X...your right about not letting the string get that long. Some of the attempted breaks, if they looked dangerous the bunch would simply accelerate and bring them back in. One rider did get a long way in front at one stage, well over 500m, but I dont believe the bunch feared that rider one bit. Partly because they knew him as a rider and what he was capable of.
One break two riders screamed away from the bunch, went really hard. Still had a couple of laps to go at this point. A rider behind me called out "let them go they will burn out". Within a few hundred metres one of the riders dropped off, they chose to try a break away into the wind, and the rider behind who had called out then said in a somewhat laughing voice "see he has dropped already".
I know that after placing a few times, if I tried a break away the bunch would try and reel me in and not let me go alone..my thoughts anyways. As such I dont see any point in burning energy to get nowhere. I am still learning about group racing so think I learn more staying in the bunch, at this stage, and watching people who do attempt breaks. See where they go wrong or go right
On the topic of breaks
Penrith Club Criterium at Regatta Centre 6/1 C grade 1st place
Had a chat to the Commissaire about what grade I should run, because I don't want to aimlessly promote myself. He started listing off some of my achievements which didn't resemble my palmares at all (I never thought I could use that in a sentence). I have a relative at the club who has been around a lot longer than me, and has done quite well. I figured they were getting me mixed up with him... so he said C grade would be fine for me despite promotion at Waratahs to B. (supposed to be tougher outside the Vets?)
So I spot my mate from Kangazilla, Charlie, say gday to Dave who helped me out a lot at the recent Enduro race, and tried to not look embarrassed in the skinsuit and booties. Gosh its a tryhard look. Anyways, we get the nod that this would be about an hour long and if we keep a good pace then we'll get 7 laps instead of 6 - I'm in disbelief because I'm assuming its 45 for C. I've blitzed myself yesterday, and I have had a terrible prep. Maccas cheeseburger meal on the way because I'm hungry, managed to buy tubes with the wrong sized stem. Simon, who works for Trek and races with the NRV team gave me a Bontrager 80mm tube, I think it might be latex too!? Anyways, I was freaking out and he saved my bacon. BUY A TREK. THEY ARE GOOD. When the customer service extends to race day, you can't say no to that.
So we roll out, I want to push the pace with some VO2Max for a couple minutes on the front to establish the race. I hate being the victim of bunch failure, so I figure let's dictate terms. Roll off once we hit the bridge and collect some tickets. I eyeball the whole line, noting the riders struggling already. Mental note. Awesome tactic at Penrith. Must do it again. I collect some tickets and recover; we sail around to the finish line and I decide its time to test the bunch. The wind has arrived, and the gentle breeze is getting stronger. Smash it into the wind, and the bunch goes nowhere. No response. I take off. I'm going to make them work for it, and if I can sail off into the sunset, then let's do it. Pick up 100m or so, they gather themselves and bridge the gap after a lap. That's cool. I found out what I needed to know. More tickets for a lap or so, and it looks like we're at the halfway point. I end up on the front at some point, and I'm not keen on being a hero dragging the bunch up the straight. We were doing 28kmh up half the straight with the wind coming at us, gusting so hard. I thought someone would try and come over the top of me, but it never happened. I've ridden the front trying to slow the pace before, didn't work well but I think it works well if no one wants to take the front. Less rest, but a lot more rest than nothing. I'm letting everyone recover, but that's OK. I am going to attack soon
The bunch is in absolute disarray, 2-3 pacelines down the straight, and it's looking great. Turn to a couple older guys and have a chuckle about the headwind. I'm not sure how the conversation turned to attack, but we agree to have a dig. Fantastic work from the guy who was to come 3rd later, putting us up to 52kmh on the southern straight out of the wind, I came through and pushed to 55 (hindsight moment - bad paceline work) and we put some time on a suffering bunch. I really didn't notice a lot of relief from the wind behind the bunch at all earlier, and their legs agreed. We roll some great turns, and spend a lap off the front. Charlie and another tall guy manage to bridge the gap, and one of the two breakers has disappeared, the other has admitted he has nothing left. I don't think its cool to drop people, even if they are suffering, because they've done the work and deserve some protection while they recover, so we spend the next lap putting on some serious time on the bunch. I'm even up on the hoods blocking the wind to help the guys stay on the wheel. (I can't just shout at them to hold the wheel ) Somehow, 4 manage to bridge the gap (awesome effort from them, I couldn't see the bunch) and we're 2 laps from the end. I've decided this is the winning break, and we've got a few likely characters. I've committed to trying to keep Charlie with me to the finish, and I'm trying to figure out how to tell him to stop taking turns LOL
