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  1. #1
    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    Another twist on the pulling turn issue

    let's say you have been rotating for a while and then suddenly you find yourself on the front for an extended time. Nobody is coming around and the double paceline no longer exists. After a while you start signaling with an elbow flick. Still no response.

    Last night I flicked and flicked, looking back to the left and seeing there were riders there. I kept flicking left to compel them to pull through and nothing happened. finally I just had enough and moved to the right some more, hoping it would be more obvious. At this time a rider was silently pulling though on the right. He wasn't halfway up on me yet and I didn't sense him yet. I got yelled at though (probably for moving right as someone was coming up on me). We didn't touch or cause a crash or anything. I am just wondering what I could have done differently. It would have helped if he had told me he was coming up on the right.


    Second problem:

    I'm in a double paceline at the front of the pack. about 8-10 guys are rotating. as I drop back, holding the wheel of the guy in front of me in the slow lane, I keep looking back to see where the end of the fast lane is. I see a gap, and I fill the gap, then rotate forward. Of course the entire pack is not willing to do this, so there is always a gap. I got yelled at by the guy behind the gap. Is this because he didn't think the gap was large enough for me to fill it? What could I have done differently? Should I have just stayed in the slow lane and hoped that he would close that gap?

  2. #2
    umd
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    Are these races or just rides?

  3. #3
    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    races.

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    The second one is completely dumb: 1) even if the gap is small, your bars are in front so you get to decide. Gapped rider's fault for letting a gap open; 2) unless you were slotting in for position on a sprint, going to the middle rather than the end of a paceline means you pull more often and the people behind pull less. Who the hell complains about that?

    First one, assuming you "drifted" to the right rather than abruptly swerved without looking, you're still in the right, see #1 above. Was the normal rotation for people to go by on the left? Either way, if you don't want to be on the front and nobody will pull through, slow down. It's not your job to tow the group, unless you're doing it for a reason.

  5. #5
    Carpe Diem bdcheung's Avatar
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    neither one sounds like you were at fault.
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    Banned. El Diablo Rojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
    races.
    When I've had enough on the front and nobody wants to come around I just slow down. If they are happy going that slow then fine but generally they will come around.

  7. #7
    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtmandsager View Post

    First one, assuming you "drifted" to the right rather than abruptly swerved without looking, you're still in the right, see #1 above. Was the normal rotation for people to go by on the left? Either way, if you don't want to be on the front and nobody will pull through, slow down. It's not your job to tow the group, unless you're doing it for a reason.
    I would have called it a drift, albeit one that was supposed to look like an obvious move, but not a swerve.

    Rotation direction was pretty wacky all race long. Left, right, swarm, etc. I did signal left though and there were a line of guys back and to my left who were not directly behind my wheel.

    Next time I think I will just slow down, good idea!

  8. #8
    Senior Member mike9903's Avatar
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    In that situation I typically just slow down safely and let the tools pass, but from their standpoint I am not going to want to be in the front and will let you pull as much as possible.

    Watch how the pros handle it, on stage 5 Basso was pulling the group up the last 5-10K of the climb, he tried to pull off and let Di Luca pull which of course he was having non of. Basso got on front and made it miserable for everyone by constantly accelerating/attacking. (These guys were on a 8% hill and you could say it did not work since he did not win the stage, but still)

    I would say your mistake was not drifting to the right or left, but being on the front during a race in the first place.
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    In races if I'm stuck at the front and don't want to be, I just move to the left and slow down (slowly, nothing rapid). Eventually someone will pass you as you get down to a ridiculously slow pace.
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  10. #10
    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    moving left would have been tough since the guy behind me was a little bit crossed on my rear wheel. That is why I kept flipping left and eventually moved right.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mike9903's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
    moving left would have been tough since the guy behind me was a little bit crossed on my rear wheel. That is why I kept flipping left and eventually moved right.
    Yah that is a tuff situation, you could accelerate safely then pull to the left (or whatever the line was rotating).
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  12. #12
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo View Post
    When I've had enough on the front and nobody wants to come around I just slow down. If they are happy going that slow then fine but generally they will come around.
    this

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
    Rotation direction was pretty wacky all race long. Left, right, swarm, etc. I did signal left though and there were a line of guys back and to my left who were not directly behind my wheel.
    That's why I asked if it was a race. In a group ride it usually makes sense to have a paceline going where you are al working together to go faster. A race is not a paceline. The goal is not to go faster, it's to win. It just so happens that people usually like to go fast to accomplish that goal. There is no obligation to rotate, pull through, etc. etc. etc. unless you are in a break and then see the other thread . In a break of course it's more about speed and staying away from the field so cooperation and coordination apply.

