Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Riding on a team is harder, not easier.
It's a hard thing to see your teammate ride off in the breakaway you wanted for yourself. You're so happy to have someone "up the road," but you've now drawn the difficult task of preventing successful chase efforts and will likely be stuck with the finishing field sprint. And, if sprinting isn't your strongest suit, well, you're probably looking at a lower placed finish than you woke up aiming for, but you give everything you've got to do the best you can b/c your buddy is counting on you and you on them.

For example, when I got in that break, I knew Katie wanted it as bad as I did, but I also knew that no matter how bummed she was, she would switch her efforts to pack control regardless of the sacrifices. Consequently, even tho a couple of times I thought I was going to fall off the break, I dug a little deeper and stayed with it. There was no way, short of an actual collapse, that I wanted my teammates to have their efforts and sacrifices be in vain.

Another great example ... look at the results and notice Samantha Schneider's high placings. If you just listened to the guy on the mic, you'd think she'd done it on her own, but if you watched the race with some care, you'd know she mostly stayed in the pack conserving her energy until the last. On the final lap she would find her teammate's wheel (Catherine Walberg) and Catherine would start cranking it out, keeping Sam at the front yet still protected. Then at the very last, Catherine would peel off and Sam would just kick it for a beautiful finishing sprint. It was such perfect team effort, yet the glory is given to the one who crosses the line first. When you're on a team, you need to be prepared for this and take your joy in how the team does and the satisfaction you get from doing your job well.

For XPLANE, we're new to each other, so this week was an opportunity to get to know each other, develop trust, learn jobs (esp. me) and practice things like leadouts, keeping track of each other, getting our sprinter where she wanted to be on sprint laps, etc. So, riding with a team brings many benefits, but also brings a whole new level of pressure and opportunities for personal growth. ;)

I'm OK with field sprints
I took the field sprint advice I was given before Superweek and focused on putting it into practice nearly every race. Consequently, I'm feeling much better about 'em and can now focus on adding more speed. The most important part is learning how to stay on the front, and then not get distracted by the swarm of bikes and bodies at the last. This is tricky and the day after day racing at superweek is what I needed to get over my hangups.

Ready to go again
I just can't wait for some more opportunities to put what I learned into practice. Looks like that'll be in August with the Tour of KC and the Gateway Cup.


oldmanandhisbike said...

I have no idea what that must be like to ride at that level, but I have always wondered how one equalizes the two priorities (individual goals vs. team goals). Just watching the Tour reinforces to me that it is a delicate balance.
I'm sure time and opportunity will make the transition to team rider more instinctual and hopefully, more fulfilling.
Good luck with your next race and meeting your goals.

JuneBug said...

Great job Sydney. you worked hard to get in a break and it finally happened. It wouldn't have happened for the team if you had nto placed yourself at the right place at the right time. You stuck your neck out and it worked. Great job hanging and working with those women.
I am proud of you and the entire team.

sydney_b said...

I talked to my sister over lunch today and I hope I didn't give the idea that I didn't care for working with a team so much, cuz I really enjoy it. Teams are what make road racing so exciting, complex, and worth one's time.

In fact, nearly more satisfying than getting inna break were those times when I knew I did the block job right because I heard the would be chasers grouch as they realized they'd have to work one more bike length harder to run down my teamie. Or, upon hearing our sprinter say move up and then just powering to the front with her on my wheel.

It's just plain satisfying to do solid work -- whatever job you've got that day.

Dad said...

Some good lessons learned this week, eh?

It is good to realize that team sports are indeed different than individual sports. *S* Now you have some appreciation for your dad when he team ropes. The goal of the team is win all you can, but each individual must take care of his assignment or no goal is reached.

Remember the the Three Musketeers? "One for all and all for one."

Keep racing and fetch home all the gold ya can.

From my perspective I think you gals did well as a first ever team.

May the best be ahead for you...

Sweet Cheeks said...

awesome report! you rule, sista'!
I am happy you're doing the team thing so well. it takes a lot of perseverance, communication, and skill to pull it off.

gwadzilla said...

great race report

that is an intersting topic
my brother and I discussed the same thing the other day

I do not road race
while my leaner, meaner, more fit, and more competitive older brother dabbles in road racing
last weekend my brother did a race and felt like the pack was moving along at a pace less than he would desire for a work out on his own
so he pushed it
not only to try and see what he could do
so that he could walk away with a strong day on the bike

in that race a friend of ours was force to hang back and do crowd control because someone with the same jersey was in a break
he was forced to experience what was described in this post

I am not sure how I would deal with that team tactics

guess it would not be an issue
as I would get dropped off the back

cyclocross is as close as I care to come to the road culture

Auffderbach said...

I seldom get to race with a team so
when the opportunity arises I jump
at the chance.

Typically, I have no sprint so I
don't mind one bit trying to lead out a mate when possible, among
other duties.

Years ago I tried to explain cycling as a team sport to Pete Rose the ballplayer; he had a radio
talk show I would call on occassion, and he couldn't get it.

It just adds one more aspect to the
beauty of bike racing.