Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thursday Night Worlds and the Effectiveness of Team Tactics

Thursday Night Worlds this past Thursday was an outstanding success for our team. While I didn't entertain any personal results, my fellow team members secured 1st - 4th, which was amazing. How did we do this? We had a plan. Maybe even more importantly, we were all working toward that plan. The plan was to get several team mates in a break-away mid way through the race, whoever was left in the group would do some blocking to discourage any potential chasers. This tactic is probably the most rudimentary of cycling strategies, but it's simplicity is key to its effectiveness. Here's how it all played out:

For the first half of the race nothing really happened. A few attacks but nothing with any spunk. About 1/2 way through the race, a lap or two after a prime, 4 of our guys shot off the front with two others from another team. There was 5 of us left in the peloton as the break-away furthered the gap. What happened next is what made this tactic effective; all five of us took turns coming up to the front and slowing the pack down. Whether it was taking slower pulls at the front, blocking open lanes to thwart attacks or just chasing down any attempted break-aways, we managed to keep the gap at a comfortable level to give our quartet in front a chance at victory.

My team mates up front did everything they were supposed to do, and secured the top 4 podium spots, making our efforts worth it. Since this race has a purse, The top 4 split their winnings with the team, my first money made from a race!

So we had a plan and it paid off. But we've had plans before and they haven't worked in the past. What was different this time? I think, the most important thing I learned is, some team mates have to be willing to sacrifice personal ambitions for the greater good of the team. In the past, there's always been one or two team mates who insist on chasing the break-away. This can't happen. Everyone needs to be unified. Maybe next time, I'll be in the break and my mates will be blocking for me!

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