Question - Race with multiple fields

Hey There

I am still new to race tactics.

I have a quick question, I raced today. the races were 10 minutes apart from each field. Because my fitness level isn’t up to what needs to be to stay with the peloton I was off the back, then I saw another field coming behind me. Few minutes later I was racing with that field, I saw the opportunity and grab somebody’s wheel and rode with that field for few miles until a guy told me I couldn’t ride with them because I wasn’t part of the field. then I rode a part from the field

So my question, was I doing something wrong. Seems like I was. it seems that what I did wasn’t very nice. I just want to make sure I know the rules in races when multiple fields are racing almost at the same time

I’m not sure why it would be an issue for you to jump into that field. I race MTB so I can’t say for certain, but I’d assume you can attach to any group that you choose unless their are some race rules against it. I assume the person who said that was protecting his own self interest (ie: he wouldn’t want an opposing teammate to drop back and help his buddy in that wave). I’ll defer to the roadies on this though.

I did a masters age group criterium that had two fields on the course at a time and it was made clear in the pre race briefing that fields where not allowed to mix. I raced with the cat 5s and we where with the men 60+ IIRC. We lapped them several times and they all clearly knew to move to the side and let us through.

It makes sense that fields should not mix because drafting plays such a big part in how the race turns out.

In the future if it’s not clear it would be a good idea to ask during the pre race briefing.

Road racing perspective here - doesn’t apply to off road events

If it’s a sanctioned event with multiple fields on the course you really can’t ride with other fields with one exception

Exception is if you are dropped and find other riders who are dropped - then it is usually ok to team up and work together to get to the finish. By dropped I don’t mean chasing hard to catch back on, but well and fully out the back with no chance of impacting the results

If you’re off the front and catch another group you can’t work with them. If you’re dropped and the leaders or even a large group in contention from another field catch you then you shouldn’t work with them either.

Primarily this is because of drafting

If you are off the front and work with another group you gain a significant advantage on the people chasing you and it can impact the results. If you are off the back and caught by a large competitive group they could drag you back up to your field and impact the results

Basically - unless you’re sure that you and the people from the other field are all going to be completely out of the race - you shouldn’t race with another field. Even then an official might tell you to get out of the group


:point_up_2: Interesting, I see how that would make sense and the advantages.