If you have some gravel, road, or mtb events planned for 2023, you can use your local group ride to help you prepare for them.
No matter if you are going for the win, or targeting finishing the event strongly, there are some key tricks you can learn and work on in your local group ride that will help you.
Mass start events present new experiences and challenges to cyclists and learning how to handle them the best will dramatically improve your overall outcome in your event.
Let’s have a look at eight tricks that you can use to improve your event performance through your local group ride.
1. Focus on not opening up gaps in and exiting corners.
This is the number one area where cyclists typically lose the group they are in. Corners can be scary, and nerve racking, but you must be near the wheel in front of you exiting the corner or less you risk getting dropped out of the group.
2. Practice staying calm under physical pressure.
When riding in a group the overall intensity of all the people together can feel overwhelming. So much so that when you feel physically under pressure it is easy to get too worked up and let go of the group to try and “quiet” things down. Welcome this in your local rides as you will become much more comfortable with it in the races.
3. Work on pulling smoothly and rotating efficiently in the pace lines.
This concept is spoken about a lot, and yelled about on rides, but to truly be smooth you must make a conscious effort to practice it. Be aware and committed to smoothing your efforts out.
4. Practice getting low and aero when on or off the front.
When it is your turn to pull, catch back up, or even go off the front practice bending your elbows and lowering your head to flatten your back. Being more aero is faster but also helps you save a lot of energy.
5. Mentally focus on just your riding while around others.
Like trick #2, the group can make it feel so chaotic. Quiet the noise down and practice focusing on your riding and not how strong or silly others are riding.
6. Practice creating a gap through a planned effort.
Yes, learn how to attack and practice it! This is fun and important, but it is much harder than it looks. Practicing the attack will help you learn how to not go too hard, but just hard enough to get off the front!
7. Work on holding the wheel when the riding in front of you pushes the pace.
Sounds easy, but often people give up too early because someone raises the pace to a place where they think “I can’t hold this.” Well they probably can’t hold it either! Practice hanging on as long as you can until they slow down. You will find yourself making more of the key selections this way.
8. Have fun by practicing your sprint with others!
Oh yes, sprint for it all! Town lines, yellow signs, you name it! Group rides have lots and lots of opportunities to practice your sprint. Just be aware of your surroundings and the other riders to make it as safe as possible.