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double paceline issue -- what would you have done?(26 posts)

double paceline issue -- what would you have done?DougSloan
Sep 13, 2002 6:06 AM
During the return leg of Thursday night at the races last night, 5 of us were in a fast break, at least 1/2 mile in front of the pack. We were rotating off immediately, revolving very quickly, going about 29-30 mph. I was no doubt the weakest rider in the break, which included a state champion. We were going very hard.

The rider in front of me is very strong on the flats. The problem is, he would pull off immediately, but NOT SLOW DOWN. I'd have to accellerate 1-2 mph to move in front and pull off, both lengthening my "pull," and pushing me past my redline (on was on the brink already).

After 4-5 times doing this, I said to him right after he pulled off, "you're not slowing down." He didn't change. After a few more times, I blew and lost them.

What would you have done? I know that when coming to the front, you should not have to speed up. He should have been slowing down. I'm stumped. Note that were all were certainly cooperating, and there was no need or desire to waste anyone at this point. What if this were a "real" race? Any thougts?

Sit out a pull to change you position in the lineBipedZed
Sep 13, 2002 6:39 AM
In a fast rotating paceline he should have let up when he pulled off so you're expectations were correct. But if he wouldn't then there's not much you can do other than to sit out a pull by getting back into the forward line and then letting the slowing line rider in front of you (verbally or with a hip tap). That way you change your position in the paceline and are no longer behind the problem rider.
makes senseDougSloan
Sep 13, 2002 6:55 AM
That's pretty simple and makes sense. It's tough to think when redlined like that.


Armchair racingBipedZed
Sep 13, 2002 7:00 AM
In hindsight it seems simple but in the heat of the moment with only 5 guys you want to pull your weight and not sit out a pull. Good job getting in that break in the first place.
thanks; next time I'll know exactly what to do nmDougSloan
Sep 13, 2002 7:16 AM
Would this guy have any reason to block?brider
Sep 13, 2002 7:24 AM
Anything that disrupts the rhythm of a break works to the favor of the trainling peleton. Did this guy have any reason to block? Or any reason to want to shed you?

Actually, you wouldn't have to sit out one full rotation, just gap the end when the rider behind you comes back, and let them in front of you.

"Cooperation" is a delicate thing. Blocking can be very subtle.
Sep 13, 2002 7:28 AM
We are on the same team, and the idea was for all of us to get away. It was sort of every man for himself, testing in a way. I see what you mean, though.

Tricky move: Pull off behind him, go to the backSpunout
Sep 13, 2002 8:00 AM
You could try that, stay on his wheel and go back to the back of the line. Sounds like they were putting the hurt on you!

In a race, you can be nice, or you can sit in.
you should have dropped himSherpa23
Sep 13, 2002 9:18 AM
"How?" you ask. He handed you all the tools to leave him behind but you played his game. What you should have done is kept going at your pace and not picked up the pace. Your boy would have hung out front longer and longer, effectively making his pull longer and longer, tiring him out for you. All you would have had to was turn the screws a bit tighter. Either he would have gotten dropped or gotten the message. The best part? You would never have even had to open your mouth.
By the waySherpa23
Sep 13, 2002 9:20 AM
with a "return leg," this sounds more like a group ride than a race. If it is, that changes a couple of your assumptions.
training "race"DougSloan
Sep 13, 2002 12:26 PM
We race out (with big climbs on the way out), regroup and race back. Everyone treats it like a race, or 2 races, actually. My heartrate hits 183 and my max is 185. No, though, not a race in the sense there are any prizes or points. The point of saying "return leg" is that I was pretty tired at that point, and it was about 4 miles from the finish.

What this guy didn't get, apparently, is that he could have made it easier on himself if he slowed; I'd have been in front of him sooner. Duh? I think it was more of a matter of being a little dense (his power exceeds his experience) or trying to prove his worth.

I felt like, at the time, that they would get pissed at me if I didn't "pull through," at least with respect to him, even though I was maintaining a constant speed. On the other hand, the guy behind me was probably getting pissed every time I had to accellerate to pull off. Just a goofy situation.


Next time just punch him in the faceshirt
Sep 13, 2002 2:49 PM
Then we'll finally have something entertaining to talk about on this board...

