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  1. #1
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    Group Rides vs. Solo training for race fitness

    So the team group ride schedule is starting this week, which means rides monday, tuesday, and friday, plus another local hammerfest is starting up on wednesday. Last year I did the majority of my training throughout the week solo, with group rides on wednesday and 1-2 times on the weekend (didn't start racing until the fall). So I'm wondering what I should do this year. Some of my training partners do a lot of group rides, while others stay mostly solo except for 1 or 2 group rides. For example, some guys want me to go to the team ride tomorrow, but it is my hill repeat day, so I'm not sure if the trade off is worth it fitness wise.

    I don't want to ride solo all the time, but I feel like if I always do group rides I won't get the same level of structured intervals, etc, in my workouts. But then again, it's hard to push myself as hard in training solo as I can with a group.

    So...group or solo?
    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    it depends

  2. #2
    . botto's Avatar
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    get a coach.

  3. #3
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    Depends on the group, your goals, and how disciplined you are in your training.
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

  4. #4
    coffee-stained punk hammy56's Avatar
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    both

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    coffee-stained punk hammy56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    get a coach.
    and this as well.

  6. #6
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
    both
    Yes.
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  7. #7
    umd
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    Group rides helped me a lot when I was starting out. Having other much stronger people there to push me, and whatnot. I feel I usually get much better training solo now, but still do some group rides to be social and for sanity.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tanhalt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    Group rides helped me a lot when I was starting out. Having other much stronger people there to push me, and whatnot. I feel I usually get much better training solo now, but still do some group rides to be social and for sanity.
    Of course you feel that way, but that's just because your coach told you that you couldn't do some of the group rides any more and he wanted you to train solo instead

  9. #9
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanhalt View Post
    Of course you feel that way, but that's just because your coach told you that you couldn't do some of the group rides any more and he wanted you to train solo instead
    Of course

    I do miss tuesdays though.

    Edit: of course I was out there yesterday

    Edit: I do still think that it's higher quality directed training, even if sometimes it is less fun.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tanhalt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    Of course

    I do miss tuesdays though.

    Edit: of course I was out there yesterday
    Shhh! But your coach wasn't...does he know?

  11. #11
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanhalt View Post
    Shhh! But your coach wasn't...does he know?
    It was on my schedule, so unless he forgot......

  12. #12
    Senior Member tanhalt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    It was on my schedule, so unless he forgot......
    What was his "prescription" for Saturday? "Suffer on my wheel for 100 miles in the wind, *****es!" ?

  13. #13
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    Ok, thank you for the responses. All of these rides have riders way faster than me, so I can definitely push myself on them if I chose to. I think I am going to plan on making most of the wednesday rides as they are closer to my house, and I'll try to make the tuesday's when I can and see how that works out.
    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    it depends

  14. #14
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    All of my most intense training is solo. First of all when doing those rides I will sometimes push myself to just short of falling over and that isn't very safe to do on a group ride. Secondly when I am done I literally crawl home at 12 to 13 mph. I can't imagine that any of my teammates would want to ride with me then.

    Group rides are important, though. The bad thing about them is never can tell how they will play out, so it is hard to fit them into your training plan.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  15. #15
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanhalt View Post
    What was his "prescription" for Saturday? "Suffer on my wheel for 100 miles in the wind, *****es!" ?
    He told me to eat as much as I could and wheelsuck for the first half to save my strength for the second half. But I did way too much work early on, and he dropped me at mile 60 in the crosswinds.

    At least I ate a lot... in 4.5 hours I had 4 Clif bars, a gel, and 3 scoops of Perpetuem.

    Marco wrote about it on his blog.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    Group rides helped me a lot when I was starting out. Having other much stronger people there to push me, and whatnot. I feel I usually get much better training solo now, but still do some group rides to be social and for sanity.

    I am still starting out and feel the group ride help alot. Not just with handling, but with pushing hard and creating forced intervals. Much more like a race than anything I do by myself.

    If you don't have a coach or a powermeter the rides help...plus all the people racing normally do at least one ride a week so you kind of scope out the compitition.

  17. #17
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    both should be incorporated into a training program as far as i'm concerned.

  18. #18
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    both should be incorporated into a training program as far as i'm concerned.
    So maybe the next question is what kind of balance should there be?

    Friel says you should be doing mostly solo rides for structured training, I believe.
    cat 1.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    So maybe the next question is what kind of balance should there be?

    Friel says you should be doing mostly solo rides for structured training, I believe.
    depends on the type of group ride (multi team hammerfest/race vs. organized or smaller team ride), time of year, where you are in your training program, and what you mentally prefer.

    I do the organized or smaller team ride type of group ride year round as part of the longer training rides i do. once race season starts, I like mixing it up more on the big multi team group rides as a race substitute or prep.

    typical: M - F, solo w structure and recovery; sat & sun are longer team or group rides and/or racing.

  20. #20
    avatar by Sean Powers mike868y's Avatar
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    The biggest problem I see with most group rides is that I don't get as much volume. For example, tomorrow's team ride is 90'. If I ride alone, I can easily get in 150'. I understand that adults need to start rides later because of work, but I get home from school at 3:00 and can do a longer ride if I ride solo, so I feel like I am shortchanging my training by doing 90' instead of a longer ride.
    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    it depends

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
    The biggest problem I see with most group rides is that I don't get as much volume. For example, tomorrow's team ride is 90'. If I ride alone, I can easily get in 150'. I understand that adults need to start rides later because of work, but I get home from school at 3:00 and can do a longer ride if I ride solo, so I feel like I am shortchanging my training by doing 90' instead of a longer ride.
    ride your bike to the group ride, do group ride, ride home.

  22. #22
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    So maybe the next question is what kind of balance should there be?

    Friel says you should be doing mostly solo rides for structured training, I believe.
    Friel also says new riders/racers shouldn't worry about structure for the first few years. I think the newer you are, the more the mix should be toward group. The more experienced you get, the structured the training becomes and the less group riding.

    That's my take anyway.

  23. #23
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
    The biggest problem I see with most group rides is that I don't get as much volume. For example, tomorrow's team ride is 90'. If I ride alone, I can easily get in 150'. I understand that adults need to start rides later because of work, but I get home from school at 3:00 and can do a longer ride if I ride solo, so I feel like I am shortchanging my training by doing 90' instead of a longer ride.
    Who says you can only do one or the other? I almost always ride to a group, and ride home, which can be 10-60 extra miles depending on where the group is. And even if the group isn't that far away (or if you drive to it), you can do your own riding before and/or after the group ride.

  24. #24
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Ride to the ride??????? Are you insane?!?!?
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  25. #25
    Raising the bar chado445510's Avatar
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    I find this thread very interesting. And in my eyes (those of a beginner), I would think that riding in a group would help learn the tools of the trade, and also increase confidence (provided you're not being yelled at by the group for being bad). I mean, you are riding in a group, so you will be going faster from competitive drive and from less wind, and for me, I know it would increase my confidence. Anyone else?
    "The greatest pleasure in life is doing things other say you cannot do."
    In August, I will be biking up Mt. Washington. It'd be great if you could help me raise some money for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center! Thanks!

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