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A group ride "game" ideas

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A group ride "game" ideas

Old 06-11-19, 07:46 AM
  #1  
burnthesheep
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A group ride "game" ideas

Posting here vs in road since I'm sure the faster racer boys and girls have some group ride games for training or fun.

We've a cluster of a group A ride on weeknights. Couple of us race, several don't. It's a ride with some road miles and in-town miles. Seems like folks get bored and need an outlet.

Other than town line and hill sprint, any "game" ideas to keep folks tight between parts of town and give them an outlet for their pent up energy at safer pre-designated times?

My ideas were:
-two new sprints, but you have to choose your train before the ride leaves the parking lot (sandlot style choice)
-slow cross-town pace
-10 minute "crit" around the local arena (we pass it during the ride)
-handicap lead/chase segment in a safe area

Also, the reason is the route makes it feel like the ride is over by 1/2 way point since we cross town and then have a lot of turns and places nobody can really do anything. I think people are getting bored.

Thanks.
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Old 06-11-19, 08:50 AM
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To add games or structure to a group setting takes a strong leader that everyone respects AND is willing to follow - not easy.

My first coach led Sunday group rides and he was in a team follow car with spare wheels and supplies. He would determine the course and structure for the ride and yell out the window at the guys who strayed off plan. We would stop and he would set up teams and send them off with other teams chasing and etc. If riders were dropped he would motor pace them back into the group via the car. If he was not there, it would degrade into a hammer and nail ride.
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Old 06-11-19, 09:25 AM
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Good point.

One I just thought of.......handicap us lighter guys and girls by having to carry weight somehow.

You get 10 lbs extra, you get 15. Lol.
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Old 06-11-19, 11:55 AM
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I've done some structured games on a team ride long in the past, but never an open group ride, and never with more than about 6 people.
*Lead out practice
*The group holding a steady hard pace (like 26mph) and individuals rotating attacking the group and staying out front solo as long as they can.
*Split into two groups, give one group a lead or so then the second group pursues.
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Old 06-11-19, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
I've done some structured games on a team ride long in the past, but never an open group ride, and never with more than about 6 people.
*Lead out practice
*The group holding a steady hard pace (like 26mph) and individuals rotating attacking the group and staying out front solo as long as they can.
*Split into two groups, give one group a lead or so then the second group pursues.
Same. TTT simulation can be fun (and hard) but it requires everyone to be on the same page.
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Old 06-11-19, 12:40 PM
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IMO, the basic premise of group training by male cyclists is to beat the crap out of each other and demonstrate how strong they are to determine the alpha male. That is our fate. And group rides and participating in faster group rides to get fast dominate discussions among men.

I have observed in women’s groups that they are more programmatic and willing to stick with a plan / program
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Old 06-11-19, 12:47 PM
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You pass by an arena, you say? Me and my wife will sometimes do a lap around the neighborhood together, one we've done hundreds of times. The game is we start off at the same time, but I try to catch her and lap her. I have never been successful, but it is a helluva workout. So it's pursuit, I guess. If the lap was smaller, I might have a chance.
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Old 06-11-19, 01:11 PM
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Dude, the arena pursuit is a great idea. Handicap it by group size. Group of 3 leading, big group trying to lap them. Minimum of 2 finishers in small group and minimum of 4 finishers in the big group (like real pursuit or TTT where everyone can't get dropped, but can drop one).
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Old 06-11-19, 01:17 PM
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The classic game of tag. Must tag someone with bike-to-bike contact (tires are part of the bike). If you have disc brakes, bonus points for tagging with a rotor (AKA "razor tag").
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Old 06-12-19, 07:55 AM
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For a while the kid's were doing the VW thing. They would do group rides, see a VW of a specific color and hit the teammate stating that color and sprint off. I don't know how long you were supposed to try to get away, but it was classic tag with an unknown start. That unknown I think applies better to real racing.
This spilled over into races. I caught this one on video. Watch the two racers in back. Race was Devil's Punch Bowl. A former SoCAl RR.

Last edited by Doge; 06-12-19 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 06-12-19, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
IMO, the basic premise of group training by male cyclists is to beat the crap out of each other and demonstrate how strong they are to determine the alpha male. That is our fate. And group rides and participating in faster group rides to get fast dominate discussions among men.

