2013 Clinic Week 4

February 25th, 2013 by sprinterdellacasa Categories: Clinic No Responses

Week 4 – Chalk talk – Race speed, bridging gaps, attacking.

In races you need to be prepared for speed. Races may average a “normal” speed, like 24 or 26 mph, but the bits that count are a lot faster. It’s quite easy to hit 32-34 mph on the first (slightly downhill) stretch at Bethel, and if there’s a tailwind on the backstretch, similar speeds there. Even the uphill sprint can hit 28-32 mph.

This means you need to be prepared to hit over 30 mph, at least momentarily. Remember that gaps are fatal, and the faster you go, the closer you need to follow. Make sure you keep the gaps closed and be prepared for speed.

This means you need to do some efforts in training to reach higher peak speeds. You’ll see quickly that being on the drops helps a lot, both with power and aerodynamics. It’s normal to get a bit sore in your glutes as well as your other leg/hip muscles.

1. Warm up – contact. Keep speeds low, 10-12 mph at first. You’ll probably be riding the brakes a bit to keep from coasting up to higher speeds. No contact on hill unless you and your partner are okay with it. Keep gaps closed. Small ring. Focus on contact. Tactical drafting stuff will come next.

2. Attacks/bridges. Pace line. Two instructors per group. If groups are 8 riders or more then double pace line at about 25 mph, 18 mph on hill (speeds may differ based on fitness/wind). An instructor at the back and one rider “attacks” and gets a small gap. They ease into cruising speed.

The next rider at the back rider attacks, rides up to the front group, and gets onto a wheel. They should  hold the same speed as the rest of the lead group. When last two riders (one instructor, one student) are left they should go together. Depending on the situation instructor can lead or follow, but whatever order one will follow the other up to the front group.

This exercise is useful for realizing the difference in energy required between closing gaps or bridging to an attack versus steady state riding in the group or in the break.

Keep repeating with different combinations. The idea, within reason (you’re all about to race after all), is to try and cross the gap decisively but ease up so that you coast into the front group, you don’t have to jam the brakes on.

This is also illustrative as far as learning what kind of gap a rider can cross. A general rule of thumb is that a solo rider can cross, with a bit of difficulty, a 10 second gap. That means that to start a successful breakaway you need to have a 15-20 second gap when you have your group sort of “set”. At that point the break has germinated and has a chance to keep going.

This drill will take most of the warm up time.

Homework: Practice short bursts of high speed when you do some intervals or similar short intense training. Your goal speeds should be over 30 mph; 35 mph is great. If on a team (whether official or just friendly allies) think about launching one rider off the front while the other marks the group. You can also think of permutations like launching a teammate/friend across a gap into a break, etc.