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Old 09-16-07, 10:32 AM   #1
Duke of Kent
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Bad idea on my part, or par for the course?

I have a question regarding what is considered proper on a race training group ride.

Here is the situation:

Group training ride, 20-30 people. Due to daylight fading fast, it's only going to be an hour, maybe an hour and a half long. I rode out to it, so I'm getting my 2+, no problem. We start later than advertised, which irks me some to be burning daylight, but not a big deal.

Start out, get going at a decent pace. I've done this group ride before, but always on Tuesday nights for some reason, not Thursday nights. Tuesday night always has attacks thrown up the road, and regroupings at each major intersection along the way.

Not wanting to be a d!ck and start things too early, or at all if not appropriate, I ask the guy who is leading the ride what the general format of the ride is. He was less than helpful, with his response basically telling me to do whatever I want. A little dismissive in his tone. I did not appreciate this.

So, when I take my turn at the front, and gradually ramp it up to a good hard clip, I flick the elbow to indicate the international sign for "come around me, damn it." Only the person next to me decides that he isn't going to give me some draft, but ride next to me. Now, I am not part of this club, so maybe this is the standard format. Maybe everyone pulls with someone next to them until they feel like pulling off, rotation be damned. Well, as no one had explained this to me, and the guy next to me felt himself above the task, I decided to whatever the hell I felt like doing.

I proceeded to half-wheel the next three people in line. Finally, two people had the stones to actually take a pull and come around me. Of all the people there, it was a girl who I know to be a freshman in HIGH SCHOOL, and another high school dude. They suffered, but they did it in a respectable fashion (like one would expect in...shock...a race), and I made sure to nod my appreciation as they fell back through the line, which had now started to rotate, and I moved back. I made a mental note to look out for that girl in future women's P/1/2/3 races, because she was just as strong as the Cat1/2 girls I know.

So my question is this: if you are in a supposed race-prep training ride, and someone knows what an elbow flick means, yet refuses to pull through, is it ever appropriate to work them over? If they want to have a pissing contest pulling the group, is it appropriate to go along, knowing you'll win?
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Old 09-16-07, 10:45 AM   #2
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So my question is this: if you are in a supposed race-prep training ride, and someone knows what an elbow flick means, yet refuses to pull through, is it ever appropriate to work them over? If they want to have a pissing contest pulling the group, is it appropriate to go along, knowing you'll win?

Appropriate? Hell, I wouldn't expect anyone to do anything less. Maybe give them a little gap present when they're behind you in the line later on...
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Old 09-16-07, 10:56 AM   #3
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Sounds like the old "this group ride is a race" mentality where people want to suck wheel and sprint around you for town signs and crap like that. When that happens, I just go to the front and pull and let the wheel suckers do what they want. I do group training rides for TRAINING, not for bragging rights about "winning" a group ride.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:09 AM   #4
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Appropriate? Hell, I wouldn't expect anyone to do anything less. Maybe give them a little gap present when they're behind you in the line later on...

Back at school, I was one of the A racers, so it was kind of my job to keep the Bs from half-wheeling the Cs, and the C's from halfwheeling the B women and D men. On the way out, ride a nice easy pace and when the guy next to you looked like he might be be in a bit of discomfort, slow it down a notch or offer to pull off. Shepherd of the flock, that sort of thing. On the way back, anything goes, of course.

