Not many teams know more about breakaways than Clif Bar Racing, and their status as USA Crits Champions Lap Leader Champions backs that up. Tune in as we go over every aspect of how to start, manage and successfully execute a breakaway.

More show notes and discussion in the TrainerRoad Forum.


Topics covered in this episode

  • Introduction to Clif Bar Racing
  • What is a break away?
  • How to decide to start a breakaway
  • How hard do you go during a breakaway?
  • Strategic tactics for your breakaway
  • What to do when your breakaway attempt isn’t sticking
  • How to “sell” your attack
  • Team dynamics of a breakaway
  • Do you share the work evenly in a group breakaway
  • How to read your competition
  • Out of sight, out of mind
  • When do you want to get out of a breakaway?
  • Common mistakes in a breakaway
  • Should you attack into the wind?
  • Team tactics when there is a breakaway
  • “You never want to be the guy who makes the second to last move”

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Full Transcription of Podcast

Please note this is an automated transcription and is prone to error. If you have any questions, please reference the timestamps in the podcast or video for further clarification. If you have additional questions, please reach out to us at support@trainerroad.com

[00:00:00] Coach Jonathan: Hey everybody and welcome to a very special episode of the Ask a cycling college podcast presented by TrainerRoad. As you can tell, we’re not in our studio. We are actually in the well. I’ll let you introduce where we are, Pete, but we have a special guest with us, and we’re with Team Clif Bar Racing s O all start on this side and we’ll introduce and we’ve actually placed the twins on opposing sides of the table so you can keep track of them. First things first. Conor Mullervy, how you doing? Good. Great. I think both of you guys have been on the podcast before. Is that correct?

[00:00:30] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Well, you know, I was on last year for the first time.

[00:00:32] Coach Jonathan: Awesome. And then have you been on twice? Kevin, I think

[00:00:36] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: only once, Only once a year before him.

[00:00:38] Coach Jonathan: There we are. Now we get both twins at the same time, so double trouble. Ah, you guys are really known for breakaways. I would say, at least from my perspective, if there is a use secrets race, there’s a Bolivian, the breakaway, like always. And that’s what we’re going to talk about tonight. Is breakaway. So

[00:00:54] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: are those air favorite.

[00:00:55] Coach Jonathan: Yeah, There we are. So glad you guys were here for that. Pete, can you introduce your

[00:01:00] Pete Morris: MPs? I work a TrainerRoad. Also, I’m a product manager, and I’m on team Clif Bar. Ah, And so I get to hang out with these guys, especially this weekend.

[00:01:09] Coach Jonathan: It’s a good group on then over here on this side. Jo, would you mind introducing yourself?

[00:01:13] Joe Lewis: Absolutely. I’m Joe Louis. I am writer on team Clif Bar. And on the side, I do some coaching and teaching classes.

[00:01:23] Coach Jonathan: So you if you guys it was watched like domestic races in the U. S. That sort of stuff. I’m sure you’ve heard of Joe. I know. I’ve seen you raised plenty on DH. Seen you take some her pretty heroic efforts and

[00:01:35] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: spring jersey at the U. S. Pro talent.

[00:01:36] Coach Jonathan: Yeah, thirty. Awesome. So you’ve raised for plenty of times in the past run through a few of the teams. I guess that you’ve raised for most recently.

[00:01:45] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: All right.

[00:01:46] Joe Lewis: So I spent the last six years with Holowesko Citadel, the Hean Cappie team on DH. Before that, I was with live strong and then dry pack who don’t exist anymore that you probably remember them as an Australian, for

[00:02:01] Coach Jonathan: sure. Yeah. Awesome. Cool. Esso. And you are indeed Australian. Do you live in the US?

[00:02:06] Joe Lewis: I do. Yeah. I live in Boulder with my wife.

[00:02:08] Coach Jonathan: Sweet. Okay, cool. High elevation on, Kevin. Go ahead. Introduce yourself

[00:02:13] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: really quickly. Yep. Kevin Miller v. Ginger one better looking thing

[00:02:20] Coach Jonathan: S O. We’re going to talk about breakaways. First things first, though. Setting the scene. Pete, where are weak right

[00:02:26] Pete Morris: now, we’re in Hope Valley in Napa. It’s where our team camp is. We’re pretty fortunate that Quick bar allows us to use one of their properties for team camp. So I think all eighteen of us sleep here or close enough to throw a something at, But it’s pretty cozy, but we have lots of fun. And we’re here for five days. All sudden done. We spent the first date Clif Bar headquarters in Emeryville. But now it’s just riding and hanging out and doing podcasts and things like that.

[00:02:54] Coach Jonathan: Yeah, and and and we’ve called this team camp before, not a training camp team, because this is where you guys were getting bikes. You getting kit getting to know each other. Joe, you’re new on the team this year. So, like new riders are coming in getting to understand the team, the whole thing. It’s a great time, but it’s also extremely hard. I got spat out the back hard today, so on a ride, let’s get into breakaways. Just jump straight into it. So I think s Oh, first of all, defining a breakaway. Jo, can you give us basically what a breakaway is? If people don’t know it’s

[00:03:24] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: a group of riders that air

[00:03:25] Joe Lewis: separated off the front of the pellet on So they’re bright, broken, broken away much

[00:03:32] Coach Jonathan: Yeah, yeah. Eso it’s This is common to see in all sorts of road racing. The interesting thing is, if riders just kind of a separation happens, in other words, would you guys not call it a breakaway, if just simply like the pack? Kind of like our people keep riding that are faster than you. And then all the rest of you were slower and you just kind of fade off. What defines that brings. That’s happened before.

[00:03:56] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: It’s usually like the front of the race, obviously. Take, for instance, today. Pete, Kevin We’re just rolling steady where all the Sun peak, it’s just comes by us a lot faster than us goes off the front.

[00:04:08] Pete Morris: I wasn’t even working very hard.