    A few anecdotes from my relatively short racing career:

    In one of my early races as a cat 5, a long (80 mile, ha!) point-to-point road race I found myself on the front for longer than I would have liked and didn't know what to do. I did the elbow thing, nothing. I looked right and it was clear and "pulled off" and everone went over to the right with me. I looked left and "pulled off" in that direction and everyone went that way too. So I started to slow down gradually and still nobody would come around. I pulled off again to the right and heard the crunching sound of bikes behind me. Nobody touched me and my moves were definitely not erratic but somewhere a few rows back somebody got caught off guard, touched wheels and went down. I felt partly responsible for a while after that but other people in the race assured me it was not my fault. But I still prefer to just slow down and let people come around rather than try to "pull off" if I am being hung out in front like that.

    More recently, this year, I was fourth wheel and there were a handful of us at the front trying to close down on a guy that had broken away much earlier in the race, so we were actually working together and trying to rotate, to some degree. The guy in front pulled off but the guy second wheel didn't want to pull apparently so he slid back and over with the guy in front. Note sure exactly how but it was very erratic and he moved into the guy in 3rd who slowed down and moved over toward me and I slowed down but did not move (ok maybe a little). Somewhere down the line the effect was magnified and a few positions behind me a guy went down. Interestingly, it was a teammate of the guy that made the erratic move.

  13. #13
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo View Post
    When I've had enough on the front and nobody wants to come around I just slow down. If they are happy going that slow then fine but generally they will come around.
    And if they still don't come around, attack. If you jump sharply you'll get a gap, and you may start a break.

    And if everyone chases, they'll pas you in the process, and you can filter in where you want.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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  14. #14
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    If you're at the front and getting burnt, soft pedal. If no one is coming around stop altogether. If everyone is still happy to sit and do nothing, launch.

    As far as the gap filling thing, no biggie. If there was a gap, then the guy needs to get over it and not leave a gap next time.

  15. #15
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    damn, Merlin, you beat me to it.

  16. #16
    3 seconds ColorChange's Avatar
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    I am so staying out of this one ... lol

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    sorry mctrumpy I didnt read your post. but believe it's "what should I do in given race situations".

    answer: there are only 2 things you should ever be doing in a race.

    1 - attacking
    2 - planning your next attack

    anything else youre just along for the ride.

  18. #18
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo View Post
    When I've had enough on the front and nobody wants to come around I just slow down. If they are happy going that slow then fine but generally they will come around.
    That's a great way to get attacked and go from 1st to 30th wheel. Better bet is ride at least tempo so that if someone attacks from 10 back you're not going 10mph slower than they are (and all the people on their wheel) when they pass you. If an extra minute at a high tempo is going to ruin your race, you shouldn't be putting yourself in a position where you'll hit the front anyway.
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  19. #19
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    I didn't read the other thread.

    I find myself at the front sometimes, and going even a reasonable race pace for a minute will put me way into the red.

    After an elbow wiggle or two, I'd just coast, foot down, heel down (like stretching a leg), and wave an arm. Start with a little hand flick, keep coasting, and graduate to a big, Pete Townsend style wave. Slow to, say, 12-15 mph if necessary. I think I've gotten down into 12-13 mph before guys coast by me.

    Although someone may launch an attack around you, it gets you into the heart of the draft - between 10th and 30th spot. Or, if you choose, even further back. But instead of burning a match at the front, burn a tenth of one getting back up to speed.

    However, if no one wants to pull through, it's unlikely someone will attack. Either everyone is tired, it's really windy, or there's some obstacle coming up (big climb, finish, etc). I'd gamble that, unless you're in a race winning break, you'll be able to slow significantly and risk only a 1 in 5 or so chance of having someone launch an attack. If it's not just before the finish, the attack will only serve to burn a match in someone else's match book.

    There was one race where a team had one or two guys in the break and probably 10 guys in the field blocking. Because the break had all the places, my teammate and I chased - we had nothing to lose, and we wanted to get in a good ride. What the blocking team should have done is let us get in a 30 mile TTT workout, then killed us when we got tired. Instead they blocked us like mad, gapping, not pulling through, etc. Very effective blocking, very very effective. I was impressed with their team spirit, tactics, etc. However, from a rider's point of view, I felt frustrated.

    When I got to the front, frustrated, I did a whole sequence of slightly odd moves, all intentional, all subtle. It was my white flag - I was surrendering even the idea of chasing (we held the break at a minute but realistically we weren't going to pull them back).

    So I got to the front, did a reasonable pull. I knew the guy behind me was overlapped to the left, so I pulled off to the left a bit quicker than normal, wiggling my right elbow (around here, you wiggle the elbow you want the guy to pull through on, not the elbow you're moving towards). I knew that the guy on my wheel would have to react to this lateral movement, probably by standing quickly and putting his front wheel to my right. I knew that to a casual observer, I did everything right - wiggle right, move left. I just did it a little less smoothly than before.

