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Tactics for 20.5mile road race(10 posts)

Tactics for 20.5mile road racewtm
Apr 7, 2002 10:26 AM

I'm trying to do the best I can in a 20.5mile road race. It is one lap. I know the best guy in the field and that is who i want beat. He is a really good climber. There are only 3 climbs on the course, but the finish is on a 13% grade, which he can definately beat me on. Should I try to break away from the start and accumulate a large lead? Other than the two of us, the field will be relatively weak. Most of the course is pretty flat and fast, there will be a few first time racers. Any thoughts? How can I take this guy down? Thanks,
re: Tactics for 20.5mile road racefeathers mcgraw
Apr 7, 2002 4:43 PM
Sounds like you'll have no choice but to be in a break. You might as well gamble since the odds are against you anyway. The unfortunate thing is that you may have to go it alone if there are no other strong riders. Your best bet may be to attack alone, and hope that well intentioned chasers break your rival's rhythm and actually slow him down. Weaker riders that help out in the chase do more harm than good. He may also refuse to tow the whole field to you. If he bridges up to you then you'll just have to attack 'til one of you cracks if you want to win. You have to decide if you want to place second or if you'll accept nothing but victory.
"In a break?"TJeanloz
Apr 8, 2002 7:30 AM
I don't think I've ever seen a successful break in a race that short. Anybody can huff it out for 20 miles. I'd say the only shot is to sit in the whole race, be at the front coming into the last climb, go like hell and hope that better riders are boxed in behind.
eh?feathers mcgraw
Apr 8, 2002 12:35 PM
If anyone can huff it out for 20 miles why can't a break succeed? Aren't those two statements contradictory? What am I missing? I'd think that the shorter the break the lesser the advantage of the pack, and therefore the more likely it would succeed.
Apr 8, 2002 12:50 PM
My racing experience is this; a 20 mile race is going to take ~50 minutes. As it isn't a criterium, the pace probably won't be frenetic from the start. Nobody will be tired at any point in the race, right up to the end. I suppose that if you got a big enough jump, early enough that the rest of the field thought it was funny, and you were able to hold on, it would be possible. But the likelyhood, in my experience, is that the field is going to jump on anybody that makes even a twitch towards opening a gap at the front. And on a 20 mile race with three climbs, the climbs aren't going to be long enough to break the race up into distinct groups.

All I'm saying is that while a breakaway might be every riders dream, I don't think anybody is capable of holding off the field, or gaining a reasonable gap in that short a race. It could happen, but I've never seen it. And I presume it's a 4/5/citizens race (because of distance), which I don't believe I've ever seen finish with a breakaway (I've seen the lead group shell everybody else, until they were ~10 strong, but that's not really a breakaway).
eh?feathers mcgraw
Apr 8, 2002 1:14 PM
My suggestion was based on the fact that he said the field will be extremely weak but for one other rider. I'm assuming that one strong rider and many weak riders will equal a disorganized chase, or that the stronger rider will get tired of doing all the work.
That's possible,TJeanloz
Apr 8, 2002 1:17 PM
I could see that if the rest of the field were extremely weak. But would somebody please tell me where I can find these 'extremely weak' fields? Even a disorganized chase can typically track down a strong rider, unless said strong rider really is that much stronger- which isn't too likely, but entirely possible.
re: Tactics for 20.5mile road racebrider
Apr 8, 2002 8:49 AM
I'd say your best bet is to get in a two-man break with this guy and make him do ALL the work going up to that final climb. If he is a much stronger climber than you, you may be sunk prior to that. Even in a 20 mile race, it's rare for anyone to solo that long (I've done it, but it ain't pretty). If your comparable in climbing ability, you have a good chance to take him on the last hill. If it's a larger break, then this other guy gets just as much rest as you and you'll have to duke it out at the end.
Apr 8, 2002 10:38 AM
I'd say go from the gun. If he does not chase, go as hard as you can. If he does, make him do all the work- complain that you are tired, your legs are burning, you don't know how muck longer you can keep up; but remind him that the group is just behind and chasing hard and you heard one of the new guys can really sprint. Do a little work on the down hills and flats to keep him interested.

Good Luck!
no guarantee that you two will be the only strong ridersTig
Apr 8, 2002 3:42 PM
Consider other plans if there a few unexpected riders who are near your abilities show up. There really isn't any way of knowing what will happen in a race. To go into a race with that type of confidence could set yourself up for unexpected problems.

Since a breakaway isn't too likely on a short race, the last hill will be where the race is won or lost. Know that hill like the back of your hand. Know the wind direction compared to the finish stretch so you can use a draft if needed. Expect an early attack on the climb and be ready to follow it. If they fade later you will be there to take advantage. If you are back with the others, you risk getting nipped at the line. To attack it yourself with a stronger rider right behind you could put you in the position of the fading rider who gets passed at the top.

If you end up being the 2 strongest riders after all, shadow him. Don't kill yourself early in the race. If you are on the finishing climb right behind him, he will try to drop you quickly to seal the win. Be ready for that. Tell yourself in advance that you will disconnect from the pain when it happens. That you will push yourself to new heights and not let him win. Prepare yourself to NOT give up. I know this is easier said than done!

Also be sure to taper your training the last few days before the race. Train your weaknesses, race your strengths.