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  1. #1
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Just did my first "A" group ride...

    I figured...ya know...second group ride ever, I might as well do the "A" ride. Wow...what a difference, I must say. I even traded pulls at the front....there were 10 of us, and when I didn't get spit off the back on a long climb (happened once), I was in the front half of the group.

    Got dropped hardcore twice....first time, the first 5 guys just tempo'ed us off their wheels while getting ready for the town line sprint; I didn't realize what they were doing - I was sitting behind some tall dude for awhile, and looked around him and saw the front 5 guys about 200 yards up the road. They were moving right along, and there was no way I could bridge, as I had just earlier finished up a pull through a hilly section. Second time, I was leading the group, and the ride leader was debating which way to go....I thought he said turn right (so I did...which started going downhill) and the group went straight. Unfortunately, this was at the start of a brutal climb, I was in my big ring, and I had to catch back up (was about 150 yards behind). I caught within 40 feet or so of the front guys by the top, and just totally blew up....spent the next 5-10 minutes in between the front 6 guys, and the 3 guys a few hundred yards behind me trying to bridge between 23 and 38 mph (lots of rollers and downhills, with some short uphills). And trying to recover. That killed me.

    Fortunately, I never ended up last, so I guess that was good. Since it was an early season ride, the really fast guys would stop at the next stop sign and re-group. The group is a pretty good group of guys though...they stick together and make sure everyone is accounted for at regroup sections.

    I got in on the town-line sprints on the second to last one....I didn't really realize they were doing this, and the ride leader told me about it at that point....I think I got second on the first one (it was either second or third), and 4th on the second (last) one. Managed to hit 37 mph on the last sprint, but started too soon and ran out of gas a good 100 feet before the sign. Probably would've gotten second had I timed it better, but at that point of the ride, I couldn't really see straight so I just went for it when 2 other guys did. I'm not a very good sprinter, so I was pretty happy with my speed...and then watched the two hammerheads fly past me as I coasted.

    I got in, and felt like I wanted to die. This was probably by far the most intense ride I've done to date that I can remember. We only did 35 miles (well, I did...I rode a couple miles to the shop rather than drive to get a little warm-up in first), and the average speed on my computer was 17.2 mph. Granted, the first 10+ minutes I didn't get above like 12-14 mph (easy spin to warm up), so the actual ride was probably closer to 18 or so. It was pretty damn hilly....so that kept the overall average below 20 mph, but on the flats we were anywhere between 21-27 mph. Like most people, I used to be "consumed" by average speeds...up until last fall. Now...it's a nice number to look at and all, but as was CLEARLY evident today....doesn't tell the whole picture. The ride was pretty damn hard. Unfortunately I took the "race" bike today, which doesn't have an altimeter on it....but I would say we climbed at least 2,500 feet (being conservative)...and anyone familiar with this area, that's a fairly brutal ride. That means lots of steep climbs.

    Well....I guess I got initiated. I even got kudos for being the "new" guy and hanging in. It was brutal, and I spent a good 10 minutes sitting on the toilet after getting in the house trying to recover and not feel like I wanted to die. But...I was pretty proud that I was able to spend multiple times out front and pulling the group for a few minutes at a clip.

    My first race is this Saturday. I hope I don't get dropped. It's a dead-flat crit course. I will do a fairly easy/moderate ride tomorrow, and probably take Friday off.

    Can't wait 'till next Wednesday.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  2. #2
    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    I can't help but pay attention to average speeds either, but they really mean nothing. I averaged 18mph on Sunday in a group, and it felt far harder than some >20mph solo rides.

    Hills, wind, and accelerations. They kill.
    Bring the pain.

  3. #3
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I'd suggest not taking friday off. Make Thursday a recovery ride. Then friday do about an hour with 10 minutes of tempo and 3-4 sprints. For most people if you don't do some "openers" the day before,you'll be flat for the race.

