Monday, August 13, 2007

Eye of the Tiger

Bike racing here in the NYC area is quite different than a typical road race or circuit race elsewhere. The generally shorter park races and familiar faces make tactics and race dynamics interesting, not bad, but interesting. The addition of a few new riders can change the whole dynamic of the race. However, the principles here are the same as any other criterium or circuit race. The training and racing are specific but just as important to success is your tactical ability and tenacity. There is no doubt these races are hard but do to the relatively non selective courses and big fields there are often group sprint finishes. So why do the same people always seem to be in the top 10? We have all told ourselves that if the field is together on the last lap we must be top 10 and if you are passed by one person you must pass two in return to maintain your position. But the difference between those that consistently finish top ten and those that don’t is they actually do it. Forget fitness and sprinting ability for a moment. A rider that is good tactically and can see the dynamics of the finish, almost before they happen, will always have an edge. Of course, you can also be good at this and never capitalize on it and still finish poorly. Those that consistently do well can see the finish unfold, and capitalize on the openings. It is not enough to see it. Many riders hesitate and the moment you realize it you are too late. You must be aggressive and move into the gap without even thinking about it. We all know what we should do and where we should be in order to finish well, those that finish well actually do it.

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