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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-23-07, 08:48 PM   #1
zpl
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First "hardcore" group ride report.

Nearly all of my riding to date has been solo, at 15-16 MPH avg speeds. A few weeks ago I technically did my first group ride, a Granite State Wheelmen organized weekly ride advertised as a "leisurely" pace of 14-15 MPH. And that's what it was - no big deal, and not very hilly.

A co-worker of mine does the Thursday night rides from the LBS we bought our bikes at. It's an advertised 18 MPH avg speed, and a no-drop policy. They wait for you every so often if you fall off the back. I've heard you can do a couple MPH more than you can solo when in a group, so after procrastinating on it for weeks, I finally decided to give the ride a try tonight.

My idea of a "hard ride" is forever changed.

Wow, what an experience! After about five minutes of "warm-up", they kicked things into gear (pun intended) and my heart rate got well into the 180s. I believe my max is somewhere in the low 190s, so it was everything I could do to hang on and not blow up. The urge to throw up came and went a few times on the ride.

Did I mention that two of the riders were on single-speeds? Amazing.

Surprisingly, I could keep up reasonably well on the flats, but as you would expect from a clyde, any time the road went up I couldn't stay with the group. It was a somewhat hilly course, with one "major" hill IMO.

Anyway, the group of riders, though fast, were really friendly and encouraging. I received a lot of riding tips and enjoyed joking around with them.

It was a great experience because I've now re-calibrated my sense of what I'm capable of doing. I'd highly recommend people try pushing themselves like this if they have the chance. I'm glad I did.

So, will I be there next week? Probably not. But I will ride with a new perspective and will definitely join them again in September.

Man, my glutes are sore...

Ride Stats:

130
32.4 miles
17.6 MPH

Scott
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Old 08-23-07, 09:26 PM   #2
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Congrats! The fast group ride is one of the adrenaline triggers for me. It also pushes me to improve (read: get healthier, lose more weight).

Keep going back.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:34 PM   #3
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sounds like fun!

does drafting in a group really make a couple MPH difference? i do all my rides solo or with my dad.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:41 PM   #4
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sounds like fun!

does drafting in a group really make a couple MPH difference? i do all my rides solo or with my dad.
huge difference....they estimate that in the draft you are working 60% less than the guy pulling....

on my own on flat ground i can average about 20mph....in a group drafting i can hold 24 almost all day....

the other day 2 friends and myself averaged about 27 in a pace line for a little while...


Stay in there....it gets easier.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:56 PM   #5
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huge difference....they estimate that in the draft you are working 60% less than the guy pulling....

on my own on flat ground i can average about 20mph....in a group drafting i can hold 24 almost all day....

the other day 2 friends and myself averaged about 27 in a pace line for a little while...


Stay in there....it gets easier.
awesome! im gonna have to find some group rides now.
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Old 08-23-07, 09:57 PM   #6
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First off - Good Job!!!!

What tips did you get and did they ever ask you to lead or were there only a few people that ever were leaders?

How many people total were on your ride?

Is there any place on the web to try and find people in our small towns? I would like to ride with a group of people on road bikes that try to average 18mph or more. I did a 30 by myself and ended up with a 15 average.
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Old 08-23-07, 10:45 PM   #7
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What tips did you get and did they ever ask you to lead or were there only a few people that ever were leaders?

How many people total were on your ride?

Is there any place on the web to try and find people in our small towns? I would like to ride with a group of people on road bikes that try to average 18mph or more. I did a 30 by myself and ended up with a 15 average.
It wasn't a strict paceline - the people who wanted to pull, pulled. I was never asked to pull and don't think anyone else was, either.

I'd say there were eight or so riders in the group I was in.

This particular group ride is associated with the LBS I go to. One or two employees were in it. I'd maybe start by talking to your LBS about running a group ride (I'm sure if it will help if you can volunteer to lead it and can show up on a schedule to do so). Since their customers are obvious candidates for your group ride, they might let you post notices in the store so people are aware of it.

And to answer another poster, drafting certainly made a difference, but again, as soon as we hit any hills, I couldn't stay in the draft zone and slowly moved back and then off the back. But unfortunately that's when I needed the draft the most!

Scott
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Old 08-23-07, 11:05 PM   #8
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It's fun isn't it? You push yourself a lot harder than you normally would. If they're an encouraging bunch with a no-drop policy, you should go back ASAP.
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Old 08-24-07, 06:25 AM   #9
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My LBS is not local as it is 45 minutes away at least. I haven't found anyone that is interested in going faster and working at biking as I am, but would be willing to drive a little distance to do a group ride when my free time allowed for it.



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It wasn't a strict paceline - the people who wanted to pull, pulled. I was never asked to pull and don't think anyone else was, either.

I'd say there were eight or so riders in the group I was in.

This particular group ride is associated with the LBS I go to. One or two employees were in it. I'd maybe start by talking to your LBS about running a group ride (I'm sure if it will help if you can volunteer to lead it and can show up on a schedule to do so). Since their customers are obvious candidates for your group ride, they might let you post notices in the store so people are aware of it.

And to answer another poster, drafting certainly made a difference, but again, as soon as we hit any hills, I couldn't stay in the draft zone and slowly moved back and then off the back. But unfortunately that's when I needed the draft the most!

