I usually ride alone and I'm not very familiar with the do's and don'ts of riding in a group. Hopefully you folks can set me straight on a situation that came up yesterday.
I was riding into a stiff head wind on the 126 when two guys came up behind me. They went just fast enough to pass me, but not fast enough to drop me, and I unintentionally picked up their draft. Because of the draft, the pace that was comfortable for me kept me in the draft, if you know what I mean. These guys switched off the lead maybe every mile or so, and after 4 or 5 miles, I was feeling like a jerk for freeloading. I wasn't sure if I should try to take the lead, but I didn't know if they had their own thing going on and I should just stay where I was. Guilt got the better of me and at a moment I thought was right, I went up front. And then I never saw them again.
I'm not so fast that I could have suddenly dropped them, and they could have turned off, but on that stretch of the 126, I'm not sure where they would have gone. So the only thing I can conclude was that they slowed or stopped to put as much distance between us as possible. I felt like I had somehow offended, but I just don't know.
So what's the deal? Should I have stayed in the back? Should I have slowed and dropped out their draft in the first place? Am I overthinking this?