Here is a group ride I did from last week. This ride has a little of everything, from individual pulls, to fast pacelines to sprints. We got the KOM at right around 26mph with all the stops, slowing and lights included. So it’s pretty fast.
There is a lot of strategy in these rides. It probably does not look like it from the video, but I’m constantly evaluating and adjusting all the time.
On thing I will mention is I usually start out in the back to assess how fast the ride will be. I also look at who is there to determine who is going to be doing what based on their rider type. You will see from the start I am positioned behind someone who is bouncing in their seat. This can indicate someone is a new or less experienced rider. I was prepared for him to open gaps and/or get dropped. Right at about 5 minutes into the ride a gap opened up and I closed it immediately. In fast group rides a small gap can get you dropped immediately. Note to self close down small gaps without hesitation. Don’t think about it, just do it.
I also think about when to be on the front. Being a taller rider, I avoid being on the front into a block headwind. I usually pull strong into a crosswind or tail wind. That way I can use my power to generate speed and my height is less of a factor. I also keep energy in reserve when pulling. The strong guys do counter attack so I never take my power to the edge when I’m on the front unless I know a counter attack is not possible.