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Crit Tactics(24 posts)

Crit TacticsDeadGame
Dec 13, 2002 2:25 PM
I raced last year as a Cat 5 will be moving to Cat 4 this year. With all respect to my 5 peeps I just sat in and booted it at the end. Placed in all Won some. I did watch a guy break solo and win. Wish I would of went with him. Oh well

In other words I don't think the sitting in will work with the 4's. or will it. I am suited for the sprint. I feel if I'm there in the end I can win. I also realize it will be more difficult as I updrade classification.

How do you handle breakaways with little knowledge of the competitors, teams etc...

Do you have a team? (nm)shirt
Dec 13, 2002 2:31 PM
Do you have a team? (nm)DeadGame
Dec 16, 2002 7:35 AM
re: Crit TacticsMR_GRUMPY
Dec 13, 2002 4:46 PM
Unless you are a good time trialist, don't even think about a solo breakaway. Sit in the pack in the top 6-8 places and watch for other breakaways. If one other rider tries it, will you be able to share the pace? If not, wait until two or three other riders go. Wait for a few seconds and jump like crazy to bridge up. With a three or four man break, you can work, but not too hard. As a Cat 4 you won't have to worry about teamwork. Even in Cat 3 races, most "teams" act like it's every man for himself. Watch out for the strongman who sits at the back of the pack and waits until the last ten minutes when everybody starts to rest up for the sprint.
re: Crit Tacticsbrider
Dec 16, 2002 9:52 AM
Since you say you have no team, I suggest you get one. Or start building some alliances. If you don't know your competitors, then you're at a big disadvantage. And in the Northwest area, the cat 3s (and the 4s in many cases) DO work as a team. I made sure of it. So in that case, if you're alone, you're relying on some one else to do your leadout for you. With no team allegiance. Not good. And you probably won't be sprinting away from every one at the finish either, unless you're some sort of monster. If you are, the teams will probably come looking for YOU.

I'm surprised that a cat 5 drit let a solo break go. Usually every one chases down everything immediately. Was this guy also on a team? It may be that he had team mates blocking, which allowed him to stay away (I've done it in cat 4 races, before there was a cat 5). You'll eventually get to know who has what strengths as teh season progresses. Work your strengths to thier strengths.
What's more importantSherpa23
Dec 16, 2002 12:13 PM
What's more important than the who is the when. Many of us have to race all over the country and world against new copmetitors all the time. It's impossible to know who's who even half of the time. Therefore, one of the best ways to choose the right breaks is to figure out when they go. For eaxample, if a break forms when you are hurting really badly then, provided that you are not one of the worst guys out there, the whole field is probably hurting too, and the break has an EXCELLENT chance of success. Jump on that one every time. There are other times, as well. You will figure it out.
re: Crit TacticsDeadGame
Dec 16, 2002 12:46 PM
This guy was a previously competitve Cat 3 racer and was getting back into the sport. Towards the end of the race before the bell for 5 laps the pace picked up a bit and people started to blow. This dude sat in and when he sensed the pace was about to level off he jumped and didn't slow down until the end. He put a minute on the group.
re: Crit TacticsQ-Pro
Dec 16, 2002 11:00 AM
As a cat 4 sprinter, all you need to do is get up front (not on THE front) by the time it reached four laps to go. You can get by sitting in as 4s tend to chase everything down even when there are teams. There will be attacks go off, but unless all major teams are represented it will come back (even then many times).

Either wait until you see somebody making a move up the inside and follow his wheel up, or move up a few places per lap.

Be in top 5 with two laps to go and then watch for someone going early on last lap, jump on his wheel and hopefully he'll lead you out before he cooks with 150 meters to go.

Seen this happen and followed this example many times to my advantage when I was a 4.

One other thing though, it doesn't hurt you to go for a couple primes (not all) and even help reel in an early break to help you build strength. Just don't work hard within last ten minutes of race. You don't want to win by sitting in and then cat up to 3s without having gotten stronger. Those weeknight "A" races will pop you off if you didn't get stronger before you get to these.
re: Crit TacticsNo_sprint
Dec 16, 2002 12:30 PM
Whether or not team tactics work, they are discussed, planned, and always in motion during races here. Even in the 5s. I cannot remember a race where an unattached rider won or even placed. My suggestion is get on a team.

If you've won some, I'm really surprised you have not been approached already. Where I am, there is not a whole lot of difference between 4 and 5. Many riders upgrade very quickly from 5 to 4 without even seeing a top 20 finish. Many times, the 4 and 5s are run together. The main difference is the fields are larger and they're 10/15 minutes longer. The average speeds remain very similar.
re: Crit TacticsDeadGame
Dec 16, 2002 1:02 PM
I live in Northwest Fl. Not exactly a cycling mecca. I am not even aware of a team in Nortwest Florida. I know there was one in Ft Walton beach at one time but I don't think they actively compete. From what I have seen in the SouthEast Cat 5 is like a freak show, we are a little higher on the food chain than the kids 50 meter obligatory sprint photo op. On one ocassion in Columbus Ga last year the Cat 5 road race was halted so the pro's could come thru. This race was a closed course. It was about 5 miles from the finish the pros went by and took a blow sat up took fluids etc.. We began to catch them and were told agin to slow down. So on our last climb we talked ourselves up the hill. "Ok guys hold your positions. No one jump. 1/2 mile before finish "Ok go", But It was pretty cool to see Hincappie blow by. I must say.
re: Crit TacticsNo_sprint
Dec 16, 2002 1:10 PM
Gotya. It's a completely different animal here in SoCal. Certainly a hotbed here. Fields are large, competition is stiff and vicious. Mercury, Jelly Belly, Saturn, Zombies, Labor, Shroeder, 7-UP are everywhere, some even have their new development riders in the 5s. In the 4s, you really start to see who is strong and get to know them. The strong riders are always in the hunt when the time comes, week in, week out.
re: Crit Tacticstdflance
Dec 16, 2002 1:08 PM
Hey no sprint, what area is this?
in the NYC area there are alot of unnattached and some place pretty often. Team tactics are not put into good use and alot of people don't understand team tactics.
re: Crit TacticsNo_sprint
Dec 16, 2002 1:25 PM
I hear ya. It's a learning process. Many times around here lots of teams are small. When you and Joe are the only 5s in John's bike store team, how you going to learn tactics or launch them? Our team has training rides for all cats and we've got a lot of guys in every cat.