I have observed in women’s groups that they are more programmatic and willing to stick with a plan / program
This. And the alpha male, whether by experience, brute strength, or combination of both pretty much gets to decide if it's a "beat the crap out of each other" day or tempo day -- which is pretty much determined by whim.
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Old 06-12-19, 11:29 AM
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As I posted in the training topic. Last night proved it'll never work. Egos, habits, etc...

I just need to suck it up and drive the 40min one way to the other ride once a month to get my teeth kicked in and back off and do my own thing if they start running signs into cars. My choice to pull off and TT home or do a solo workout from there.

I'll never get this bunch doing something like this.

Best bet would be to talk over beers with the top 8 or so riders to see if we want to call it and start leaving 15min early on our own for a better workout without the tomfoolery of the larger A-group. These 8 could drive a hard pace and all still have good heads on their shoulders to keep the group safe.
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Old 06-16-19, 08:38 AM
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Reverse pacelines are fun. Back guy has to sprint to (or past) the front every 1.5 minutes. Second should still be recovering and has to chase down the move. Up to the sprinting guy to determine how hard he wants to go and how much of a gap he wants to keep.
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Old 06-18-19, 09:52 AM
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I have similar problems with my Wednesday group rides.

We have 1-2 _very_ strong riders. 2-5 riders that can hold their wheels but have no chance of attacking (I'm in this group). Another 3-5 riders who are strong but let the first 5-7 go up the road. And the rest of the pack (5-10) who get dropped almost immediately after the designated 'turn' point where attacks are allowed.

The problem we're having is that instead of having a few groups on the road to choose from or drop back to, the front 2-7 riders are so fast the rest of the group is starting to shortcut the route instead of chase. So if you (me) get popped, it becomes a 10-15 mile solo effort home. Not particularly fun, and usually if you're dropped after a few big efforts, not particularly useful as a training ride either.

There is usually post-ride beer available, so there is incentive to get back to the parking lot in a timely fashion (hence the short cutting). We've tried getting people to hold off until everyone returns, but that rarely happens.

I've considered adding in some chases, like the slowest group gets a head-start, then the middle group, then the fast guys and it's a chase. If done right the 'catch' should happen pretty close to the finish so everyone returns within 5ish minutes of each other. But so far this idea hasn't gotten any traction. The main complaint being "We don't want to wait around for 5 minutes before we get to chase".

I'm not sure there is a solution for non-officially-team-sanctioned rides where there is a defacto leader that everyone will listen to.
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Old 06-18-19, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post
I have similar problems with my Wednesday group rides.

We have 1-2 _very_ strong riders. 2-5 riders that can hold their wheels but have no chance of attacking (I'm in this group). Another 3-5 riders who are strong but let the first 5-7 go up the road. And the rest of the pack (5-10) who get dropped almost immediately after the designated 'turn' point where attacks are allowed.

The problem we're having is that instead of having a few groups on the road to choose from or drop back to, the front 2-7 riders are so fast the rest of the group is starting to shortcut the route instead of chase. So if you (me) get popped, it becomes a 10-15 mile solo effort home. Not particularly fun, and usually if you're dropped after a few big efforts, not particularly useful as a training ride either.

There is usually post-ride beer available, so there is incentive to get back to the parking lot in a timely fashion (hence the short cutting). We've tried getting people to hold off until everyone returns, but that rarely happens.

I've considered adding in some chases, like the slowest group gets a head-start, then the middle group, then the fast guys and it's a chase. If done right the 'catch' should happen pretty close to the finish so everyone returns within 5ish minutes of each other. But so far this idea hasn't gotten any traction. The main complaint being "We don't want to wait around for 5 minutes before we get to chase".

I'm not sure there is a solution for non-officially-team-sanctioned rides where there is a defacto leader that everyone will listen to.
Must be a route that's a lollipop or has an easy shortcut home. I don't know why this topic interests me so much when I'm never going to change anyone's behavior. I'll also never start my own group ride either. Just fun to theorize about what the most fun riding format would be.

I think the most fun I could have is if you had a hill sprint group ride.

This year though the point end of the A's with me have gotten the avg speed over 20 now. That sounds slow for A's, with racers mixed in, but we're in an urban area with lots of stops and farting around slow for cars counting against us. On the rollers/flats the group averages about 24 if we work well and don't take too long of pulls.
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Old 06-18-19, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Must be a route that's a lollipop or has an easy shortcut home. I don't know why this topic interests me so much when I'm never going to change anyone's behavior. I'll also never start my own group ride either. Just fun to theorize about what the most fun riding format would be.

I think the most fun I could have is if you had a hill sprint group ride.

