One of the toughest sports out there is road racing. You have to understand the peloton dynamics. You need to make yourself physically strong and measure your strengths and effort. Not all strongest riders could win the race but those who could combine timing and race craft with strength always wins. There are some golden rules of road racing and I am going to describe it here.
1. Conserving your energy:
Bicycle races are all about 3, 4 or 5 explosive efforts. Close the gap, make the break, hold up your wheel, respond to the attack or nail the bunch sprint- that’s all. You should not waste energy on unwanted things. Saving energy for the last third part of the road race is the best choice. Most of the time winning moves would come in this period. Other competitors try to go fast at the start of this race and you should let them do their work.
Other riders would get tired in the last three periods as they are too crazy to win the race. Thus, either they may end up with a good result or they could not ride at a fast speed till the end. You have to save your energy to hit in this period.
2. Knowing your competition:
As I said before about allowing others to go doesn’t always come without exceptions – sometimes you have to follow the first move. If some of the riders choose to attack in the first move of a hundred kilometers race, you should better follow this move.
You should be with the correct group and stay where you find the combination of different types of riders, not just with the strongest one. a rushing peloton would be faster than other small groups of riders. They would not allow me to get on this peloton easily. Most often it becomes difficult to get an organized peloton.
3. Knowing the gap:
You should pay more attention to the breakaway gap. If you see the break, wait until they pass a landmark and then time the gap starting from when the last rider passes till the front of the peloton does. Is it decreasing or increasing? You should know the situation of the race so that you can judge your own strategy.
4. Attacking with purpose:
You have to attack lately but before any other riders do. Attacking is like an art and the way of attacking would decide the reaction of others. When chasing riders become tired after sequence moves, it is the perfect time for you to attack. You should attack hard in such situations. The riders get busy with it and you can ride fast. If you were able to attack in the critical time, others would let you go till they didn’t see any threat.
5.Knowing the wind:
Knowing the wind is important as it may cause a great impact on your success. Study the wind direction and race map before you get started. Crosswinds could split the group into several echelons and turn your race reversed completely. You have a stout tailwind or headwind if your race is coming near a corner and you should get in the front of your group afore the turn as the crosswinds are more likely to come. Crosswinds allow you to roll ahead easily.
It is not only about the crosswinds, knowing the direction of the wind allows you to hide in your group. You should try going up in your group through grasping a draft from others beside you. If you keep yourself away from the wind, you would be able to save more energy for the last period.
6. Studying the finish:
Whenever you take part in a road race with your road bike, try to ride backward with the finishing line for at least five kilometers to warm up yourself. Look at the routes carefully and notice if there’s any corners, descents or climbs and keep every detail in your mind. Use this route at the last moment to reach the finish line.
7. The sprint:
Your final race is to the corner, not the finish line. Most races would have corners about 200 to 300 meters from your finish line. If you are unable to position yourself in that corner, you could not win the race. This position highly relies on the space from corner to your finish line. If the corner is close to the finish line, you should be close towards the front.
These are the golden rules of road racing and hopefully you understand all of them properly. Follow these rules and get the best result!