I'm a bit hazy on what happened at this point. I thought the bunch caught us, but I think we were just being lapped by A or B grade, who were SCREAMING past us. While we were plebbing away at 32kmh down the straight into the wind, they must have been keeping 45. Big engines. Anyways, once that settles down, and we're starting to stretch out the break, and Charlie gets a gentle call that we're taking off and can't keep people in the break anymore. Too much strength in the 8. I don't think he realised that my gameplan is to sprint to make the gap, rather than the line, so I'm being a pain shouting orders about when to roll off. Way too many orders, but it was a tough day, too many guys were trying to take long turns and cooking. I'm sure that's why the bunch fell apart trying to chase. I "gently" remind Charlie that he needs to give me another turn as we swing towards the bridge, and I'm not leaving him to get devoured by the bunch (I hate that), and we take another controlled run through the S's. I didn't have a specific sprint agreement, but Charlie was the first to jump. I reckon he put on 5 seconds, and I was worried that he might lift, but he faded and sat up once I put a wheel on him. Timed his sprint too early, given the wind? Not sure, but we'll have to do some practice because he was psyched out - I don't consider myself a sprinter, these breakaways are not bravado, they are necessary for survival to the podium
Picked up the prizemoney and a quiet resolution that I'm promoting myself to B grade everywhere. It wasn't the strongest bunch today, but I managed to dominate proceedings through good tactics and teamwork in tough conditions. Even if I'm not the strongest rider out there, I'm getting a better and better understanding of what needs to be done to win, and making that happen. Sometimes that is inviting people to join my strategy, sometimes it is forcing their hand, sometimes it is barking like Gunnery Sargeant Hartmann. People will take a lot of crap if you are doing your turns and leading the attack. Forcing them to fear you is hard work, but I think it can be done if you're really careful with the matchbook.
Had a great race, and got to chat with a few guys afterwards. Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow
Good stuff on the win X! Though, with the amount of attacking and solo breaks you did (and still came home for the win), it sounds like B grade is definitely the place for you!
If people bark orders at me, I usually ignore them unless it's going to specifically benefit MY race outcome or is in line with MY race plan... and if they do it too often, people start to get really pissed off! You don't want to be the bossy douche in the skin suit now...
Penrith C grade is funny, the quality of the bunch seems to vary a lot. Marconi seem to get more of a regular group of riders. I'm disappointed on missing out on a fun race, I'll be useless for a few more weeks, too much time off and I've only got 12 more weeks in Sydney til I'm off to Adelaide for a year. I'm going to try C grade hubbards at West Head on Sunday.
Collect some tickets?
Do you mean sit on the back rather than pulling a turn in the line?
Bit of a risk, if your known as a strong rider then someone else might ramp the pace up with an attack right after yours to try to drop you.
Got to pick your moments for yelling, that's for sure. I have copped a couple reminders here and there in the past and it woke me up from dreaming in the clouds of Sufferlandria I think it's only useful when they want to be involved, but are having trouble making the right decisions to stay in the game. Not sure if I won't get away with it again, bunch psychology is weird. The guys who want a bunch sprint won't bury themselves in the bell lap until the straight. The breakers can come with me thats cool, anything to avoid a bunch sprint. The main thing I have been learning is that no one has an unlimited tank and sometimes you get lucky. No point rolling through wondering, I reckon, I would consider it an honour to be considered a threat
Tarquin, I have learnt so far that everything you do in a race is a calculated risk. Being on the front is a risk, being on the back is a risk, rolling turns up front is a risk, sitting in is a risk. I have decided that I just have to choose an option and be confident that I can manage the results of the plan. Had a few great results but I have had a couple really lame ones too.
You talk about strong riders being targeted when they sit in, isn't that what most of the sprinters do anyway? (Genuine question)
Yeah sprinters sit in,but they also sit in the top 5 or 6 too...B will more than likely just hang you out to dry on the front and just let you have a few meters...once they know you want to break they(as i would) will just hang on your wheel and not help,just let you burn abit...
