Making the attack in cycling is a valuable skill inside and out of competition. Whether you are trying to drop someone, or sending it full gas to gain lots of speed, knowing how to do it properly will help your cycling considerably.
In this blog post we are going to look at three areas of making an attack: the hand technique, transitions in cadence to making a sharper attack, and optimal attacking strategies.
There is a unique hand position that is used for making accelerations on the bike. This hand position allows you to really lock your upper body and connect with the bike while providing the leverage you need.
You can use this technique to produce a more powerful acceleration in and out of the saddle on the flat or climbing terrain.
When cyclists think about attacking, or making hard accelerations, they rarely think about hand position.
But hand position in cycling is an important technique to have dialed.
The hand technique we are showing you we call the “acceleration position.”
This position helps you lock with the bike and set yourself up to generate maximum power when you attack on the bike.
To do this technique begin by focusing on creating a hand grip that has the thumb latching on at the top of the hood.
Opposite of the thumb, use the heel of your hand to bear the majority of your body weight, not the center of your hand.
Bring your elbows in towards your core and lower forearms to be parallel to the top tube.
Lock core and off you go to a more powerful acceleration through this hand position technique!
One of the most effective climbing weapons is the standing cadence change transition.
In this video we show you how to use cadence as a way to create a massive acceleration without increasing your power much. This is an important technique to learn because if you go over your threshold zone too much on a climb to accelerate it ofter can hurt your effort after the acceleration. With this technique you are able to stay close to your threshold so after you accelerate you can keep climbing strongly! Working on this is a way you can take your climbing to a new level.
I demonstrate the effectiveness of this riding on the steep sections of one of my favorite climbs, Flagstaff.
During this effort I begin by riding just below my threshold, standing in a low cadence. The terrain is steep, and at this pace I can hear the rider breathing behind me (coach @lechnertravis ).
I decide to try and drop him by using a sharp cadence transition from low to high. I choose my effort in the middle of a switchback because the gradient lowers just for a second.
By matching the transition to the high cadence with the change in terrain from steep to shallow, I am able to produce a sharp attack by ONLY going up 1 PowerTrain Zone (approx 20 watts).
You will see the effort is so well executed it creates a large gap instantly.
What you don’t see is that the rider behind has increased his power the same amount as mine, however is unable to follow the acceleration because he did not stand or transition to high cadence at the exact moment I did.
Guys, this skill is HUGE for all Rider Types and abilities. Learn it, and practice it. I promise you it will take your cycling to a new level.
Attacking is hard! Attacking and actually getting a gap is harder!
So how do you do it?
Here are seven tips to help you make a success attack on your group rides and races.
1. Commit to the plan of attacking and getting away. This means throw away plan b of sitting in. Most people try to attack only once or twice and try to time it perfectly. The first attacks don’t seem to work so they change plans and sit in the group.
2. Don’t attack full gas. If you are going on the offense, use lower zones to attack with. This is so you have gas in the tank if there is a counter attack. I see many riders drop themselves right out of the winning move by attacking so hard they can’t stay away once they are clear.
3. If you are going on the offense, attack in places where there are distinct changes in speed from slow to fast. This can be out of corners, head wind to tail wind, or the tops of climbs.
4. Stop trying to pull the Houdini! Attack in places that work instead of trying to time your attack so you magically vanish when the best rider sneezes.
5. Make a 30 second leash limit. If you are taking a defensive strategy, commit to not letting any rider (s) get up to a 30 gap. This way you are in all moves that go, both covering and bridging to other riders.
6. Stop obsessing where the best riders are. Everyone always marks the best riders to get in the moves, but unless you are in the yellow jersey, you should be trying to go places without them! This strategy usually fails everyone is doing the same thing and they cancel the best riders out and you in the process.
7. Be relentless. In order to snap the elastic you have to keep trying. You can stop trying when you get in the move or your legs seize up to the point they are quivering.