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"Slackers" or strategy...?(5 posts)

"Slackers" or strategy...?Dumb'estique
May 21, 2001 1:55 AM
I'm a racer getting back into the sport after a 8 to 9-year reprieve. I had a situation a couple weeks ago that challenged my understanding of etiquette in the sport these days. Please note my screen name, this is the temporary handle I've given myself with the situation described below (it's a novel now...sit back and read):

I recently completed a 3-stage race with ~180 miles of racing in a weekend. The Sunday road race (~70 miles) was preceeded by an 80-miles RR (Sat.) and a 20-mile TT earlier Sunday morning. As expected, most racers finishing the previous stages were cramping and abit spent before the 70-mile RR. The group held together and dropped a few riders prior to approaching the 60-mile mark of the race. A strong rider blasted away from the pack on a hill and no one answered. Previous to his break, I had done a large portion of pulling to keep the race pace at a reasonably fast pace and keep everyone working if they wanted to finish with the top riders. I felt fairly strong when the rider broke away, but not feeling strong enough to chase him down on or after the hill without blowing-up and losing the paceline completely.

Many of the riders had something to gain by sticking with the attacking rider, as their G.C. times were not too far off the lead, and could have placed them higher than several of the pack riders in contention. I maintained the pull and increased speed by 3 or 4 clicks to reel-in the attacker in the last 10 miles of the race. The problem? one would take their turn in the pull to catch the guy. So I'd mount my own attack with a breakaway sprint as I felt I could ride faster than the pace they were willing to pull on their own...but they'd always catch up to my draft as a countermeasure...yet never come up front to do their share! At that point in the race, I didn't have the legs to pump up the pace to lose them completely and make the pull their own, but apparently I had enough to keep them wanting to ride my wheel. Sure enough, after 10 miles of 25-26 mph time-trialing up in front, the pack picked up and dusted me 50 yards from the finish-line.

Afterwards, I jokingly called the guys in the group "slackers" because they wouldn't help reel-in the time-spread on the attack rider ahead. A few laughed, but I could tell a couple of the more experienced fellas were noticeably miffed by my statement. My feelings weren't hurt, but I can't help but think that I'll be a target for some malicious drops in the races to come just for making everyone work 'til the end.

The etiquette question: I know these tactics are part of racing, and my own inability to take off and loose the pack required abit more strategizing and strength than I employed. However, I didn't understand the "miffed" attitudes I received in response to my joking "slackers" statement. I enjoy hammering in a race, working hard and achieving a solid average speed and time that I can later be proud of. I guess I'm fishing for the current, general "etiquette" for racers in this situation, as I wonder if my outlook is screwed-up. Is it seen as "bad" to put down the hammer to tighten the time-gap even though the chances of catching an attacker are nil? Does current etiquette stipulate that I should have succumbed to the slower paceline and just mounted a sprint at the end with the rest of the paceline pack?

Your input is appreciated...


The Dumb'estique
If I understand your point then...Dougal
May 21, 2001 8:17 AM
If I gather what you're saying corectly, ie. you're not miffed that they didn't pull, but more confused by the reaction that you got at the end, then I would say that they were simply stinging a bit after being found out. They were tired after the first day and as a result couldn't pull at the same pace as you. I guess calling them slackers was a bit too close to the bone for some of them :-)

I think alot of riders in the amature ranks see placing as more important than time or improving one's level of performance. As a result they'll act as they did with you. Don't worry about it, just stick with the guy who makes the break away next time!
re: "Slackers" or strategy...?JBergland
May 23, 2001 10:11 AM
A couple thoughts:
Did you participate in ALL of the previous stages? If not, that might be a source of tension. Racers concerned about their GC placing probably don't like 'fresh legs' attacking when they have been going hard for a couple days/stages.

This was the last stage? I would assume that those working for high over all results knew were they stood in the GC... knew how much time they could or could not lose. So if they worked with you they could have pulled in some time... but not caught the lead group. That time must not have been important enough for them to work... but it was important enough to not let you go.

Lastly, are you a 'new guy' to these racers? If so, a comment like 'slackers' can be very open for interpretation. Like the above post mentioned... maybe the comment hit tooo close to home or others don't know if you are joking or not.

Just some ideas.
re: "Slackers" or strategy...?Dumb'estique
May 24, 2001 2:53 AM
Yeah...I rode all the stages and worked hard in all of them. I'm fairly new to the local scene, but I haven't encountered personality/ friendliness problems in previous races.

You're right...their standings in the GC were a good reason, but the spread we could've tightened may have given one of them a bump of 6-7 places up the GC at the end (due to the morning's TT results)...kinda confusing.

...just seemed like if they had the energy to chase me, why not hump together to reel-in the spread on an attacker that could yield a victory for one of the riders in the pack. Also, it seems a lively road race is always accompanied by a few racers who want to put the hammer down and be proud of their effort. I just couldn't understand the dual-nature of the pack's attitude...just relaxin' or busting ass to keep up with my breakaways...a funky "middle-of-the-road" issue I guess. Everyone was probably too tired to evaluate their position in the GC by the end of that race.

Thanks for the input.
They are heros in thier own minds.Elder
May 29, 2001 3:35 PM
Hello Dumb'estique,

Most guys don't want to work for a win! It funny to hear someone say they sprinted to a 20th place finish and bitch about a guy that didn't pull hard enough. All the while knowing that the same "dumb'estique" has been on the rivet pulling crew and cargo for more than 1/2 an hour. I too have returned to racing after a 5 year hiatus to find many situations like the one that you have mentioned. I am a big rider and am the team designate to chase down breaks. Ocassionaly I can turn the role of Chaser into that of the Chasee. What I have found is that many riders don't work to win in order to salavge a higher placing. (For what reason I have no idea) Very few riders that I race with every weekend really shoot for the win. Its almost like they think that the sponsor will recieve exposer if their name appears at the top of a non-existent list of finishers. I, like you, pay my money and toe the line every weekend to race my guts out. Only I know if I have had a good race. Wether I finsh 1st or last I know if I have given it everything I had. I have finished last as many times as I have finshed 1st and weither its in a group or all alone when I have done my best it really doesn't matter all that much what this group of wanna-be's, gonna-be's and already-are's thinks. We all do it for a different reason and as you know a lot of our fellow racers have an over developed ego and suffer from deluisions of granduer.