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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

frying the brainpan

Di Luca doesn't ride with a radio ... ever.

"I've had to use my mind instead of just listening to the instructions given by the director. I'm convinced it has helped me improve to the level where I am now. I know what I have to do."CN]

I am a firm believer in banning radio use in bike races. Yes, there are significant advantages in having them - but, I am convinced they are making racing 1) less exciting and 2) decreasing riders' abilities to read and react to in-the-moment racing situations.
- - -


I think that's what frustrated me the most about being on the track on Saturday. We were racing the last 60 lap points race and i had been chased down on an attack, i was blurried and stupid, and didn't know that DHolla was advancing past me on the outside. I wasn't AWARE.

I hate not being aware in a bike race.

For example, in yesterday's GeezerCrit ... i attacked out of our break with 1.5 to go. I had a strong idea of who was feeling good, who was in the hurt bag, just exactly how much power was needed to nail it through that long headwind grinder on the backside.

i jumped away from the more dangerous sprinter and gapped the other 3, but the better fitness rider in Ashe took up chase. He couldn't match my acceleration out of the group, but he dug incredibly deep to try and chase me down.

5 ... 10 ... 12 seconds of full-throttle into the headwind and i can look back and see that the sprinter has latched onto Ashe's chase. He'll be getting the draft and a bit of recovery ... and the gap isn't big enough for me to withstand his jump once we hit the tailwind finishing straight to start our final lap.

I have to meter out the effort and be ready for him. Awareness, prediction, gambling.

Sure enough, the sprinter from Merril Lynch jumps away from Ash in the tailwind and barrels his way towards me. I'm recovering slightly in the tailwind until he connects. Ashe is still teeth on handlebars behind, burning farmland to try and make connection.

The sprinter and I jockey a bit, some small bluffery as we determine who will make pace to keep the last lap alive and who will attack to try and dagger it out.

I attack again - but this time it's a straight forward set-up move to get him working in the hard section. He chases me and then counters for his own dig at the line - but we're now into the headwind again ... my territory.

He throws it all on the table. It's a strong move and I approve. But, i've got his wheel and he knows it ... we slow again, just what i need.

the speed drops as he does his best to recover and then i play my final card and accelerate again. It's in the acceleration that i have him, not the straight up power. He recovers a few seconds later and matches my speed to the line, but my jump got the gap and so this time i'm crossing first.

awareness.
-


At the track on Saturday, i had tunnel-vision. It was too new and my concentration didn't extend much beyond the dozen feet in front of me and the barest of angles on the periphery.

i get very irked not knowing what's going on behind me. And on Saturday, i hadn't a clue.

In the Scratch race, when bigmeat Forest and i were off the front, i saw that BJM was crossing the gap ... but, i never even knew DHolla made it over afterwards. I didn't realize BJM had opened the gap behind me to try and get Holla to work in the move until a turn later and only then switched on the gas to make my bid for the win.

experience.

funny ... you only get it by ... getting it.


i love learning new things on the bike.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Told you so......
-It is not the same as an NRC crit is it?
-You will learn quickly though.
-Should have known you would be able to win the scratch race. just like a crit. It will only take you a few races more to learn the other ones. Glad you quickly learned about the tunnel vision aspect of track!
-Cross-eyed MF you were!
-Did you spend as much time OTF or OFB as you thought?

friendly anon

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

- same as an NRC crit? no, it wasn't as extended of power outputs ... much burstier.

- i'll learn if i can get out there. gotta get out there every chance i get.

- tunnel vision may take some time to overcome. being in a heavier gear will help, too. i was squirrely trying to pedal 150rpms.

- cross-eyed ... at least 5 times. but, the recovery is so easy on the track. weird.