So I felt both bad for halfwheeling someone, but also that they deserved it for not pulling through. I forgot to mention that when I tried to finish taking my turn when the first guy pulled off, the guy behind me steadfastly refused to come through, which was part of the problem.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:16 AM   #5
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So my question is this: if you are in a supposed race-prep training ride, and someone knows what an elbow flick means, yet refuses to pull through, is it ever appropriate to work them over? If they want to have a pissing contest pulling the group, is it appropriate to go along, knowing you'll win?
Absolutely appropriate. The guy said you could do whatever you want. You provided opportunities for cooperation and got none. I've gapped people off the back of a fast pack for 200m, then attacked and left them back there when they annoyed me like that. It's actually really fun, in an aggressive sort of way. If they try to hang on, I'm sprinting for yellow line, then the white line, until I shake them -- it's VERY obvious what I'm doing.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:29 AM   #6
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Sounds like a ride with little structure. So get out of it what you want, if that's to hammer then hammer, if that is to sit in and sprint ... As long as you arn't doing anything dangerous shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:42 AM   #7
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So, when I take my turn at the front, and gradually ramp it up to a good hard clip, I flick the elbow to indicate the international sign for "come around me, damn it." Only the person next to me decides that he isn't going to give me some draft, but ride next to me. Now, I am not part of this club, so maybe this is the standard format. Maybe everyone pulls with someone next to them until they feel like pulling off, rotation be damned.
Sounds to me like the guy did exactly what he was supposed to. You gave an elbow flick that you were pulling off, and he took his pull at the front maintaining the same pace as you. He was probably wondering why you weren't slowing to fall back in line or giving him room to pull over at the end of his pull. How would your model work? Everyone speeds up to pass the former lead rider until what? No one can come around any more or the group reaches the speed of light?
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Old 09-16-07, 12:07 PM   #8
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I'm wondering if part of it might be due to the end of the racing season. Our group rides have gotten slower. Many guys aren't attacking and pulling as strong and as frequently as they used to. There's an unspoken ethic that you can do what you want, but don't be surprised if not everyone is as eager to work as hard as they did a month ago. A lot of us just aren't interested in hammering right now.
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Old 09-16-07, 12:09 PM   #9
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Sounds to me like the guy did exactly what he was supposed to. You gave an elbow flick that you were pulling off, and he took his pull at the front maintaining the same pace as you. He was probably wondering why you weren't slowing to fall back in line or giving him room to pull over at the end of his pull. How would your model work? Everyone speeds up to pass the former lead rider until what? No one can come around any more or the group reaches the speed of light?
+1. I was wondering the same thing.

I'll typically give the elbow flick not to announce "come around me", but to announce "I'm pulling off". I then shift left or right (depending on which way we're rotating), and soft pedal as the group goes by.

Not sure what the OP's issue was, but if he was feeling all pissy and strong he should have had the stones to just attack the group and be done with it.
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Old 09-16-07, 02:16 PM   #10
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Here's the problem:

I was at the front, we were riding two wide. Around 20-30 people there. Wind coming from the right, not too strong, but a decent breeze. I was on the right. Decent pace, around 23-24mph.

I tried to pull off, and have either both people behind us come up, OR the guy pulling with me, to my left, swing over as I moved back and start a rotation. Pick your poison.

When I flicked my elbow, and drifted over, slowed down, then drifted over some more, then stopped pedalling...nothing happened. No one moved. No one moved up, no one moved over to start a rotation.

I might have unrealistic expectations sometimes, but I can't help but assume that these guys would know how to work a basic paceline of some sort. Two at the front break off and flow down the outside, or rotating. Not too hard.

They just simply refused to do it.
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Old 09-16-07, 02:25 PM   #11
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I'm wondering if part of it might be due to the end of the racing season. Our group rides have gotten slower. Many guys aren't attacking and pulling as strong and as frequently as they used to. There's an unspoken ethic that you can do what you want, but don't be surprised if not everyone is as eager to work as hard as they did a month ago. A lot of us just aren't interested in hammering right now.
I think this is the most reasonable explanation.
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Old 09-16-07, 02:55 PM   #12
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It's weird how some guys just won't work. There's a few in our group ride that will skip 4-5 pulls and the 6th when everyone is hurting and they're fresh - they drill it up the road like they had it all along. I hate that. Seems like alot of guys don't like rotating pacelines because of this. Don't know if that's the reason.
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Old 09-16-07, 03:11 PM   #13
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^^^^^^^^^^^
man I love when this happens, topped off with a look over the shoulder like "geez do I have to wait for you".

We have a local group ride/training ride at the same location as a crit that we hold and most people use it as a time to drill it and work on a 25+ paceline. One guy pedals around at 15mph and then jumps in on the last lap to make one sprint after everyone else has been at threashold for an hour. Big man.
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Old 09-16-07, 03:21 PM   #14
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" .... You gave an elbow flick that you were pulling off, and he took his pull at the front maintaining the same pace as you. He was probably wondering why you weren't slowing to fall back in line or giving him room to pull over at the end of his pull. ..."

That's what I was thinking too ... you should have slowed down more after your pull. A lot of training ride pacelines don't work well just because of diffferent experience levels. On our rides, I can't get too mad because some guys just honestly don't know what they're doing ... they don't mean to be jerks.

Personally, I don't like the elbow flicks unless absolutely necessary. When a rider pulls over, then I pull through. I don't need to be told.