  4. #4
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Ok...I'll do a very easy half hour to 45 minute spin on the trainer tomorrow....and my 16 mile loop on Friday, which takes around an hour if I go pretty easy. Not sure if I'll do any tempo, but I'll do a few sprints to wake the legs up.

    Thank God for Endurox. That was the only thing I could get in me right after the ride. Hell...even an hour and a half later, I'm just about gagging down 2 PB&J's. After I finish eating, I'll go stretch and elevate my legs for 20 minutes.

    I need to work on sprinting. Not sure what is more painful...climbing, or sprinting. With climbing, the pain is more "spread out". With sprinting, it seems to all come "at once". I dunno....I did come around some guys pretty fast, and if the line was like 150 feet shorter, I would've done ok. I just don't have the staying power, if you will, at those speeds. After like 10-15 seconds....I was dead. I'd probably be a good lead-out guy for someone . But at the same time....I don't practice sprints. In fact, today was my first real "sprint day".

    As I was sitting on the toilet pondering the ride, I was thinking to myself that pros would probably consider that a nice and easy tempo ride. Insane.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  5. #5
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Staying with the A group is a definite accomplishment.

    And now, going back to the B group will be like going back to elementary school: the desks are smaller, the tests are easy, and you know you're capable of more.

    And B-group riders will be offended by that comment until they live it.

  6. #6
    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    And B-group riders will be offended by that comment until they live it.
    at least we don't get yelled at!

    GW, great job, good luck Saturday!

  7. #7
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    >> Like most people, I used to be "consumed" by average speeds...up until last fall. Now...it's a nice number to look at and all, but as was CLEARLY evident today....doesn't tell the whole picture.<<

    Average speeds are meaningless. I have a hard time averaging over 15-18mph in my area (hills, wind). For example an all-out interval ride will net me @ about 17-18mph by the time I climb up to my driveway. But on weekends (when my form is good) I can hang with rides that are chock full of Cat 2/3 racers and average over 23mph.

    It's all about the interval training. Are you fast enough? You find out by riding with faster guys and seeing if you can hang on.

  8. #8
    . botto's Avatar
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    GW

    sounds good. a few things:

    merlin makes an excellent point, but you've already acknowledged that.

    average speed means sweet FA. (i see that the weenie-master has explained this in detail).

    it's quality, not quantity, don't worry about the fact that the ride was 'only' 35 miles.

    for the love of god, please stop writing about your toilet.

  9. #9
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EventServices
    Staying with the A group is a definite accomplishment.

    And now, going back to the B group will be like going back to elementary school: the desks are smaller, the tests are easy, and you know you're capable of more.

    And B-group riders will be offended by that comment until they live it.
    It almost felt like a rite of passage or something at the end. I'll probably do the B-rides on weekends or something when not racing, as the one I did on Saturday was a lot of run.....cruising along for the most part, kicked it up a bit on some of the hills at my own pace, and had some conversation to boot. Was a really good time.

    However, I think I will be sticking with the A group on the Wednesday rides. That was the most intense workout on a bike I've ever had....and that is good. A solid summer of that, and I should be in halfway ok shape. It seemed like it was a combo of sprints/hills/hard tempo/VO2 max all bundled up in one package.

    Quote Originally Posted by superdex
    GW, great job, good luck Saturday!
    Thanks. I'm hoping I don't get dropped.

    Quote Originally Posted by pdiddy
    Average speeds are meaningless. I have a hard time averaging over 15-18mph in my area (hills, wind). For example an all-out interval ride will net me @ about 17-18mph by the time I climb up to my driveway. But on weekends (when my form is good) I can hang with rides that are chock full of Cat 2/3 racers and average over 23mph.

    It's all about the interval training. Are you fast enough? You find out by riding with faster guys and seeing if you can hang on.
    Yep....as you'll notice in my post, I don't really fixate much on average speeds anymore. It's a fun number to look at and all, but my two main focuses lately have been overall time on the bike, and vertical gain. I really need to get a computer on the race bike with an altimeter....I really like the Cateye Double I have on there now, and it would be absolutely perfect had it come with an altimeter. Maybe I'll just get another Ciclosport CM434. Anyone want a lightly used Cateye Double wireless for a good price?