[00:04:09] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: And Kevin Kevin, the region’s that’s hot. So now we got two guys in front of the pellet on the front of the group from the team, and then we’re just sitting on the front and I was like, This gap is getting bigger and bigger and it’s what we pick up the pace and it’s like there’s still out there. So then we ended up having to go single file to try to catch these guys. I had about ten seconds on us, so happy to hear that

[00:04:31] Pete Morris: way. We’re working hard, so at least it felt like we’re doing something.

[00:04:35] Coach Jonathan: So it’s something that it’s. It’s like you’re taking initiative is a racer to get away from the field, right? That’s that’s what a break That’s like a crucial part of a breakaway. You’d say. So When do you choose to break away? I guess that’s a very loaded question, because plenty of different things. But is there a specific time where you really look like? Yeah, I like to start a break away at this point, whether it’s something happens in the race or relatively speaking to the beginning or end of the race,

[00:05:00] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Yeah, I mean, ideally, like I want to make the break away at the hardest possible time. Like during the race, like when it’s when it’s single file and like super, super strong out and super hard like the last thing someone wants to do is attack, right? Yeah, get even harder. So if you’re hurt and everyone else has heard in and I feel like that’s the time to hit it like people just get demoralized if, like, you’re hurt in and someone attacks and goes faster, just like, Oh, God, how

[00:05:27] Coach Jonathan: do you do that, though? Because, like, I’m usually the guy that’s in a single file line, just dying. What I mean, what, do you guys do ours there? Are there any tricks or any specific tips that she could give to somebody in that single file situation to come around everyone?

[00:05:42] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: I mean, especially if there’s another break away up the road and everyone single file to try to bring back the breakaway. Everyone seems to get like, excited and calm down when the breakaways coming back so there are, like eases up just a little bit. So then you have that Momenta Mme. People usually slow down, but if you keep that momentum, you can get off the front easier when a breakaway is getting brought back. So

[00:06:08] Coach Jonathan: So you just try to carry momentum through.

[00:06:09] Pete Morris: Yeah. And I would say the other thing is, make someone else do the hard work of getting the breakaway started or chasing back the breakaway. If you Khun, not do the initial part of the break way, all the better, right? That’s the hardest part. That’s where all the energy it happens.

[00:06:23] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Really. You want to be like second or third guy?

[00:06:25] Joe Lewis: Yeah, Follow that. Well, that that is like making a break. But, I mean, if you are that super strong guy than go for us, someone, someone, someone’s got to do it. But it’s that initial, that initial gap that you really need to get

[00:06:39] Coach Jonathan: If you’re looking for that like, Are you looking throughout the race for the sort of rider that looks eager that would make that sort of moving or you’re looking to attach to their wheel or is are you verbally encouraging somebody to make that move like, How do you try to not be the first person to make

[00:06:54] Pete Morris: that move? I think it’s paying attention, right? Like if you’re keeping your eye on everybody who’s raising, you kind of know there’s. There’s usually people who like to ride breakaways and people who don’t like to ride break ways. So if you pay attention to people who do like to ride breakaways and paying attention to what they’re doing, you have a better chance of jumping on and following wheels and and getting the free ride or the at least lighter. Right? So

[00:07:19] Coach Jonathan: I guess that kind of covers like the when you would want to break what when are bad times to break away

[00:07:26] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: first left

[00:07:27] Pete Morris: from the gun. Don’t do that

[00:07:29] Joe Lewis: when that when you’re going as fast as you can and you can’t really, like, go that much. Foster the bunches doing sixty and you’re doing sixty two kilometres, kilometres a metric, guy. But you’re not going to get a very big gap. You’re gonna get a few minutes off the front, then you’re going to run out of energy because you got to go too hard and he is not sustainable.

[00:07:53] Coach Jonathan: Says there’s something. How do you manage that? Going too hard or not too hard.

[00:07:59] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Kevin, you should take this. All of us have power meters, so And we all know what our threshold is S O We know when we get a gap. We only can keep it at a certain waters for so long before we blow. So everyone here knows exactly what they can hold it out for how long? So, I mean, you’re going to be on the line, just like right there on the ads to keep it going. But I’d say that’s the biggest thing is power meter. But a lot of the races we do our twilight. So maybe we don’t have the backlight on, but I think we’re all, like, seasoned at these races. So we know by feel I think how hard we can go on for how long.

[00:08:40] Coach Jonathan: So it’s it’s Really? Yeah. Like I assume you guys aren’t saying, like I know that if I initiate a breakaway, I can only write a six hundred watts or something like that. Do you ever use that sort of a thing? To keep the trackers. It’s really going off feel, right?

[00:08:53] Pete Morris: Yeah, with that, that breakaway we’re in today, that’s the same thing. That was the same thing we’re just rotating through, and it got progressively harder and harder and tell your kind of riding that EJ and you know that if you do anything extra, you won’t be in the breakaway anymore. On DSO, it’s you kind of get closer and closer to your limit and then ride the limit. And that’s kind of the key is as long as you’re staying just behind where you Khun sustain that power. But it should be pretty much as hard as you can go if you want a chance of success. So

[00:09:26] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: one of the

[00:09:27] Coach Jonathan: problems that I have is that all initiate a break on I’ll go and and I just pushed. It seems like too hard going to get into a situation where, whether I’m trying to bridge up two riders of the road or I’ve initiated something and I’m solo or there’s somebody else on my wheel, I just can’t push too hard. I mean, do you guys still make that mistake, or is that just an amateur deal?

[00:09:47] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: No. Yeah, I mean, like, definitely. You know, you’re in the moment and you’re just getting excited, and you’re like, you’re in the breakaway, right? I mean, that’s where we want to be. So take, for example, today, after we caught these guys, Yeah. Then three of us went over to the top of them and me another break away. And so we were all rotated really well. And then, like, I was hurt and, like, really, really hurt. And so, like, you also want to look around to see where the field is. So, like, just when I rotated off, I turned around and I see the rest of the guys about ten seconds back, but they’re all rotate and really hard. I was like, we’re not going to stay away from. So I sat up and went back. The other two just killed themselves. And then then we caught him. What? A mile later, some. And then I was fresh to go hard over the top of them again. So So it still

[00:10:35] Coach Jonathan: happens that your guys Oh,

[00:10:37] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: yeah. Oh, yeah, Yeah. Blow myself on the back lawn.