Most races have far more losers than winners, therefore, most team's tactics do not work successfully. Since parity is really high where I'm at, it's a crapshoot unless there's a ringer in the mix.
play around with itDougSloan
Dec 17, 2002 7:43 AM
Do some "training" crits, those early season ones that are low key, and try some different things. Test yourself. You'll never know what you can do until you try.

A team can help. Team mates can take turns going off the front, with no real intention of making it stick, just to wear the field out and to make them think that they will reel them in every time, and then the "real" break goes and they are either tired or caught off guard. I've even seen guys play rabbit a few times and then blow and drop out -- and that was the plan.

Race your strengths. If you are only a sprinter, then you need to do what you can to keep the field together for a field sprint at the end, or at least be in a break with a few other guys. You can accomplish this sometimes by simply shouting out directions back in the pack -- it's amazing how you can influence things. When someone goes, yell out, "let's go get 'em!" I've seen it work several times. Someone will tow you right up.

Experiment. It can be painful and demoralizing, but you must try to know what you are capable of.

Racing really is very much cerebral.No_sprint
Dec 17, 2002 1:16 PM
"Let's go get him!" That's pretty funny. I've been the rabbit before. Planned. I told my teammates sit on the middle/back, I'm gonna pull, go all out, stretch the field, wear the field as long as I can then bail. Solo flyer 1/2 through the race, finally a chase group caught, then the whole field. I was spit out the rear about 3 laps later. Bye. Unfortunately our strongest overall rider (unintelligently in my opinion)put himself in a two man break that was caught on the last lap and our best sprinter was caught up in a last lap crash. Unsuccessful tactics.

I'm never going to do that again.

Doug is right, you've got to give it a go. I've seen guys that I didn't think were very strong riders just thrive in the rats nest of a peloton in a nasty crit. I've seen very strong riders that simply can't handle racing, the corners, the stress of it at all.
Dec 17, 2002 1:51 PM
... as long as you have the legs to back it up.

I have a team mate who can't sprint worth a crap. I think I could take him sitting down in the small ring. However, he time trials pretty well, and can handle repeated surges all day long. Also, he has a helluva killer instinct, and never says die. So, he needs people to simply wear down the field or take him along in break. When he has help with this, he's pretty effective. He's also the best guy to help out the real sprinters, as he can either tow them or wear everyone else out with false breaks.

Out-thinking can compensate for lesser legs. No doubt about it.

If I were without a team, I probablyl would show up on an old bike with some goofy looking gear. You might get away with flying off the front without anyone taking you seriously.

I sympathize with your team mate.No_sprint
Dec 17, 2002 2:36 PM
I'm pounding legs in the gym this off season like I've never done before.

I think I kept more of an eye out for the guys with battered bikes and clothes and big legs than the guys who'd show up unattached in full USPS/Trek or Mapei gear with matching 5900s or C-40s.

I remain - No_sprint
yupDuane Gran
Dec 18, 2002 10:38 AM
If I were without a team, I probablyl would show up on an old bike with some goofy looking gear. You might get away with flying off the front without anyone taking you seriously.

An old buddy of mine used to pull this one. He was a cat2 I believe. He would occassionally travel for business and he would bring his bike and hit a weekend race. He would wear some cut-off jeans and do some other goofy things. No one took him seriously at the line.
Up here53T
Dec 18, 2002 12:12 PM
it's called "freding". As a team, we are always on the lookout for that guy in the back with a t-shirt and his frame logos covered in electrical tape. If he goes, we all go.
Dec 18, 2002 2:21 PM
So, would it actually be more stealthy to show up at a crit race on a brand new Freire World Champion C40 with Zipp Z3 wheels and a $200 Assos skinsuit? :-)

a thought53T
Dec 18, 2002 5:53 PM
Actually yes, nobody would take you seriously since you would be riding a better bike than the McCormak brothers, or Tyler Hamilton, or whoever else decides to drop by on any given Sunday in New England. Even if the ringers are not around we would all be laughing to hard to respond to an early break. It just might work!
to complete the package...DougSloan
Dec 18, 2002 8:36 PM
Don't forget one of these (then they would REALLY laugh their asses off!):
Dec 19, 2002 10:51 AM
That would surely be something. I can see the 2s with torn shorts, torn gloves, battered bar tape, dinged up old Dales really gettin' a laugh outta that getup!
re: Crit TacticsDuane Gran
Dec 18, 2002 10:42 AM
How do you handle breakaways with little knowledge of the competitors, teams etc...

I'm no expert, but the best advice I got about this issue was to watch for the "critical moment" in a race. This can take a lot of forms, such as a crash, hill, caught breakaway, etc. Whenever a breakaway starts to happen I ask myself if it represents the moment where I'm on board or club riding it to the line.

Having a team is helpful in this situation. If you are a monster sprinter, a couple fellows pushing wind at the front might close down the breakaway.