- OTF, not often enough. OTB, it's coming.

i was a bit too sketch coming out of turn 4 on at least 3 occassions. it was very frustrating and something i'll have to work hard at.

but, getting the right gearing, getting on the track more will help i hope.


overall - it's just awesome and i want to race it every chance i get.

i can see how it could become a bit stale though if it's the same people racing week in and week out. hopefully, there will be an influx of lots of new riders coming in and out of form like the road scene often has.

and, it sounds as though there might be some politics going on over there that i want to stay as far away from as possible.

it's their gig and i don't want to interfere one bit in how they do their bidness.


cycling rules.

sydney_b said...

love reading your analyses. got my but kicked this weekend for being a newbie dum dum, not for want of strength or speed. Gonna try to play it smarter this coming weekend.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

go get 'em, Sydney.


now, i'm off to the local bike shop in search of new track gears.


oh, the nerdery.

Chico Cyclist said...

LOVE the new helmet!!! That was the secret weapon right there.....that thing is sweet!!

Steven Woo said...

Gee whiz, I was recommending that someone get *you* involved in the politics to help them mix things up! :)

I've already settled on your solution to the issue myself long ago.

AdamB said...

Sometimes I wonder if Big George could have won a few more races if he hadn't had someone telling him what to do all the time.

Radios are lame.

Anonymous said...

That "peeking back" pic looks a bit like a deodorant verification sniff...

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

failed.


serious stinkage.

PROMANgirl said...

Get more people to the track! its definately intimidating but you could not be in a better surrounding, everyone willing to help. Tunnel vision- yes, not knowing whats going on behind you -yes, thats when its great to have track vet and masters national track champ kelly bartholomew on your team, telling me whats going on! loads to learn for sure, racing by instinct the way to go, reminds me of the scene in kill bill where Uma is fending off about 50 guys with swords, she 'feels' them coming from behind and from all sides. Addictive - yes.

be back there soon - Tulsa Tough for me and tracey this weekend

great win for you yesterday, loved the flower flair

PROMANgirl said...

oh yes, radios - the team has used them a couple of times this year, mostly NRC with our D.S who has oodles of experience, some of the younger gals like them for on the job tactics training, can be valuable in that regard. in general i am more for instinct, and verbal communication between teamates some girls definately start to lean on them for sure, in the big leagues; gone are the days of the cunning tactician. waiting for permission to attack can result in a missed opportunity.

dr-nitro said...

Looks like you were dragging around berry boys all weekend.

But yeah, what is with the helmet? Trying to distract those behind you?

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

trying to catch berry boys, Nitro ... big difference.
-

Radios ... yeah, Niki - they are a good teaching tool. No bones about it. And, they can be a HUGE advantage in races. But, just like you said ... it stunts action.

And, i think one part of what makes a good DS is doing all the necessary prep and post discussions with riders to help them see more of what actually happened and what could have happened.

It's about teaching, i reckon.

And as you say, in the end ... it's the rider that has to do it. Instincts are guided and refined by experience.

and refinement is ... sexy!

Ippoc Amic said...

groovy flower power rules!!

X Bunny said...

just putting out the notice

helmet checks for everyone with flowers in their helmets next time i see them....

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

I love the helmet! I want one :-)
The race analysis is so much fun...its the part of the game that I really enjoy. The having a job to do as part of a team, yet pushing the body to do things it sometimes rebels against. OF course I'm too new at this to be able to do it very well yet...i still find myself short-sighted a lot of the time...but some things are clicking, and I do get some moments where the brain and the body and the bike all click, and thats when the 'wow' moments are. Nothin' else like it.

Anonymous said...

I read on Amber's blog that they raced without radios at Tri Peaks. Perhaps removing the electronic leash had something to do with the breakthrough success. Instinct doesn't wait for permission, and if it does, it dies.

Jen said...

Hey, I will not be ignored. The Chapmans want to know your Mt. Hoodie plans this week. We will be up there Sunday to watch the crit action. Email me or Brent.
-Jen

russellp said...

Read the CN blurb on Di Luca's radio-less riding last night and immediately thought "oV will love this." Like Pab on thin mints.

pedro said...

Olaf has one view of it, the fit one, who races much, and when tactics, awareness, and bursts (sustained - headwind or explosive - tailwind), matter. an accurate view too, but incomplete.

