I have said it, and I see that others are posting articles or info about it. The problem is maybe too many people are taking it too far.
Do not ride on the front should not be confused with NEVER ride at the front.
Too many people seem to just sit-in – on ever ride, year around. Bah!
Too many people never do any work – whether they are afraid they will get dropped, feel they aren’t strong enough.
Sometimes you need to move, do something, stir things up. Sometimes that is for the group & sometimes that is just for yourself & your training.
It’s interesting how the group dynamic of a ride can change – week to week and sometimes during a single ride.
Not long ago, at the ‘Wednesday night World’s’ the group was being shy. There were only a few people rotating & it was often that if you rotated you would have to sit on the front for awhile before someone else would come around.
What happens next is that the stronger riders and/or opportunists attacks the group. Sometimes this is enough to stir things up, sometimes the ride will continue along in the same manner watching that person increase the gap until they are ‘out of sight, out of mind’. As this keeps happening all the stronger riders & some opportunists are ahead on the road and there isn’t enough people strong enough or willing to work to bring them back.
I watched this happen a couple times and tried to shake things up myself by rolling past the group on a downhill and along the uphill on the other side – what this caused was the group finally sped up and started getting more aggressive.
Remember, “Don’t ride on the front” is different from “Never ride on the Front” there are good reasons to rotate and pull-through, and there are good reasons not too. Sometimes the group is hammering along and you should conserve your energy for later. Sometimes you should rotate just to get others to rotate also, sometimes it is to keep the group going.
One of the best ‘team blocks’ I had ever witnessed was by Scotty Weiss – we were racing a 1Km pan flat crit in N.C. His team mate jumped the pack with another racer and they were rolling up the road – well most team mates would go to the front and soft pedal or not even pedal at all – but not these guys, Scotty went to the front and kept the field going at a steady pace. He knew if the group slowed down too much there would be attacks and his team mate would have less chance of winning the race. So, he kept the pace slow enough that his teammate was still going faster than the group, yet just fast enough that no one would attempt to attack the group! At that time I was a fresh Pro1,2 rider and at first I was bewildered that his own team mate was on the front doing the pace-making. It took me about 5 laps before I realized the plan.
Most everyone knows the basic tactics, but when you can mix things up that is when you are racing intelligently!