Over the next few weeks we will be looking at how to ride in a breakaway, what to do, what not to do and how to make your effort count.
Riding in a break part 1 – How to ride in a breakaway
So you’ve got into a breakaway; how do you ride to ensure the break sticks and that you conserve energy? Here’s how.
Through and off
The key to any breakaway is riding through and off, and doing so at a consistent pace. Make sure you get a good wheel, a rider that rides smoothly and doesn’t accelerate when they get on the front. If there is a wheel you don’t want to follow, sit on the back and miss a turn by taking a drink or eating, until the wheel you want comes through.
Maintain the pace
Keep the pace even and encourage your breakaway companions to do the same; this will help keep the break together. That gives you all a chance to recover and to share the work, conserving energy for later in the race.
Talk to each other
Keep talking to your breakaway companions. Constant communication is the key. If you think the pace needs to increase, tell everyone. If you are starting to suffer, tell someone, but let them know you’ll recover and then start working again.
Ride to your strengths
If you are better on the flat than on the hills, tell you breakaway companions that you’ll do more on the flat in exchange for a tow over the hills.
Practice makes perfect
So how do you practice all of this? Outside of actually racing and making your mistakes in a real breakaway, the best way to practice riding in a breakaway is to join your local chain-gang and spend an evening a week riding through and off at close to race pace.
The second way is to simply ride with a few friends and when the road allows, start riding through and off. In both cases, practice missing turns, changing the wheel you follow, and eating and visit drinking on the bike.
As with everything in bike racing, the more you practice, the easier it will be when you come to do it in a race.