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  1. #1
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    First "B" shop ride of the year (yikes!)

    Last night I went on my first group ride of the season from the LBS. Those around here last year may remember my season was spent working to get from the "C" flight "fun and fitness" group to the slowest of the three "B" groups, the so-called Bumble Bs (the next fastest group is the Honey Bs and the fastest is the Killer Bs; the As are simply called the "racer dudes and dudettes"). Well, I thought this year I'd start with the Bumbles and see how it goes.

    Well, it was an interesting experience. We left the shop and headed north into a stiff 15-17 mph wind out of the northeast. For some reason the group never formed echelons, but a double pace line instead, which was probably just as well, since we only had half the road to work with. They kept a consistent pace of about 19.5 into this wind, and I sat at the back, dodging the half-dozen or so who got shelled off during the northerly stretch, but I finally lost the leaders in the wind at about 12.5 miles.

    Fortunately they stopped to regroup at mile 13, the half-way point. I thought the leader talked about splitting into two, with each group trying to stay intact and work together, so when we started off again I didn't make any effort to stay with the front bunch, and kind of sat up waiting for the 6 or 8 behind to catch me, but after a mile or so I looked back and they were nowhere to be found. I guess rather than complete the loop they decided to turn around and go straight home.

    So now I'm out there all by myself trying to bridge a gap of about a half mile to reach a group I couldn't stay with in the first place. Over the next 12 miles I did manage to reel in 4 or 5 stragglers, and finished within a few minutes of the lead group, but I was exhausted. 26 miles at 17.7 mph average (for me - I don't know how fast the leaders came in).

    It's kind of demoralizing to be going 18.5 to 19 mph and feel like you're the slowpoke in the bunch. But that's OK. I'll be back and I'll keep getting better/faster. But all that time chasing by myself gave me time to wonder which is the better metaphor when considering a group ride that you can't quite keep up with - is it a mother devouring its young, or simply Darwinism in action?
    Craig in Indy

  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Oops. Misheard that one!

    You say you were demoralized trying to keep up but then you spent the majority of the ride solo into the wind. Don't let it get you down. One of these days you'll be feeling great and pulling hard and everybody else will be wheezing to keep up, you'll see. At least you didn't abandon!

    Maybe you need something like this:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...peed........#3

  3. #3
    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Not that I know a darn thing but how can a 20 mph double pace line group be the lowest of the b rides?

    Our b group here states 14-16 mph average

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    Yeah, almost 18 mph average seems pretty fast for the "slow" group ride!

  5. #5
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    The shop's classifications are (roughly):

    C: 13+ mph no-drop
    Bumble B: 17-18 mph
    Honey B: 19-21 mph
    Killer B: 22-23 mph
    A: 24+ mph

    Those are total ride averages, including traffic stops, so typical speed on the flats is a little higher than those numbers. In fact, on our ride last night the leader suggested that anyone who wanted to take a pull at the front should plan on keeping it at or above 19 to keep the average in line. I guess it's a fast bunch. The official shop-sponsored team each year tries to complete a century on the Speedway track during TdC in as much under 4 hours as they can. That is one scary paceline.
    Last edited by CraigB; 04-06-12 at 02:40 PM.
    Craig in Indy

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    The shop's classifications are (roughly):

    C: 13+ mph no-drop
    Bumble B: 17-18 mph
    Honey B: 19-21 mph
    Killer B: 22-23 mph
    A: 24+ mph

    Those are total ride averages, including traffic stops, so typical speed on the flats is a little higher than those numbers.
    Well then it looks like you were actually right in the range. Curious as to the terrain.. mostly flat/rolling hills/steep climbs.. ?

  7. #7
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Terrain was mostly flat in the first half, and *very* gently rolling in the last. I think my Garmin report showed something like less than 250 feet of climbing total in 26 miles.
    Craig in Indy

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Terrain was mostly flat in the first half, and *very* gently rolling in the last. I think my Garmin report showed something like less than 250 feet of climbing total in 26 miles.
    ahh.. ok well the speed makes more sense, but in the wind and by yourself I think you're doing pretty darn well.

    I'm just from Northern California and there isn't too much all flat around me.

  9. #9
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    No one's going to mistake the terrain around here for "rugged," but at least it's not billiard-table flat like east central Illinois. I know, I lived in Champaign for 5 years.
    Craig in Indy

  10. #10
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    On the plus side, Garmin showed the ride burned over 1900 calories. Not that I believe them.
    Craig in Indy

  11. #11
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    No one's going to mistake the terrain around here for "rugged," but at least it's not billiard-table flat like east central Illinois. I know, I lived in Champaign for 5 years.
    We got some big Hills around here. Bob Hill is easily 300 pounds.

