I think it was Pete who was basically saying that the break is really hard to establish, but not that hard once it settles in (particularly once it’s out of sight). Or something like that. I had a “C” race today, gravel race ~68 miles and my main goal was to just get a lot of time at SS and Threshold. That translated into a strategy to be aggressive early and try to establish a small break where I could push decent watts most of the day.
I pushed the pace early along with some others and the group was down to around 10 guys. Pushed again and found myself with a gap. With 55 miles remaining in the race, I would normally just ease off back to the pack if nobody is coming with me. With Pete’s words in my head and my desire to do a hard effort anyway, I figured it was worth settling into threshold and see how things would shake out (really hoping someone would bridge up). The chase group got close a couple times, but 30 minutes later I have ~1 minute gap (they clearly aren’t chasing that hard, I’m just one stupid guy out in the wind right?). I settle into decent sustainable pace for the next hour and I’ve got 2.5 minutes and I’m getting out of sight. Another hour of similar effort and I win by 10 minutes. I assume the pack was just thinking “he’s going to die out there in the wind, we’ll catch him eventually” and never got a proper chase organized. I certainly needed some good endurance fitness to pull it off, but in some ways it felt easier than being in a group where you constantly have to respond to surges and attacks. Especially on gravel where people tend to attack at every sketchy corner.
I will also credit TR for getting me hooked on high dosages of caffeine and aggressive fueling on the bike. 400 mg of caffeine at the start and another 100 during the race along with 9 gels and 3 bottles of skratch during the 3 hour race. Never felt a hint of bonk, but I’m still wired tonight and probably won’t be sleeping any time soon (race was a noon start).