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BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?

Joe Offer 12 May 15 - 03:18 PM
olddude 12 May 15 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,Ian 12 May 15 - 03:52 PM
olddude 12 May 15 - 04:03 PM
wysiwyg 12 May 15 - 04:22 PM
FreddyHeadey 12 May 15 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,DaveRo 13 May 15 - 02:59 AM
GUEST,Dave the Gnome 13 May 15 - 03:16 AM
Keith A of Hertford 13 May 15 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Dave the Gnome 13 May 15 - 05:16 AM
GUEST 13 May 15 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Ian 13 May 15 - 07:20 AM
artbrooks 13 May 15 - 10:07 AM
MartinRyan 13 May 15 - 11:03 AM
Bert 13 May 15 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 May 15 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,leeneia 13 May 15 - 09:52 PM
Mr Red 14 May 15 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Dave the Gnome 14 May 15 - 05:04 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 14 May 15 - 12:23 PM
wysiwyg 14 May 15 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,DaveRo 14 May 15 - 05:20 PM
Fossil 14 May 15 - 06:51 PM
wysiwyg 14 May 15 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Dave the Gnome 15 May 15 - 07:06 AM
wysiwyg 15 May 15 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,DaveRo 15 May 15 - 01:07 PM
wysiwyg 15 May 15 - 06:43 PM
Mr Red 16 May 15 - 04:01 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 16 May 15 - 04:11 AM
FreddyHeadey 16 May 15 - 06:21 PM
Joe Offer 16 May 15 - 11:12 PM

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Subject: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 May 15 - 03:18 PM

I tried to take a shortcut to my volunteer job in Sacramento yesterday, but got stuck in a traffic jam of cars stopped to let the AMGEN Tour of California bicycle race go by. I really wasn't in a hurry, so I enjoyed watching. Police officers barricaded the intersection, and then we waited. Waves of vehicles went by, punctuated by an occasional California Highway Patrol car with flashing lights. There were groups of vans with bicycles in racks on top, four or five ambulances together, and several groups of smallish motorcycles - somewhere in between the size of a moped and a Harley. There were a few waves of bicycles, but they seemed to be at touring speed, not racing.

And finally came the racers. There must have been fifty or maybe even a hundred, all in a pack. It looked like they were going about thirty-five miles an hour. There was nobody way out front, and nobody far behind. I read that the bikes got to Sacramento later in the day, and then down into the Sacramento River Delta.

Apparently, they stayed overnight somewhere in the Delta, and then will race again several days this week.

So, what are the logistics of a professional bike race like this? How do the races get paid, especially the ones who don't win? How do they determine the winner of a race that runs several days, punctuated by overnight stays?

This was all very interesting to watch, but it would have been more enjoyable if I had been able to figure out what was going on.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: olddude
Date: 12 May 15 - 03:25 PM

I know from my daughters iron man they pack together to take advantage of the wind i think it's called a palatron or something like that. Anyway they then break out when it is advantageous to do so. Being in the middle of the pack you have less drag because the leaders get it all. Theory is the leaders work harder and the Middle is conserving energy for a break away later


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 12 May 15 - 03:52 PM

I watched quite of a few stages if the Tour de France last year. I couldn't quite understand why a small group broke away every day, but then always seemed to get caught before the finish.
I think the pack are called the pelaton .


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: olddude
Date: 12 May 15 - 04:03 PM

Jan yes that's the term


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 May 15 - 04:22 PM

PelOton

riders are sponsored to wear logos on jerseys

it's a buncha teams ride a circuit of races

euro racing is big. US racing was biggifying thanks to lance and uspstat le tour. Now?

There is road racing I.e. le tour and tour of CA. Another form with similar bike is one-day road race called a criterium. A third form is track racing a la olympics, diff bike but not too diff.

then there's mtn biking, a totally diff bike, done on hilly courses.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 12 May 15 - 07:35 PM

This description for tour de france might explain a few points.

I went to watch a big race a while back but it left me cold.
If the day's ride lasts several hours I find TV highlights with good commentators is more interesting than live.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 13 May 15 - 02:59 AM

I couldn't quite understand why a small group broke away every day, but then always seemed to get caught before the finish.
They don't always get caught. If the breakaway riders are way down the overall timings then the race leaders may let them have a stage win. But if the sprinters can make it a sprint finish they'll catch them. The peloton, if organised, can always catch a lone rider or small group.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 May 15 - 03:16 AM

How Do Bicycle Races Work?

You get on a bike, pedal like mad and try to get there before everyone else. Seemples!


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 13 May 15 - 05:00 AM

Except in slow bicycle races, where the object is to finish last.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 May 15 - 05:16 AM

...without falling off!


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 15 - 06:39 AM

Mainly using drugs?


