes in the direction of the road, changes in the speed/direction of the wind, structures and landscape changing the wind, the speed of the ride.... You can anticipate many of these.
 

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In a race, you don't owe anyone anything apart from your own teammates. If you're off the front in a break, you need to race for yourself. In that situation I would not have pulled an inch until I felt moderately recovered unless I thought that some work from me would keep the pack from reeling you in, and that doesn't sound like it was the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Getting as aero as possible is something I must work on... however, in this situation I just held on against the headwind, then when we turned into the crosswind, they formed an echelon pace line, so it was tough to hide since the other three were rotating. In hindsight I could have moved out enough still getting protected by the wind, but leaving enough space for someone to pull through. Since it was a friendly low key setting, I didn't take the "it's a race... too bad if they don't like" stance.

Since this is a coaching forum, I should have placed this in training, racing, etc... However, my original intention was to get advice from a coach with training for these efforts and recovery. I've done interval work, but with that training the recovery is total recovery... perhaps some VO2 stuff with the recovery being slightly below FTP? That does not sound fun, but that's what I needed in the scenario above.
 

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Yesterday I put in a good 1 min effort at 200% my threshold ... .

o even when resting I was at threshold.


My impression is that few people who are well-trained at threshold can hit 200% of it for a minute. So more threshold work! And for now, it's better to get across and sit in to recover before taking any pulls than to take immediately take ineffective pulls, gas yourself and get dropped.
 

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I've seen a lot of riders ignore a person who bridges. So a rider can come across and sit on for a few before being acknowledged. Not me. I'm always looking over my shoulder and if I am in a break I try to attack moments before someone bridging connects up...or attack after their first pull. If they can survive the hazing then they're part of the group. Putting aside race tactics it sounds like your question is about recovery after hard efforts...


In this situation you dipped a little too far into the red. You're already fit but your recovery could be a tiny bit better. What have you done so far to improve your fitness? What works for you?
 

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My impression is that few people who are well-trained at threshold can hit 200% of it for a minute. So more threshold work! And for now, it's better to get across and sit in to recover before taking any pulls than to take immediately take ineffective pulls, gas yourself and get dropped.
I think the most effective work you can do to prepare for this (as well as many aspects of criteriums and shorter-distance road races) is under-overs.

Once a week, I'll do 20:00 of 2:00 @ sweetspot (90% of FTP) x 2:00 as hard as I can (this is way less than 200% of FTP for me. it's generally even less than my 5:00 max).

It helps a ton with recovering from big efforts while still working pretty hard, and is also good training for being off the front generally. It's particularly good training for solo breaks, where frequently you'll need to pace your efforts like this to take maximize your chances given a particular course or the wind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Under Over's are good, but the effort that was required put me well above a typical over threshold. It's my fault for getting caught off guard and hesitating, so a 20 second effort turned into a lot longer, however I didn't want to spend 4+ minutes at a slightly lower power level especially since they were almost organized. I'm working on some hard 30-60 second efforts while recovering at 75-85% threshold.
 

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The idea isn't that over unders will train you to do well in that situation; it's that you're training to recover while at a near-threshold level and you're simultaneously doing much needed work to increase that threshold power.

As for what might help your exact scenario? Well, wouldn't it be accurate to reword it as follows: how can I succeed after crushing myself to bridge to a break 1/4 of the way through a race in which I'm at threshold even while sitting on the back of the other 3 guys? The answer is unfortunately "not much.". I hear you about tactics, position, etc., but all that stuff only goes so far when you're this up against your fitness limits.
 

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If you catch a break and aren't completely blown, ride past them and let the group get on your wheel. Do a short pull and roll out. This does two things, first off, the guy who was pulling had to accelerate to get your wheel and is likely a little spent and will need to recover, and second, you're at the front of the group and not dangling of the back.
 
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