Teamwork- How the Race Was Won in Lewisburg 2019
Team Tactics in a Road Race
Battle of Lewisburg 2019 Podium Party
Brendan and I were able to go 1-2 at this race with some well timed, strong efforts, and good team tactics! Setting up a result like this is a result of lots of years working on our racing dynamic together, and developing a racing IQ that helps us know when it’s time to dig deep and go for it. Check out the youtube video HERE to see the full race breakdown!
KNOW YOUR COMPETITION
We were outmanned by Nashville Local, so I know that for the race to start unfolding, they are going to want to have at least 1 guy in the first breakaway of the day, So that’s the move we tried to set up. We didn’t talk about it ahead of time because we have done this A LOT of times together. Sometimes at national and regional events it requires a little bit of homework. Getting on Strava and checking out your competition’s USAC results can be part of the game. If you know who you would want to work with and who to watch out for before the race even starts, you are a step ahead of your competition! This was a local race so I had a good idea of how guys were going to be riding but sometimes you show up to the event and EVERYONE looks fast. You know that you have been training and riding hard, but it’s hard to read who you really need to keep an eye out for because everyone looks fast! A little bit of work ahead of time can go a long way.
I also put in a number of testing attacks. Not quite all out efforts, and some on/off climbs to see how guys were riding. For example, on the first time up the KOM climb I hit TJ with 4 big accelerations. TJ usually suffers on multiple accelerations so early on I wanted to see where his legs were at. I learned that he had a lot more matches than the last time we had raced together, so I changed my strategy up a bit. There was no way I was going to muscle my way away from him this time, I had to make sure my eventual finishing move was tactical and well timed.
KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
I have a good pop, but I haven’t been able to train for road race distances in almost a month! To be perfectly honest, I was worried about the distance of the race straight out of the gate because I had no idea how my legs were going to feel past the 90 minute marker. Still, I relied on the season’s mileage, and the countless 5+ hour rides I have done to this point in the year, I figured I would be ok. Since I have plenty of repeatable attacks in the legs right now from racing Intelligentsia cup for 7 days before crashing out with a broken bike and mild concussion, I knew my STRENGTH would be the ability to repeatedly hit my competition with little stinger attacks. So as soon as Brendan rolled with Jason and Taylor I set into chill mode, but any time the road pitched up I would throttle down and see if I could shake things up at all. The race didn’t break up until quite a bit later but this kept those guys on their toes, and I think ate into their endurance a little bit. We(all of us in the EVOQ.BIKE squad) work really hard to make sure our matchbook is really well developed. Matchbook meaning the number of repeatable attacks. There are points in the training calendar when we are trying to develop our peak powers for sure, but especially late into the summer the ability to attack over and over again is well within the legs, assuming the training has been on point and that is a STRENGTH we made sure to exploit!
KNOW THE COURSE
I studied the course ahead of time so I knew what sort of time it would take to get over these climbs, and how hard I would have to go. This helped me in a number of ways. Strava is a killer resource for this. You can find out the time it takes, and the power, or w/kg it will take to get over every effort in the race. I knew that all of these climbs were on the fast side, meaning there was going to be a draft benefit if someone was attacking and you were able to get into the slip stream. This meant I had to be really careful about when to apply some effort and try to get guys on the limit. There were not that many extended sections of steep road so I couldn’t just lay into the pedals and hope it would work, because TJ is smart and fast. I would have to wait for the little hesitation to make my move and try to get up to Brendan who was already riding up the road.
WORK AS A TEAM
Because Brendan was up the road, I had a lot of flexibility with my decision making in the first 2 hours of the race. I got to sit on when I wanted, and after I heard the gap was at 2 minutes, I could attack when I wanted and know that the race win was not going to be in trouble. No single effort is going to close down a 2 minute gap. Brendan also was able to ride easier up the road. He didn’t have to go all in with 2 others with him, because he could reasonably assume I was going to make my way up the road with as few people(ideally nobody in tow) as possible, so even though we were racing hard, we were able to stay in an OFFENSIVE position, and we always had a few options.
WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO......GO!!!
The race was won on the second time up Talley Rd. Being able to put in a full gas effort after 2 hours of racing was key. Road racing is often about how you are able to perform AFTER burning 1500-2000 kJ of tempo++ watts. There had been lots of full gas already in this race but the effort that mattered happened after almost 1800 kJ of hard riding, at 1.03 IF!!! It’s no surprise at all Brendan and I were both on the verge of cramping for the rest of the race! It was do or die, and we both knew that to make the race happen we were going to have to go all in and get our gap over Talley Rd or TJ was going to catch us and we would have to figure the race out all over again. In the race recap video you can here us both on the limit, breathing very heavily for the entirety of that climb. OUCH!
Cycling is not a steady state sport unless you are in a time trial. The competition and course will have a strong influence on how you should go about thinking about racing it when you consider your own strengths and weaknesses, and if you have teammates, you need to race smart and efficient so you have the best chance of winning possible! There isn't much better than crossing the finish line solo with your teammate after 3 hours of bike chess! EVOQ.BIKE talks strategy with all of our athletes, and we have a chat group ALL of our athletes are encouraged to participate in, which helps us develop our racing and training IQ so we get the most out of all the hard work we are all putting in.
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