And I agree: I feel much safer in a race than I do in a group of charity riders. It's kind of the same way that I feel safer on a motorcycle than a car.
More clinics will help. For someone brand new it's all a mystery so the faster they get into one the better. I learned the first steps from training rides with the Pro/1/2 team from my club but not everyone gets that. More clinics, easy to find the and having experienced riders laying down some tough love.
But this whole Strava phenomenon has really changed the group ride dynamics where I live. It's really insane. Instead of those good, long, steady rides so essential to getting in the miles and getting to know everyone, every hill is a KOM and dropped riders are left to their own.
Any one else notice this? It seems really hard to find just a good, steady ride that doesn't turn into a race at every point.
the key is to be soo much stronger than everyone else that their race is your z2.
Guy that was in my clinic 2 years ago beat me today in my race. I'm proud of him, proud that he's learning the art of bike racing.