Scratch race tactics

Where speeds may exceed 60 kmph

Scratch race tactics

Postby notdjp » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:33 pm

Hi everyone,
I've entered an A Grade 15km scratch race next week. This is my first year on the track, and I usually ride C or B Grade. I've entered the race simply for the experience. However, seeing as I'll be riding with much better riders, does anyone have any thoughts on how I should approach the race?
Thanks in advance,
D
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by BNA » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:58 pm

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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby ciaran » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:58 pm

Here is the the way I would race, which suits my strengths;

- Let attacks go, chances are if they are solo they will fail, unless the rider is fit. This knowledge only comes through knowing the rider's style and fitness, which chances are you won't.
- Sit in.
- Don't try to be a hero and start a break. Chances are the bunch will just hang you out to dry, or someone will jump on your wheel and use you as a free draft.
- Definitely do not follow any early breaks, chances are they are just testing the water and trying to thin the numbers by burning out the lesser riders.
- Sit in
- do your fair share of work on the front when required, but dont stress yourself. Feel free to let the pace decrease slightly (BUT ONLY SLOWLY!) when on the front.
- SIT IN!

Other than that, there is not much else you can do other than watch how the race is unfolding. If a big break group gets away, it will be game over unless the remaining bunch works together to tow them back.

Don't give up if the race looks over, chances are there will be some form of bunch sprint at the end for your places and whether it is 1st or 11th it is just as thrilling.

Most of all, have a ball mate!
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby notdjp » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:10 pm

Thanks for that. I know how a couple of the guys ride. One in particular is very strong, bad an average sprinter. I once saw him stay half a lap off the front of a long scratchie for almost the entire race. If the others don't know his strengths and let him go, he will certainly win. But when he breaks away, there's no way that I'd be able to hold his pace. The rest of the field is peppered by very good crit racers, so they will be in there for the long haul.
I think I get the "sit in" message. Thanks. And yeah, it's always fun!
D
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:28 pm

Also find out as much as you can about your opposition. :idea

Normally (well used to be) the numbers that are allocated to riders are an indication of rider rankings! :idea:

if in doubt,give them plenty of stick and you will gain respect for your tenacity. :mrgreen:

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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby Jeremy » Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:07 pm

Dont do any more work than you have to....you are riding above your level, so if you use too much too early, then you wont be there at the end.

If you get lucky, ride your race well and get to the final couple of laps.....dont get boxed in! ;)
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby notdjp » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:44 pm

OK. Thanks for the tips everyone. However, with all the right intentions, ready to sit in, spin, ride my own race (in the draft of others!) I managed three laps before five or six speedsters turned up the pace to 11. The slower guys buzzed like flies behind but dropped off one by one, me being the second to go. I was hoping to work together with one of the other guys to get back to the pack, but he pulled out altogether, and with 39 (of 45) laps to go, they were half a lap ahead of me. Ugh. So the tactic to get rid of the slow guys early worked a treat -- it's just unfortunate that I was the victim of it. If they awarded the third lap, instead of the 45th, my name would be written in gold right now!

Perhaps my gearing was also a bit on the easy side. I was riding 88, but heard other guys talking before the race about 92, 94 ...

Ah well, back to training, or at least trying to find time to train ...
Thanks again.
D
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Dec 21, 2010 5:53 pm

notdjp wrote:OK. Thanks for the tips everyone. However, with all the right intentions, ready to sit in, spin, ride my own race (in the draft of others!) I managed three laps before five or six speedsters turned up the pace to 11. The slower guys buzzed like flies behind but dropped off one by one, me being the second to go. I was hoping to work together with one of the other guys to get back to the pack, but he pulled out altogether, and with 39 (of 45) laps to go, they were half a lap ahead of me. Ugh. So the tactic to get rid of the slow guys early worked a treat -- it's just unfortunate that I was the victim of it. If they awarded the third lap, instead of the 45th, my name would be written in gold right now!

Perhaps my gearing was also a bit on the easy side. I was riding 88, but heard other guys talking before the race about 92, 94 ...

Ah well, back to training, or at least trying to find time to train ...
Thanks again.
D


What were you doing in front on the third lap? That's not sitting in.