[00:10:39] Coach Jonathan: Is there anything that you guys do, Teo like how do you measure that? Or how do you avoid that in a race situation? How do you make sure that you don’t go too hard like that? I mean, we we talked about not using power limits and kind of listening to your body, but is there anything that you’ve done

[00:10:51] Joe Lewis: toe govern that? Um, I it’s really just a judgment of perceived exertion, but I mean, you, Khun Khun, definitely play games with the people that you’re in the breakaway with. Pretend that you’re hurting. Pretend that you can’t pull through as fast as maybe you should and really concentrate on, you know, not going over that you limit.

[00:11:18] Coach Jonathan: Yeah. So when we talk about breakaways, they could be solo moves. Or you can ever The writers with you, I assume. Did you guys always want to have other people with you rather than solo?

[00:11:29] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Oh, yeah, Totally.

[00:11:30] Joe Lewis: Yeah. No one likes a soul live. Yeah. Yeah, because

[00:11:33] Coach Jonathan: I see a lot of people just initiated solo move. And then there’s stuck out there on their own, and people let them dangle, and then they end up cooking themselves. Something like that

[00:11:44] Pete Morris: solo move is a sure way, not to win. You’re really running in on. But it

[00:11:49] Joe Lewis: could be the start of a good break away if you are. I mean, one of the hottest Potts is actually getting off the front to start with and being able to get that initial gap. So if you are up the road and a group of three or four come up to you, then you could have a Bryce winning breakaway. But if you’re out there for five laps, ten laps and no one’s coming up in the fields, just sitting right at that same gap, it’s probably time to go back. Colin,

[00:12:14] Coach Jonathan: at that time, do you just stop peddling and coast your way through? We’re just soft pedal really softly. Oh, are you still trying to look like you’re trying? What do you guys looking to do when you basically throw the white flag like

[00:12:25] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: that? I think you want to keep soft pedaling, just in case someone jumps across. But, like Connor said earlier, like, you have to be aware of where the pellet on is. Because if you just start soft pedaling and not looking around, they’re going to blow right by you. So you’ve got to be ready and keep looking behind you to Syria. There, at. So you can accelerate again to state of the front of the race because you don’t want to go off the front to the back of the race and try to make yourself back to the front like you gotta accelerate. Once they come by our coming towards you,

[00:12:52] Pete Morris: you take advantage of that position. You find yourself in a right just

[00:12:55] Coach Jonathan: up front, right when you guys launched an attack like that, is there anything that you do to kind of sell your attack to make it more enticing? I know Pete Feet dubbed it. He got hot as I can. Yeah, he called it. You call that peacocking way

[00:13:09] Pete Morris: we’re talking about last week, but you had The idea is you make yourself look attractive to other people to come along and join the brake way like you looks like he’s going. Teo, drive Porsche eyes

[00:13:21] Coach Jonathan: there. Anything that you guys do to try to sell a move or, like, entice other people to come with you.

[00:13:27] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: I mean, I think also like way we do talk to each other during the race like even other teams like you want to talk to another strong team. There has a full team that’s not going to chase it back. But you want to talk to do that, you feel like you’re going to be. If it comes down to a sprint, they’re not going. I’m not going to go up Tio Joe and be like, Oh, let’s go. He is on a different team because he’s going to beat me in a sprint ten out of ten times, right?

[00:13:51] Joe Lewis: Right, right on A one hundred percent is a lot of the team dynamics. They’re definitely going to it. If you’re in a breakaway off four people and there’s another major taming the race and they don’t have someone in that movie and they have a sprinter back in the bunch, chances are they’re going to be working together and they’ll bring that break back. They’ll control the race and bring it back right at that time a couple laps ago. You’re gonna have nothing left, so you kind of got a look at who you’re with. No the field and know who the guys. The main guys are on the teams. You know your competition is huge.

[00:14:28] Coach Jonathan: Soon. An ideal scenario Do you have like, this is probably too much of a general term, but like equal representation of strong teams with you in a break, would that be more ideal?

[00:14:38] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Yeah, I mean, like, if you find yourself on a breakaway with some team or person you’ve never recognized before, never seen at a race like I’m not going to be too confident like that. We’re going to stay away, right? So if you see if you’re up there with another big use a crit team or something like that, or if we have to and number Yeah turns into a numbers game to numbers game and like team lies. But you’re definitely looking for someone that you recognize know that can help you go to the finish line.

[00:15:08] Pete Morris: There’s like the same guy winning the last three local races off the front with two other guys. Any attacks, And he has two other guys with him. Like that’s a great opportunity. You have a pretty good chance of like joining that success rate. So you, Khun, you could just pay attention all the time and the recent races. Who’s doing how they’re winning the races and what they’re doing and kind of play off that a little more to. So let’s

[00:15:31] Coach Jonathan: talk about what you do once you get into the break. Um, a lot of people, you know, you get into a breakaway and I assume the ideal scenario is where everybody shares the work evenly. Is that common, or is that uncommon where you find yourself in a break and people actually do share evenly?

[00:15:50] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Yeah, I think it’s a roll of the dice there who’s really who’s in the breakaway. But, um, like Connor was just saying, If there’s a guy in the race that you don’t recognize him, maybe that’s not on a big team. You could encourage him to work more. Hey, come on, buddy. Let’s go, buddy. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. Like you can ease up a little. He’ll be super motivated because he’s in the break. We had a big race, right? And bigger team is telling. I’m like, Yeah, I am. And you’re doing great. You’re doing great.

