I have just started racing, I have done two crits. Although the second one consisted of 3 "training" (not hold your hand training but more just races that don't count for anything where you can practice) races. Anyways the first crit I got dropped in about 12 minutes due to the hammering at the front to thin out the 80 person field and a conveniently timed pedal strike in front of me. Needless to say I wasn't able to learn all that much in that race. However in these training races I went to I found I learned a lot and feel a lot more confident about knowing what I have to do to keep competitive in my next race. However there are a few questions that came up in my mind while I was racing and I wanted to make sure what I was doing wasn't considered bad form.
Coming off of a turn it seemed like I was killing myself to hold the wheel in front of me. So on corners it was safe to do so I would pedal through hard and found it much easier on my legs as I entered the straight. My question about that is as long as I am not in pedal strike range, is it alright to do that and carry some extra speed onto the straight that might cause a slight overlap, as long as I have my front wheel a little bit over?
After I started to see that powering in the corners helped my legs feel better on the straights I began to use that speed to come up the outside on a semi strung out field and when I found where I wanted to be I would just line up bars even (or a little ahead) with someone in the paceline and hold there until I sorted my way into the line or felt the need to move again. My question about that is, is it bad form to pull up next to someone and wait for the leader to move across the road bringing the paceline in front of you and putting the rider next to you out of draft?
My third question is not really specific to my races, but why does the person pulling on the front change sides of the road that he is on. The road was fine so I assume it isn't to avoid debris, and judging from where it happened it wasn't the leader setting up for a corner. Is it merely the leader trying to end his pull and the pack not letting him? Or is it an attempt to shake the pack out of the draft? I have seen it in races I have watched before and was never certain why people do it.