Good on you for having a go anyway, and it's not as if you were the first dropped. Seems to me like they thought you were a possible contender for the final sprint so they targeted you early on. :-)

I never rode A grade, and I'm not likely to, however I have three different gears for track racing, a 15 cog and either a 49, 50 or 51 chainring, to give me approx 88, 90 and 92. I'd use the 88 or 90 for most of my races but I'd only ever get to low 50's as a max speed. 92 was for wheelraces and motorpaces when I was likely to be sustaining speed for a while. A grade are just as likely to sit at 50 or thereabouts for large chunks of the race. Mind you, many riders pedal better than me and can ride those sorts of speeds in smaller gears. If so, it does give them an acceleration advantage which is very useful in a stop/start sort of race.

There is also a bit of "I can ride bigger gears than you" posturing that goes on too.

Keep up the good work.

Cameron
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby foo on patrol » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:25 pm

Was this about a 20k race Notdjp?

I generally road 48x14 or 50x15 on the track, so from my experience 88 is way to low for that length of race if the pace is on. :wink:

From my memory, the fastest 20 race that I rode in was, about 23 minutes and I had the 48x14 combo on and it was a hoot at that speed. :)
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby LittleWheelsandBig » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:45 pm

fop is right IME, 48x14 was my standard gear for A grade racing with 49x14 for the right late-season races (where the pace was going to be high most of the way through).
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby notdjp » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:17 am

Was a 15km race? At the front on the thrid lap .. err, well, the guy in front of me had a problem with his race number, and pulled to the side. And there I was thinking "I shouldn't be here". Though I only did a half-lap. Then BANG. They were off! Pain pain pain for a couple of laps. Couple of turns with another rider. Pain Pain. Look behind, no more rider. Pain. Look ahead, everyone's half a lap ahead. Damn. Pain. Chances of catching up by myself? Zilch. DAMN! Ease off, no more pain. Ahh.
Thanks for the tips on gearing. Might take it up a notch or two. I usually ride 88 in C/B Grade points races, which seems to be about right, esp. when you need to punch out a hard lap or half-lap. But it didn't seem to suit the longer scratch race. Will start experimenting with 90 and 92.
Thanks again.
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby alex » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:10 pm

'sit in' is what people who think they can win the race will do, in reality probably 80% of the field dont have a chance to win yet they sit in because they think they are going to win. it makes for a boring race for the people racing and the people watching.

my advice is to animate the race.

create a break, chase a break, get on the front and destroy some of poor souls on the back, maybe do some work for someone else eg a massive leadout with 2 to go.

everyone loves a race where something happens, even the people who don't win will at least have something to talk about after if there was a crazy break that had to be chased or whatever.
if i get killed while out on my bike i dont want a 'memorial ride' by random punters i have never met.
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby foo on patrol » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:28 pm

notdjp wrote:Was a 15km race? At the front on the thrid lap .. err, well, the guy in front of me had a problem with his race number, and pulled to the side. And there I was thinking "I shouldn't be here". Though I only did a half-lap. Then BANG. They were off! Pain pain pain for a couple of laps. Couple of turns with another rider. Pain Pain. Look behind, no more rider. Pain. Look ahead, everyone's half a lap ahead. Damn. Pain. Chances of catching up by myself? Zilch. DAMN! Ease off, no more pain. Ahh.
Thanks for the tips on gearing. Might take it up a notch or two. I usually ride 88 in C/B Grade points races, which seems to be about right, esp. when you need to punch out a hard lap or half-lap. But it didn't seem to suit the longer scratch race. Will start experimenting with 90 and 92.
Thanks again.


Pain is good for you Notjp. :twisted:

Point score races of 20k plus, I rode the 90inch gear, scratch races 92, handicaps 90, madisons depending on the length of time was 88/89. A 96 when I stuffed up the rear sprocket size and through the race I am thing, this is gunna hurt big time when the sprint comes. :oops: (needed to start winding up a lap and a half to go.)
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Re: Scratch race tactics

Postby mikesbytes » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:16 pm

Bump your gearing up to 92 or 94
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