Cruisers are devious adversaries. We will not stand out much from the crowd. The reason is we must not let our average W/kg go over limit. We have to be strategic with our energy spending and only put in as much as is barely needed. For this reason you might not even see us flying at the start like the average sandbagger.
Try to lose us and we will still be glued to your wheel. If you somehow manage to drop us in a climb, don’t celebrate just yet. We may have had our reasons. For example, we may have noticed that you are light and easily caught on the flat just past the climb. So we save energy, or rather, save decimals on our average W/kg for later use. We will catch you. And we will drop you.
Very little that we do will seem illegitimate during the actual race. We will just seem very BIG STRONK to you. And our only threat during the race are other cruisers. They are our main competitors for the podium, not you.
We must also take care not to get carried away by blatant sandbaggers, because sticking to their wheels will drive our average W/kg up to dangerous levels where we risk getting upgraded to the category in which we actually belong. That takes 3 months to undo, which is a long time for a fragile ego. And this, of course, is the reason you might not see us flying at start. Instead we try to find the frontmost seemingly legit group for our pretend category at start and stick with it.
Sometimes we join a stronger group at start, maybe with a couple of riders from the category above, and then let ourselves drop after some minutes if we think we won’t have to drop solo. It doesn’t hurt our W/kg that much on the whole, but we can gain minutes on you early for hanging on to a group that would send you to max HR. Minutes gained that you will have very little chance to bridge. We are already going at max permissible W/kg and we are not that winded doing so. Exactly how would you legitimately bridge to us without being a cruiser yourself?
How do we stay within cat limits? Isn’t that hard to nail precisely for someone who has the strength to easily go over limits for an undue amount of time? It’s simple really. Your smart-trainer probably came with an app you can download and do workouts in if you are not a Zwift subscriber. That app that you never used since Zwift is much more fun. That app is likely going to tell you your current average Watt during a session. You use this app while racing. If you get problems with Bluetooth channel conflicts you can get around those by running Zwift over ANT+ and the smart-trainer app over Bluetooth on your phone mounted on your handlebars.
You will rarely see us pulling a group. We are good at staying in the draft. It’s not that we don’t have excess energy to spare – we do – but staying in the draft is a very efficient way to keep our average W/kg as low as possible, perhaps as much as 0.3 below the puller who may be going at limit. Thus we save up some wiggle room to drop people with later in hill climbs. You thought climbers were little guys who excel at staying at VO2Max for several minutes and recover fast? You thought this was fair racing? Stop watching TV and think again.