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A Tactical Question(26 posts)

A Tactical Questionallervite
Dec 11, 2001 12:45 PM
There is a gap to close of about 100 meters. The pace is fairly fast: say you are at about 90% effort.

Do you

1. Close the gap as quickly as possible and then try to recover at the back of the break

2. Close the gap more slowly with a controlled time trial effort

With 1 you could blow up

With 2 you may waste a lot of energy between the breaks in "no man's land"

What's your call?
re: A Tactical Questionrollo tommassi
Dec 11, 2001 12:48 PM
well, i say it depends who is in the group with you, teammate or rival? and, is the person ahead of you a threat, or a carrot?

If a threat, then you can dangle them by not closing the gap too quickly (they will be able to rest when you catch them too!); if not, it is they who dangle you for their own teams' tactics.
re: A Tactical Questionbrider
Dec 11, 2001 12:57 PM
If you're trying to CLOSE the gap, use a time-trial effort. If you're trying to BRIDGE the gap, then go as fast as possible (however, don't do this from the front of the group, maybe 8 or so riders back so as not to have a lot of followers). Of course, that begs the question of "should you brige." That depends a lot on where other teams and team mates are.
re: A Tactical Question Revisedallervite
Dec 11, 2001 3:58 PM
OK! You guys and your variables. The winning break is going up the road. They are gaining ground on you. You have no team mates in the break or in your group. Your group is already moving along pretty fast. If you sprint you could blow. If you time trial, you may not catch on for a long while.

Simplified: Is it better to sprint and close the gap as quickly as possible or is it better to try and conserve some energy with a controled effort.

Time trial?
re: A Tactical Question Revisedbikedodger
Dec 11, 2001 4:06 PM
If you do the controlled time trial, the rest of the group will just follow along with you. Is that what you want? You must sprint to get away if you want to catch the break by yourself.

Good point!allervite
Dec 11, 2001 4:30 PM
But you could attack, open a gap and then time trial.
I'm no authority...Jon
Dec 11, 2001 6:33 PM
on this question, but I would think the answer would depend somewhat on your unique
capabilities. Are you a good sprinter with a lot of explosive power, or are you more
of a grind it out time triallist? Your own physical talents are going to dictate your tactics
probably more than the group dynamics of the race itself. How well can you recover from
anerobic efforts vs. your power and endurance at LT?
I'm no authority...allervite
Dec 11, 2001 6:47 PM
I have tried both many times. The time trial effort leaves me in very good shape if I catch them, but I rarely do. With the sprint I catch them nearly every time, but I am in bad shape and the break is flying. Sometimes I recover enough to hang on sometimes I don't. Either way I suffer like a dog!
I'm no authority...Spox
Dec 11, 2001 9:50 PM
I think it's better to_know guys who can make a final break_and locate myself close to those so that when break goes, I can react fast and save that 'solo chasing'.

100 metres is too much when speed is high and if it's a 'wrong break' (and if you do it several times during race).
what are your strenghts?Duane Gran
Dec 12, 2001 5:14 AM
I think this largely depends on your personal strengths. I'm assuming this is a flat finish, so we'll leaving climbing out of the picture. Here are two main choices as I see it, given a credible breakaway with no teammates in it:

1) Let's assume you aren't a good sprinter and your odds of winning decrease if it comes down to a bunch sprint. You will place better if you can get with the lead group. Bust a gut and bridge up to them. Of course, this is easier said than done. Bridging is *very* hard and will further agitate the peloton.

2) If you are a good sprinter and a bunch sprint favors you then letting that break go is agony. The anaerobic effort to bridge will probably kill your final sprint and you shouldn't have to pull the group up either. Make a short jump and try to "light the fire" and get the group going. Odds are likely that a few will jump with you. Slip back into the draft after the excitement of the chase is made and sprint for the win after it is "group compacto" again.

