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Saturday, I raced my butt off, our sprinter won, so why(6 posts)

Saturday, I raced my butt off, our sprinter won, so whybill
Sep 2, 2003 7:06 AM
don't I feel better about it all?
I was feeling great about that race. I had had a ball. I chased down breaks at the front of the pack, I bridged up to a few (all of which fizzled), I was at the front enough so that if the little guy with the telephoto lens DIDN'T get a great picture of me, I'll be really p*ssed. At the end of the race, a guy who had worked with me at the front some (from the host team) congratulated me, saying that we, of all the teams there, deserved to win that race because of all the work that we did, and I know that I well deserved my part of that compliment.
So why don't I feel better? I'll tell you what did it. After the race, when it was taking approximately forever for the results to be posted, I was hanging around to confirm that our guy in fact had won. He had sat in for most of the race, jumped on the right wheel (not mine, I was too blown for much of a sprint, although my computer still picked me up at about 35, and I finished 19th) in the last km or two, and edged out all comers. Great. Just the way it's supposed to work. But then I realized that there was this little circle of guys waiting to figure out where in the top five or ten they were, talking about that last km, and I wasn't one of them. I had had a big part in stringing the race out in the 2-3 km before the last one, but the race really was in that last one.
This is part of the deal. With all of the work I did, I probably could have expended it making a break stick. But I was too much of a pusilanimous individual about it. Then maybe it could have been me discussing the last km.
So, talk to me. You all have never been shy about telling me when I was whining before. Help me sort out the lessons here.
Cat 4 race. We didn't have much of a plan going in, although it quickly became obvious that our little group of four was one of the stronger teams, so my thought was to make the race a little more selective by driving the pace. Which, I think, we did.
re: Saturday, I raced my butt off, our sprinter won, so whyMShaw
Sep 2, 2003 9:50 AM
Sometimes its tough being a domestique! Work your arse off for the team sprinter, and what do you get? Not a bunch.

Did y'all have a prize split? Seems to help a bunch when you know you're getting part of the reward for all of your suffering.

I don't know if anyone said it, but a "thank you" from the teammate that won also helps a lot. I've been on both sides of that one.

Now for a specific observation: y'all didn't have a plan when the race started. Why not? If you're racing as a team, you should all know what you're planning to accomplish. If it is racer X's turn to be the sprinter, and everyone's working for him, great because next week it may be your turn to be the protected rider. Defining who is doing what is important.

You said "I raced my butt off..." did the rest of the team? Or did they all sit on and watch you hammer? Anyone else contribute? See above about planning...

So next time, figure out who is doing what, make sure that there's a prize split agreement worked out beforehand, and go get 'em killer!

That help?

Mike
In Cat 4, we've never developed much of a plan other thanbill
Sep 2, 2003 10:07 AM
"keep the pace high, stay near the front, protect if someone gets into a break, and see who's feeling strong if it's a field sprint." Well, duh.
Oddly, we worked pretty well as a team. One of us wasn't feeling great and didn't work very much after a while, which is fine; it happens. He's a strong rider and he'll be back. Two of us worked our a**es off. Which is at should be, because the fourth guy, the guy who won, is a strong rider who had some early season results and then got sort of tired (we'd had a bunch of races canceled this year, too), but he's regained form and he probably was the best guy to go in a field sprint. So, if we had had a plan, this likely would have been it.
As for prize sharing, I guess it would have been a nice gesture, but it wasn't much of a purse, and he did thank us. I'm not sure what else I was looking for there.
What I wanted is that I wanted it to be me!! I think I learned, again, that taking chances is a very good thing in bike racing, and I should keep taking them until I hit my boundaries, which I don't think I've hit yet. So, I should stop complaining and keep racing. Every race is still a new experience for me. There's a lot to learn about this stuff.
At least, he could pay your entry fees back to you.Spunout
Sep 2, 2003 11:29 AM
If there wasn't enough, he should split it four ways. Your next reaction is to never work for him again.

Wouldn't blame you.
If it's like most races around here....Sadlebred
Sep 2, 2003 12:26 PM
If the Cat. 4 purse is like most races around here, it might cover his entry fee plus a little beer money. On our team the guys either agree to split the prize winnings equally if the purse is large enough or treat each other to a beer after the race if the winnings are rather small. (Being the only woman, I don't have to split my prize money with anyone. If I work for another team or have someone work for me, the agreement is to usually treat to lunch or dinner after the race.)
agree - our unwritten rule on the DCC was 'winner buys beer'lonefrontranger
Sep 2, 2003 8:22 PM
This was when I was racing in Dayton, Ohio. I rarely had teammates in women's races, quite frankly there weren't many women's races to begin with, so it was just as common to locate me hiding out in the men's 4/5 field. I did my share of the work and got my dues for helping out. One of my normal roles during my first 2 season's racing was to ride herd on early breaks to protect our field sprinter, who was pretty fast for an older Master 4. I was a strong enough time triallist then that I could just about manage this for the first 10-15 miles before I croaked.

We had a lot of fun that way, and I had a job to do even though it was understood that I'd generally get spit OTB about halfway through (or on the first significant hill in a road race, whichever came first). Didn't matter, they seemed to value the work anyway. Often the stronger of our two juniors took over after me and he was able to get away a couple times for his own wins by doing this. Once our sprinter won a decent sized crit and landed enough cash to buy (granted, cheap) lunch for everyone. That was the rather memorable day that the entire DCC team got kicked out of an all-you-can-eat buffet (that's a story for another time, though). You can't *pay* enough for that kind of entertainment.

Bill, what you're struggling with is fairly common, and my own teammates on my current team have had this issue, too. Half the time we don't know who will show up, and when or if they do, what form they are on, so it makes it difficult to do anything but seat-of-the-pants guesswork on race day. We had one exceedingly discouraging event this year where eight of us showed up on the line in a combo 4/35+ race and the best placing we could show for it was 7th. Talk about having no clue and no plan! We were out there totally winging it. It didn't help that 5 of my 8 teammates had never done a crit before, it was early in the season, there were over 40 starters (that's a big squirrelly women's field), there were significant cash primes every other lap, the course was unsheltered with heavy crosswinds and a couple of sharp corners, well - one thing led to another and those 5 got spit off the lead group by the 2nd or 3rd lap...

The only method I've found to combat this kind of group mental paralysis is to get together once or twice a month, practice some simple methods and execution, and stick to simple plan A, plan B type stuff when you show up on race day.