[00:16:18] Coach Jonathan: Says verbal. Verbal, Verbal. Yeah, That you’re actually encouraging them,

[00:16:22] Joe Lewis: but definitely done on the rest of night. I did that. I did that in Anniston last year. I took this. I took this’s another Australian kid, Laughlin now? Yeah. Yeah, I took him to the line. Any smoke? May I? I thought I was You know, I was trying to get up to the to the people racing for third because I had a teammate out there. We Dan, haul away. And so I didn’t think he could bait Dan in the sprint, but that might a deal that I didn’t know about because I was still a half lap behind them. But I dragged this kid around and he smashed me in the booth. I mean, he was pretending he he punked me. Hey, did exactly what I’ve done to people in the past, and he totally, like right out of me.

[00:17:09] Coach Jonathan: How were the what of the, I guess, nonverbal moves that you would do to influence a breakaway. So let’s, like, set the scene of you’ve got somebody in the break and they aren’t working hard enough. What’s the sort of thing that you would do to try to seem to want to get them out of the breakaway? If they’re not contributing? What? Do you do that without verbal? Yeah. Nonverbal.

[00:17:29] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Yeah. I mean, like

[00:17:30] Coach Jonathan: me not punching.

[00:17:31] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Yeah, sure. I mean, then I get really frustrated, but when you’re coming off the bat are coming off your pole and going towards the back, like maybe like drift because he’s going to try to stay behind you, right? Like open up a gap. Kind of maybe going into a corner. Some maybe, like hit your brakes a little bit or rub up next to him or some like that means at that point, I’d be verbal. Yeah, that’s yeah. Give me hard. But yeah. I mean, especially if you have another teammate in that break, and there’s also someone not working. It’s easy to have one of your guys, like, come off and try to bring that guy off the back. Right? Okay. So you slot in and that dude’s right behind you. Maybe you open up a gaff and, like, I’m happy because I have a dude up there, Right? So then he has to spend the energy to come around and close that. And you just keep doing that over and over

[00:18:19] Coach Jonathan: again. You take a free ride on your own, little rotated and line them on the baseline.

[00:18:24] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: So, yeah, I feel like you also have to let him know that you’re willing to go back to the field. Yeah, like if he’s not going to pull it. Psycho. I’m not gonna I’m gonna stop pulling as well. I have five teammates back here ready to go in the next attack, and he might be by himself or have a small team, so it’s like, I’m not going to pull you to the line like I’m going to sit up. So then he’s going to sit up. When we’re going to go back to the field, it’s it’s definitely a gamble. But once he realizes that, like you’re not one hundred percent invested, like maybe he’ll start working, then the fear like in tell me we’re going back to the field.

[00:18:56] Joe Lewis: Yeah, yeah, I mean, you just always trying to improve your chances of winning the rice. You know you’re looking for that best case scenario, and if you got someone sitting on the back not doing any work and you’re dragging them around, they might bite you in the finish because they’re fresh, so you don’t want to do that.

[00:19:13] Pete Morris: And and they could be anything from like sitting saying like they’re eating or give me a lap or two and just paying attention to what everybody’s doing when you watch. The people are like skipping poles or taking short poles or opting out a little more often like that should quick something over in your mind and be like, Pay attention that person like they’re going toe, Something is going on. They don’t do this either. They’re going about to get dropped or they’re going to do something so paying attention, everybody else in the breakaways super important.

[00:19:41] Coach Jonathan: So it’s even worth. Yes, expending some resource is that you have in terms of energy or another teammate. That’s sort of a thing. Just tow recompose or reset the composition of your breakaway.

[00:19:52] Joe Lewis: And, yeah, I’m paying attention to them is huge and also, you know, knowing whether they’re pretending or not, you know you want to hear that out. Well, it’s trickier. You’ve gotta not. You’re going to know them and it’s just make a judgment call because I do that a lot. I pretend that I’m hurting a lot more than I ought often. And

[00:20:11] Coach Jonathan: I was just pretending today, actually, on people think

[00:20:15] Joe Lewis: I he’s he’s tired. Yeah, he’s not going to do anything. And so they will. You know, they will pull harder or give you that little bit of time to, ah, to recover so they so that you can contribute. But after a while, you kind of got to realize whether they pretending or not,

[00:20:34] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: like obviously the other side of that situation. If someone sitting on that could mean sums happening in the race behind, say, a guy sitting on that meat could mean one of his teammates is coming across. So, like, you also ought to pay attention to that. Or if they’re like a bigger team that probably has one of the fastest sprinters in the field. Say that’s back in the field and his job is just to make that breakaway not work, just in case it makes it to the line so he can sprint win. But Barnacle, Yeah, exactly. So that’s yeah. But also, yeah, also disrupted. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, because

[00:21:09] Joe Lewis: the best you’re the best chance of winning the rice is the sprint

[00:21:12] Pete Morris: takes so little work to disrupt a break right like that’s the crazy part is one person can just barely mess it up and it ruins the chance of success. So that’s that important part is up for a break. To win has to be pretty perfectly functioning.

[00:21:27] Coach Jonathan: How do you decide the pace? Or, I should say, not the pace, But how do you decide the strength or intensity of the polls you’re taking? Because, I mean, I frustrates me whenever I’m in a break. And then I have somebody who’s just taking hero poles who is like, prioritizing their own, you know, efforts of their ability to put out Amazing, Amazing Watts versus the group. Uh, when you come across that is that Do you guys do? Do you look to keep it steady?

[00:21:56] Joe Lewis: I love it when people do that. Love. Think this guy’s just dragged me further and further away from the field, and he’s destroying himself. Ciro. Awesome. Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes people get too excited when they get in the break. Oh, I mean, the breakaway, because it is hard to make the breakaway. Yeah, you’re goingto you’re going to miss it more often than you get. Well, except for you two. You’ve got to make it every single right. Yeah, normally, you know, you try, and some of the time you are sometime, you make it. But most of the time, Yeah,

[00:22:28] Pete Morris: Yeah, And it’s the paste shifts over the course of the breakaway. You know, the first five or ten minutes of the breakaway is super important to go as hard as you pretty much can. And then it’s slowly dialing it back. Tto win. But to that first five or ten minutes is so important to get pretty much Everybody’s going as hard as they can to create the separation that’s required to then be able to play the breakaway game.

