I’m a newbie road racer. I’ve got a big road race coming up next week and i’m driving myself mad trying to work out a game plan. I’ve done about 10 races in the past, each of about 1 hour with about 20-30 riders. This one is 100km with maybe 100 riders on a 20km rolling road loop with some decent climbs and only about 2 sharp turns.
I have 4.3W/Kg to play with (Thanks TrainerRoad), I’m a pretty good climber and i’ve got the endurance to not worry about staying the distance.
What i don’t know is where to stay in the pack. I’ve not got very much experience in large, fast groups and i want to stay upright and injury free as i’m not a youngster anymore. I know that you only sit in the wind if you’ve got a really good reason for it and the goal is to conserve Watts. I’ve read good and bad things about staying at the back as you get an easy draft and stay out of the gnarly parts but you get a concertina effect and you’ll never know what’s happening in the real race up front. Whereas staying at 9th wheel means you’re in a good place but you’re in the washing machine and it’s likely to be mentally draining.
Realistically I am not going to threaten a podium but it’d be nice to think i had a Proper Race rather than a group ride. I know it’s a different game if you have a team, but i don’t.
Is a viable plan to stay at the back for the first 1 or 2 laps and wait until it thins out slightly and then move up? Should i stay with the leaders for as long as possible until i run out of steam and then drift back?
What’s a good plan to take into this?