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First time getting dropped on a group ride, hit the wall right after.

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First time getting dropped on a group ride, hit the wall right after.

Old 11-17-19, 02:04 PM
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RMoudatir
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First time getting dropped on a group ride, hit the wall right after.

I've only been in a group ride once and it was pretty fun. The last time I've been in a group ride was since 2017. I saw a post on my local city's cycling forum about a 50 mile group ride and decided to try it out. There were about 8 of us total on this morning ride. I stayed pretty much in the middle or at the back of the pack and it felt so difficult to hold on to their wheels. We were just averaging 16-19 mph at 1% incline so it must have been a modest pace plus I was getting all the help from the riders in front of me. I only held on for 5 miles before drifting apart from the group, once I saw the gap increasing I knew I was done. After I realized I was way too far to catch up I gave myself a break. My face felt like it was radiating so much heat and I could barely stand up without feeling I'm about to collapse. I got back on the bike after 10 minutes and I found myself barely having the strength to push my bike on it's lowest gear, Incould barely lift my arms up and I barely had the composure to keep my bike balanced and rode about 3 miles more in like 30 minutes before I called it quits and took the bus home. I doubt it was hypoglycemia since I barely rode 20 miles and was well fueled a few hours prior to that. I feel so physically defeated after that group ride.
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Old 11-17-19, 03:41 PM
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Yep, you bonked. Check will your local club or shop, they may organize beginner rides.
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Old 11-17-19, 03:47 PM
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Even though I don't have the experience of a lot of these guys, I just wanted to stop in and give you some words of encouragement.

1.) You went out there and tried. Better than those who just couch-ride.
2.) You had the guts to post on this forum which has its moments, but can also be shark infested waters at times.
3.) Ever after being dropped, you still tried to get back on and power through.

So good on ya. I'm sure if you focus on your training/endurance, you'll be able to hang with them soon enough! Cheers!
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Old 11-17-19, 03:56 PM
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You may have heard of the term "carbo loading". It has been determined that for endurance efforts, the carbohydrates you consume and store for several days prior to that effort are the principal source of energy during that effort. What is consumed a few hours before is not the main source for the required energy. In fact, eating too much before a hard rice impaires your effort by diverting blood flow to the digestive process. This is why Aunt Emily always insisted a wait of two hours before swimming. Read up on carbo-loading. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-l...g/art-20048518
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Old 11-17-19, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by N00b_Cyclist View Post
Even though I don't have the experience of a lot of these guys, I just wanted to stop in and give you some words of encouragement.

1.) You went out there and tried. Better than those who just couch-ride.
2.) You had the guts to post on this forum which has its moments, but can also be shark infested waters at times.
3.) Ever after being dropped, you still tried to get back on and power through.

So good on ya. I'm sure if you focus on your training/endurance, you'll be able to hang with them soon enough! Cheers!
+1, we’ve all been there with bonking and getting dropped. Keep at it, fuel up a little better next time.
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Old 11-17-19, 04:33 PM
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Good for you!
Bonking is part of the game. A lot of the strongest riders I know will have an occasional bad day and bonk.
"Dude, I totally bonked at 80 miles in" etc..
I know one rider who will consistently bonk the first four or five rides of the year, and then ride VERY strong for the rest of the season.

Think of it as a learning experience. Pay attention to carbo loading, using "goo" type gels before/during ride. Don't try to pull. Hang in, conserve energy.
This sounds like it was a "drop" type ride, which is good, because, they weren't inconvenienced by you dropping off the back. If they rode off- great! It means you can go back out next week, join the same group and try and hang on again. If you get dropped, so what? No one had to wait for you, right? Who cares? Try again!

What you will probably learn, is that this ride has several areas where people go easy, and several areas where they hammer it into a sufferfest- so what you also might be experiencing is potentially a lack of fueling, a lack of personal training, and an unfortunate area on the ride where they turn up the volume to hurt each other, not necessarily you.