[00:22:54] Coach Jonathan: So how far is enough? I seem very super coarse, like How big of a gap do you guys want? Is itjust simply out of sight or

[00:23:02] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: out of sight? The basketball depends on the court. Yeah, totally knows.

[00:23:06] Coach Jonathan: So let’s say, let’s give an example of, like, a flat four corner crit. That’s like a pretty straightforward thing that a person’s raising Boise

[00:23:12] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Twilight, surely out of sight.

[00:23:14] Joe Lewis: Yeah, at least a strike. Yeah, places. Strikeable

[00:23:17] Pete Morris: straight is thirty seconds. Probably yeah,

[00:23:20] Coach Jonathan: in which what course would require less of it would require you to perhaps not be out of sight. Would it be because it has more challenging features on it? Or what would cause that or rain or,

[00:23:31] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: you

[00:23:31] Pete Morris: know, Ah, technical super technical courses or the ones that are kind of half climb have to sent you need a little less toe work with. I know Kevin seems to make it happen on all the courses, so it

[00:23:47] Joe Lewis: really depends actually on the difficulty off the race, if it if it’s harder. You need less sure lens distance if it’s easier, you need more because the pellet on will be incentivized if they can see you. Because if you’re a straight away, away in a crit, someone someone could try and get across, they could see you. They’re gonna go, Oh, that’s the brake way. I’ve got to get in that and they’re going to go And then someone might be on their well, All of a sudden, you’ve I’ve lost fifteen seconds. But if you’re out of side, no one’s going to go. I’m gonna jump across to the breakaway by myself

[00:24:19] Coach Jonathan: right into infinity and hope it works out Exactly.

[00:24:21] Joe Lewis: You’re going to just get ten meters off the front and blow up. But if you’ve got a goal and you can see where you want Obey, you got a better chance of getting there.

[00:24:29] Coach Jonathan: That’s a really good point that I actually haven’t thought of before was like. It depends on the intensity of the race, right? Because if there’s more potential energy in that field, you want to make sure that you know you can get further away. So then it’s going to be tougher. Once those people can actually expend their resource is because it could take away gio Teo. So let’s say you’re in the breakaway many times you’ll be in a break of six people, something like that, and you break away. They have two people will break away from that right or one person we’ll break away from that. Is there a certain thing that happens in a breakaway scenario where you feel like you need to get away from it or you want to get away from it? Or is there or is it more just down to like, it’s a certain point in the race?

[00:25:11] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Well, yeah, then it gets to the point. Like if these aren’t working, obviously want to get away from those guys. Or if I say, There’s two super strong sprinters in that break away, I’m not going to bring I don’t want to go to the line with them, right? So if if I can out power, I’m see if there’s a little climb or someone the ah course like that weaken me and maybe two or three guys can break away from the breakaway. Yeah,

[00:25:36] Pete Morris: breakaway breakaway, because

[00:25:37] Joe Lewis: the pellet on often doesn’t know what is happening out there, especially if you’re out of sight and they see a couple of guys up there and they think all that’s a bunch, but all of a sudden they catch them back and someone else’s thirty seconds off the front they didn’t know about. You’ve got longer. They don’t know that you’re getting away from that. That breakaway the better. You know, if you’re going false when they’re going slow, your gaps going to go out

[00:26:02] Pete Morris: and confusion for sure, right? Like more confusion is better for the

[00:26:06] Coach Jonathan: brick. Absolutely Let’s covered when you actually lapped The field is a breakaway, which is a great thing, right? If that happened sometimes,

[00:26:17] Joe Lewis: not always.

[00:26:18] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: We are, yeah, rather not lapped the field, because if you have a small group lapping the field, say six guys like we were talking about you lapped the field and you have big teams that were in that break away, then all of a sudden they have five teammates to help them. And if you’re not a sprinter, it’s like restarting the whole race. And the whole reason I got into the breakaway, it was not to Sprint. Yeah, right, Yeah, so I have not been us Athens, Tyler this year. Yeah, exactly. I did not want to lap the field, but

[00:26:49] Joe Lewis: well, you Hyde County and you had you had movie with you? Yeah. I mean, you got a better chance one on one with a right, Then you do against the whole team

[00:26:55] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: because you had You had to hand Cappie guys in that break away, and I knew I could probably beat go me because he was helping Murphy and I did not. But there’s then that’s when I start sitting on when those guys wanted lapped the field. And it’s like, No, I don’t I don’t want to have to feel because now I’m gonna lose

[00:27:14] Coach Jonathan: for sure. So

[00:27:15] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: I start sitting on, but they’re still super motivated, So they’re going to pull you through, um and then hopefully, your teammates sitting out the back of the field, they know you’re coming. Try to bring you back, or your follow the big team straight back to the front, like you have to get to the front of the race again.

[00:27:30] Joe Lewis: Yeah, they’re going to get out there and they’re going to start to drop it because they’re in an advantageous position. And

[00:27:37] Pete Morris: I think one of the hundred things that Kevin said is if your teammate is at the back of the field waiting for you, you get the like the silver platter treatment back to the front of the race with no work, and that totally changes the dynamic. And that’s the thing that probably most regular racers don’t do is getting that that help back through the field, because getting through the field is the hard part on DH. So if you have a teammate to actually bring you through and do all the work and get you back in the right position to keep racing again like hopefully, then you get to reset the race. But

[00:28:10] Coach Jonathan: so do you reach the pack again? In that scenario, are you looking to get to at the front of the race right away?

