So I'm reading along on RoadBikeRider.com, the newsletter where they have an opinion short about riding with a faster group. This question came up ealier on uphillbattle.spaces.msn.com and I put the link above if you want to try and find the discussion on it. In that forum it was mainly about taking turns at the front of the group. Again, I'll take a turn, but if I'm not able to hold it that long then I peel off and fade back or try to stay with it. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't which may be the case with lots of folks.
One of my greatest and most efficient strategies in the last two years has been to ride with groups that are faster than I in the hopes of getting as fast as they are and it has worked. I believe one of the groups I ride with has served this purpose and I have gone on to ride with another that challenges me even more. Now when I can't stay with a group eventually I just fade back and end up in the second group which then I'm leading. So success! Alas, according to the opinion on RBR I'm causing an unsafe situation.
Their point about needless crashes being caused by riders hanging with groups that deplete them to such an extent that they are no longer able to make wise moves and decisions. I say to them, if we take away that avenue for improvement then we are left with getting faster solely on our individual training. I don't know about you, but I'm able to push myself further when I'm with a group than when I'm by myself pushing myself to the limits. I just am not able to sustain an 18.3 average on an 32 miler when I'm by myself. When I'm chasing someone or trying to hang-on to a group I am able to average that 18.3.
Personally I've not been involved in those kinds of crashes. The crashes that I have witnessed or been close to has been caused by carelessness at the beginning of the ride. Maybe people are just a little groggy - I don't know.
I also know when I'm on the mountain bike I get in the groove after a few minutes of easy riding on less technical stuff. I fall when I attempt the technical stuff too soon after the start of the ride.