If you consistently get dropped, consider a b group, or doing solo training during the rest of the week, focussing on strength, anearobic threshold training, endurance, etc... Before you know it, you will be able to hang. Focus on personal training, riding smoothly and predictably in the group (not hitting brakes, swerving, surging, etc. in a paceline) , put in your sweat equity, and within a year or two, you can be a force on that ride.

edit- rereading your post, I've had a bunch of rides like that, where, I go out too hard, trying to be conservative, not even getting warmed up, or having gone that far, and it's like my body immediately shuts down (more likely, it never started up). It's like a failure to launch, and feels at 10 miles in, just like a bonk at 90 miles into a 100 mile ride. It always seemed to be too much, too soon, and the cards just weren't aligned for that ride. Often, there is also a mental headgame of defeat (at least for me) involved, before the first pedal stroke. It sucks, but the next ride always seems to be better. It's like a bad day at work, you get up and do it again.

Good luck!

Last edited by dualresponse; 11-17-19 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 11-17-19, 07:03 PM
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Some backhanded encouragement.

There is always someone faster. There is a point anyone will bonk (did you see the 2019 World Championships).
But bonking is part of it. Better riders do not bonk as often, because they learned.

Best way to not get dropped is find a slower group.
If you want to get faster, generally barely getting dropped is a better tool than always staying up.
Getting dumped early on is a good reason to find a slower group, or yell at them real loudly and see if they will ride slower.
If you banked, figure it out and try again. If you keep bonking, change diet, ask, or find a slower group.
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Old 11-17-19, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RMoudatir View Post
I feel so physically defeated after that group ride.
And that's OK. Hitting a wall is no fun, and can be absolutely brutal especially if you're miles from home with no one to call on to get you back. I've been there quite a few times - anywhere from the local "World Championship Training Ride" to the last time up the Manayunk Wall (the year L.A. attacked there and dropped the field). What I saw was you were were defeated physically. Just don't get defeated MENTALLY. You'll be better prepared next time, and even better after that. Your limits should only be defined by how much you want to allow yourself to hurt. Right now, I'm not racing anymore, I ride because I love to ride. I'll keep up with the racers and hang right up until the point where I decide that it's just not worth that extra dig - the bump from 170bpm to 175bpm. When I was racing, it wasn't worth it only if I realized I was hurting my chance to perform later by going too deep today. It's all relative. If anyone ever gives you crap for getting dropped, ask them if they ever did. If the answer is no - then either they are one of the most gifted athletes in the world, or they don't have the guts to go deep enough to blow sky high. And considering the greatest cyclists alive have all blown - you know that the real story isn't the former.
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Old 11-17-19, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by N00b_Cyclist View Post
Even though I don't have the experience of a lot of these guys, I just wanted to stop in and give you some words of encouragement.

1.) You went out there and tried. Better than those who just couch-ride.
2.) You had the guts to post on this forum which has its moments, but can also be shark infested waters at times.
3.) Ever after being dropped, you still tried to get back on and power through.

So good on ya. I'm sure if you focus on your training/endurance, you'll be able to hang with them soon enough! Cheers!
Thanks! 🙂
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Old 11-17-19, 07:43 PM
  #10  
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It happens. Just make sure to replenish everything once you get home.

My most serious bonk took me almost 1 hour to do the last 5 miles of the ride. It was awful. Nothing I could do (before cell phones) and I was on a bike path with no public transportation in sight.
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Old 11-17-19, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dualresponse View Post
Good for you!
Bonking is part of the game. A lot of the strongest riders I know will have an occasional bad day and bonk.
"Dude, I totally bonked at 80 miles in" etc..
I know one rider who will consistently bonk the first four or five rides of the year, and then ride VERY strong for the rest of the season.

Think of it as a learning experience. Pay attention to carbo loading, using "goo" type gels before/during ride. Don't try to pull. Hang in, conserve energy.
This sounds like it was a "drop" type ride, which is good, because, they weren't inconvenienced by you dropping off the back. If they rode off- great! It means you can go back out next week, join the same group and try and hang on again. If you get dropped, so what? No one had to wait for you, right? Who cares? Try again!

