Continuing her Roadie Series, Rachel shares some tips with you to help hold your position in the pack. You worked hard for that spot, so here’s how to keep it!
BEST TACTICS FOR HOLDING YOUR POSITION IN THE PACK
First, read this blog post from the Norcal Cycling News on how to hold your position in the pack. Oldie but a goodie. Some very good pointers here and will set the groundwork for the rest of my blog post. Seriously, required reading before diving into specific tactics.
As we all know, our competitors have certain strengths. If you don’t know these riders and their strengths and weaknesses, be sure to watch them and find out. It’s usually pretty clear. But, as we’ve also seen in our own riders, we each have strengths we didn’t know about. So, we don’t want to get trapped into ANY expectation for ANY rider. Including ourselves. So while some of these tips are just scenarios, each could end a million different ways. This is just what I perceive (and my coaches perceive) are best practices so to speak. Intrigued? Read on!
BEST TACTICS TO HOLDING YOUR POSITION IN A BREAK
So, you find yourself in a break … what are the “best” tactics? In a break, you must be honest with yourself … and the question is this:
“What can I do in this break that will give my team the best chance at winning the race?”
So what are those some answers?
- drive the break
- sit on the break
- attack the break
- be conservative in the break
- kill the break
- sacrifice for a teammate in the break
- attack for the win from the break
- repeat 7.
- never, ever get dropped from the break. Ever.
and, so on.
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“So I’m in a break with a sprinter, she’ll beat me…what do I do?”
Good question. First answer: don’t work with him/her. Unless you make the decision that you are happy with second if you can’t beat this gal/guy, then take whatever you can out of the situation. Because, sometimes second is as best our team is going to get. Them’s just the honest facts 🙂
However, for the vast majority of races, the proper tactic is to put your team in the best situation to win the race. And so, that may mean killing a break that has a sprinter who will beat you in it. But what if you have a teammate with you against that feared sprinter? Well then, I think you know you can beat her then.
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“I’m strong in the break, but no one will work with me?”
Well, I have to be honest with you, 99% of the time if a girl isn’t working in a break, it’s because she can’t. Everybody, I mean EVERYBODY wants to be seen as strong, it’s as simple as that. If there’s ever a rider who’s sitting on you for a reason other than she’s tired or that her team tactics dictate it … well, those are what we deem as wheelsuckers and they will get branded as such.
But, the honorable riders don’t sit on unless there’s a valid reason to do so. If you have a teammate up the road, it’s almost always suitable to sit on chasing riders. If you can’t win the race out of a 2-up move and you don’t want your team to settle for second, it’s ok to sit on that rider. etc.
And so, back to the original question – you’re strong, but the riders won’t work in the break. Well, maybe the best tactic is to kill the break immediately so you can re-absorbed in the pack and try and attack out again with a more favorable set of conditions for you.
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“I’m in a 4-person break and I might be the weakest rider. Should I work or wait for teammates?”
The answer to this question will answer a lot of your questions about whether to work for a teammate, or what you should do as a teammate when one of your other ladies is up the road.
Anyone who does the work to get into a break or ANY of your teammates who does the work to get into a break deserves to get a result out of that break. We love winning, but we love the chase of the win more. Meaning, if one of our teammates gets in a break, let’s support their chance at a result. The reasoning behind this is obvious. If we all share the work, we’ll all share the chances at being that rider either in the break, or positioned well for a field sprint.
Any examples you can share? Let us know!