After seeing Milostic roll home with half a lap on A grade solo, I am convinced it is possible to break and win in the local club races, but you are right. It is hard, and I have a feeling Milostic's advice would be beyond my ability to deliver
All very interesting reading.
I'm in a build phase for 3 Peaks, and crit racing doesn't really fit in with 500 km weeks. My high intensity work at the moment is on steep climbs with sore legs, not chasing down Xplora at Eastern Creek! But after 9 March I will be targeting more racing... Looking forward to that!
generally i like to think i have a reasonable idea of my race tactics. although i could well be deluding myself on that, it's difficult to see why i should take the advice of competitors whose aim is to beat, not help me.
Those are the people I'm running away from In case it wasn't clear - I was telling the 3 other guys in my break to stay on my wheel as I sat bolt upright into a block headwind trying to give them a rest. In hindsight, they may have been trying to give up - but like I said, they deserved to stay in the break.
A break ally told me he had nothing left after we launched with 20 minutes to go, I wouldn't let him give up... he ended up taking 3rd place. He did great to stay away from the bunch to the end, and I'm glad I helped him out (I'm glad he helped me out as well). Racing is supposed to be fun, yeah
I love that as well. The usual cry back is "your legs aren't painted on are they". I've raced enough to know what I can and can't do. I do not need motivation from others in my group. Something I've always found amusing is the riders who complain or moan when they don't get other doing what they want. It always makes me smile a little.
The grades are there for a reason. The only one that cant be controlled is A grade as there is nowhere else for them to go. That is why A grade fields tends to split more than others.
I ride several bicycles, but not at once.
I'm more often to be heard telling the others to 'let him go, there's no way he's going to be able to hold off the bunch by himself!' (The breakaways are almost always male in my grade).
I prefer the bunch to be riding a steady pace line for most of the time rather than a surgy disrupted race since I'm (we're) happy to fight out a bunch sprint if it comes to that, and lack the fitness to cope with repeated efforts. With a breakaway up the road it is much easier to coordinate a steady chase pace, and it lets the breakaway wear himself out for no apparent benefit
HCC c grade, 30 mins + 3 laps
so after doing a lot of Xmas km, including the Rapha Festive 500, i thought i should be in shape for my first crit of the year. i was wrong. i don't know what went wrong, but i was suffering after the 3rd lap and it didn't get better, as i yo-yo'd off the back. i pulled out with 2 laps to go, feeling like i was going to throw up. my wife reckons eating a few 100g of sultanas beforehand was a bad idea (she was actually having a laughing fit). i like sultanas. i rolled home, ate dinner and then flopped into bed - feeling spent. i might have a bug?
Jules - Did you do a lot more k's than usual doing the Festive 500? Maybe the legs have been overworked!
I'm keen to see how my legs go on Sunday... I've done a lot more k's than usual (due to the holiday period) and I feel good on the bike, but the intensity hasn't been there... Will soon find out! New bike should give me a mental boost if nothing else!
i did and i also did mostly easy km, so i was counting on that a bit. but this was something more, i felt sick!
i plan to be there on sunday. they asked people to move up to C grade which is low on numbers but i've got a mate who's starting up so i said i'd do some D races with him.
SKCC C-Grade Crit
33km, avg. 41.2kph
Had a great first race back after the Christmas break, though my final result didn't really show it! I felt great throughout the whole race, did a lot more work than usual and went for a couple of breaks. Despite the extra work - heart rate was ~20bpm lower than usual! The extra Christmas km definitely paid off!
I managed to hold good position the whole race and go/work with the breaks that comprised of good riders. But nothing was sticking, so with 5min to go I recovered ready for the bunch sprint. Everything was going to plan down to the last 300m - I felt good, I was on the wheel I wanted and I was about 4th position. Then a guy then came around wide at ~5kph faster, launching himself into the final corner... Along with him came 4 people on his wheel as well as a similar (slower) line, diving down the inside. *bugger* I wasn't going anywhere near full gas, but couldn't get up to speed and into position with the two passing lines that were swamping me before the final corner...
Came round the corner in about 9th and sprinted up to 6th or 7th. I even still felt good after the sprint!
So it was a bit of a tactical failure... I was near the front of the bunch coming into the final corner, but the pace wasn't high enough to prevent being swamped from behind. I needed to be either further back and be doing the 'swamping' or to have gone earlier at a pace fast enough to not get swamped... Lessons for next week! Lets just hope I can hold my form!
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