What you will probably learn, is that this ride has several areas where people go easy, and several areas where they hammer it into a sufferfest- so what you also might be experiencing is potentially a lack of fueling, a lack of personal training, and an unfortunate area on the ride where they turn up the volume to hurt each other, not necessarily you.

If you consistently get dropped, consider a b group, or doing solo training during the rest of the week, focussing on strength, anearobic threshold training, endurance, etc... Before you know it, you will be able to hang. Focus on personal training, riding smoothly and predictably in the group (not hitting brakes, swerving, surging, etc. in a paceline) , put in your sweat equity, and within a year or two, you can be a force on that ride.

edit- rereading your post, I've had a bunch of rides like that, where, I go out too hard, trying to be conservative, not even getting warmed up, or having gone that far, and it's like my body immediately shuts down (more likely, it never started up). It's like a failure to launch, and feels at 10 miles in, just like a bonk at 90 miles into a 100 mile ride. It always seemed to be too much, too soon, and the cards just weren't aligned for that ride. Often, there is also a mental headgame of defeat (at least for me) involved, before the first pedal stroke. It sucks, but the next ride always seems to be better. It's like a bad day at work, you get up and do it again.

Good luck!
I just realized that the group ride I went to was the advanced group ride though they seemed very forgiving I would expect an advanced group ride to ride at 23 mph+. I found that there is also an Intermediate group.

The odd thing is how am I supposed to bonk within 20 miles of hard riding? I did a 5 mile ride to the train station early in the morning then took the train to the closest point from the meet up point and I realized I had just 50 minutes to ride 13/14 miles to the meetup before the 8 am deadline. I did like a 13.5 mile time trial and ended up with barely 5 minutes to spare. So that should have been a decent warm up before the group ride I assume. The group ride starts and in the first mile I feel strong and think I can handle this but by mile 3-4 I start feeling hopeless knowing I cannot sustain that pace for another 45-50 miles it soon started to feel like sprinting giving it my all by mile 5 and the harder I went the bigger the gap became. I was cooked by then, I felt like this was one of the biggest failures in cycling I had I even felt a bit ashamed to come back again to the same group ride. The weird thing is that I had been able to keep a 20 mph solo pace for 7 miles on some rides and this group ride was slower with me at the back of the pack and I still failed pretty bad, I would have expected at least 15 miles before I get dropped but 5 miles?
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Old 11-18-19, 07:07 AM
  #12  
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Some days we have to limp home, it happens. If you've never been dropped, then you haven't been on a hard enough group ride. It happens to us all (or at least it should). Remembering to eat before it's too late, that's the trick. I used to set a timer on my HRM to remind me.....many moons ago. Good luck.

Last edited by pickettt; 11-18-19 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 11-18-19, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by RMoudatir View Post
I just realized that the group ride I went to was the advanced group ride though they seemed very forgiving I would expect an advanced group ride to ride at 23 mph+. I found that there is also an Intermediate group.

The odd thing is how am I supposed to bonk within 20 miles of hard riding? I did a 5 mile ride to the train station early in the morning then took the train to the closest point from the meet up point and I realized I had just 50 minutes to ride 13/14 miles to the meetup before the 8 am deadline. I did like a 13.5 mile time trial and ended up with barely 5 minutes to spare. So that should have been a decent warm up before the group ride I assume. The group ride starts and in the first mile I feel strong and think I can handle this but by mile 3-4 I start feeling hopeless knowing I cannot sustain that pace for another 45-50 miles it soon started to feel like sprinting giving it my all by mile 5 and the harder I went the bigger the gap became. I was cooked by then, I felt like this was one of the biggest failures in cycling I had I even felt a bit ashamed to come back again to the same group ride. The weird thing is that I had been able to keep a 20 mph solo pace for 7 miles on some rides and this group ride was slower with me at the back of the pack and I still failed pretty bad, I would have expected at least 15 miles before I get dropped but 5 miles?
I just did some math, and I think you may have lost perspective. You're beating yourself up because you could only keep up with the A group for 5 miles after riding just about 20 mph solo for 45 minutes? If you enjoy riding with this group, please don't let some sense of "shame" stop you from trying it again. My bet is if the 13.5 miles had been just a bit slower, you might have had plenty of gas to keep up with them.