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 13 May 15 - 07:20 AM

Thanks for the info DaveRo


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: artbrooks
Date: 13 May 15 - 10:07 AM

The rider with the most points wins, and points are awarded based on a rider's time from start to finish. It's entirely likely that the overall winner of a multi-day race will have never won a single stage. There are many ways to get points - e.g., the first 3 over the finish line get extra points, as do the first to the top of a hill, or over a sprint line.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 May 15 - 11:03 AM

It's a bit like cricket, really - there are several different dynamics happening at the same time. In stage racing, like the Tour de France, the (sponsored) teams operate largely as a unit aimed to deliver one individual to the final winner's podium. The different types of stage (flat, mountainous, individual or team time-trial etc...) confuse the issue further!

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Bert
Date: 13 May 15 - 01:35 PM

First you take drugs so that ordinary cyclists can't compete.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 May 15 - 08:12 PM

Nothing related to your observation Mr. Offer....

However, on a velodrome "Devil take the hindmost" is a hot item.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

more money has been lost on the horses ......but .....this takes a close second


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 May 15 - 09:52 PM

I have a friend who follows the Tour de France, and she told me that the riders are in teams, and the team works to make one member win. That's what Martin said, above.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 May 15 - 04:18 AM

There are classes within the race.
Yellow Jersey - worn by the one leading on points.
White with red polka dots - King of the Mountain
and the team prizes.
and who knows what else.

given the crowds for the Tour de France (even in Yorkshire) I don't see the attraction of seeing it in person, more than once. We had the Tour of Brittain going through Stroud and there were a lot of support cars and motorbikes then less than a minute of bikes whizzing past in two waves. Even on telly is is a bit samey.
Given the police presences (and a lot of bike clubbers helping) a car still managed to come out of a side road and cause a moment for one rider going round the roundabout the other way. And taxi drivers wanting to argue with police instructions until the traffic could be released.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 May 15 - 05:04 AM

The Tour de Yorkshire went right past our front gate. The peloton was not that interesting and flashed past in a few seconds but the constant stream of amateur riders going past for about 3 hours before was a pleasure. All shapes and sizes doing the same route as the the pros. They all deserved a good cheer but I would have been hoarse at the end of the day!


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 14 May 15 - 12:23 PM

But what does the bicycle get out of it?


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 May 15 - 01:17 PM

The "peloton" is the whole group racing-- not just the group that rides bunched up together.

In stage racing, the teams all have various priorities based on team ownership goals and sponsor goals. Some teams do want to deliver one winner, as mentioned above. But others want to win a lot of individual stages. And others want to win sprints. Etc. Part of the 'fun' is seeing a team try to do one goal... while individual members decide to ride for their own goal.

A lot of the 'smaller' sponsors just want their names on TV, so they reward crazy stunts like some breakaways are, but some breaks do survive to win the stage. The bigger sponsorships tend to be invested in the ownership's overall goals and have a marketing tie-in accordingly.

A lot of the spectators are out there for the party, like a tailgating party but it's all strung out along the route because it's that kind of sport; they're also usually there for the local sight-seeing and may have an RV to stay in. Others have biked to their spot to watch, and will ride back downhill when it's over. Others will ride ahead to the next start-town. The nuttiest-looking ones tend to be real inhabitants of the hosting country, and this is their annual thing to do.

There's just a whole lot of stuff going on in road racing, and efforts to simplify it usually miss the mark.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 14 May 15 - 05:20 PM

The "peloton" is the whole group racing-- not just the group that rides bunched up together.
Er, no. The peloton is the main group riding as a bunch - in Europe anyway. Smaller bunches may be called 'Lead group', or 'Group Nordhaug' say, after the most prominent rider in it.

I've watched the Tour de France on TV every year since Greg Lemond beat Laurent Fignon by 8 seconds in the final stage - in 1989.

As others have said, the Tour is several races in one, with both teams and individuals competing, and the tactics are hard for a beginner to understand. Even in the years that we now know everybody was on drugs it was exciting.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Fossil
Date: 14 May 15 - 06:51 PM

There is no one thing called a "bicycle Race". Like cricket, there are several different formats and some may even be combined, as in the Tour de France and other similar major events.

Firstly - as has been noted already - there is the team championship, where teams of riders compete to deliver one rider across the finish line in front of everyone else. The shape of this type of racing is dictated by the physics of riding a bike at high speed. Riders working as a group can almost always achieve a higher average speed than a lone rider. So tactics come into play - if a small group can get away from the main bunch (the peloton), they will often cooperate temporarily, even if they come from different teams, until they get near to the stage finish, when all bets are off.

And then there are the special-interest races that happen over shorter distances within the main race - so the Tour de France includes an individual time-trial stage, when riders ride as fast as they can individually - no teams - over a set distance, points going to the fastest, of course.

And also within the main race, riders may compete in sprints over a short distance, through a village, or up a hill, for cash and/or points prizes. The hill-climbers compete for the King of the Mountains prize. Usually, though not always, good hill climbers aren't good sprinters, so there is logic in having a separate prize for them.

