New to group riding? Not sure what to expect? The Hotchillee Ride Captains have put together some advice, top tips and an insight into what to expect riding in groups 3 & 4 on a Hotchillee event.
Group 3 & 4 are known for being sociable, team orientated groups. The main difference between the two groups is the pace on hills. If you like to take it easy over the climbs then opt for group 4. The rolling flat speed is not too different between the two. The speeds for group 3 & 4 are 26-28kph.
Being the ‘middle groups’ they tend to be larger than the others, particularly on The LONDON-PARIS by Tour de France. The groups naturally tend to form gaps as the yo-yo affect (concertina) has more impact the bigger the group. We always suggest that riders with less ‘punch’ ride towards the front so that they are not left closing the gaps that the yo-yo creates at the back.
The way to deal with gaps is to look ahead and when you see riders free wheel start to free wheel yourself. Brake steadily and not suddenly and avoid causing panic in the group by shouting. Instead use hand signals and ride smoothly back onto the wheels when a gap appears as then the riders behind can follow you.
The Ride Captains in these groups will be very conscious of perfect pacing and neat riding, often floating up and down the group to keep the group in perfect lines. If the group breaks up it will stop to re-group because the motorbike outriders and support vehicles cannot take care of us if we are over a certain distance front to back.
You’ll often find Ride Captains singing and motivating the group, people will know each other’s names. One team, one dream is the motto in these groups.
Other than the above, the biggest impact on the group are mechanicals, please make sure your bike is ready to go in tip top condition before the event and that you understand the protocol during the ride for dealing with mechanicals. (Ride Captains will brief you every morning on this)
So, if you see yourself as a team player, strong but not particularly interested in ‘smashing it up’, group 3 and 4 can be rewarding and hard work if you choose to take a turn on the front or back.
If you are interested in PBs, doing through and off or racing.…make sure you are doing enough training to get into group 1 & 2!!
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