Primary foundation is 1-genetics, 2-training, 3-then awareness. Fitness first, how? go for it, to use a term from 70yr old Bill Best, "put your balls on the top tube for everyone to see". Used that to win more than once, this day, not so good.

My version of the Memorable (most) Day Geezer - yes 400 attacks, nothing sticks, am in several moves, they all hurt - recover, sit-in a tad. At the very back? Opps! Work toward the front with 20 mins to go, see 3, looks sleek, gap growing, decide? GO!

Lead out OTF by ???, who peals off, pull through, he's gone back, JUMP! Must get there before windy stretch. 3/4 of lap all out, THERE. REcovery. Thumbs up from Olaf, Welcome, rest, help, he says, without saying a word.

3 pulls were better than mine in a 4 man up, little training lately, much mucus in the chest. Have to stay in break, shouldn't be sprinting guys if I'm shirking pulls, noble thing? Settle for 4th, be happy 80 guys are behind me.

Pull, steady, in hurt bag, Olaf, not being a high end sprinter (like me), smartly goes from 1.5 out. For me? best bet, attacks start 1/2 lap or 3/4 to go. They're mine? or at least I have a chance. Having just pulled in the wind, wanting to share nose time, I am caught out with 2.5 k to go. Legs, GO, out of saddle, 3 guys disappearing. TT, now. HOLD ON.

Wind was 27 mph with group, tail stretches were 30. Now 0.5 mi to go, doing 23. Several glances back? nothing, still have room. Can now see final corner, out of saddle? can't.

One last glance sees steamrolling peleton. It's over. I'm done.

No fitness (less than I needed, not no), no ability to force tactics, assess strengths, weaknesses.

July, August, I'll be there.

LOVE the sport. Summited Diablo for first time today with Dino, college best bud just cleared from 4 rounds of Chemo. He cried at the view he'd earned himself.

One man's real triumph shrinks another's supposed tragedy.

LIFE, LIVE IT>

pedro said...

one last comment about awareness, bike handling, and crashes. the JM's are some of the best riders and handlers in the biz. and crashes DO happen to ALL of us, eventually.

been hit by a car, 5 times (5 different cars, not like that lady who kept driving over her hubby). been down in RR, Crit, solo, group ride, ascent - black ice, descent - tbone bambi at 45. but I never have taken out breakaway companions.

pedaling through corners is a must, carry speed. experience. flow matters. twitchers and brakers abound. they bug. but when one is delirious, small lapses in judgement accur (THE cause of MOST crashes) and bodies/bikes break.

i was lucky not to take out my close following mates when I skipped my pedal and rear wheel and took myself into the outside curb in my first pull post-bridge. cross-eyed, i apologized and corrected to stay upright, changed lines, increase speed through same spot, pedal down next time around. live, learn, re-learn what you think you know.

recap: in order to win races you need fitness, a tad of luck, then awareness to know the terrain, yourself, your bike, the competition, weather, physics (speed, balance, friction coefficients at different pressures and compounds), how to recover, when to go, et cetera, et cetera.

Got it all? savvy sport.

Big Bad Wolf said...

Interesting stuff.
Di Luca being the top rider in his team gives him a special position of course. Team people come over to talk to him, he doesn't have to break a sweat to go talking to team people.
Curious how he will fare on the Zoncolan today.

Adam Switters said...

I've fond radios to be both helpful and really distracting.

Good- to know whose in the break up the road and whether or not to chase

Bad- when Frankie is yelling at me to get a$$ of the back everytime I come through corner one of the crit (I ended up pulling the radio out...oops, i swear it wasn't worrking Frankie)


Although that's just as a domestique. As a leader, I'd assume it would be a lot less listening and more delegationg

John Ashe said...

Thoroughly enjoyed suffering with you and Pete out there in the geezer-fest on Memorial Day. Being relatively new to the 2s, I found it a challenge to attempt to be tactically savvy (a.k.a. dose the effort into the wind) with maintaining enough power in the break as a whole to keep it away to the line . . .
In the end, the Merrill guy definitely got the best of me, but let's just say I look forward to my next opportunity to collaborate off the front with the speedy gerber daisy!
- Ashe

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