Email Discussion re: Rotating Pace Lines

On Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 11:44 AM, Michael Gravelle wrote:

An interesting article on pace lines.
We'll be out there soon.

On 19 February 2015 at 14:26, Brenden Hurley wrote:

This is a really great article, in particular, these two points:

Tip: The second rider in the line gives the marching orders

Tip: If a gap opens, tell the rider in the recovery line to jump in

Riding well in fast pace lines is all about communication. If the first rider is accelerating, let them know. If you're starting to hurt don't feel bad about sitting on the back one or two extra riders and telling them "get in" or "up up up"*. Also, it can be considered common courtesy to let someone know you're "last wheel" so if someone's gassed they get that extra little time to accelerate.

Finally, I really want to re-emphasize using co-operative fast pace lines as a "poor mans motorpacing". Especially for people looking to get into, and excel, at road racing - getting that extra speed work instead of just mashing along at your threshold will pay dividends. So next time all the stronger riders get to a point in a ride where the hand grenades normally come out of the jersey pocket, keep the pins in, work together and put some real hurt into your legs.

*in a race, if you're in a break, or especially the first line, people will let you know if you're resting too much. But, don't let them brow beat you into working if you're hurting. In a break, contribute as much as you can. However, If you can't pull in the first line, you should probably get out of there.

On Feb 19, 2015, at 3:38 PM, Warren Shiau wrote:

I noticed they use "rotate/pull off the front" instead of "pull through to the front."  IMO rotate/pull off the front is much easier to manage and keep the pace line together, especially for riders who may not be used to a pace line.  Just do your turn and then pull off - easy.  And if you're overextending yourself and spending too long on the front it's easy for second in line to notice your pace slowing and tell you "pull off!"

Other easy ways to manage things in a pull off pace line that will help keep the group together, especially when there are significantly varying strengths of rider: set a short time for pulls, e.g. "5-seconds on the front then pull off" which helps prevent the group from being blown because strong riders are kept from pulling for too long and slower riders aren't subjected to long pulls.

Some other advantages of rotate/pull off that help keep the group together:

Slower riders do not have to come around faster riders, which is the one thing about pull through that probably blows-up pace lines the most.

There's less likelihood gaps will open due to miscommunication or missing the last rider, i.e. it's easier to spot and fall in after the last rider when you're rotating back... in pull through the last rider really has to always yell "last man!" to make sure the next rider can catch the wheel really smoothly, and this doesn't always happen even with really experienced riders.

An exercise that could work on Advanced rides to keep them functioning as group rides - even when there are riders who just can't help themselves from forcing the pace - might be to have these riders identify their need to try riding off into the distance to the ride leader; the ride leader can then announce that rider "x" is going to be rolling off the front and trying to go on his/her own...  the rest of the group will organize into pace line (or maintain the pace line) and see if they can chase "x" down with length of pull varying according to how strong the individual rider feels instead of a set length for everyone.  This way the pace line speed can go up for the chase but still avoid dropping anyone.  The strongest riders in the pace line can pull, pull, pull.  Riders who are feeling the pace can rotate/pull off almost immediately and not feel bad because just being on the front for even a second does truthfully help keep the overall pace up.