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How to take a pull during a crit - I need help(9 posts)

How to take a pull during a crit - I need helpSherpa
Jun 25, 2003 7:10 AM
I've been working hard to over come a weakness of mine which is riding at the front-half of the group during crits. After doing about 5 crits this year, I'm seeing progress. I've learned to bust my butt to stay at the front of the group, and often manage to never fall back beyond 10th wheel (during "B" level races). I'm a Cat 4 and I've got a decent engine (but I would rate my handling skills as just okay).

Last night I moved up to the "A" races at my local crit series. Most of the riders are Cat 3 and up. I love the high pace, the solid bike handling, and the aggresive nature of the field. I stayed mostly near front, got in an early break for about 5 laps, and in the end I managed to finish in the front-half of the group. It was very satisfying.

BUT, I have big problems after taking pulls on the front. How do people fall back into the paceline without ending up near the back-half of the group? I find that after being on the front for a while - I want a rest. I want to work, but I don't want to do all of the work. After a while, I say to myself "enough, somebody else get up here" - I ease off the gas to signal to the guy behind me to move up and take the front - sometimes I've moved to the outside to make it obvious. But last night, it was like I wasn't getting the message across and when the next guy moved up, my speed was way slow (say 3-4 mph than the normal speed of the group) ...

Then comes the problem of getting back on the paceline. It seemes that the paceline is so tight, that is was impossible to get back in. And after the traffic finally clears, I find myself near the back-half. I guess I just need to fight harder to get back in, be more aggresive, and get a better handle on how to give up a pull without slowing down too much. Have I got the right idea here?

Any thoughts or tips?

re: How to take a pull during a crit - I need helpeschelon
Jun 25, 2003 7:26 AM
I'd say during the race take notice of the persons who are willing to pull the group and the ones who won't work...the ones who won't work won't put themselves in the after doing your pull, ease off to the side but still stay close to the line and draft off of them and start pushing yourself into the paceline infront of the guys who won't work...and if these guys won't let you in scream at them "Hey a55hole!...are you going to pull? let me in you a55hole!"

This approach may be "too extreme" but it once possible tactic. :)
Pulling a break or the peleton?brider
Jun 25, 2003 7:51 AM
If it's the break, then you DO go to the back. Otherwise you're just setting yourself up to be beat in the sprint.

If it's the peleton, then I'd ask WHY you're at the front? You should be in one of two places: 5-10 riders back, or off the front. You don't want to necessarily be AT the front unless you're coming to the last corner and the finish line is less than 50 yards from that corner. Now, if for some reason you find yourself at the front and need to drift back, you can just slow down and let the others around you. When they start to pass, get back up to speed. Most likely it won't be a single paceline. If it is, then you match speed and drift into the line. As this is an A race, and you're flying solo (from the sounds of it), most of the others are likely on teams, and have team tactics to consider. Breaking up their train isn't going to happen, so you'll need to drift past a few more riders.
Pull for a purpose. Don't pull for a purpose. I disagree withbill
Jun 25, 2003 10:19 AM
my learned colleague in one respect -- if you're in a break that has a chance of succeeding, you almost certainly are going to have to do some work. No one whose head is in the race is going to tow you anywhere near the finish line without doing some sh*t, including some nasty sh*t, if you aren't working in a break. I've never had the pleasure myself, but I've seen guys bump shoulders, try to slam guys into the curb, and plain ol' attack the break (better to reign in hell than serve in heaven) if one or more aren't working.
read your post again. I don't suppose I disagree with you atbill
Jun 25, 2003 10:24 AM
all -- I misunderstood.
If our hero is solo, no team, he probably never should be taking a pull at the front of the pack. That's all I would add. He gets caught up there because everyone is happy for someone else to be doing the work. It's not as if he's saving his teammates -- he is saving EVERYONE'S teammates.
I didn't say to not lead in a break...brider
Jun 25, 2003 11:47 AM
...what I was saying was to not try to get back in halfway down the line when recovering in a paceline. You want to rotate all the way to the back of the line. Rereading what I posted, I can see how that could be confused.
. . . and see my mea culpa, already posted. In a local racebill
Jun 25, 2003 12:47 PM
last weekend, this problem was handled very well (twice, actually, by the same team, once in the Cat 3 crit and a bit differently in the 1/2/3 crit).
In the 3 race, there was a 3-man break that stayed away with about a 30 second gap for 20 laps. One of the guys is inhumanly strong. One of the others is strong but human (relatively). The third wasn't working.
With about 5 to go, the team with the guy who is inhumanly strong attacked the pack. Why did they do that? Because their guy in the break was, at that moment, attacking the break. He stayed away, the rest of the break was swallowed, and that was that.
In the 1/2/3 race, there was a 4-man break that stayed away for, for a long time, anyway. Two guys from one team, one each from two others. One of the solo guys wasn't working. One of the guys with a teammate in the break attacked the break, forcing dumbsh*t who wasn't working to do it all. The break fell apart and everybody got caught, but the team who had attacked the break still took the first two podium places (on later solo flyaways).
. . . and see my mea culpa, already posted. In a local raceclimbo
Jun 27, 2003 1:32 PM
In the Cat 3 race, why would you attack just as your teammate went off the front of the break? OK, so he was strong enough to win it, but if he can't hang on, aren't you just incenting the chase on your own teammate? I'd be at the front pedalling circles until someone else started the chase.
that's what we were wondering, until superboy attacked thebill
Jun 27, 2003 7:34 PM
break. I'm not sure whether it was planned, but it sure worked like it was.