[00:28:15] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: It’s possible. Yeah,

[00:28:16] Joe Lewis: yeah, don’t lose those people that you know, you have our

[00:28:19] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: numbers going here. Six guys, Then you have one hundred fifty. So when you’re in that breakaway, sorry, you have to look at everyone’s numbers and because then it gets confusing, and it’s like you have to tell your teammates to like when that Because some guys will lapped the field in an attack again or their teammate will attack. And you don’t worry about that guy because he wasn’t in the breakaway. Or if he Waas your teammates have to know who’s who Because they don’t know who is in the breakaway with you. They may know the teams, but not the numbers. So you have to be very aware of who? Your Latin lot

[00:28:49] Joe Lewis: of all. Yeah. Education. Mohr information that you can have, the better. That’s why I think like radius again and really start taking nothing creates. But you guys you Yeah, yeah.

[00:29:00] Coach Jonathan: Can amateurs use radios? Yeah. Now they can. I feel like I’m on. I’m nowhere near organized enough with anybody. First of all, I usually race alone anyway. But yeah, Yeah, that would be interesting. So breakaways a ton of people, We all see them. It’s kind of seems like a hero move. It’s an exciting sort of thing. What do us average Joes do in a breakaway scenario that you feel like is a common mistake that you wish you could tell us to improve

[00:29:28] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: pulling too hard? You want to pull as you wanna pull as strong as the weakest rider in the break, if that makes sense. So you don’t want to be that hero dude, like doing super super strong pools. Like, if I notice someone’s gone super strong, I’m not going to try to match him or go harder, right? If there’s someone that’s kind of like soft pedaling through, it almost seems like like, That’s a hard as I want to go. Like I’m not I don’t want to be the hero of the break away to get the breakaway to stay away. And they got toasted in the sprint, right? So yeah, you just do as little work as possible. Almost.

[00:30:02] Joe Lewis: You need those guys. Sure. Yeah. There is a very temporary truce amongst the breakaway rodders. And so if you are coming through on a course that he’s really hot and you’re pulling through to Han, you’re gapping. Your rod is you’re not going. You’re not going to Salo. You’re not going to sell it to the finish. You need these other people. And so if you’ve got a gap and you’ve, you know, blown them up, they’re going to have to catch you. They’re going to have to recover. And in that time you’ve lost time to the breakaway. You want to keep it consistent. You want to keep the speed high and you want to stay together until you know the until you know you’re going to stay away to the finish.

[00:30:37] Pete Morris: I see this pretty much every let’s say ninety five percent of every break we have ever been in the person who there’s one person the break that polls that instantly accelerates to pretty much as hard as they can go and they don’t roll on the throttle. So there’s a thing where if you ease up to your speed, so you do like, you know, three hundred, four hundred, five hundred, six hundred or whatever, whatever you’re doing, whether it’s two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, two hundred to fifty, but roll into your pace and slowly wind up your effort. It’s so hard when someone blast basking asked you, and every all everybody else in the break has toe. Then expel energy. Teo, catch back up to the where you just attack the brake. Pretty much

[00:31:22] Coach Jonathan: hands. If you’re super strong, it could be a strategy and perhaps disrupt things. Relative to your others, the other people. Or if you’re hoping that if you’re fit enough and you’re not doing that, you’re kind of hoping maybe somebody does that to disrupt it. But if you really want to, but the breakaway to stay together it’s a bad move.

[00:31:39] Pete Morris: Worst it did like you and and it really demoralizes everybody. So if there’s one demoralize now from yeah, eso it demoralizes everybody. So it’s pretty much ensuring the break is going to fail S o like, how many? How many times have you guys said Don’t pull so hard to someone in the breakaway with you? You know, it’s all the time, So easy Don’t that’s like the number one. Don’t pull so hard Keep the speed steady the speed high but don’t pull. So

[00:32:05] Joe Lewis: I I mean, if you feel incredible and you really want to rip it because you think you got a great chance Pull longer. Not Hajto.

[00:32:12] Coach Jonathan: Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah, and I could be a good way to instruct somebody for sure. Anything else that you see us do with breakaways that you feel like it’s a It’s a rookie mistake that you make commonly see, um,

[00:32:25] Pete Morris: think about how well for the normal, the average Joe, you’re going to win the race in one way. Sorry. Not you, Joe. Joe. Bythe for a regular person who’s not or who’s in a breakaway, you’re goingto there’s one of the best stop. There’s one way for you to win the race, probably in the highest chance of success. So figure out what that is. And then try toe sculpt the race to enhance your whether it’s a sprint, whether it’s a last lap attack, whether it’s five to go. But you have to plan the race for you to win, right? Like that’s always the goal.

[00:33:03] Coach Jonathan: That’s really important because you might just see a breakaway get super excited chases, stick like a dog, go after the thing and you’re like, OK, I’m here now. What? Yeah, but not having anything. You know, a breakaway should be an intentional move to make something else possible, in other words. And you should know what that is.

[00:33:19] Pete Morris: Yeah, a lot of people settle right there like I’m in the break. I’m guaranteed to get fourth or third or sixth or whatever. So, like deep breath, I made it. We’re going to be okay, but it’s Then you have to wrap your head around. Well, how can I be everybody then I’m with And so coming up with a plan for some people, it’s the one hundred fifty meter come around. For some people, it’s the half a lap attack. But figure out what your best way to win the races while you’re in a break with

[00:33:46] Coach Jonathan: Yeah, they let’s not forget the objective is to win. That’s why we’re here, right?

[00:33:49] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Yeah, Yeah, I’d also say another. Maybe Ricky mistake is like attacking to try to get a breakaway attacking, like, midway down the straightaway. Like who you wanna attack, Like going into the corner or out of the corner where you have your acceleration, where everyone else is breaking. If you’re attacking on a straightaway where everyone is going the same speed, you’re not going to get that gap that you need to get into the break.

[00:34:11] Pete Morris: Especially while everyone else is accelerating around. You write only

[00:34:14] Joe Lewis: or or over the top of the hill. You know, if you attack at the bottom, everyone’s going to follow up the hill. But if you can attack over the top and get up to speed before everyone else. You’re going to get a bigger gap immediately.

[00:34:24] Coach Jonathan: Would you say, also, like, if it’s a super windy section attacking into the wind Or would you say that’s a bad thing? Todo?

