So I am coming back to riding after many years of mostly sitting on my butt and gaining weight. Got a road bike a little over a month ago and have become totally addicted. I have also even thought I might try racing, although definitely not this year.
I watched the entire TOC, which honestly is the first stage race that I have ever watched so closely. I have caught parts of the TOF in the past but never really watched that closely.
I was kind of curious, as I don't understand the intricacies of bike racing. When watching some of the breakaways, I saw that the breakaway group seemed to help each other out quite a bit, even though they were on different teams. Is it customary for everyone to help in the paceline like that? It seems that if you were in that group you would want to hang back and let everyone else do the work. But that also seems rude.
I can also see in a way that helping each other can be advantageous. If the breakaway can stay ahead, then those guys have fewer people to fight against in the final sprint.
So are those guys actually volunarily helping each other? Or does it kind of just happen, as the guy in the lead drops back the second guy ends up doing a pull whether he likes it or not?
Also, any good books to read that will help me undestand this stuff? For now I am interested so that I can enjoy watching the races more. Maybe if I can lose this donut around my gut I will actually try it out.