I'm thinking about racing this Summer and have started to increase my saddle time lately. I usually ride solo, but I occasionally ride with three other guys. I'm usually the fastest, just because I've been riding the longest and towards the end of our rides, I go all out along with 1 other person.
So, there are about 3 miles left, a straight shot, smooth pavement, a few rollers and the 2 of us are clipping along at 25mph and I'm drafting behind my friend, letting him shield the wind for me so that I'm fresh for a sprint. At the last hill, halfway up I sling shot past him at such speed that I think that there's no way he's ever catching me. I crest the hill and ugh, the distance left is about twice what I expected and I started to lose my speed. I looked behind me and he was still a good distance behind me, so I just try to get as aero as possible and give it everything I've got left, which isn't much and he just slowly passed me.
I obviously started the sprint way too early and burnt myself out at 30+ on a hill. How do you know when to sprint to the finish? If every second counts, isn't it better to be the first to go all out? I'd like to get some pointers before I humiliate myself like that again, but with spectators. I got razzed for the rest of the day for losing like that, when I'm supposed to be the fastest one of my group.