Holding a wheel

frosty99
frosty99 Posts: 115
edited December 2011 in Road beginners
Been cycling about 3 months now and started going out with 3 friends who are a bit better than me, generally we are quite competetive and the pace is quite fast (compared to me solo). We tend to go along at about 22mph on the flats and I find I can keep the speed up when I'm on the front for as long as I need to but when the others come through I find it difficult to get the wheel again and have to work really hard to get on the last wheel. Its not that I'm slowing them down and they up the pace when they come through because I've asked them and our speedos dont show much change at all.

Its frustrating because I am quite happy on the front and then when they come through I have to sprint hard to get on the wheel and then go into the red, get out of breath and spend longer trying to recover and not as long enjoying the draft.

Is it normal to have to fight to get that wheel when the others come through or am I doing something wrong??
thanks in advance

Comments

  • anto164
    anto164 Posts: 3,500
    When you say letting them through, are you letting them overtake you, or are you easing off and pulling off to the side, to ease behind them?
  • oldwelshman
    oldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Your doing to long at the front.
    Ideally it would be easier with a larger group as you could change as soon as you pass the rider alongside you, this is like a chain gang.
    But if theres only three of you then you will do longer turns but if your struggling to get on wheel, you have over done your turn.
    If theres only three of you do shorter harder efforts with recoveries, theres not a huge benefit to do it at 22mph as it is too slow for race pace and too fast for recovery.
  • Wirral_paul
    Wirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    As above really. Are you spending longer on the front than the others and how much are you lifting off?? If you're struggling to get back on the last wheel then i'd suggest you're lifting too much and dropping too much pace. If doing say 22mph then the gentlest easing to say 21.5mph and letting the others slide through should see you easily get on the last wheel. Do it right and you can drop on the back wheel within inches very safely and not have to put any real effort in to up the pace.
  • dabber
    dabber Posts: 1,937
    I think the other possibility is that the others are accelerating to get past you... so a combination of you easing off your speed and the other two accelerating may be creating a challenging speed differential.
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Kona Hei Hei/Calibre Bossnut
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Yep you're spending too long at the front. I would say you're probably being at the front till you're about 95% done. Try coming off 30seconds earlier.

    Also, if you want to get better at closing the gap do 1 minute intervals on your own...max effort for 1 min, 1 min cool down. Repeat this 5 times do 3-5 minutes cool down and then go again. Mix this up doing 2 minute ME and 2 min cool down.

    You need to work on putting the hammer down and not getting chance to recover. From the sounds of it, your friends will accelerate to get past you but will likely slow down again after 30 seconds so a bit of hard interval training will give you the burst you need to get back on the wheel and carry on.
  • jibberjim
    jibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Rather than simply spending too long on the front, I suspect you're slowing down too much for the type of rider you are (your power profile), there's two ways to go to the back, stop pedalling, sit up and slow a lot and then accellerate hard on to the back. Or you can keep working so you're only going slightly slower than you were which means you'll take a lot longer to get to the back of the group and then little acceleration is needed to get onto the back.

    Most people find it easier to use the slow quite a bit and accellerate option when not going that hard (e.g. a pace you'll be happy doing for a long ride in the 3up) - simply because the little few second burst of power is easy, if you have a much flatter power profile then you'll want to slow less. Also make sure you're not dropping too far behind the last wheel before starting to accellerate etc.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Tom Dean
    Tom Dean Posts: 1,723
    frosty99 wrote:
    Is it normal to have to fight to get that wheel when the others come through or am I doing something wrong??
    thanks in advance

    Sounds like you're doing it exactly right.

    It's not supposed to be easy :D
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Tom Dean wrote:
    frosty99 wrote:
    Is it normal to have to fight to get that wheel when the others come through or am I doing something wrong??
    thanks in advance

    Sounds like you're doing it exactly right.