[00:34:32] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Yeah. I mean, I don’t I don’t mind attacking into the wind. I mean, you just gotta

[00:34:36] Joe Lewis: I’ve done like e tywin. If you could get Teo, get up to speed and get a why, It’s a little bit, But

[00:34:44] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: I like it had to end, and then you’re cross wind, right? And you’re on the opposite side. So no one’s getting a draft, right? Yeah, I’m just going full gas. So if you if you want to stay on my wheel, you’re going as hard as I am, right? Or harder. So I like to use the wind. I mean, I feel like the tailwind. Everyone gets that pleasure of the everyone’s excited, I mean, and people were scared to attack into the wing because it’s hard, right? Yeah. So yeah, I mean, I’ll take advantage of the wind. Okay?

[00:35:13] Pete Morris: Yeah. Headwind. So the real thing about a headwind is there has to be a big enough gap that another person has a head wind behind you. Right? So you need to know it’s a lot of energy, but there needs to be enough energy for you to get a gap so that everybody else has a headwind again. Yeah. So that’s the important part. If you’re just drilling it into a headwind and someone’s four feet behind you, I guarantee it’s not working right. Even if it’s ten feet, it’s not working. They’re going. If it’s if it’s fifty feet, maybe you can start, like playing around with it and see if see if it’s working. But yeah,

[00:35:47] Coach Jonathan: is there any other ones that you see that that that we make mistakes with? Or a common mistake that you seen a breakaway?

[00:35:52] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: I mean, like the I mean, I don’t even follow this sometimes, but attacking in the first lap. First few laps, sir. I mean, but then, like sometimes a tte these yusa creates theirs. I mean, I’m not expected to stay away for the whole race. Right? So, um, they say go. We get a front row call up, right? So yeah, they say go, and I’m in. Clipped in already, when some dues air still left in our not in clipped in, still sitting at the start line because field moving

[00:36:23] Joe Lewis: on and there’s a Maleva already thing. But

[00:36:27] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: then there’s sometimes there’s what, a five hundred dollar primo on the first lap? Whatever. So I’ll just give it get that five hundred bucks for the team, and then we’ll just go back. You know, if someone comes across,

[00:36:37] Joe Lewis: if you’re gonna move boom fluff under bucks and you’ve gotta break away,

[00:36:40] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Yeah, yeah, So, you know, I mean, then you gotta pay attention to like, Who’s if someone’s coming across like these guys said, like, Well, maybe this actually could turn into a breakaway. Or if I’m just, you know, out there all by myself for two or three laps, it’s like, Well, I got the money. Let’s just go back.

[00:36:58] Pete Morris: I will say I’ve been screwed so many times by the like First fifteen, second road race, Breakaway. I don’t do that many road races, so that seems like a lot. But, uh, someone will. Three guys will attack in the first fifteen seconds, and they never get caught for the whole race for one hundred miles on. And you’re like what? Like it just doesn’t make any sense. So in a crate, I probably wouldn’t attack in the first first fifteen seconds. Maybe I’d still do that. Teo, do as I say, not as I d’oh, but in a road race. If you’re at the front, I don’t know. It seems like a way better shot for me and especially you’re not going to make the road race course like if it’s not suited to it. To Yu, Um, it’s a great shot.

[00:37:43] Coach Jonathan: Give it a shot that I I feel this is an observation. It could be totally wrong, but I feel like in lower category races where there’s less organization and experience in the field. I feel like you may have more chance, perhaps at that early race break. But it’s still such a huge gamble, and I feel like it’s the move that everyone’s expecting, right?

[00:38:01] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: I mean, everyone’s fresh, everyone’s legs feel good, but honestly, also, for to get a break, Teo work. You actually have to use your teammates, right? So ah, see, Kevin’s up the road with two or three other guys like the rest of us are getting a free ride right? Is the big other teams. They’re trying to close that gap. And right as he’s getting caught or right before he gets caught, I or someone else better be thrown another attack, right and then sew. Because all these other teams have to use all the energy to bring these guys back. We’re technically again it free ride, right? So I should be a little fresher. So I want to attack over the top of Kevin’s breakaway or whoever on the team, right? Ah, yeah, definitely use your teammates to make a successful break.

[00:38:45] Pete Morris: And in the lower category, if you execute the counterattack scratch strategy, it is so effective. It really blows people out of the water. Yeah, slows people out of the water.

[00:38:54] Coach Jonathan: Yeah, blows their minds yesterday. And I mean, yeah, I’ve been subject to

[00:38:59] Joe Lewis: it. If it’s a bunch of individuals that’s essentially everyone’s on one man tame, you know, no one’s going to go to the front and try and drive it back because because they’re going to lose, you know, they’re they’re they’re Auntie might. So you just gotta hope that everyone is going toe, contribute back in the bunch and work together, but often that just doesn’t work because everyone’s looking for an advantage. So, yeah, I guess in the low categories, if you are in the breakaway, that’s probably a better place to bay. Then in the Bonds tryingto get everyone to work together.

[00:39:30] Coach Jonathan: I guess around this one now I’d like to talk about the team responsibilities. So, like you have a rider up the road in a breakaway. Is it safe to say that you never want to chase that down or certain scenarios where you would want to chase that down as a teammate

[00:39:49] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: were

[00:39:49] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: nullified? Technically, put all my effort in or have the whole team effort chase. It’s your own teammate down. But say, ah, say we got a rider up there with a super super strong sprinter. Or maybe it’s two against one or something like that, like they have two teammates. We have one. And maybe it’s not one of our top sprinters, right? So, like, say, Joe is back with us in the field and we have someone else in the break with two strong riders on the same team. Like we might put a few guys on the front to, like, try to bring that back like I’m not going to put all our team eggs and to bring our old teammate back. But if it works, like if we can help another team, bring that back or some like that, so just tow, have the odds back in our field, right? So

[00:40:37] Pete Morris: yeah, I’d also say, not like bringing teammate back, but if you have a

[00:40:41] Coach Jonathan: team teammate up in the breakaway, your teammates better be following anybody that’s trying to bridge cross on, discourage that and just sit on and be like, No, I have a guy

[00:40:51] Pete Morris: off the road. So either they’re going to drag you up to the breakaway or you’re going to discourage them and then go

[00:40:56] Coach Jonathan: back. And then the that That breakaway is going to get even a bigger guy out if you’re just

[00:41:01] Pete Morris: sitting on it. But I know I got to go out there and we go backwards. Yeah, I think one of the things is there’s a magical place like fifteen seconds up the road where you Khun reshuffled the breakaway without chasing them back without a whole bunch of work. And then you can kind of get another teammate up or some more people into the breakaway toe like new blood and then and then sit back off the front and like back it off. And then the break weighs in a much different place, and your teammate might have a way better chance of winning now because you sent someone else up or a team made up. We’re now there’s six guys, and they’re not going to let you guys work that one, too. It right?

