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Group rides

Old 07-15-19, 01:33 PM
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Jac of Hearts
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Group rides

I'm thinking about a group ride tomorrow but I will admit being the fat kid in gym class always at the back of the pack I'm a little intimidated. The distance is within my ability and the avg speed is only 1 mph faster than I usually ride.

It is a no drop ride but I'm worried about holding everybody back. What has your experience been?
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Old 07-15-19, 01:38 PM
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You will be riding in a pace line and drafting. It will be no problem. Just maintain no more than a bike length and you will benefit from the draft. If you hang back and let more than a bike length of space get between you and the person in front you will not benefit from the draft and you will be working harder. Don't cross wheels, meaning don't let your front wheel overlap to the side of the rear wheel of the person in front. If they touch you will probably go down.

Above all don't sweat it. You will enjoy it and wish you did it sooner.
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Old 07-15-19, 04:59 PM
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you won't know until you try. So try

hang to the back, there will be some yo yo ing of some sort but shouldn't be bad. Most important part, Be social!
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Old 07-15-19, 06:46 PM
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If they have to wait for you more than once or twice, tell them thanks and go do your own ride. Try again another day.
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Old 07-16-19, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
If they have to wait for you more than once or twice, tell them thanks and go do your own ride. Try again another day.
I kept up on the flats and downhills but the uphills kicked my butt. Finished with them but felt like I held everyone back.
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Old 07-16-19, 01:35 PM
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rinse n repeat! you'll get stronger the more you ride with the group
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Old 07-16-19, 01:43 PM
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So I met a group of 3 other riders for a slow ride and while they were gracious I really felt like the fat kid in gym class again. This is what I learned.

While I can ride 10 miles at 10 to 11 mph, the group's riding style is not mine. I use the downhills to build speed for the uphill. They rode a moderate downhill and were all good climbers. I am not a good climber.

There were 2 hybrids and my DS and the leader was on a carbon road bike. The other hybrids were about the same level of bike as mine, so it was not an equipment issue it was an athletic issue. All 3 other riders are in much better shape that me. The leader did not run off and leave me and was gracious. I did however feel like I was holding them back.

If this sounds whiney it's not supposed to be. I'm just not sure I'm ready for a group ride but I am determined to return. I will work hard on endurance and climbing and I'll be back.
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Old 07-16-19, 01:50 PM
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The reason it appears that the others were going downhill moderately is because they are lighter and lack the inertia of a heavier rider. Use that to your advantage next time to get a faster run at the beginning of the hill...then spin up. Just don't give up and keep riding. Everyone handles hills differently because we all have different power to weight ratios. Obviously lighter riders will have an easier time of it.
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Old 07-16-19, 10:36 PM
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Just communicate with the other riders. If it's just a downhill, stick with them. If it's a downhill running to an uphill, tell them you will break off the front to gain your momentum for the uphill and you will meet them at the top or after. If they're a reasonable bunch of people they should understand and carry on. It's much more fun riding with a group than riding alone IMO, but that can of course depend on who is in the group. I and a couple of other more...ah....hefty riders do exactly that. The only problem is that if some of the fast guys are feeling frisky then they may take it as a cue to attack and they take off on their own little battle. In my area though, we do mostly out and back rides rather than loops and the turnaround just happens to be at the top of those longer steeper climbs. So everyone regroups and has a quick chat and break and off we head for home, generally with us big boys leading out the return descent

Slowly you'll get stronger and eventually be able to stick with their style and even perhaps lead the group, or progress onto a group that is faster. Just remember that the style of the others you describe would be a better way to train if you want to get faster and get a better workout
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Old 07-17-19, 02:28 AM
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Literally half a lifetime ago, the group rides I went on were all graded A, B, C, etc by speed and length. I could hang with the A-/B+ group and have a good time. Here, I am at a disadvantage not knowing the local languages so I ride with a multi-national English speaking group that are just way fitter than I am, and although they are social, they're not the type to take in the scenery. I get spit out the back every time especially on hills, and the last ride I got dropped about 5 miles from the end. I told the ride leader just to go on. The only saving grace was that they didn't know the route, but I did, and we ended up at our destination at the same time.

