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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 04-22-12, 04:25 PM   #1
vesteroid
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Feedback from experienced riders

I would like some sort of evaluation where I would fit in a club ride based on this solo ride.

I was coming off a 11 mile run yesterday, so not my most rested training day, but I was t trashed either.

Pretty serious headwind on the way back...guessing around 10 mph wind.

So based on this, do you think I am ready for c level group rides?

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/170824374
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Old 04-22-12, 05:11 PM   #2
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The clubs by me would consider 14.5 mph a C....so to answer your question....in my opinion, yes.
The best advice I can give is to check with the clubs. Each club is different. for example....one club by me considers 18+ a B ride another is 16-17 for a B ride.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:34 PM   #3
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So the solo vs group speed thing, how much of an increase can you expect from the draft? Does the climbing figure into the equation?
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Old 04-22-12, 05:55 PM   #4
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IME, you can usually count on at least 2 or 3 mph increase in a group ride, assuming you all stay together.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:41 PM   #5
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It all depends on the nature of the "club". If it's a "social" cycling club, 14.5 will fit in with no problems and you may be quicker than their slow group. If it's a "racing" oriented club, you'll be hard pressed to keep up with even the slowest group and should probably look for a more social group.

Like Clifton my experience is that riding in a group can easily increase your average by 2-3 mph. However, that assumes that you're riding close enough to each other to make use of the draft, alternating turns at the front, etc. Which, requires that you're comfortable riding in a group. This is unlikely if it's your first group riding experience. So, when representing yourself to the group, just state your "average" average speed. Don't overestimate or work from a single ride that you felt strong on. They'll know their own averages and where you'll fit in.

A few quick rules to riding with a new group regardless of whether you're familiar with riding in groups or not:
Don't be bashful, introduce yourself to people.
Underestimate your normal riding speed. If your new to groups, you'll be busy managing having riders close, drafting, talking, etc.
If you need to ask, "which group?", start in the slowest group. Unless told to do otherwise by those in the club.
Unless participating in an organized pace line, don't go to the front and don't stretch the group out. Start slow, stay in the middle. If you're new to group riding and everyone knows this, because you introduced yourself, no one is going to be concerned about whether you "took a turn" at the front or not.
Ride safely.
Keep your fingers on or near the brakes. Don't make sudden changes in direction or speed. Don't try to compete, with anyone. Ride predictably.
At your speeds, it's not going to be a racing group, so don't treat it like such. If it is a racing group, you're in the wrong group.
Enjoy your ride. Have fun. Chat with people along side of you. Make friends.
Did I mention having fun? And, enjoying yourself?

As other have stated, ask the club you intend to ride with. They'll know far better than a bunch of people on the interweb, if you'll fit in o.k.

I can't encourage you enough to give it a try. Most clubs at the slower speeds participate in a "no drop" ride, where they occassionally regroup if anyone isn't keeping up with the quicker riders. This isn't unussual in the slowere groups where there is a greater difference between riders.

Have fun and I hope you find some new riding friends.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:49 PM   #6
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Thanks guys
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Old 04-22-12, 06:54 PM   #7
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What Fred said, he summed it up well. And go for it! Maybe you get dropped? So what! But then maybe you don't. Only one way to find out.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:08 PM   #8
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..and don't get discouraged if that particular club ride doesn't work out. Not all groups work together and ride well together. Try a couple different group rides to find one that fits your riding style.
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Old 04-22-12, 07:32 PM   #9
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..and don't get discouraged if that particular club ride doesn't work out. Not all groups work together and ride well together. Try a couple different group rides to find one that fits your riding style.
Even within a "club". Sometimes a group quicker or slower than the one you might naturally ride is a better fit. Personally, I'll take a cohesive group that communicates, cooperates and enjoys a good ride over one that always seems to be struggling with its identity and whether we're cooperating or competing. Unless of course, I'm out for a race. In which case, last one to the cafe or pub buys the coffee or beers!
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Old 04-22-12, 07:53 PM   #10
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Even though I'm not Clifton, let me add to what bigfred said about group riding - don't overlap wheels. If your front wheel overlaps with the rear wheel of the person ahead and they make an unexpected move toward you, you can be on the pavement in a heartbeat. The best way to avoid that is to make sure you don't overlap.

Group riding is an acquired skill and the first few times you do it you'll probably be nervous. That's OK, but don't let it cause you to hold the bars in a death grip - stay relaxed and focus on the rider ahead's hips and shoulders, and what little you can see ahead past them, and not on their rear wheel. If you sense that they're slowing, soft pedal or coast to slow down yourself - avoid sudden applications of brakes unless you're coming to a stop, or if it's the only way to avoid a crash. Pay attention to the group's use of hand and voice signals for things like slowing, stopping, turning, cars up and back, and for road obstructions and join in to warn others when you see these things yourself. There's little chance of over-communicating.

When it's over, you may well feel exhausted physically and mentally, but you'll also feel exhilarated.
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Old 04-22-12, 08:00 PM   #11
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Sorry Craig. I misquoted.
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Old 04-22-12, 08:01 PM   #12
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Sorry Craig. I misquoted.
LOL, no problem.
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Old 04-22-12, 08:23 PM   #13
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Every club has a different rating system. Some clubs in my area us a standard climb to rate riders. Others use average speed, but a "M" ride, 14-16 mph average, maintains that average regardless of terrain. I don't think you're necessary going to find group rides with paceline behavior in your speed range, but you'll definitely find group rides that you can enjoy.
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Old 04-22-12, 09:18 PM   #14
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When it comes to "averages" I've seen everything from a supposedly social group ride in Florida that was advertised as 18-20. And you should have heard the complaining if someone at the front dared to go 20.4 for any period of time. To, this past weekends 15.6 mph average that saw everything from 10mph up hills to 35+ on the decents and periods of a couple miles at a time with paceline speeds of around 25+.

Just show up. Talk whoever's there and go have fun.
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Old 04-23-12, 12:04 AM   #15
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Others have said pretty much all there is to say. Turn up and try it, the worst than can happen is they go too fast for you. You might like to check where they go, though, so you have an idea of how much climbing to expect.
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Old 04-23-12, 07:18 AM   #16
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Does the climbing figure into the equation?
I lead club rides. If I list a ride with an average pace of 13-14 mph, that's the anticipated average speed your computer will show at the end of the ride. So yes, the climbing is included as is the descending. Ask the particular leader in case they have a different take on average.

Personally, I think it's a bid nuts for a leader to to expect that no one will go above the listed at average at any time during the ride, at least if there are hills involved.
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Old 04-23-12, 07:37 AM   #17
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I'm impressed with how you did on that ride considering the altitude. Can't really offer advice on a club ride, but I'd guess that if you can climb well, you wouldn't have too much difficulty keeping up.
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Old 04-23-12, 12:42 PM   #18
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You won't really know until you show up. Try a C first, and see what happens.

If they are faster than you, then riding with them once a week will improve your own speed really quickly. You will probably be keeping up with them, no matter what, in 2-3 weeks.
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Old 04-23-12, 01:15 PM   #19
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its weird if you look at the ride on garmin it looks totally flat, if you look at it on training peaks you see two significant climbs (for me anyway) Tp says almost 960 feet gained.

Its really just one mountain, I rode up one side, down the other then back again. I just wanted to see what climbing was all about.

I see local rides listed as 14-16 so now I think I can at least keep up for the most part.

Will give them a shot in a couple of weeks.

I have my half marathon on the 6th and dont want to add much training until that is over.
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