I will start with a question for the reader (I truly want the different opinions, if there are any). Is it possible to apply the professional tactics viewed in a race to the amateur ranks? Yesterday, watching the first race of the season, I was back to the books . . . I have mentioned before that I study the race like a coach would study game film. I back it up, pause it, and even take notes. Yes, I know what you are probably thinking. I just love it so. There is so much happing at the same time: power, tactics, conservation of energy, equipment, style, boldness, and disappointment. Like watching a well-coordinated dance of superb athletes, the professional peloton is absolutely an amazing feat to watch.
Back to my question, is this possible? Allow me to add this caveat: this would be the application of professional tactics to an amateur ranks among riders of equal skill level. I am well aware that there is no way a Cat 5 rider could apply Sagan’s tactics and win a stage of Grand Tour among a UCI peloton. But take a Cat 5 rider among Cat 5 racers in a local road race. Now, I am not saying that a Cat 5 rider can watch some film and reproduce the yeaaaaaars of racing that a rider in the professional peloton has learned. I am only asking about tactics:
- Hiding in the pack
- Cornering with the pack vs. cornering in the breakaway
- Attacking at specific points
- Conserving energy
- Pedal stroke differences
- Hand positioning
- Staying with the pack or chasing down a breakaway
- Saddle/body positioning
- Body language of other riders
I am only in my second year of racing. It is a WHOLE different ballgame than a group ride with a sprint to the city limit sign. I made some big mistakes last year. I view racing as a full-contact chess game. I have entered this way too late in life to actually “become” anything, but I want to challenge myself. I am either all-in or all-out. There is no middle ground. I have always been obsessive about things in life. Would the fact that I am studying race tactics of the professional ranks be considered that? I do not consider my love of cycling as obsessive. I see it as a lifestyle and something that I hope to do for decades to come. Cycling is something that only another cyclist would understand. I guess it is the reason that I come to my friends in the world of WordPress. What say you?
Photo:Wikimedia Commons 2017