Anyway, what have I learned? Riding by myself or with people of my own ability is way more enjoyable. I've found my "people" and it has made it all that much better.

To each his own.
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Old 07-17-19, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by pennpaul View Post
Anyway, what have I learned? Riding by myself or with people of my own ability is way more enjoyable. I've found my "people" and it has made it all that much better.

To each his own.
Thanks pennpaul. This got me thinking that if I want a slower flatter group ride of mostly "my people" then I may have to take the initiative to create one. I can't be the only heavy weight in my area that would enjoy riding with other heavy weights.
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Old 07-17-19, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Jac of Hearts View Post
Thanks pennpaul. This got me thinking that if I want a slower flatter group ride of mostly "my people" then I may have to take the initiative to create one. I can't be the only heavy weight in my area that would enjoy riding with other heavy weights.
I thought you said the advertised speed for this group was only 1mph faster than what you usually do solo? If you are drafting properly by maintaining the proper distance from the person in front of you, you should be saving up to 30% of your energy...which more than makes up for the 1mph difference. The only possible issue I see is how you tackle the hills next time.
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Old 07-17-19, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
I thought you said the advertised speed for this group was only 1mph faster than what you usually do solo? If you are drafting properly by maintaining the proper distance from the person in front of you, you should be saving up to 30% of your energy...which more than makes up for the 1mph difference. The only possible issue I see is how you tackle the hills next time.
This ride did not really involve a pace line. It was in a neighborhood and we were riding more like a bunch, 2 abreast. The main problem was on the up hills. I would crowd the group downhill and they would leave me uphill.

I will figure it out.
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Old 07-17-19, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Jac of Hearts View Post
This ride did not really involve a pace line. It was in a neighborhood and we were riding more like a bunch, 2 abreast. The main problem was on the up hills. I would crowd the group downhill and they would leave me uphill.

I will figure it out.
Gotcha, keep it up!
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Old 07-18-19, 12:17 PM
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When I started out it took a while to find a group to ride with. Being a woman and unfit at time plus on hybrid that meant most groups were not going to work. Found a women’s group on meetup. They were doing rides out of shop I got my hybrid at. I joined and was only one on a hybrid. I couldn’t keep up. Eventually I got my roadbike and keeping up was less of an issue.

I met a group of C/A members not long after to ride Glendora Mountain Road for first time. That led to 2nd and 3rd rides up GMR within a few months. It also introduced me to my now friend who was opening her shop for women at that time. She’s been open for nearly 7 years now! Rides are hosted out of her shop twice weekly plus special events.

Keep looking and you will find group that fits you.



Group from The Unlikely Cyclist at shack on Glendora Mtn Road. Im on the end on left side.
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Old 07-19-19, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Jac of Hearts View Post
This ride did not really involve a pace line. It was in a neighborhood and we were riding more like a bunch, 2 abreast. The main problem was on the up hills. I would crowd the group downhill and they would leave me uphill.

I will figure it out.
Yeah, it takes some time to find the right group. One ride I regularly do, there are usually enough regulars around to understand why I take off first at the start and they all pass me on the big hill which is 8 miles in. After that, it tend to weed out to people on my pace, once again people I usually have ridden with before and we trade places on the downhill/uphill part.

I have ridden with other groups that weren't so understanding and kind of snotty about it.

I never do no drop rides and try to explain that I will be slow on hills and that I know the way home

DaveW
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Old 07-22-19, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jac of Hearts View Post
I'm thinking about a group ride tomorrow but I will admit being the fat kid in gym class always at the back of the pack I'm a little intimidated. The distance is within my ability and the avg speed is only 1 mph faster than I usually ride.

It is a no drop ride but I'm worried about holding everybody back. What has your experience been?
There is something magical about riding in a pace line, you will fine strength you never knew you had! The fear of holding people back or getting dropped will breath new life into your legs, and drafting skillfully will cut down on the effort needed. In top shape the best I could do for an hour was 24mph, in a pace line, we many times did 27 or even 28 mph. The difference is that great.
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