Team Racing Strategy (Introduction)

noseadjusted125leftAn Introduction to Ultra-Cycling Team Racing Strategy (4-6-8 rider teams)

Developing a logical, safe and efficient race plan is an essential element of competing in an ultra-endurance cycling event. To create your race plan, you need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and do your best to maximize your strengths while minimizing the later. Serious consideration and planning are critical to developing a race plan that allows your team’s best efforts to become realized.

Elements to be considered:

1)     Objective – what do you hope to accomplish?

2)     Safety – nobody wins or accomplishes anything when safety is compromised.

3)     Resources – can your funds and support crew support your plan?

4)     Adaptability – lots of race plans look great on paper, but things change quickly out on a course so be prepared to adapt.

5)     Experience – whether you have it or not, find ways to acquire it before you race.

Objective

If you are racing to complete the course in the allotted time specified plan a race plan that keeps you 6-18 hours ahead of that cut off and expect the unexpected.

There are certain “luxuries” involved in racing only to complete the race, such as less tension. the ability to have individual riders perform longer splits which lessens the amount of rider exchanges easing the workload on your support crew members and  allowing your riders more time off the bike between splits.

If you are racing to win or to finish as fast as possible then the importance of your strategy becomes magnified significantly as every second counts. Yes, every “second”! While most ultra-cycling races are not decided by seconds, time wasted has the same result as a pebble’s ripples in a pond they grow! Seconds become minutes and the minutes become kilometers lost. No single activity is more likely to cause avoidable time loss than rider exchanges. They must be performed with an extreme safety first priority followed by efficiency. Practising rider exchanges should be mandatory for every team as they involve riders, drivers and support crew.  The other aspect of the ultra-team race which can cause significant time loss is navigational errors. So make sure you know where you are going.

For teams truly racing there are numerous strategies to consider. For this discussion I will refer to 8 person teams but all of these strategies are applicable to 4, 6 and 8 rider teams.

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