First off, I have some new links on the side. The uppermost one, Baseline Scenario, is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants a better understanding of what in the hell is happening in the financial world. There is a great primer page that gives concise and easily understood (well, you have to pay some pretty serious attention and it's not exactly light beach reading) definitions and examples of the principles you need to get in order to become a better consumer of the information out there. The authors all have outstanding credentials and for what it's worth I find their take to be pragmatic and non-partisan. Information Arbitrage is the next one, which is less grounded but the guy goes on some good flyers and has a bunch of good thoughts. On both, it's often instructive to read the comments, because there is often deeper explanation there and also because it's interesting to see what questions people have.
As an economics question, undercard or novice racing is an interesting study. The standard text of rules and reasons kind of goes out the window. There is a lack of universal knowledge of the textbook rules, and an inconsistency of ability to execute according to those rules. Unlike in elite racing, you are functionally competing against your team mates for upgrade points. Everyone says they aren't but whether you know it or like it or admit to it, you are, and that flavors the bejeesus out of things. People's abilities and inclinations are more marked by their shortcomings ("I can't sprint," "hills kill me," etc) than by their strengths. There is an integral selfishness that is so inherent as to be completely blameless. You might as well yell at a baby for crying when he's hungry.
Some teams do a good job of getting themselves organized and at least pursuing coherent strategies. One of the most popular of these is one I don't understand, that of "covering" breaks. As I understand it, the art of covering breaks is about trying to make sure that your team is in breaks that get established, and working toward the establishment of those breaks such that your team mates in the field are provided free passage during the race. Sure there needs to be some jumping on anything that leaves the field done by your team, which can be taxing as hell, but once the break has achieved a critical gap, that requirement goes away.
What happens most frequently in my experience is that people assume covering to mean getting to and sitting on every break, which works in the opposite direction of what I understand covering to mean. Getting into a break is a simple risk and reward scenario. You risk blowing all your energy and still getting caught, but the payoff is a heightened likelihood of your getting a high result and also the benefit you provide for your team mates in the field. There seems to be no percentage in sitting on breaks, except for teams with exceptional sprinters. The only team with an exceptional sprinter in MABRA novice racing is Artemis, and they seem not to have a lot of guys in the race.
If you get into a break and don't do any work, that break will be still born. No question. There have been numerous instances when I have started or gotten into a break, done a turn (and usually a pretty healthy one, as I assume the first pulls should be long and hard - almost crushing - if the break wants to get anywhere) and then watched who pulls through. You can pretty well instantly read who's going to work and who isn't. Even a brief turn at the front signals some willingness, while there's an easily recognized pattern created by someone who's allergic to the wind. The most baffling thing is why anyone wants to spend the energy doing all of these short hard jumps with no expectation of payoff. It's more of an academic pondering on my part because unless someone has some great suggestion I'm more or less powerless to change it. During Saturday's 4 race there was always someone ready to work, but the balance was always in favor of the kling-ons. If people are thinking of me as a tremendous breakaway threat and I'm being marked, then MABRA needs to do a lot more drug testing. Anyone who thinks that is on the good stuff. The really good stuff.
That said, I did get another great whiff of the open road on Saturday afternoon in the aged and infirm race, and I loved it. There are some ways I'd like to tune my effort to perhaps be more effective in future forays, but I've got the taste. My sense of timing for when to go is improving, my ability to do the hard jump and then the quick settle in and keep the gas on is getting better and I find myself thinking about the jump all the time.