    It's not supposed to be easy :D

    Its not supposed to be easy but it's supposed to be doable ;) if a gap opens you'll get dropped if you're already at max effort!
  • Tom Dean
    Tom Dean Posts: 1,723
    DavidJB wrote:
    Tom Dean wrote:
    frosty99 wrote:
    Is it normal to have to fight to get that wheel when the others come through or am I doing something wrong??
    thanks in advance

    Sounds like you're doing it exactly right.

    It's not supposed to be easy :D

    Its not supposed to be easy but it's supposed to be doable ;) if a gap opens you'll get dropped if you're already at max effort!

    The OP didn't say he was getting dropped.

    Of course this all depends on whether the aim is to train harder or to 'enjoy the draft'.

    Pushing yourself to share the work with stronger riders is good training IMO.
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Tom Dean wrote:
    DavidJB wrote:
    Tom Dean wrote:
    frosty99 wrote:
    Is it normal to have to fight to get that wheel when the others come through or am I doing something wrong??
    thanks in advance

    Sounds like you're doing it exactly right.

    It's not supposed to be easy :D

    Its not supposed to be easy but it's supposed to be doable ;) if a gap opens you'll get dropped if you're already at max effort!

    The OP didn't say he was getting dropped.

    Of course this all depends on whether the aim is to train harder or to 'enjoy the draft'.

    Pushing yourself to share the work with stronger riders is good training IMO.

    Yeah I agree fully. I always ride with the strongest I can find!
  • RowCycle
    RowCycle Posts: 367
    I also find it really difficult, I think the problem is as someone stated previously, that to fall back I slow down, and the person behind speeds up, this makes quite a large speed differential, so I also find it harder to get back on. I would go for agreeing that when you move across it is time for them to come through, and not aim to slow down, meaning you drift back slower and slot in.
  • oldwelshman
    oldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    If you do this in a group you cannot slow down or the person behind you will have to brake.
    The idea is to move to the side after passing the rider to the side of you and only slightly reduce speed so the rider who was behind you rides through at same speed,
    So in a nitshell one line is going just slightly faster than the other.
    It also makes a big difference if you change in the wrong direction if windy !!
  • Wirral_paul
    Wirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    If anyone is accelerating when they get to the front then they're getting it all wrong. The idea is to ride at a steady fast pace. The one on the front has to work harder but thats just to ride at the same pace. If everyone is accelerating every single time they hit the front then everyone behind is having to accelerate too.

    I've been on a coaching session when about 10 new group riders were all doing this............ and to prove a point i rode away from them all alone as it was so inefficient.

    Jibberjim's 2nd option is the most efficient - at the end of the turn on the front, pull to the side and ease the pressure off slightly. Next guy should not accelerate - thats the temptation for the inexperienced. Ease to the back and its only a slight increase to catch the back wheel
  • frosty99
    frosty99 Posts: 115
    Thanks all, I think it must be a combination of me easing off too much and the others accelerating slightly to come through. When I'm on the wheel Im happy to sit close behind but when I'm coming back into the line after easing off from the front I'm always pretty afraid of slotting back in too soon and clipping a wheel, i guess that just comes with more experience though!
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,702
    Even the pros have problems with that.

    Did you watch the TTT this year in the Tour?

    Don't sweat it.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,383
    Also, keep shoulder to shoulder (or very close to it) as you drop back and start merging over to the fast line as the last riders saddle goes past so that you slot right in on the back wheel as soon as it goes past rather than having to go sideways at the last second. If near a track maybe get on a beginners course there as you will do a lot of this type of riding, the banking helps slightly on the track but you also gain the confidence to keep tight.
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    Yep, keep tight. The fact you're all mates means you can have an understanding and get that little bit tighter than you might already be. A different kettle of fish if you're jumping on a stranger's backwheel*, but this isn't the case here.

    * I did a charity ride in May and ended up riding it in a group of strong riders. I didn't know any of them and noticed a few erratic individuals so chose to hang back from the guy in front and put up with working a little harder to get back on/in.
    Ben

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/143173475@N05/