I solo ride at a little higher than that speed over distance, I don't see a lot of other riders doing it.
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Old 11-18-19, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by RMoudatir View Post
I just realized that the group ride I went to was the advanced group ride though they seemed very forgiving I would expect an advanced group ride to ride at 23 mph+. I found that there is also an Intermediate group.

The odd thing is how am I supposed to bonk within 20 miles of hard riding? I did a 5 mile ride to the train station early in the morning then took the train to the closest point from the meet up point and I realized I had just 50 minutes to ride 13/14 miles to the meetup before the 8 am deadline. I did like a 13.5 mile time trial and ended up with barely 5 minutes to spare. So that should have been a decent warm up before the group ride I assume. The group ride starts and in the first mile I feel strong and think I can handle this but by mile 3-4 I start feeling hopeless knowing I cannot sustain that pace for another 45-50 miles it soon started to feel like sprinting giving it my all by mile 5 and the harder I went the bigger the gap became. I was cooked by then, I felt like this was one of the biggest failures in cycling I had I even felt a bit ashamed to come back again to the same group ride. The weird thing is that I had been able to keep a 20 mph solo pace for 7 miles on some rides and this group ride was slower with me at the back of the pack and I still failed pretty bad, I would have expected at least 15 miles before I get dropped but 5 miles?
Several things at work here. You already did a longer, sustained effort where you were "burning matches" in your attempt to make it there on-time, and then only had a very short window to rest and recover. You used up muscle energy, and you burned some nervous energy as well. Your body was already in an muscle glycogen burning phase, so right from the group ride start you were digging into reserves. The next thing to consider is that in a fast group ride - you are going at the pace of the pack, which may not be in your comfort zone and also does not allow any real time to rest. Even in your TT effort to get to the starting point you were pushing the pace, but riding to your own rhythms, maybe easing up after a short rise, or punching it in certain sections and relaxing on a flat. One in a group, there will always be a couple riders rotating through and keeping the pace constantly high, or one really strong rider dictating the pace. It puts you off your pace and out of your comfort zone, especially if you have not built up a similar fitness base as the riders in the A Group. The body is also a funny thing. Possible you could be feeling the effects of fighting off a cold or any number of other things. Sometimes you will just never figure it out. I've been on a Tuesday ride, felt great and just blitzed the front of the pack, then come back out on Thursday raring to go and got grunted off the back of the group on the first tough hill - wondering what the h*ll was going on, and then won two Masters races in a row a few days later.

Failure is mostly achieved by giving up and not being willing to try again.
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Old 11-18-19, 08:42 AM
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OP, don't feel ashamed. You said that you rode with the A group without realising it. Awesome. There is nothing wrong with getting dropped. There is nothing wrong with bonking. There only is a problem when you do it repeatedly Without Learning from it. In the future, make sure you are well fueled, and if you're going to push it, make sure that you have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Last, did you have fun? If the experience wasn't fun (type 2 fun (fun in retrospect)), then something is wrong.