This year though the point end of the A's with me have gotten the avg speed over 20 now. That sounds slow for A's, with racers mixed in, but we're in an urban area with lots of stops and farting around slow for cars counting against us. On the rollers/flats the group averages about 24 if we work well and don't take too long of pulls.
Here in Illinois everything is on a grid. So it's pretty easy to just turn back whenever you feel like it. Our rides are never lollipop or out/back, always a big loop to keep it interesting.
Also, almost all of our rides are flat. (Again, Illinois) So speeds at the pointy end are very fast. The 'way out' is usually 19-20mph since we enforce no-drop. But after the 'turn' it's 25-30mph.

Part of why change is difficult is this ride has been around for 20+ years and is the longest standing hard ride in the area. So people are reluctant to chance the 'iconic' Wednesday Night Ride....
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Old 06-19-19, 09:05 AM
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I think I've just determined the root cause is personality driven, to a fault.

I should be pretty happy with what I do. Most folks would be ecstatic with having nearly Cat 3 fitness on a Cat 6 time budget and having soooooo many options around here either alone or in groups to ride with.

But, in the end can't determine why I can't be satisfied. Not fitness wise, I just see that as a personal goal and journey. I'm talking about satisfied in what I am able to attend and do.

I should be pleased. That's on me.
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Old 06-19-19, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post
Here in Illinois everything is on a grid. So it's pretty easy to just turn back whenever you feel like it. Our rides are never lollipop or out/back, always a big loop to keep it interesting.
Also, almost all of our rides are flat. (Again, Illinois) So speeds at the pointy end are very fast. The 'way out' is usually 19-20mph since we enforce no-drop. But after the 'turn' it's 25-30mph.

Part of why change is difficult is this ride has been around for 20+ years and is the longest standing hard ride in the area. So people are reluctant to chance the 'iconic' Wednesday Night Ride....
This sounds very similar to the River Rides here. Routes have only changed because roads changed due to development of farmland into suburban housing.
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Old 06-19-19, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ancker View Post
Here in Illinois everything is on a grid. So it's pretty easy to just turn back whenever you feel like it. Our rides are never lollipop or out/back, always a big loop to keep it interesting.
Also, almost all of our rides are flat. (Again, Illinois) So speeds at the pointy end are very fast. The 'way out' is usually 19-20mph since we enforce no-drop. But after the 'turn' it's 25-30mph.

Part of why change is difficult is this ride has been around for 20+ years and is the longest standing hard ride in the area. So people are reluctant to chance the 'iconic' Wednesday Night Ride....
I went to school there and I'm very familiar with the pan flat grids (I rode a bunch then, but wasn't racing at the time). What you didn't mention is there is usually a steady 10-20 mph wind. I'm sure that makes the group ride interesting.
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Old 06-19-19, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cmh View Post
I went to school there and I'm very familiar with the pan flat grids (I rode a bunch then, but wasn't racing at the time). What you didn't mention is there is usually a steady 10-20 mph wind. I'm sure that makes the group ride interesting.
What we don't have in elevation, we make up for in headwinds.

Lots of solo out and back rides where I'm doing 250w into the wind at 14mph, then turn around and cruising at 28 and 100w.
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Old 06-24-19, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
I think I've just determined the root cause is personality driven, to a fault.

I should be pretty happy with what I do. Most folks would be ecstatic with having nearly Cat 3 fitness on a Cat 6 time budget and having soooooo many options around here either alone or in groups to ride with.

But, in the end can't determine why I can't be satisfied. Not fitness wise, I just see that as a personal goal and journey. I'm talking about satisfied in what I am able to attend and do.

I should be pleased. That's on me.
Do you have the right route? The "worlds" routes that I've done in various cities have always been designed so you ride out to a designated start point where it's full gas and then ride/race until a sprint finish. There might also be one or two sprints along the way. I've done some where the group goes exactly like a race (no set rotation, lots of attacks) and others where there's expected to be a pace line throughout. I can't imagine having too many (too many = any) lights or stopping points in the full gas part of the ride.
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Old 06-25-19, 09:42 AM
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For me, the most fun group ride is the "race ride" which has no traffic lights and a designated finish line. And team tactics come into play. It's basically a 50 mile road race. Every Saturday that I want to do it.

My Tues/Thurs hammerfest is not a race ride. It's just a hammerfest. Too many lights. We will do a paceline of the strongest riders when there is a strong headwind. It happens spontaneously.
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