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Old 09-16-07, 03:23 PM   #15
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I'll typically give the elbow flick not to announce "come around me", but to announce "I'm pulling off". I then shift left or right (depending on which way we're rotating), and soft pedal as the group goes by.


I thought the elbow flick was the international signal for "pull through"?
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Old 09-16-07, 03:46 PM   #16
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It's weird how some guys just won't work. There's a few in our group ride that will skip 4-5 pulls and the 6th when everyone is hurting and they're fresh - they drill it up the road like they had it all along. I hate that. Seems like alot of guys don't like rotating pacelines because of this. Don't know if that's the reason.
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Old 09-16-07, 03:47 PM   #17
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I thought the elbow flick was the international signal for "pull through"?
In a cooperative paceline, there should be no need for it. I only use it with guys who don't "get it", or for wheel suckers.
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Old 09-16-07, 05:48 PM   #18
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In a cooperative paceline, there should be no need for it. I only use it with guys who don't "get it", or for wheel suckers.
Yeah, the pull-out should be crisp enough as to not leave any question, but if I take a longer pull, or it's up a climb or something, I'll still flick just to be clear. Doesn't cost a dime. The pros do it often.
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Old 09-16-07, 05:49 PM   #19
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what exactly is half wheeling - I'll assume its overlapping wheels, but is it because your riding hard up someone's butt or so slow everyone behind you is bunching?
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Old 09-16-07, 06:11 PM   #20
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^^^^ Ride next to the victim, and stay 1/2 a wheel ahead of him. No matter what.
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Old 09-16-07, 06:39 PM   #21
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^^^^ Ride next to the victim, and stay 1/2 a wheel ahead of him. No matter what.
That describes it pretty well.

Half wheeling only occurs when you're at the front of the group, pulling. It doesn't have anything to do with speed. In my neck of the woods, it generally happens with a crosswind, when a stronger rider is on the windward side, and the weaker rider is forced to hide in his draft by riding next to him, but slightly behind him, usually 6-12". Half a wheel behind the other guy pulling. Hence "half wheeling".
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Old 09-16-07, 06:58 PM   #22
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Half wheeling only occurs when you're at the front of the group, pulling. It doesn't have anything to do with speed. In my neck of the woods, it generally happens with a crosswind, when a stronger rider is on the windward side, and the weaker rider is forced to hide in his draft by riding next to him, but slightly behind him, usually 6-12". Half a wheel behind the other guy pulling. Hence "half wheeling".
That would be an echelon (a good thing to know). Half wheeling is when a group is riding in two lines and the lead rider in one always moves to be a half-wheel ahead of the other. The second rider, trying to keep the lines even speeds up to match the other who again moves ahead by another half wheel. The pace keeps going up until the pacesline is totally disrupted.
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Old 09-16-07, 07:10 PM   #23
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I'm wondering if part of it might be due to the end of the racing season. Our group rides have gotten slower. Many guys aren't attacking and pulling as strong and as frequently as they used to. There's an unspoken ethic that you can do what you want, but don't be surprised if not everyone is as eager to work as hard as they did a month ago. A lot of us just aren't interested in hammering right now.
If this is true (and it may be) then you sit at the back. When the guy who just pulled drifts back, you open a gap for him in front of you. If he still doesn't get it just tell him ,"In", or, "Your wheel".

I find it irritating when guys who don't want to work rotate through and then just pull off at the front or slow down or do anything other than pull. It disrupts the group and creates situations where braking may be required followed by a surge...and we all know what this leads to...
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Old 09-16-07, 07:25 PM   #24
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That would be an echelon (a good thing to know). Half wheeling is when a group is riding in two lines and the lead rider in one always moves to be a half-wheel ahead of the other. The second rider, trying to keep the lines even speeds up to match the other who again moves ahead by another half wheel. The pace keeps going up until the pacesline is totally disrupted.
Oh, thanks, I was going to ask what an echelon was in my next P/1/2 race...

In this case, I didn't have to drive the pace up, as the person next to me was struggling to maintain position due to both the speed and the slight crosswind. He kept trying to move up next to me, but couldn't maintain it for very long each time.

So a bit of echelon-ing, and halfwheeling in that he kept on making efforts to pull up, then drift back a bit, over and over. Also, there was no actual echelon formed out behind us; not enough wind to really make that necessary if you were in the draft already.
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Old 09-17-07, 07:35 AM   #25
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Oh, thanks, I was going to ask what an echelon was in my next P/1/2 race...
Your welcome. No problem.
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