Road Racing: Some Advice
- Relax, trust the riders in front. You don’t really have a lot of choice in this as you’re tightly packed. If someone is a menace tell them what they’re doing wrong simply and make a note to keep away from them.
- Don’t worry about what’s going on behind you, can’t do anything about it anyway and it’s really quite dangerous to look all the way behind unless you’re on the very front.
- Make sure you do pay full attention to those you can see easily, not just the rider in front but the rider in front of them and those to the side. If it’s not already automatic it will be soon
- Be aware of what you’re approaching, hill, bends, potholed section and obviously the finish. Remember it so that you’re prepared for what’s coming next time round and plan.
- It’s easier and safer near the front than at the back.
- Practice holding your line at various intensities while riding solo and also while having a drink or a gel. If you’re going to need a bottle during the race practice taking one beforehand. If you weave at high intensities you’re hugely increasing your rolling resistance and will alarm anyone near you.
- Make direction changes smooth and predictable, even if sprinting, give an indication if it’s necessary (never in a sprint of course)
- If you’re boxed in be patient and use the gap when it appears
- Try not to get boxed in, riding on the gutter side of the road in a race is the worst place to be. Better in the middle of the bunch or on the right, if you’re on the right you have much more room to manoeuvre but watch out for cars coming the other way.
- Don’t overlap wheels, it gives you nowhere to go.
- Make sure your brakes are quiet, squealing brakes scare the whole bunch
- Pedal all the time unless cornering or braking hard. TT riders tend to be on or off with the power and RRs need to be much smoother and change power with finesse to hold the wheel at a steady distance as the terrain changes, keeping cadence high also helps with this.
- Easy on the brakes the same as with changes in direction, smooth and predictable.
- Hold a smooth line through a corner, no double apexes
- If you’re on the front pick a clean line
- Head up, worry about what the Garmin says afterwards (or sparingly in quieter moments)
- Lower tyre pressure if it’s wet, still below TT pressure if it’s dry. Grip is more important.
- If you’re in a break be aware that half-wheeling (keeping the power on after pulling over at the end of your turn) pushes the group’s speed up quite a lot and applies pressure to everyone. This can be a good thing if you’re one of the strongest or it can disrupt the group. Either way it’s quite aggressive so apply with care.
- If you’re in a break and want to keep it together don’t surge, keep it nice and smooth. Don’t carry passengers in a race, if someone’s not working ask them why, then try and drop them or stop working too (depending on where your teammates are)
- Go into a race with a plan, it focusses the mind on something useful from the start and stops you thinking negatively
- Until it comes easily concentrate on being the smoothest rider in the bunch, it’s more efficient that way so you’ll have more in the tank when it gets hard.
- It’s much more civilised in a break.
Hope it’s helpful, looks like a lot but it’s all about smooth and predictable to those around you and being aware of what’s in front of you in terms of riders and the road.