Often times riders new to group riding will assume they have to take a turn at the front that is just as long as the person before them. This is wholly untrue, and leads us to the golden rule of group riding: Never take a turn you cannot handle.
If your time at the front of the group exhausts you to the point of not being able to stay with the group, you went too hard (and probably didn’t observe the tip to only exert 80% of your energy). Now, if you are trying to maintain the same speed that the group was enjoying before you got to the front, then sometimes that will mean taking a very short turn, or skipping one entirely.
Please hear me on this: put aside your pride, and get OFF the front. It’s ok. No one will be mad or upset that you aren’t contributing the exact amount as everyone else (unless you’re racing). The goal is to keep the group together and going fast. If you’re on the front for too long, you will do a few things:
-Inevitably slow the group down as your fatigue spikes exponentially
-Almost definitely get dropped from the group once you roll off the front to head to the back, forcing the group to either slow down and wait for you, or deliberate about leaving you. Both of these are not attractive prospects
Being conservative about what you have to contribute to the group is helpful to everyone.Trying to be superman is not. If the person in front of you rolls off and you have nothing to give (ie: you are so tired you can’t pull at the front) then roll off with them immediately and stay behind them as you drift to the back of the group. If you want, let the person behind you know you are tired and don’t have any energy to take a pull. They will understand and will resume duties at the front.
Tune back in for part four on maintaining momentum!