Scott
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Old 08-24-07, 07:19 AM   #10
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Great fun riding in the slipstream, isn't it? I had the experience last sunday during my century when I locked onto the rear wheels of a faster group. Like you mentioned, once it goes up the hills, I was dropped from the group as well. Slipstream don't matter much once the hills come
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Old 08-24-07, 07:48 PM   #11
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Way to go zpl!!
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Old 08-24-07, 08:02 PM   #12
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Week nights usually aren't that good for me since I commute to work most days. Weekends however...

Let me know if you want to ride sometime. Dover, Portsmouth, Rye/Hampton, etc. Riding from Portsmouth to Dover is kinda fun.
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Old 08-24-07, 08:42 PM   #13
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huge difference....they estimate that in the draft you are working 60% less than the guy pulling...
To cite studies, it's been found that the effect of drafting reduces oxygen cost between 25 to 40 percent. Obviously, the greatest effects are seen in larger groups, where the cyclist is surrounded by other cyclists, and not simply the second member of a two person pace-line. (Kyle 1979, McCole et al. 1990)

In a four-person team pursuit (a type of track race), the average power outputs of the four members (from front to rear, in watts): 607, 430, 389, 389. This is 71, 64, and 64 percent of the power output of the lead rider required to maintain an average speed of 60 kmh (over 2,000 m). (Broker, et al., 1999)

So, you get the general idea. There's a HUGE effect in drafting.

In general, riding with people a LITTLE better than you are is the best way to improve your cycling. You'll find the camaraderie refreshing and you'll push just a bit harder to maintain the order of the group.
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Old 08-25-07, 02:43 PM   #14
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you guys werent kidding about the drafting thing. i did a 61 mile ride today with my dad and his friend. we all took turns pulling and averaged 18mph. that was a freakin awesome ride! couldnt have done it alone, thats for sure.
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Old 08-25-07, 04:23 PM   #15
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To cite studies, it's been found that the effect of drafting reduces oxygen cost between 25 to 40 percent. Obviously, the greatest effects are seen in larger groups, where the cyclist is surrounded by other cyclists, and not simply the second member of a two person pace-line. (Kyle 1979, McCole et al. 1990)

In a four-person team pursuit (a type of track race), the average power outputs of the four members (from front to rear, in watts): 607, 430, 389, 389. This is 71, 64, and 64 percent of the power output of the lead rider required to maintain an average speed of 60 kmh (over 2,000 m). (Broker, et al., 1999)

So, you get the general idea. There's a HUGE effect in drafting.

In general, riding with people a LITTLE better than you are is the best way to improve your cycling. You'll find the camaraderie refreshing and you'll push just a bit harder to maintain the order of the group.
oh...i was messed up....i meant 60% of the effort as the guy in front of you....so that makes sense...

Sorry
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Old 08-30-07, 04:39 PM   #16
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WTG!

I just finished my 2nd large group ride last night. I can't believe how much I'm learning and improving, just little stuff adding up in my brain & legs. Drafting is the bomb. But it's a huge adjustment from "going at your own pace" of solo rides to "grabbing a wheel" in a group. I got the manditory squawk of "keep your line" from a guy behind me last night. All I could do was yelp "I'm trying", as I'm desperately trying to stay on the wheel of the guy ahead of me. Fun stuff, but a helluva workout for me, both mentally & physically.

I think the 2 MPH rule is pretty true, regarding drafting. We averaged 19.6 MPH last night for 32 miles of rolling hills, I'd have averaged around 17.5 MPH if I went out and did the same ride solo last night at the same intensity. I don't know if it matters, but I was sucking wheels all night and rarely was I "out front", except for a few miles when the "A" group took off, and as the "B" group collected.

I guess technically, I got "dropped" twice from the "B" group, but so did various others. There was a couple regroupings, where we stopped and gathered up all of the stragglers. Once after the "A" group blew up the pack, then again after the worst series of hills. There seemed to be a couple guys keeping track of everyone, I don't know if they were bike shop employees or just good sumaritans, or both. Personally, I was just looking out for my own sorry butt, as it was my first ride with this particular group and was clueless what to expect.

Hills. Gotta love 'em. I think hill ability is basically what seperates the men from the boys. Yes, I'm a boy, yet, as far as bicycling up hills. I used to think it was all about body weight. But, I'm down to 180 lbs, now, from 240 lbs, and I'm better at hills, but there's technique involved, as well as plain old-fashioned strength. I'm no expert, but it seems that guys basically try to sprint over rolling hills, actually going up a couple gears and just mad mashing. I'm getting better, but it takes a strong rider to mash up any kind of significant hill, IMO.

Best of luck to any of you guys just getting started in group rides! Just try to hang in there, I guess that's my motto for right now. I can see tons of improvement & learning, so that's what keeps me motivated. Just keep taking those baby steps. Personally, group riding is opening a whole new dimension of bicycling for me.
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Old 09-02-07, 03:55 PM   #17
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Similar experiences ... on Tuesday nights there's a 15-16 avg group and an 18 mph group. Before I ride with the fast group I ask the ride leader what the route's going to be. There are a couple pretty hilly routes ... and I get dropped like a 255lb old guy (me) when we go through the hills. I can hang pretty well on the rollers ... so I stoke the ego and ride with them when they don't ride the hills.

Drafting ... Oh yeah baby ... I drafted for 24 miles of a 50 mile charity ride in July ... the pack was lead by a pro from Jelly Belly ... did the first 24 at an average of 23 mph drafting on flat to slightly rolling roads ... it was fantastic ... until young skinny tall pro dude took the pace up to 27 ... and dropped me like an anchor ... all hacking and wheezing.
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