Tactics - Unethical or Fair?

I'd like opinions from the experienced racers on this forum please about whether you think a particular situation I was in last night is unethical or fair. Since this is my first year of racing, and the one book on tactics that I've read can't go through all of the possible scenarios, your opinions would help to clear things up.

If you're familiar with the course, it's the Tuesday night crits put on by the San Jose Bike Club, coyote creek course. It's a little over 2 miles per lap with a strong headwind flat section, and a rolling/uphill section.

My teammate and I are second and third spots going into the hilly section. Our strategy was for the rider that's behind to slow the pack down going up the hill while the rider in front breaks with another team. This strategy works well, and I find myself blocking.

Here's the question: I would be in front on the uphill section and sit up after the hill and let the other riders pass if they wanted. Typically, there would be one or two riders in front and then my gap. The other riders didn't pass around me to fill in. So, when we got to the bottom of the hill and moved into the flat headwind, I wouldn't pull the group to the one or two riders in front. The other tactic I would use is to let one or two riders pull ahead in the paceline (if they picked up the pace). A gap would form, and the other riders didn't pass me.

One of the riders said that my tactics were unethical and that pros would never do that. He said that I should sit in the back of the paceline or at least fill in the gaps. He said it's OK if I don't pull, but I must fill in the gaps or stay in back.

The question isn't about how poor the peloton worked (or not) together. That's a given. The question is my tactics of blocking. Unethical or fair?

Thanks for your opinion.

Eric
Mako/Galaxy Granola
45+ Cat 4

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