Tough topic coming here. Recent events and/or near events on the Cancun ride prompt me to write this e-mail. This also applies to other rides where things get competitive. I hope I don't offend anyone in particular, but in an effort to produce a safer ride...
We all want to ride well, and we all want to be with the group that best fits our riding style. Some of us are riding well and getting better. Some of us have a history of riding well, but haven't been able to get on the bike as much as before and aren't as strong as we once were. What ride do we choose? A or B? It really DOES matter, both in terms of safety and riding manners-wise.
The easist way to get better is to ride with stronger riders. However, it is important that you recognize your limits and minimize your "liabilities" in the pack. DON'T try to exceed your
abilities; when a rider is at his limits, he is the most dangerous. Stay in the back and let people from the left paceline in. You can maintain position and use a lot less energy. As you get stronger, take a short pull every once in a while; it is ok to skip a pull because the group will recognize that you are making an effort when you can.
If you are getting dropped off the back of the pack on a consistent basis, think about telling the group that you are going to drop off. Most likely, someone will drop off with you. You probably aren't the only one suffering! Think about the B ride for the next time and be one of the studs taking more than your share of pulls. You will benefit greatly from this.
Sprint sections will always be part of the Cancun culture. A lot of winning a sprint zone is being in the right place at the right time. Don't force your position at the end and put others at risk! There will be other sprint zones! You may think crossing the yellow line is the only way to pass, but it sets a bad precedent and is frowned upon/illegal in real racing around here. You may see good riders do it, but the rider I respect most in the upstate doesn't, and that is good enough for me. (Nazgul)
There have been three bad injuries in the last month. If you ride, you will fall at some point, unfortunately. Let's keep it to a minimum on our watch!