Either way you go, I would never pull the peloton up to a breakaway unless you are trying to bring your ace sprinter teammate to the front. With the exception of this, it is just doing work for your opponents as far as I can tell.
Excellent Suggestions!allervite
Dec 12, 2001 9:32 AM
I have never tried to trick the other riders into working with me. I have tried to talk them into working with me which somtimes works.
re: A Tactical Question Revisedbrider
Dec 12, 2001 6:36 AM
In reality you do neither. You're not going to sprint like you would at the finish (say you have 100m gap, you'd have to go at TWICE the groups speed to sprint over 200m), but you don't go at TT speed either. Something in between. You've got to make the jump all-out, but settle down A LITTLE and get to the front group quickly. You don't want to (a) bring the whole peleton with you, or (b) spend too much of yourself such that you can't recover when you get there. If that's the winning break, then you won't really lose anything if you do blow trying to catch it, and unless your chances in a pack sprint are very good, you're not gaining anything by bringing the peleton up.
re: A Tactical Questiontemplecat
Dec 18, 2001 8:42 AM
How far to go in the race? Biochemistry dictates that you can only sprint all out for 200 meters before your thighs burst into flames. This distance will be reduced by any lactate already built up...
3/4's finished (nm)allervite
Dec 18, 2001 9:07 PM
3/4's finished (nm)templecat
Dec 19, 2001 5:32 AM
3/4 of what distance?

Maybe if you make the jump & a few follow you can move into the slipstream & conserve energy.
brings another question to mindishmael
Dec 20, 2001 11:52 AM
the question of to sprint or timetrial is free of team tactics and its so nice that assumes that the goal is to get to the break and win the race on your own...

ive never joined a team and dont think i will unless i really start to see the benefits..but i dont think it would be as the cat 4 and 5s its really every man for himself,the break works as a team to keep away and the follow group works together to catch (and there are those who sit on the back and enjoy the free ride, but you gotta break to avoid them).. i cant imagine doing it any other way though...who wants to ride for a team if you end up being used and spat out by your team so someone else can win, do you split the dough, there is no glory in being a domestique..if, for example, a team were to try to break all together and all help each other, this would be a benefitial team tactic that i could apreciate..but if you just use teamates as carrots off the front or make them do the pulling so someone else on the team can sprint in i dont want to be a part of it....then again i might understand teams all wrong, but i have heard about blocking and it doesnt sound fun, who wants to try to go slow in a race so that someone else ahead in a break can win...i think ill ride for myself unless they pay me, and even still it wouldnt be as fun..
Another subjectallervite
Dec 20, 2001 1:08 PM
I am usually racing alone and find it really fun to recruit team mates during the race. In our club there are no domestiques, but we race with team tactics. I am the designted sprinter so I get to captain the team in the race, but that does not mean anyone rides for me. I once totally domestiqued in a Cat 3 race. My job was to not do any work and do the final lead out in a very fast downhill sprint. I hit the front and wound it up giving all that I had. The guy we were trying to beat was on my wheel. My guy was on his, just like we planned. The strongest guy went around me with my guy on his wheel. My guy won and it was one of the best wins I have ever experienced. We beat the strongest rider. I ended up getting passed by the whole of the sprinting group too, and rolling in with the pack fodder.

Our typical strategy in a crit is for all of us to stay near the front, but no closer than 3rd in line if we can help it. We respond to the attacks until about 3/4's through the race. Then my team mates start trying to brake away and we ride anyone's wheel who trys to follow and then counter attack. If they cannot get away, I sprint, but when they lead me out they are still trying to hold off any sprints. It is really fun to get into such strategy sessions.

When riding by myself, I try to ally myself to other riders. You know, "Come on work with me! We can catch them!" Or "You are probably the fastest guy here. Work with me and stay near the front and you could win this."