[00:41:35] Coach Jonathan: So you’re basically a mean you’re analyzing the composition of the breakaway, to make that sort of choice, to see a lot of people that perhaps misunderstanding. They just say it’s an absolute rule, like never chase it down, right? But I can’t help but think that that

[00:41:48] Joe Lewis: is an absolute I mean, I’m normally one if you know I’m the team captain on that day to give whoever is in that breakaway a chance. But if they’re out there with someone that could sprint better than them, then they have to attack them. Yeah, they can’t take him with line, but also, if there’s a sprinter out there with your teammate and they’re contributing, people sprint differently when they have bean working hard all day. Then if they’re fresh. And so you may have a chance against someone that normally would beat you because they’re more tired and you sprint better when your potato compared to them.

[00:42:25] Pete Morris: One One more thing is if it’s a one on one, like, if it’s a sprinter and a brick were a writer, I would call that a fifty fifty shot beating the sprinter. Yeah, right. Like a sprinter having to work for a whole race in a breakaway. And I feel great Spring gets there totally. But if it’s six guys or eight guys and they’re spreading their yeah, that’s not. That’s not what we’re talking about, S O It’s the composition, right? It’s always comes down to who’s with who, how they’re going.

[00:42:49] Joe Lewis: Yeah, spring his M o is to try and conserve as much energy as possible so they can put out that maximum amount of power. But if they’re being working super hard all day, then I’m sure they’re going to get nowhere near there. Max Power.

[00:43:01] Coach Jonathan: Yeah, and just thinking really quickly on the energy system. Side of things, Teo. I mean, a sprinter is really going to be using that top and creating phosphate fuel, right? Like, really quickly depleted, that sort of stuff. It can, you know, it can regenerate that sort of thing, but it takes some time. And if you guys like what you were talking about before of leaving little gaps, that sort of thing, when they have to snap to close that down every time they have to snap or any time they have to just rev it up a little higher than they did. It’s it’s going to be weakening. Yeah, you

[00:43:30] Joe Lewis: can work him over for sure.

[00:43:32] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Like, for example, when Kevin one Athens twilight, he was in a three man breakaway with the two of the fastest sprinters in the field, right? Like he’s going to get destroyed at these guys. So five laps to go, they’re also rotating. But then the two sprinters start looking at each other because they’re honestly not worried about Kevin for sure. So they’re just worried about each other. And so they’re rotating through. Kevin’s rotates through notices when he flicks off that no one’s pulling through. He looks back what he has a five foot gap or whatever, and so he just keeps on their right just for the next five laps. And now the sprinters have to work together. Yeah, they’re worried about each other, but now they have to work. What they’re not may be not used to your right there getting towards the line usually so and then stays away. So, I mean, you also take advantage of that, too.

[00:44:21] Coach Jonathan: I feel like sprinters are very one track minded.

[00:44:23] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: Sure, Yeah,

[00:44:24] Coach Jonathan: it’s. And the thing is, they wear their strength on their sleeve. So it’s usually pretty easy to know who they are and what they’re going to dio But being more versatile, riders definitely

[00:44:32] Joe Lewis: helpful. You never want to be the guy that makes the second lost move. Yeah.

[00:44:38] Pete Morris: Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. I mean, if you want it, if

[00:44:41] Joe Lewis: one of those sprinters it pulled pull the other one up to you, then the second guy would have one, right? And vice versa. And they know that. And so they spent their time looking at each other while you were writing away. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Perfect. Perfect tactic.

[00:44:57] Coach Jonathan: That was great. Guys doesn’t good. Good rule of thumb. Dende onto Joe. Don’t be the one that does the second last move like that s so with that Thanks, everybody, for joining us, you can head over to forum.trainerroad.com and you can check out the episode which will be breakaways with Team Clif Bar Racing. And you can check that out. I might encourage you guys to jump into the form to because if folks have questions, maybe you guys can answer him. So it’s a cool spot. Tons of conversation and you can head to Team Clif Bar Racing. Or I should say, I think it just Clif Bar racing on Instagram and on other channels you can follow the team. They’re individually. Where can people catch you guys on Instagram? Whatever the channels,

[00:45:32] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: @conormullervy with one n in the first name.

[00:45:36] Pete Morris: Awesome. I’m @alsoforgotten. And I’m on the forum all the time. So definitely at Pete on not the TrainerRoad forums. Always happy to talk.

[00:45:45] Joe Lewis: Awesome @JoeLewis1989. And, I’ll be on the forum. That’s the year always born

[00:45:56] Conor or Kevin Mullervy: @kmullervy

[00:45:57] Coach Jonathan: Awesome. Cool. Well, thanks, guys. If you have any questions for these folks, they know they’re racing back to front and they’re incredibly strong. They could provide some good insight. So if you have any questions, let us know. Join us on The Forum and we’ll talk to you all next time. Thanks, everybody!



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Ian Meintjes

Ian Meintjes is a pro enduro racer and the producer of the Ask a Cycling Coach podcast. Ian’s successful track record in cross-country and enduro racing, along with years of experience as a customer support agent have made him an expert on all things training and racing with power.

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