    Of course, no one pulled through on the right because the next guy in line was on my left, and most of the following guys were teammates that didn't want to pull through. I also knew that the guy on my wheel, if he had reacted normally, would now be overlapped to my right. So I acted puzzled, stopped pedaling, and craned my head to the left. This had the effect of pushing my bike to the right, which I exaggerated by letting the bike drift right even more. The guy behind me again scrambled to stay upright. He didn't hit my wheel but he had to react quickly (he was a Cat 1 or 2 and I had confidence in his riding ability). I figured he'd be on my left now, and because I was slowing relatively quickly, he was probably still pretty close to me, if not overlapped.

    I managed another "puzzled" right glance, a left one, and then another left one (I think - I remember realizing the guy hadn't crossed over after one of my "looks" and so I looked twice in the wrong direction, pushing the bike a bit extra for each glance).

    We went from going 28-30 mph to about 15, and the guy behind me was constantly avoiding hitting my rear wheel. Obviously he could have just ridden past me, but he didn't want to. So I played the game with him. I was probably veering left and right a good 5-10 feet per look, tilting the bike to accentuate the lateral movement.

    When I finally "found" him, he was grinning. He knew he and his team had won, and that my antics were just a signal for that.

    I wouldn't recommend doing this anywhere where you don't have the confidence that people know how to ride a bike, but in this case I knew they were a bunch of Cat 2s and 1s so I figured they'd know how to ride a bike, touch wheels, etc. Oddly enough he never said anything - I think he knew I was doing it on purpose.

    On filling the gap, you can vocalize if someone says something out of line. If someone says "hey, watch it", respond "Just trying to keep the gaps closed dude" (or whatever semi-friendly thing you can think of saying). If you feel like being an ***, you can yell at him to keep the gap closed every time he leaves one. "Yo, blue Trek, close that gap.... Blue Trek, stay on that wheel... Blue Trek, don't let things open up..." so on and so forth. After a while either Blue Trek will sit at the back or he'll get the message and actually sit closer to the wheel in front.

    However, if it were a race, I'd force the guy to close the gap. My guess is that the guy wasn't really comfortable being close in the group and I would want that kind of rider either tired and dropped or tired and out of contention (i.e. hanging on for dear life 5 feet off the next guy). So I'd make him correct his mistakes until he can't correct them anymore.

    The only time this isn't true is if the pace is very hot and the guy is coming off. If you hang around too long you'll find yourself off the back too, so get around the guy, or, if in a paceline, move in front of him.

    cdr

  20. #20
    3 seconds ColorChange's Avatar
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    Wow, that sounds just like the kind of "erratic" riding I said I thought was aggressive ... but acceptable when trying to shake a wheelsucker. I got pilloried for it. Hmmm...

  21. #21
    Carpe Diem bdcheung's Avatar
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    except you're not CDR.
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  22. #22
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColorChange View Post
    Wow, that sounds just like the kind of "erratic" riding I said I thought was aggressive ... but acceptable when trying to shake a wheelsucker. I got pilloried for it. Hmmm...
    Compare and contrast:

    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    So I got to the front, did a reasonable pull. I knew the guy behind me was overlapped to the left, so I pulled off to the left a bit quicker than normal, wiggling my right elbow (around here, you wiggle the elbow you want the guy to pull through on, not the elbow you're moving towards). I knew that the guy on my wheel would have to react to this lateral movement, probably by standing quickly and putting his front wheel to my right. I knew that to a casual observer, I did everything right - wiggle right, move left. I just did it a little less smoothly than before.
    Quote Originally Posted by ColorChange View Post
    If I'm on a break and someone refuses to work ... and I know the others in the break, I'll tell them I'm gonna flick him off the back. I'll drop back when he is on my wheel, opening up a gap. Wait a bit, and then nail it to catch up to the group. If he's truly tired, he'll be gone. If not ... we'll probably try a few more times with different riders flicking him. If that doesn't work ... maybe it's time for a warning that sudden stops are likely to happen from this time out and it would be unwise to suck wheel. He'll get the idea.

  23. #23
    Senior Member aicabsolut's Avatar
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    I was stuck on the front for a long time (the majority of lap 1 in a 2 lap RR), as often happens to me in my tiny fields when I get a good start. At first, I used it as a good warmup, because we'd been standing around staging for forever. After a while, I wanted to stop working, so I moved the other woman on the front over to the centerline, and we slowed down. A lot. A while later, someone asked if we were done pulling , and then a rotation got started. At the end of the race, I overheard someone complaining about the slow pace. Uh, yeah, you could've pulled through anytime!

  24. #24
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aicabsolut View Post
    At the end of the race, I overheard someone complaining about the slow pace.
    That's annoying one. If you don't win, you're not in a position to complain about the pace.
    Bring the pain.

  25. #25
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Anyway, since "the other thread" cannot be stopped that so easily, foolish mortals: As I read it, the difference is annoyance vs threat of injury.
    (edit: not that I even understand the purpose of it in this case either)
    Last edited by recursive; 05-15-09 at 02:39 PM.
    Bring the pain.

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