A weak team will almost always beat a strong rider.
never seen itishmael
Dec 20, 2001 1:38 PM
in cat 4 and 5 nothing like that seems to happend...its everyone verses the course..and if the course is flat and slow so are we..everyone seems to be keeping cool till the end...the last race i did i sat on the back and chated and then tried to fly off the front a couple of times but was hunted down each time..they only move to catch you and then it all settles again...this season i promise myself to timetrial the whole course and try to hold them off if it gets slow, you gotta make it fun...i have a friend who tells me the threes have alot of strategy and its alot different, ill be there soon....your examples of team tactics do sound fun although when you are leading out you must be thinking of just taking it all yourself...maybe im too selfish for the team
never seen itallervite
Dec 20, 2001 5:42 PM
Yea, most races I have seen, there might be a couple of friends working together, but that is it. Team tactics are rare. The idea of the lead out is just as you say. The guy leading out is supposed to try and win, but it's hard to hold that sprint clear to the line.

I don't think timetrialing the course is a good idea. Attack the hell out of them. Maybe you can get a few guys to go with you. Then you might be able to hold them off. Where do you race? The Cat 4/5 races up here in Nor Cal seem to be a lot more aggressive. Few of the races up here end up with the group still together. At the least there is usually a last lap attack that blows the race apart. It's quite hilly up here though. Maybe we'll end up in a race together this year. I'll attack with you. I'm the guy wearing the Redding Velo jersey with the flames on it.
they arent all slowishmael
Dec 21, 2001 8:28 AM
but the last one i did was especially bad, i typically go faster on weekend club rides....hills are great, without em its not the same, we have some good hill races here in attack with you but then id have to drop the guy who looks like he is on the telecom team except slower...i lived in san fran, i wish i was into racing then..there is a guy around here who has been very sucessful at timetrialing the whole race, he supposedly was a cat 1 too though and had been injured, now he timetrials all the cat 3's...its nice to see, he looks like a mad man, he is deffinately not cool looking, snot flyin all over his face and his eyes all buggy like..he looks like a neanderthal...thats the stuff i like to be a part of, savagry and pain...ive promised myself that this year im a calm gentelman off the course but a masochistic beast on got to go for the glory of the big win the whole time, none of this sitting and waiting for the sprint crap...i want to be ready to puke at the end of a race not warmed up...this year all you cat 4/5's are going down..are you scared now, intimidated a little, am i making a fool of myself, is the ruse holding
Another subjectZipper
Dec 20, 2001 2:30 PM
After you and your teammates are three-fourths into the crit and they start to "brake away" are they trying to achieve a sudden and abrupt stop or are they locking up both wheels and sliding? Is this a form of blocking? This is an interesting concept that I want to read more about.
Tag your it!allervite
Dec 20, 2001 5:47 PM
I guess I better proof read those posts a little better. Here I'll proof yours for you. You missed two commas. Can you tell me where? You started it.
Tag your it!Zipper
Dec 21, 2001 8:26 AM
You have to admit my response was at least somewhat entertaining. Have a great holiday and ride lots!!
Tag your it!ishmael
Dec 21, 2001 8:40 AM
im forced to take issue with you zipper...its people like you posting inapropriate crap that give us all a bad name!..that comment was not entertaining and not once have i read an interesting non-rude post from your direction...making fun of others who have spelling difficulties is the same as calling fat assed women ugly cows...straighten up or ship out..this site is for the straight and narrow, im going to write to someone to tell them about your conduct...this is the last straw, the cord has been cut, ive let you go too long....
Tag your it!Zipper
Dec 21, 2001 10:27 AM
I invite you to point out one post I have written that is offensive in any respect. I have not degraded anyone personally. I may have disagreed with comments or suggestions made by persons but I have never – I repeat never - made rude comments aimed at offending anyone personally. I suggest (and even challenge you) to point to one comment that comes close to being inappropriate.
Tag your it!ishmael
Dec 21, 2001 1:55 PM
ive never read any of your posts....i thought my analogy with the fat woman would give away that i was only joking...