    Quote Originally Posted by botto
    GW

    sounds good. a few things:

    merlin makes an excellent point, but you've already acknowledged that.

    average speed means sweet FA. (i see that the weenie-master has explained this in detail).

    it's quality, not quantity, don't worry about the fact that the ride was 'only' 35 miles.

    for the love of god, please stop writing about your toilet.
    Heh....this ride was all about quality - in fact, if there was any more quality, I probably wouldn't have slept at all last night (couldn't fall asleep until like 2 a.m., I was so wired afterwards). Actually, 35 miles is right around my average distance on training rides - hillier rides are usually 25-30 miles, and easy/recovery loops are 16-20 miles. The "longer" rides start coming in at around 40-80 miles, but the intensity isn't quite the same.

    I'm not really sure why I was sitting on the toilet....for whatever reason, it seemed like the thing to do at that particular time. Didn't have to go to the bathroom or anything.

    I hit that "zone" in the last 30-40 minutes of the ride where your body sorta goes a bit numb, and you don't really think about the efforts anymore...you just do them. It was kind of a strange feeling....
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  10. #10
    Realist Greg180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    I hit that "zone" in the last 30-40 minutes of the ride where your body sorta goes a bit numb, and you don't really think about the efforts anymore...you just do them. It was kind of a strange feeling....
    That is what I am looking for. I can remember times past where pain and effort were so intense that you hit this zone that erased the past and the future. There was only NOW! The flood of endorphins and adrenaline are exquisite and your mind enters this wonderfully painful nirvana...how I miss it. Maybe thats why I gravitated to cycling. It may be the one place where I can enter that place without destroying my body too bad. All I know is that I have to be in much better shape to pass through that door.

  11. #11
    Senior Member JoeOxfordCT's Avatar
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    GW, great ride report.

    Where was this ride run out of ??

  12. #12
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    I hit that "zone" in the last 30-40 minutes of the ride where your body sorta goes a bit numb, and you don't really think about the efforts anymore...you just do them. It was kind of a strange feeling....
    i brought a buddy along to a new group ride i've started doing. my buddy is super strong, but doesn't race.

    anyway, over the last 8-10 miles we 'race'. it can get prettty intense. my friend had the 'shakes' afterwards, which to me, is a sign that you've dug pretty deep.

    after that race long break i was in last month my fingers were twitching for an hour+

  13. #13
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg180
    That is what I am looking for. I can remember times past where pain and effort were so intense that you hit this zone that erased the past and the future. There was only NOW! The flood of endorphins and adrenaline are exquisite and your mind enters this wonderfully painful nirvana...how I miss it. Maybe thats why I gravitated to cycling. It may be the one place where I can enter that place without destroying my body too bad. All I know is that I have to be in much better shape to pass through that door.
    Yeah, well...the first hour and a half to get to that point hurt a lot....most notably, two periods:

    The first when I inadvertently got dropped the first time when I spent too much time staring at the wheel in front of me and not paying attention to what the group was doing. I managed to bridge back up eventually, but then the front guys did a flyer off the front for the town line sprint, and I stayed with the 4-5 guys left in that group. I was sucking wind at this point.

    Second was when I took the wrong turn, and had to kill myself to get back on up the hill...where I got caught between the lead group, and then the second group behind me. That was pure pain. While I wasn't going all-out on the downhill sections, I wasn't exactly coasting along, so recovering was a bit challenging. It was after that section that I think my body went into overload and the pain wasn't so bad. Sprints still hurt though.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeOxfordCT
    GW, great ride report.

    Where was this ride run out of ??
    Scotts Cyclery in Willimantic. We headed up through Mansfield and into Ashford and Chaplin.

