So I wanted to discuss a couple of things in this thread. And yes, I've read 'Reading the Race.' I know most people say on here never to be in the very front of the field except for a few circumstances, so let's talk about it.
Going off the front is risky because you are physically and mentally putting yourself out there. If no one goes with you, then the choice is to stay away as long as possible and try to time trial to the finish, or to ease off and rejoin the pack. Personally, I have no chance of going solo and winning in a break without help, so this is risky unless I get people to come with me. Now I occasionally try a break and usually no one comes, but maybe that's because I go too early. Next time I will try to start a break within 10 minutes of the finish line. So if you wanted people to join a break, would you talk to people before the race and see if they are interested in teaming up for the race? Do you think anyone would willingly go to the front and block the pack while a couple of guys take off? Is there specific etiquette that goes along with this?
Now when I'm tired and the pack is going fast I've experimented with going to the front of the peloton and slowing the pace down. This may work for a while but eventually the entire group will come around. Instead of getting to the front and riding at a slower speed, is it beneficial to try and increase tempo like they do in major races to string out the pack? If I were to increase speed quickly I would most likely go solo off the front, but would slowly increasing the speed from 18mph, to 20, to 23, then to the upper 20's on flat ground help string the pack out and possibly drop riders? Or could this initiate a break? Is there a good way to do this without completely blowing up? And if people do this without teammates, how long is a reasonable amount of time to spend at the front? What should be the desired outcome?
Also, if I were on the front, would talking to the person directly behind or beside me help in any way or do you think this can backfire more times than not, as they can dictate my strategy to others in the group?