"Get busy living, or get busy dying."
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Old 11-18-19, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RMoudatir View Post
I've only been in a group ride once and it was pretty fun. The last time I've been in a group ride was since 2017. I saw a post on my local city's cycling forum about a 50 mile group ride and decided to try it out. There were about 8 of us total on this morning ride. I stayed pretty much in the middle or at the back of the pack and it felt so difficult to hold on to their wheels. We were just averaging 16-19 mph at 1% incline so it must have been a modest pace plus I was getting all the help from the riders in front of me. I only held on for 5 miles before drifting apart from the group, once I saw the gap increasing I knew I was done. After I realized I was way too far to catch up I gave myself a break. My face felt like it was radiating so much heat and I could barely stand up without feeling I'm about to collapse. I got back on the bike after 10 minutes and I found myself barely having the strength to push my bike on it's lowest gear, Incould barely lift my arms up and I barely had the composure to keep my bike balanced and rode about 3 miles more in like 30 minutes before I called it quits and took the bus home. I doubt it was hypoglycemia since I barely rode 20 miles and was well fueled a few hours prior to that. I feel so physically defeated after that group ride.
You met what the French call the Man with the Hammer.

It happens to almost every cyclist.

https://pelotonmagazine.com/peloton-...th-the-hammer/

https://www.velominati.com/tradition...th-the-hammer/

Next time, watch your caloric intake pre-ride and during the ride.

And although it feels terrible, smile for you are in company.

Ride often, ride safely.
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Old 11-18-19, 09:08 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I just did some math, and I think you may have lost perspective. You're beating yourself up because you could only keep up with the A group for 5 miles after riding just about 20 mph solo for 45 minutes? If you enjoy riding with this group, please don't let some sense of "shame" stop you from trying it again. My bet is if the 13.5 miles had been just a bit slower, you might have had plenty of gas to keep up with them.

I solo ride at a little higher than that speed over distance, I don't see a lot of other riders doing it.
Good morning! I am a different category of rider - actually much different(!). In my club I am a C level rider which means that average moving speed for the ride is typically 12.5-12.8 mph, with flat road speeds of 13-14. The club's website says overall average 11-12.6, but none of the ride leaders have rides of under 12 mph.

Very often (too often!) we have riders who are really C+ joining us, and they go out really fast and ahead of the group, and then pull along the rest of us. As a result we may end up averaging 13.6 or 13.7 mph! For myself, that is uncomfortable. I just recently decided, therefore, that I will only ride with leaders who at least closely adhere to the guidelines. Otherwise I'll do solo rides.

To me, and I'd guess for you, cycling is all about being out there and pedaling, and loving it. So as others have stated, perhaps you should ride down 1 level - there is absolutely no shame in that! Plus, as Livedarklions has stated, you are being too hard on yourself especially considering the steps you took to get to the starting point! Overall, I think your ride was actually pretty impressive!

So IMHO, just get out there, ride safely, and enjoy!

Best regards

Last edited by flan48; 11-21-19 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Typographical errors
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Old 11-18-19, 09:27 AM
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You just need to do solo rides for longer distances at higher intensities so your body adapts to the load. Generally with group rides, you should be able to sustain about 2 mph faster than your solo efforts due to the draft/wind blocking at the same effort. The mind also plays a part, as you develop more confidence it will be easier.
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Old 11-18-19, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by RMoudatir View Post
I've only been in a group ride once ... The last time I've been in a group ride was since 2017. ... a 50 mile group ride and decided to try it out. ... We were just averaging 16-19 mph at 1% incline so it must have been a modest pace plus I was getting all the help from the riders in front of me. .... was well fueled a few hours prior to that.
On a 1% incline 16-19mph is pretty quick. Presumably this was the group warmup. Guys who warm up that quick uphill are good. When you try the ride again be ready for some speed. If you get dropped again, good. You are good enough to do the warmup and that is a great start.

The only real help you might have been getting from the riders ahead was the power of a good example. Drafting does exist at speeds as low as 16mph, it is not a big deal. Runners like to talk about draft at 8mph, cycling is completely different. Don't imagine draft makes much difference below 20. Not crucial until the pace is plain fast.

