Always miss the break

Ok, somewhat OTT title - I’m a noobie racer. Have only done 3 crits and 4 road races, but every time so far I seem to miss the decisive move.

I’ve got a decent short power to join/create a break if I can be in the right place at the right time, but am much more of a steady state rider. I’m loathe to chase down every single attack, and rarely put my nose in the wind if I can help it (as per received internet wisdom).

Whenever I’ve attacked with 1 or 2 others, I’ve always got the whole peloton on my wheel. So perhaps a few futile attempts have discouraged me from attacking, and so I tend to avoid burning those matches.

However being cautious has meant I missed breakaways in all 4 RRs. A couple times I wound up mid pack when the break happened, and didn’t even know someone had attacked. Last time I thought others would chase, but it never got spirited enough to catch up.

I’d say I’m fairly strong in my category - aim is to upgrade to a cat 2 this year. How do y’all determine when to attack/not attack, and position to avoid missing out?


I feel like I could write a book for each break I missed or made. Every break I’ve experienced had one thing in common: they were all really hard to make and in many cases harder to make stick. Every race is different so there isn’t a set formula IMO. Knowing the players and being at the front, attentive and willing to try will definitely increase your chances.

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So you’re looking to blow through cat 3? That’s confident. 30 points is a lot–sounds like 5-7 podiums. Good luck.

I’ve been racing a lot of cat 4 and just upgraded to 3, but have made a breakaway in about a third of my races. It’s vitally important in our category to see the type of rider trying to make a break happen. Are there teammates in the field? How good are their handling skills relative to other riders (That’s my heuristic for relative determination of success in a technical field)–do they wobble around in a pack or are they stable at all times? How hard do they snap, and how long are they maintaining, how fast is the field going, etc.?

It’s easier for me to boil it down to–are there 3-4 motivated riders who seem to quickly get in rotation? How are their relative strengths (based on above subjective criteria) compared to how fluent the field is? If the field is discombobulated, any break with any semblance of organization can get away since everyone in the field is undermining each other.

If you’re initiating one, got to identify where the peloton usually starts to slow down. If you’re riding into riders butts and soft pedaling, that’s a good time to slowly roll ont he throttle and see if you can bring some good dudes with you. If you snap too hard, people will let you dangle and bring you back in after 15-20 seconds. Cheers.