  12. #12
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Something's not working out right with the numbers.
    If the ride out is into headwinds 15-17mph and you can almost hang with guys riding 19.5mph ... then you come back around the loop (15-17mph tailwind) and average 17.7mph for the whole ride. So you would have ridden about 16mph coming back.
    15-17mph tailwind can give a nice push, I'm guessing 2mph "free" speed or only about 14mph actual effort.
    The only way that makes sense to me is if you got totally crushed when you couldn't draft on the last 1/2 mile going out, then you were losing too much momentum on the rolling climbs or the winds died/shifted.
    Or you figured your average based on elapsed time not moving time.

    Getting dropped is just one of those things that lets you know where you are in your abilities and what you brought to the ride that day. It's not fun, but it's not good or bad. It just is. Could be that there were some "A" riders looking for a soft ride that got caught up in it and cut loose. Maybe it is a hazing ritual. Welcome to their group.

  13. #13
    not as fat as I was Biggziff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Last night I went on my first group ride of the season from the LBS. Those around here last year may remember my season was spent working to get from the "C" flight "fun and fitness" group to the slowest of the three "B" groups, the so-called Bumble Bs (the next fastest group is the Honey Bs and the fastest is the Killer Bs; the As are simply called the "racer dudes and dudettes"). Well, I thought this year I'd start with the Bumbles and see how it goes.

    Well, it was an interesting experience. We left the shop and headed north into a stiff 15-17 mph wind out of the northeast. For some reason the group never formed echelons, but a double pace line instead, which was probably just as well, since we only had half the road to work with. They kept a consistent pace of about 19.5 into this wind, and I sat at the back, dodging the half-dozen or so who got shelled off during the northerly stretch, but I finally lost the leaders in the wind at about 12.5 miles.

    Fortunately they stopped to regroup at mile 13, the half-way point. I thought the leader talked about splitting into two, with each group trying to stay intact and work together, so when we started off again I didn't make any effort to stay with the front bunch, and kind of sat up waiting for the 6 or 8 behind to catch me, but after a mile or so I looked back and they were nowhere to be found. I guess rather than complete the loop they decided to turn around and go straight home.

    So now I'm out there all by myself trying to bridge a gap of about a half mile to reach a group I couldn't stay with in the first place. Over the next 12 miles I did manage to reel in 4 or 5 stragglers, and finished within a few minutes of the lead group, but I was exhausted. 26 miles at 17.7 mph average (for me - I don't know how fast the leaders came in).

    It's kind of demoralizing to be going 18.5 to 19 mph and feel like you're the slowpoke in the bunch. But that's OK. I'll be back and I'll keep getting better/faster. But all that time chasing by myself gave me time to wonder which is the better metaphor when considering a group ride that you can't quite keep up with - is it a mother devouring its young, or simply Darwinism in action?
    I have to say that the more I read about these group rides, the less interest I have in riding in one. There seems to be no fraternity unless you are among the elite in the group you're in. If that's the rules, then that's the rules, but they should remove the term "group" from the ride....maybe just call them a mini race?

    Good on you for wanting to continue and staying motivated under those circumstances. I'm not wired that way I guess.
    humans can be so....rude

  14. #14
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Some of the benefits of riding a group that is well disciplined is the gain you get in speed for output due to the rest time you get not pulling, learning to maintain a proper speed while pulling, and the safety of riding with such a (properly taught) group at speed/close.
    It really burns my ass when you get out to a "no drop" group ride with some low (or high as perspective may have it) advertized average speed, and then it turns into a hammer-fest and leaves new riders to that group off in the weeds somewhere to catch up at some regroup point by themselves. The whole point of making a group ride IS to ride with others. Even if you have a rider who gets shelled, there should be some person sweeping the group and making sure these folks get back safely. Heck, folks can ride alone from home.
    One Foot Less

  15. #15
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkfrench View Post
    Something's not working out right with the numbers.
    If the ride out is into headwinds 15-17mph and you can almost hang with guys riding 19.5mph ... then you come back around the loop (15-17mph tailwind) and average 17.7mph for the whole ride. So you would have ridden about 16mph coming back.
    15-17mph tailwind can give a nice push, I'm guessing 2mph "free" speed or only about 14mph actual effort.
    The only way that makes sense to me is if you got totally crushed when you couldn't draft on the last 1/2 mile going out, then you were losing too much momentum on the rolling climbs or the winds died/shifted.
    Or you figured your average based on elapsed time not moving time.