    I was informed that they do this ride called the "Merckx Ride" on the Wednesday ride around the summer solstice....where they basically do a sprint to the MA border and back. That one sounds particularly brutal - hopefully I'm in shape for that one.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  14. #14
    RustyTainte substructure's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recursive
    I can't help but pay attention to average speeds either, but they really mean nothing. I averaged 18mph on Sunday in a group, and it felt far harder than some >20mph solo rides.

    Hills, wind, and accelerations. They kill.

    ditto on that.

    Tough group ride at 19.1 for 36 miles
    Commute home 20.6 for 43 miles

    My legs ached the day after the fast group ride. Maybe it was the sprinting for signs, blasting up hills, then waiting for those that got dropped by rolling around in parking lots and such.

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    RustyTainte substructure's Avatar
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    GW.

    Good luck on your race. Keep us informed.

  16. #16
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Oh, there will be a race report, you can count on that.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  17. #17
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    Oh, there will be a race report, you can count on that.
    there better be.

    oh, and please spare us the 'taint/porta cabin details.

  18. #18
    Senior Member gfrance's Avatar
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    GW. Good stuff. I predict you'll be pleasantly suprised at your race results.

  19. #19
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto
    there better be.

    oh, and please spare us the 'taint/porta cabin details.
    Actually, since upgrading to Assos bibs, I haven't had any problems "down there".....knock on wood. Haven't even had to use chamois cream since either (I hate chamois cream, too).

    I'm sorta nervous about racing with them though....since one pair costs twice as much as my bike frame
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  20. #20
    Senior Member curiouskid55's Avatar
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    If by sprint you mean full on out of the saddle, hands on the drops , all out effort, maximum cadence, 15 seconds should be something to be proud of.

  21. #21
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    I'm so dissapointed. I thought for sure you would go out there and drope the hammer.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  22. #22
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiouskid55
    If by sprint you mean full on out of the saddle, hands on the drops , all out effort, maximum cadence, 15 seconds should be something to be proud of.
    Yeah....looking back, was probably more like 10 seconds, but at that time....felt like friggin' forever. I looked up, saw the sign still up the road a little bit, and just couldn't push any harder.....I think I lead out the guy who actually won the sprint though, as he blew around me when I sat up.

    I found that being "small", it was kinda easy to get a bit more aerodynamic than the other guys.....hands in the drops, head down near the bars, trying not to rock the bike into the ground, trying to get the legs to spin faster while out of the saddle. Some of the guys were probably much more powerful than I was, so I had to get myself as "small" as possible to get any sort of advantage I could.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  23. #23
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto
    i brought a buddy along to a new group ride i've started doing. my buddy is super strong, but doesn't race.

    anyway, over the last 8-10 miles we 'race'. it can get prettty intense. my friend had the 'shakes' afterwards, which to me, is a sign that you've dug pretty deep.

    after that race long break i was in last month my fingers were twitching for an hour+
    My left leg gets the shakes sometimes. It starts twitching really fast when I'm not pedalling after an interval or hard day in the pace line where we start out with 15 guys and only 3 of us make it back to town in the lead group. Almost like I'm tapping my foot along to the beat of a song on the radio.

    It's interesting to note those kind of "tells" (a la poker) with various people. When I get in shape I can get goosebumps if it's less than 80 degrees outside if I'm not moving around. A friend of mine, his forearms, while slender, start to get a lot of veins poking out. For fatigue, when another one of my friends starts spinning a little higher cadence than normal. There are others that I can't think of at the moment.

    Anyone else notice stuff like this?

  24. #24
    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel
    I'm so dissapointed. I thought for sure you would go out there and drope the hammer.
    LOL...I'm not RyanF, and I also don't have a 400 watt dial.

    I do have a 100 watt dial though.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

  25. #25
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    Actually, since upgrading to Assos bibs, I haven't had any problems "down there".....knock on wood. Haven't even had to use chamois cream since either (I hate chamois cream, too).

    I'm sorta nervous about racing with them though....since one pair costs twice as much as my bike frame
    not at the price you got yours for.

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