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Crit advice
Last Post 02/13/2014 03:17 PM by jacques anquetil. 19 Replies.
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6ix

Posts:133

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02/08/2014 01:24 PM
As Prefontaine said, a race is a work of art. I have little respect for the guys that hide in the pack the entire race and then sprint at the very end. Sure, they may have won but they didn't make the race. I understand the strategy and I'm not suggesting it's smart to just go to the front and pull the entire pack around. Keep in mind that you'll likely be racing against the same guys every weekend. You will quickly lose friends by sucking wheels all the time. If you're so strong that you feel like hammering away at the front, why not try an attack? That is using your energy and strength to make a measurable gain over your competition rather than showing off.
I had the most success in races that I actually took part in. I was always strategic and would time attacks perfectly. Well, sometimes. Basically I came to the conclusion that if I was suffering like a dog, I should dig super deep and attack. We were all on a mostly level playing field so I figured if I was hurting so were they.
Bike racing is odd in that you have to use your competitors to help you win.
79pmooney

Posts:1191

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02/08/2014 01:37 PM
Well said, 6ix.

Ben
Master50

Posts:246

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02/10/2014 01:46 PM
You will never get good at crits until you have a few under your belt. You need to learn your talents and weaknesses. Lots of advice about staying out of the wind but if you never go to the front you cannot test your strength and only a few riders win off the front just because these are the rarest guys on bikes. Brian Walton was such a rider and I think he won as many from the front as some more specialized sprinters. We have seen the local guy at his first crit riding at the front and killing the field. We are all yelling don't do so much work or sit on a little. At the end of the season he is cat 1 and never listened to a word of anyones advice. You have to test your limits and yes sticking your nose out will burn a lot of energy but you need to measure that ability so take a risk. Certainly once you reach your level of athletic ability and know where you fit will determine a lot of your tactics. Just a sprinter? maybe wheel sucking to the last 150 meters is your best bet. Have a big engine and can TT to beat the home boys? maybe a few solo attacks will garner the greatest glory especially if you can't sprint. Maybe you have to blow a big wad of energy to make the break where your TT engine can be put to work. Not everyone that has spent the whole race all nice and tucked in with lots of energy has the tools to take it to the line and all that being safe does is ensure a pack finish. the road is only so wide and you can't have 40 riders all sprinting across the road. In general every rider is told to protect your energy for the finish but you still need to be a fast finisher to win and if that is not in your tool box it is not the best advice to not take risks. Try everything while you are a student of the art including blowing yourself up at the front. Take chances to learn your talents, strengths and weaknesses. Have fun too.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:1175

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02/10/2014 02:07 PM
I think you guys are forgetting one key element in this.....the guy who asked the question was a newbie and this was going to be his first ever crit. Regradless of you preferences for riding at the front, it simply is not good advice to tell a newbie to ride at the front, take pulls or try to attack.

First race in? Learn!! Going off like a wild shot or taking a lot of pulls is a great way to find yourself riding alone for the majority of the race. Sit in, watch the race, learn the dynamics of a race and (most importantly) get to the finish.

Sure, there are the odd guys who can take off in a Cat. 5 race and solo or get in a group, etc. But they are few and far between. For the majority of newbies, they are better off sitting in.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
jacques_anquetil

Posts:231

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02/13/2014 03:17 PM
however, the challenge is to sit in the middle of the pack and not towards the back of the group. too far back of course is a sure way to get in 6-8 hard interval efforts and then explode.

good thread.
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