    Getting dropped is just one of those things that lets you know where you are in your abilities and what you brought to the ride that day. It's not fun, but it's not good or bad. It just is. Could be that there were some "A" riders looking for a soft ride that got caught up in it and cut loose. Maybe it is a hazing ritual. Welcome to their group.
    Could be that the Garmin info was off. I didn't do any of my own calcs, but the total mileage should be pretty accurate, as it was the same as when I plotted the route in MapMyRide, and the average speed I quoted was the Garmin's moving average and not total average (which was something like 17.4 or thereabouts). It could be that the times I glanced down at the computer for current speed weren't representative of the whole ride, it's hard to say. I know in the second half, the segments that were west and south were with partial tailwinds, and I was going anywhere from 19-21, but there were some eastbound sections near the end where I was back into the headwind and things slowed considerably. That was also the part of the course with what little hills there were.

    Here's the graph:

    Craig in Indy

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkfrench View Post
    Something's not working out right with the numbers.
    If the ride out is into headwinds 15-17mph and you can almost hang with guys riding 19.5mph ... then you come back around the loop (15-17mph tailwind) and average 17.7mph for the whole ride. So you would have ridden about 16mph coming back.
    15-17mph tailwind can give a nice push, I'm guessing 2mph "free" speed or only about 14mph actual effort.
    The only way that makes sense to me is if you got totally crushed when you couldn't draft on the last 1/2 mile going out, then you were losing too much momentum on the rolling climbs or the winds died/shifted.
    Or you figured your average based on elapsed time not moving time.
    You're not taking aerodynamics into account. My power meter shows that my power output often drops by 20-30% or more when drafting behind someone else. You're also assuming that the ride was 50% headwind and 50% tailwind. Given that the ride was a loop rather than an out-and-back, that might not be an accurate assumption. Depending on the terrain and wind direction, the OP may have been dealing headwinds on more than 50% of the course.

  17. #17
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
    Some of the benefits of riding a group that is well disciplined is the gain you get in speed for output due to the rest time you get not pulling, learning to maintain a proper speed while pulling, and the safety of riding with such a (properly taught) group at speed/close.
    It really burns my ass when you get out to a "no drop" group ride with some low (or high as perspective may have it) advertized average speed, and then it turns into a hammer-fest and leaves new riders to that group off in the weeds somewhere to catch up at some regroup point by themselves. The whole point of making a group ride IS to ride with others. Even if you have a rider who gets shelled, there should be some person sweeping the group and making sure these folks get back safely. Heck, folks can ride alone from home.
    I agree, but to be clear, the only group that's considered no-drop is the C group. Though there were times I rode with them last season and the group still got decidedly stre-e-e-etched out.
    Craig in Indy

  18. #18
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    We got some big Hills around here. Bob Hill is easily 300 pounds.
    And if I hit a Hill like that it would put a serious dent in my average speed, I'm sure.

    Hey, are we gonna do a ride in your neck of the woods sometime before the corn is so tall you can't see the pickups barreling down on you from the right and left at the road intersections?
    Craig in Indy

  19. #19
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    I agree, but to be clear, the only group that's considered no-drop is the C group. Though there were times I rode with them last season and the group still got decidedly stre-e-e-etched out.
    You need one of their kits to keep up with them.

    http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h...rDeCure034.jpg
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  20. #20
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    You need one of their kits to keep up with them.

    http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h...rDeCure034.jpg
    Those look a little classier than this year's version, which is blue and green. There was a woman in one on our ride, and as she came up to the regroup stop she was so gassed from fighting the wind that she tombayed (as they like to say in the 50+ forum), going right over on her side. I felt so bad for her, especially in her team kit.
    Craig in Indy

  21. #21
    Senior Member linear's Avatar
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    Good ride report

    Its early in the season yet up in the north, lots of fair weather riders just coming out.
    I'll be back and I'll keep getting better/faster.
    Thats sounds like the right way to go. It can get discouraging riding with a bunch of faster people but you do learn what it takes to get better and there is a satisfaction with that of course. One thing I have learned is to get an early start on building some miles. Way to hang in there CraigB.

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    Kudos to you for trying the B ride, not quitting and riding hard the entire time.
    Last edited by lenny866; 04-08-12 at 04:25 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member 1855Cru's Avatar
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    Craig,

    I think you might want to look at this in another way. In my view this was a very successful first B ride. You were right there or thereabouts with the lead group for the first half of the ride. For the second half the group split in two and you clearly outpaced the second group. In chasing the lead group you reeled in several more riders so in my estimation you finished in the top third of all the riders that started the ride. A success for sure a few more rides and you will get into the rhythm of the group which I think is critical.

    Well done!
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  24. #24
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Well, assuming I can get out of work on time tonight, I'm going to try this again. I think they usually stick to pretty much the same routes most of the time, so it should be easy to compare. I guess the wind is the unknown variable. Anyway, we'll see how it goes.
    Craig in Indy

  25. #25
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    go get 'em Craig. keep us posted

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