So this was a 50 mile ride and you were planning to ride to and from. Long day in saddle . Would have been 80 miles? You have to eat for that. Cycling is not swimming and cycling is not running. Had you completed this ride it would have been what, 4 or 5 hours. Tell me how many swimmers do 5 hour swims. Those few who do learn how to eat while in the water. What you ate a few hours prior might or might not have mattered. Your personal nutrition is going to be personal. I have known a few riders who would go and do a fast 80 miles on a cup of coffee, no breakfast. That is not most of us. Most of us eat breakfast and continue to eat on the ride. You have to figure this one out yourself. Once you bonk recovery is not easy. Basically you cram a lot of simple sugars and hope and wait. When well bonked you are not making good decisions so no special plans, just eat. Deciding to get off the bike and figuring a way home in a bad situation, that was hard and that was smart. Tells me you have enough common sense to learn all the rest
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Old 11-18-19, 11:57 AM
  #20  
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Don't sweat it. Everyone gets dropped sometime. First time I went on the South River Ride, I got dropped literally in the first minute. Next time, I tried to hang on a little longer, a little longer after that, a little longer after that. Most riders I know have stories like that. Next time give yourself a better warmup and maybe take a bar or banana to eat in the parking lot or on the easy parts. Hang on as long as you can. When you're cooked, sit up, have a drink, and ride tempo home.
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Old 11-18-19, 02:38 PM
  #21  
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When I think of bonking, I think of it as a catastrophic glycogen depletion. There's nothing left in the tank. Its time to go home and refuel.

What I think happened to you was not a total depletion of reserve energy but something more akin to maxing out in the weight room or doing a boulder problem that's got a move you can only stick once or twice a day. Tons of fuel left but the muscles are fried.

I suppose you could call the second scenario going anaerobic or hitting your lactic theshhold

I guess it doesn't matter though, they both mean the ride is over and getting home will suck.
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Old 11-18-19, 02:55 PM
  #22  
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Been there, done that more times than I can count. I usually have an hour drive to group rides - too far to ride to, then, do the ride. After breakfast, there is at least a 1.5 to 2 hour gap till ride time, plus the riders who ride to the start are ready to hammer when I get there. My bonks are usually in the first 1/3rd of the ride, mostly due to the gap between last meal and the start. If I think about it, I try to sip some water or Powerade during the drive, and pop an energy gel, or a couple of Shock Bloks just before starting. This usually works for me. Getting dropped is part of the deal. Our rides have a re-group down the road to let stragglers catch up. Otherwise ride as far as you can, as fast as you can. No harm in getting dropped, take credit for trying, and hang in there. I'm a mid pack rider (15 mph avg usually), one of the slow fast guys, or, one of the fast slow guys, depending on the day. There is usually room for everybody in most ride groups. Also, it's important to eat and drink before you feel like you need it. By then, its too late. Something I and many do is forget to drink on cold or chilly days, too.

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Old 11-18-19, 11:48 PM
  #23  
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Pros & top riders usually train alone & their group rides are with other racers. I never especially liked group rides with others dictating the pace/distance/route.
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Old 11-19-19, 09:26 AM
  #24  
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First, that you were well fuelled 'a few hours prior' sounds like code for 'didn't eat before the ride'. You should be munching before and during the ride. A banana or orange or energy drink at least.

Second, if you are finding it difficult to hold the wheel in front of you, then expend all your energy to do just that - if you let that wheel go you are in a much worse position than clinging to the back of a group with your tongue hanging out. Seriously - don't admit that your tank is empty until you physically cannot hold on to the group. And make sure you are tucked in as close as you dare to the rider in front. If you are 50cm or more behind, the effect of the draft is greatly reduced. Try to get comfortable within ~30 cm or less.
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Old 11-22-19, 06:50 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post


And make sure you are tucked in as close as you dare to the rider in front. If you are 50cm or more behind, the effect of the draft is greatly reduced. Try to get comfortable within ~30 cm or less.
World champion pursuit teams on track cannot maintain spacing that tight. At world championship level they strive to be even tighter but maintaining it a full four minutes is seldom possible. At the 16-19mph in the OP's story drafting is meaningless. Drafting tight is just a waste of mental energy. And dangerous if someone is starting to bonk.
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