or a CO2 cartridge in the spokes (no frame pump) nmDougSloan
Sep 13, 2002 2:56 PM
LOL! You'd better carry a broken frame pump then. nmSpunout
Sep 14, 2002 12:08 PM
let him hang out thereclimbo
Sep 13, 2002 12:55 PM
if he was accelerating then surely the other guys in the break knew it too. I'd let him hang off the front longer until he finally came back and slowed, unless he could go above 30mph himself and blow you away.
yeh, but poor Doug is hanging out there in the wind, too --bill
Sep 13, 2002 1:51 PM
the only practical solution, if yelling doesn't work, is to hang on as best you can and skip your rotation. Then at least TWO guys will have yelled at him.
yeh, but poor Doug is hanging out there in the wind, too --Sherpa23
Sep 13, 2002 2:05 PM
Doug would be in the wind no matter which way you slice it. Either he is in the wind at a sustainable speed or in the wind at too high of a speed. Obviously, the latter is the worse. As far as what this sounds like is a group ride and what that means is that people don't always want to get to the finish with a sprint in the their legs. As a result, the do a paceline the "right way" which means that there is very little speed differential from the person on the front and the person rotating back. Ideally, you want a max of .5 kph difference between pulling and rotating back. In a race, this hardly happens because often, in our own self-centered bike racer minds, we are already thinking (or at least you should be) about winning the sprint, not the success of the break. To that end, we try to conserve as much for the sprint instead of making the break go as fast as possible. In a group ride the low speed differential happens a lot because it's the break that matters, not the sprint. It's all training right? I have hardly seen guys get dropped from breaks in a race but I see guys get dropped in breaks all the time in group rides and it seems to be the pace of the break is always higher in the group ride because people care less about the sprint.
I see what you meanDougSloan
Sep 13, 2002 2:44 PM
Also, in a "race", I doubt you'd ever have a Cat 1 state champion and an ultra-marathon type Cat 4 in the same break. While I was pegged, 2 or 3 of the others might have just been cruising (is 29 mph just "cruising" for anyone?).

I see your point, though. But for the break, I would have had a much better chance in a well-rested pack sprint than with these 4 other particular guys, as they would have destroyed me well before the finish, especially with the antics going on.

Good information. Thanks.

The problem with this strategy. . .allervite
Sep 16, 2002 9:51 PM
Is that Doug admitted he was the slowest in the group. The guy who was screwing up the paceline would pull off immediately leaving Doug and himself in the wind for the same amount of time. In this situation the weakest or tiredest racer looses.

It would be like you and I riding up the road together side by side steadily increasing our speed. My breaking point would come much sooner than yours as did Doug's.

I know exactly what Doug is talking about because I have been in the same situation accept my guy would pull over and then accelerate a few miles and hour before fading back. I ended up like Doug: Off the back.
If he wants you in the breakMcAndrus
Sep 13, 2002 10:32 AM
If he wants you in the break he should behave himself and slow down, extending your ability to stay with them. If he doesn't want you in the break, it makes no difference if you work with him (and them) or not. In that case, I'd just sit on the back of the break. I've done that before ... and I can give you witnesses.

What would I have done? The second time he didn't slow down I'd say, "ease off - please." If he didn't, I'd speed up and pull through and the next time I was on the back, I'd stay there.

I've seen several accomplished racers who don't seem to understand how to play-well-with-others in this kind of situation. Either they take real pulls instead of pulling off immediately - and screw up the slow line - or they speed up as they hit the front - and screw up the fast line.

Rotating line behavior is not rocket science but some folks just don't seem to get it.
What motivates him?Veloflash
Sep 14, 2002 12:58 AM
Two motives -

(a) The guy has an ego problem and was showing you how strong he is (have come across this type many times) or

(b) He saw you as a danger in the sprint and was trying to drop you, which he succeeded :)
What motivates him?Spunout
Sep 14, 2002 12:10 PM
You should have led the whole paceline over and stayed behind his wheel.
Look at it this waypeloton
Sep 14, 2002 2:00 PM
I guess you could look at the positive side and say that at least this CAT 1 state champ viewed you as enough of a threat to want to put you into difficulty. No need to expend extra energy to put someone into the hurt if they are slow.

My signature move in this situation with my (generally stronger than me) cycling team in college was to just launch a massive attack right before I knew I was going to blow. At least this way you go out with everyone else chasing. Then drop it in the little ring, and go home. :)
good ideaDougSloan
Sep 14, 2002 2:16 PM
So, if you're gonna blow, blow big? I hate to admit it, but even pulling through was attacking, for me at the time. I was pegged. That's why this was so annoying.

BTW, the guy causing the problem wasn't the champion. The champion did everything right -- he was in front of the problem guy, which meant when he pulled off, the problem guy pulled off right away and gave him good shelter. He know what he was doing. Duh.

good idealegs
Sep 14, 2002 5:28 PM
if the guy in front is pulling too fast and everybody has to speed up beyond the rythym of the group and you are at your limit..and he isnt responding to you..
you can let him pull away off the front and bake out there until he learns about group skills.. or you can drift to the back of the group and let everyone in... in front of you.. and just sit in...
it happens all the time and its ok to manage it this way..
re: double paceline issue -- what would you have done?John445
Oct 16, 2002 12:27 PM
Our team rides a double paceline often. Sometimes other racers join in and ride with us. Sometimes other racers join in and do exactly what you have mentioned in your post. The way we handle this is; if the guy maintains or accelerates when he moves to the rest line, we let him go, the next rider (ie. You) would rotate as usual behind the sprinting loner. Our line continues at the pace we have set. If the loner wants to come back, he will, sometimes he has no choice.

Team Bovine Paceline