And this is road-racing. There are of course many different formats for races that take place in velodromes on a special banked track. Better not get into them or I'll be here all day.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 May 15 - 08:34 PM

The Peloton also refers to the community of entrants in the race. It can mean the main group or it can mean the professional community of riders.

Sheeshe.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 May 15 - 07:06 AM

To save any arguments. From wiki -

The peloton (from French, meaning little ball or platoon and cognate to the English word pellet), field, bunch or pack is the main group of riders in a road bicycle race. Riders in a group save energy by riding close (drafting or slipstreaming) near (particularly behind) other riders. The reduction in drag is dramatic; in the middle of a well-developed group it can be as much as 40%.

The term is also used to refer to professional cyclists in general.


Your welcome :-)

Both definitions apply to my comment that the peloton passed in a few seconds while the amateurs were spread across a number of hours.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 May 15 - 10:29 AM

Thank you DtG.

Of course as each stage begins all the entrants are the peloton in both senses, and then as the different sections it breaks up into need to be distinguished so a main bunch take on that name. And then they are all again a peloton as they begin the next stage (unless it's a time trial) (except for riders who drop out or were disqualified the day before)....

My main point thruout my couple of posts has been that stage/road racing are multifaceted, multilayered reflections of a complex culture still foreign to most USers and many UKers, who have fairly recently gotten involved with a sport whose mainland-Europe traditions are by now convoluted big-money spectacles the majority of whose rltelevised race followers are privileged white folks. It's generally done thru gorgeous, televisable scenery. But at heart these days it's all about athletes working cheap while someone else profits, and it can be an ugly business like any other modern sport influenced by advertising dollars.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: GUEST,DaveRo
Date: 15 May 15 - 01:07 PM

My apologies. I've never heard the word peloton used in that sense.

The Tour de France is certainly big business in France, and lately the UK since there was a British team and a British winner a couple of years ago. It's the only race I follow every day, though there are plenty of others - the Giro d'Italia is on at the moment. One race a year is enough for me - I can't afford the time! And the drug-taking has tainted it: these days if I see an exceptional performance, a breakaway on a mountain climb say, I can't help wondering whether it's the athlete's own effort. Great pity.


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 May 15 - 06:43 PM

Thanks DR.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 May 15 - 04:01 AM

dare we mention the Giro (d'Italia) or the Vuelta?


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 16 May 15 - 04:11 AM

I think that there is material here for a song or poem from the point of view of the bicycle!


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 16 May 15 - 06:21 PM

Black belt caterpillar wrestler - PM
Date: 14 May 15 - 12:23 PM
But what does the bicycle get out of it?


Have you not observed a bicycle closely???
(Actually, best not to let them see you watching too obviously. Just do it out of the corner of your eye.)
The bicycle gets to become more human.
It's all to do with the transfer of atoms.
Well explained in the novel "The Third Policeman"

An essay about the novel here, with illustrations, if you've a few minutes to spare.
http://www.63xc.com/johnward/flano.htm ;

"...Flann O'Brien. ...... novel The Third Policeman, perhaps the only work of literature in which the romantic lead is played by a bicycle, will be of particular interest. It offers a succinct presentation of the debate between modernity and conservatism in the matter of componentry and riding style, along with a singular insight into the physics and metaphysics of human-bicycle relations."

from the book "...
When you strike a bar of iron with a good coal hammer or a blunt instrument... the atoms are bashed away down to the bottom of the bar and compressed and crowded there like eggs under a good clucker...if you keep hitting the bar for long enough [it] will dissipate itself away by degrees...some of the atoms of the bar will go into the hammer and the other half into the table or the stone or the particular article that is underneath the bottom of the bar."

therefore,

4. "The gross and net result of it is that people who spend most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who nearly are half people and half bicycles."

"...You never see them moving by themselves but you meet them in the least accountable places unexpectedly. Did you never see a bicycle leaning against the dresser of a warm kitchen when it is pouring outside? [fig 6.] Near enough the family to hear the conversation? Not a thousand miles from where they keep the eatables?"


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Subject: RE: BS: How Do Bicycle Races Work?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 May 15 - 11:12 PM

I live in an old farmhouse in a very scenic part of California, in the Gold Rush Country in the Sierra Foothills. The stretch of old U.S. 40 that goes past our house is a three-mile hill that is very popular with bicyclists. They struggle up to the top, and then turn around and zoom back down. I haven't tried it, but it does look like an exhilarating ride through the tall Ponderosa pines, above the heat and fog of the Central Valley. Our part of the road is fairly straight, so the visibility is good and the bikes don't pose a hazard to us on our way to the freeway. In other parts of our area, bikes can be as bad a hazard as the deer. We don't often get races past the house - just groups of people enjoying our hill.

The races like to go through nearby towns like Auburn and Grass Valley and Nevada City. They're pretty little towns with outdoor cafes where spectators can sit and watch the race go by. I've lived in this area 13 years now, and I think this bicycle phenomenon is delightful.

-Joe-

The Amgen Tour of California ends tomorrow - http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/


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