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How to ride a road handicap

by Carl Brewer last modified 2008-06-03 19:58

Road handicaps are hard, here's how to ride them

Warm up very well. A h'cap is a full effort right from the start, there's no room for a gradual increase, it's a chase and everyone is after you, and you may be chasing a bunch. Expect to be on the rivet from the start. Be aware of the '20 minute bonk'.  This happens to riders who've eaten high GI food before the start but haven't warmed up properly.

Roll turns efficiently, if your bunch is organised you have a chance, if it is not, you don't. If you have stragglers who are just sitting on and refusing to work, gap them off the back, you need to have a smooth working bunch, anyone sitting on can fend for themselves.

Don't think about tactical games until you're sure your bunch isn't going to get caught, at Modella flat for example, this means at or just after you turn the last corner. At Modella hilly it's a bit different, but generally not until the hills are done with. That's when you can start to hide and save your legs for a sprint or an attack.

Eat ... 95km at high intensity will drain you of blood sugar and muscle glycogen, eat early and eat often.

If you get dropped by your bunch, sit up and cruise in E1, eat and get ready to jump onto the next bunch that comes through - then you can sit on as they'll expect you to be weaker than them and you'd probably only slow them down. People have placed at Modella after being dropped by their bunch and getting onto the next one.

Some riders will try and get your bunch to 'attack' as they catch a bunch in front, this is a waste of energy, don't do it. If you caught that bunch your bunch's speed will drop most of them anyway, surging just hurts you.

I won one of these a few years ago, they're very hard but potentially very rewarding.

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