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  • RayG

    6. If you’re at the point of asking yourself ‘can I manage another turn on the front or not?’ the answer is always ‘not’.

    • Dave

      As opposed to the answer if you ask one of the others in the group…

    • Annie.

      Very true as in: Been there, done that all too often :)

  • Liz

    The other thing I have learned from doing fast group rides is to move up in the pack so that you’re not on the back when people go hard. That way if you are falling back relative to others around you on the hard section, you likely won’t fall completely off and can still hold on to the tail. Try to move up when people are not hammering.

  • CGradeCyclist

    One of the best bits of advice I got when I was new to bunch rides and racing was from one of the older coaches in my club. He said, “If you are suffering & struggling to hold on – it’s almost certain that there are a heap of others who are also suffering & struggling to hold on. So dig deep because it’ll probably ease off soon. And worst case is that you’ll be dropped with a bunch of others so you’ll still be in a second bunch…”
    That idea that I’m not the only one suffering was a bit of a mental game-changer for me, and made it a whole lot easier to dig in and hold on for that little bit longer… :-)

    • Annie.

      That’s a very good advice indeed! I too often forget to think about it while totally immersed in my little world of personal suffering. But also, I don’t hide when I’m tired (there’s enough blokes around me who do sufficiently), so I stay in the back when I need to. Some do complain, but there are many days when I lead the pack for long bits of the trip and others when I don’t.

      Especially during the winter, I should go very easy when on the bike as I already stem a heavy burden with weight training (which, by the way, helps me a lot in summer and made me very much stronger over the last years). So while most of the others enjoy a hard ride in between long hours in the office, I’d rather have an easy spin. I’ll have to learn to live with those complaining as in a few weeks’ time, I’ll be the helping hand again.

      I think we should think in longer terms sometimes and not judge ourselves for being (nearly) dropped on a single occasion. If you train right, you’ll have strong and weak days, and if you’re riding with the right kind of people, they will know.

    • Blake

      I always continue on with the next logical thought: “Yeah, everyone else is hurting just as much as me, but there’s some F***er at the front doing this in the wind. WTF?!?!? I must suck.”

      Then I try to make up a sensible story to explain it all. “I must be paying for that hard pull an hour ago.” Sure. THATS the problem.

  • jules

    Start pointing out mechanical problems on others’ bikes. They’ll get nervous and disrupt the pace making.

  • eppolley

    Train and learn how to spin big gears, 53×15 will do a lot of damage in all but the most viscous hills at which point I’ll take the Harley. lol

  • Jim

    Point number 2 isn’t necessarily so clear cut, and can be hard to judge. Sure, you want to bridge as soon as possible, but if you go too far into the red trying to do that, you might not make it across at all. Whereas, if you ease off a little, you might take longer to bridge, but you’ll get there eventually. It all depends on your power curve.

    • Pete23

      I read it as when the gap is only a bike length or so, a short effort of ten seconds or so would normally be enough to close that gap, and in my experience you are unlikely to go too far into the red closing it. However, if you don’t jump on it straight away the gap will get bigger and you will burn more energy having to close a bigger gap.

    • winkybiker

      I think this is an area where aero gear can really pay dividends. A few % faster can make a huge difference to how long it takes to close down a gap. Imagine the circumstance on a regular set-up where you can do 102% of the pack’s speed as you close down the gap. Aero might mean that you can do 104% of the pack’s speed in the same circumstances (such as trying to close agp out of a tight corner in a crit). You close the gap in half the time and save energy for later. Aero can therefore save you energy in a way that is disprortionate to it’s isolated benefit.

  • Jussarian

    Any tips for tiny riders who may fear the loss of sight of the road ahead? One of the women who joins our group always stays ~1m off the wheel in front of her, thus tiring her extra quick. Some of our guys are over 6′ while she is just over 5′.

    • purpletezza

      You should never follow your wheel exactly behind the wheel in front, in case of sudden slowing/braking, so she she should be slightly to the left or right of the wheel in front. Many riders don’t realise this. That way she should be able to catch sight of the road in front around the front rider. The other thing is that a small rider following a larger rider will have a bigger relative draft zone that they can move around in and still be in the draft. It’s worth moving around in the draft zone to find the best draft advantage vs sight compromise.

      Another issue is confidence and trust. As a drafting rider you have to trust that rider(s) in front will ride well and point out any obstacles. Drafting blindly behind other riders can take quite a lot of confidence to do.

      Hope that helps.

  • Efe Ball?

    7. Focus on something other than the pain to make time go by faster when on the rivet, like the moving legs of the guy in front.
    8. GET AERO, hold the drops and hold them tight, keeping a finger on brake levers.
    9. Put on a pain face.


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