In another thread, Duke of Kent wrote:
I have the same problem. I'm curious what in particular you're going to work on to improve your pack riding and what you can do in races to help teamates on climbs.I have a problem holding a wheel. Well, specifically, holding a wheel in the last 3 laps or so leading up to the finish of a crit. I can roll through two-wide in a crit for two hours, string it out in a chase and do all of that, but unless I pop out on the outside, and can surf someone up to the front, I'm useless at the end of a race. I'm hoping that the guidance I recieve from teammates and guys on the rides will help me use my strengths to the best of my abilities. And that I can repay them when the road goes up.
Background, skip if you want: I raced as a 4 in the mid 80s and early 90s, then quit riding. I didn't learn much about racing then, I was mere pack fodder. I got back into riding when I hit my 40s, and slowly built up my riding. I'm now psyched to go back to racing and maybe be a little smarter. I've hooked up with a club that's big on teamwork and I'd like to be able to use what talents I have to help the team.
Since my race records are all old and I'm rusty anyhow, I'm going to do the local earlybird training race series to brush up on my pack skills and get the rest of the points to upgrade from 5 to 4. I've been riding the larger group rides to get used to pack riding again. Actually all this was my plan for last year but I crashed hard in one of those group rides (someone at the front put on the brakes right as I was looking off to the side) and being off the bike for a month and extra nervous about crashes discouraged me from doing anything but hillclimb races (which are what I really like anyhow).
What sort of mental or physical exercises can one do to help pack riding? I used to do the weekly twilight crit series even though I hated it, just to work on my pack skills. But they don't have it anymore.
What can a climber do to help his teamates in a road race? I've tried pacing a teamate up to a group when the race is splintering on a climb but even going as smoothly as possible it doesn't seem like much help.