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newbie curious observations(4 posts)

newbie curious observationsdirtydownOR
Apr 13, 2003 7:24 PM
I just started racing this year. My purpose was primarily to push myself to a higher level of fitness. I am 40 with a family and have been cycling a couple of years. I think I got suckered by my friends last year. They kept encouraging me.

I have participated in 2 road races. I noticed a couple of activities that I am curious about. First of all, I noticed yesterday that a few people that were with the lead pack ,or at least ahead of me, quit the race. They were initially at the front of the pack setting the pace on the first lap. I can only guess at what happened. I am just surprised at the number of people that bail out. I understand if there is a physical injury or a mechanical problem. I have a hard time accepting that someone would bail out of a Cat 4/5 race because they might not place well.

At my first race, I was way off the back but still working to move up. I heard one rider say to another, "we are so far off the back it is not worth working towards the finish unless you need a good training ride." Am I a hard ass jerk to think, "We are at the back of a Cat 4/5 field. All of us need a lot more hard work. A race is not the place to just be out for a spin." We ended up having a great sprint finish. I led out a team mate in the last 600 meters. We dropped 4 riders in that lead out. My team mate was edged out by another rider because we made a newbie positioning tactical error. That was my fault.

I decided after the first race that I was not going to waste my time in pacelines just for the pupose of conserving energy. I am a slow starter. I kick into my highest gear for the middle third of a race. I don't even care if I am pulling someone or a group. I may back off to get a little bit of recovery but then I am back at the front hammering again. I figure I am out there to work at race intensity in order to someday earn my right to be with the lead pack. Hopefully, by the time I can stay with the lead pack through out the race I will have enough conditioning for a good finish sprint.

I did well yesterday. The hills are what blew me off the back. I haven't been doing very little hill climbing training. That will change this month as I start to focus my training on ultra-endurance mtb events. My legs adapt to climbing very quickly. I actually enjoy climbing eventhough I am a fat ass.
Keep it up!Spunout
Apr 14, 2003 3:52 AM
Van Petegem said in an interview this week that he doesn't even start a race until 100 miles have passed. He's doing pretty good.

You are finding your role in the pack, so hang out in the peleton and blow the race apart in the last half. A good sprinter/leadout must save it all for the last 200m.

And regarding pack tactics, those guys who quit must quit because they quit the last race.
I'm with you!duckstrap
Apr 14, 2003 6:26 AM
I have a ball whenever I get to race (43 w/ kids, job, wife's job, travel, etc). I would finish even if I had to crawl in DF way L and night was falling, and I will race whoever is still with me at the end. I like to feel the strength that comes with better fitness, and I like seeing the results improve over the season. I'll never be Roberto Heras, but if I can get my butt up that little sprinter's hill faster--I'm a happy man!
observation explanationKerry
Apr 14, 2003 6:05 PM
The guys who are pulling at first and then quit are most likely learning something about pacing themselves. Alternatively, they have not learned to pace themselves. The go hard at first thinking that this is what they are supposed to do, then they blow. They're so far out the back they run the risk of getting lapped.

The guys who say there's no point in trying to get to the front may have been right, about themselves. You can be at the back because of a poor starting position, because you got squeezed back, because you can't hack the pace, etc.. The first two might mean you can be moving up. The third means you're about to exit the pack.

Your hammering in the middle of the race may have served to shed a bunch of dead wood off the back, and it sounds like you had something left at the finish, so that was OK. Just don't hammer because you feel like you should - you may be towing somebody else's team to the finish that wouldn't be there in strength if they had to work hard.