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Old 07-16-07, 07:26 AM   #1
tlc20010
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Ridden into the ground

I think I'll withdraw any bragging rights about riding that I may have previously claimed.....

I have been noticing a training ride in the area that list itself as 25 miles for the following classes (Average speed for rides of flat/hilly combination) B(16-18); BB(16-18); A(18-20); AA(20-22). The B/BB groups are sort of at the upper limit of my ability, so I decide to take the plunge and give it a try. I ride the 13 miles to the start and as other riders start to show up, I notice two things: I am (by a lot) the most age enhanced rider there; and My Buenos Aires is by some margin the easiest on the pocket in the group (It ran to Cervelo, Madone, Merckx, Bianchi…you get the idea). Of the 30-40 riders, there were about 4-5 (including me) who were not wearing some sort of team jersey/short combo.

There is only one announcement at the beginning of the ride, “This is not a no-drop ride, so be sure you take a clue sheet with you.” And off we go. The first 4-5 miles are at 18-20 mph and the group is pretty chatty and relaxed. Then we get into a park with a flat ring road of a mile or mile and a half—The pace quickens (understatement) and as I watch most of the group disappear I glance at the Garmin which says 27.5 mph with a cadence of 115 (beyond my upper limit, don’t you know).Out of the park the group slows for a stop sign and I rejoin at the back. The first 10-12 miles are pretty flat or rolling….then come the hills…..Let’s just say that at the end of the ride, I was not last (or even in the last group) but most of the group was standing around the parking lot chatting and completely recovered when I got back. I said thanks very much for the ride and rode the 13 miles home…..at my own pace. At least I arrived upright.

Trying to decide whether or not to go again…..
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Old 07-16-07, 07:31 AM   #2
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and again, I'm reminded of the pleasures of riding alone.......................
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Old 07-16-07, 07:39 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by tlc20010
Trying to decide whether or not to go again…..
I think you did good....you weren't last

If it was fun then go again. It's rides like this that push us to improve. I'll never be a class B rider but going on the Sunday morning breakfast ride has brought me from a low class C to a high C rider.
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Old 07-16-07, 07:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by card
and again, I'm reminded of the pleasures of riding alone.......................
+1 on this. Sunday and I tagged on the back of three youngsters. I was just glad that they went right at a T junction after a mile and I went left.
I think I would have gone left just to lose them but it was good interval training for that mile.
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Old 07-16-07, 07:47 AM   #5
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I go out with the racing lads from our club for a training ride, I can wheel suck as good as Cadel Evans :-)
On the flat or downhill I am OK, as a long as I am drafting, where I live its pretty flat so I am OK for 10 to 15 miles , all depends which direction they go. ( they go I follow, well hang on for grim death really).
Then we hit slopes, I call them hills, but these guys do not alter speed, not one iota, a jot, 1 kph, nada.
Its like the hill is not there, so I just let them and have a nice day to myself.

We have limitations, not in the mind but the body.... mine's shot

I love cycling.

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Old 07-16-07, 07:49 AM   #6
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Even had you been last, I think you done good!!!
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Old 07-16-07, 07:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by card
and again, I'm reminded of the pleasures of riding alone.......................
Maybe cycling is like playing a musical instrument. Some folks just want to play for their own satisfaction, maybe learn a new song now and then, never get out of their comfort zone, never performing for an audience, never playing with a group. Others push to get better, learn new techniques, join a group(s), perform for an audience. Both approaches are equally valid; they just derive satisfaction in different ways.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:01 AM   #8
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I ride 12.5 miles to and from a Wednesday night ride occassionally. The route varies week-to-week, but is generally 25 to 40 miles and pretty hilly. While most bikes are much more expensive than mine, most riders are older than I am.

I got my azz handed to me the first time out--dropped in the first two miles. Yikes! One guy, a retiree, slowed down and rode with me for ten miles or so, then he too took off.

The next week I stayed with a group of three others. The week after that I hung with a larger group. The point is, I went to this ride to improve. I wanted to improve my climbing and get faster overall. Riding with these guys has been exactly what I needed.

And the fact that many of them are older than me, removes the age excuse when I get whiny and can't keep up.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:05 AM   #9
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You have a compitive lifestyle like myself, but maybe you should have went up in steps. Anyhow you may have given them something to talk about, be it good or bad. Keep going back, maybe you'll wear them down, or get better, good luck.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:15 AM   #10
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Ha. Welcome to Potomac Pedalers! One big complaint of the club is rides actually average a couple miles/hr faster than posted. So expect an average pace on flat roads more like 18-20. Your description makes me think your did the ride starting off at Belle Haven. As you know, it's flat for the first half before you hit the hills. That weeknight ride also brings out some fast, strong riders.

Couple suggestions. First, start off with some of the CC or B rides until you feel comfortable with the group and pace. Also if you like that course, a longer version is done in the late Fall, Winter, and eraly Spring. That's clearly a no drop ride.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:34 AM   #11
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I read your post with interest and have had similar experiences. I guess it matters why we bike. If competition and social contact is of prime importance, this form of group ride makes sense. I still do it on occasion but I do not like the compromises in terms of timing, duration, speed and accommodation.
I am sure that some social butterflies can not live without that. (My wife is such a person)
I am happiest chasing my ow personal best time and long solitary hard rides. It does wonders for my mental and physical strength. There is no reasonable way I can do that with club group rides except a 25 day Cross The USA tour. That was great and I will do it again. But that tour can be solitary also if you so choose.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:43 AM   #12
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I don't like it when they advertise average speed. What does that mean if you don't know the course? They should be advertising their target speeds in the flats which would give you some indication on how you would fit in. 18mph may look very doable until you find out that there is a ton of climbing involved in the course, also sounds like a pretty hard B ride if they average 18mph on a hilly course that requires them to go 25-27mph on the flats.

Now some rides have sprint zones in them where you would hit those speeds but my experience is even in a no drop ride there is a regroup after a sprint zone.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:51 AM   #13
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If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger. The fact that you're even thinking about going again is pretty cool.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:56 AM   #14
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and again, I'm reminded of the pleasures of riding alone.......................
I hear ya LOUD and CLEAR on that one!
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Old 07-16-07, 09:25 AM   #15
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It reads to me like you had quite the impressive ride. 51 total miles with 25 at club competitive speeds, where you were able to hang close to much younger riders on much higher-end bikes.

What would you have been able to do a year or two ago?
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Old 07-16-07, 09:52 AM   #16
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It reads to me like you had quite the impressive ride. 51 total miles with 25 at club competitive speeds, where you were able to hang close to much younger riders on much higher-end bikes.

What would you have been able to do a year or two ago?
Ride my comfort hybrid at 12 or 13 miles an hour for, oh, about an hour.......

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If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger. The fact that you're even thinking about going again is pretty cool.
I used to tell my kids that all the time--didn't know it would come back at me.....thanks.
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Old 07-16-07, 10:00 AM   #17
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I don't like it when they advertise average speed. What does that mean if you don't know the course? They should be advertising their target speeds in the flats which would give you some indication on how you would fit in. 18mph may look very doable until you find out that there is a ton of climbing involved in the course, also sounds like a pretty hard B ride if they average 18mph on a hilly course that requires them to go 25-27mph on the flats.

Now some rides have sprint zones in them where you would hit those speeds but my experience is even in a no drop ride there is a regroup after a sprint zone.
In fairness to the club, they posted a hilly, a moderate and a flat speed for each group. For the BB group as an example, the speeds are hills-14-16 moderate-16-18 flat-18-20

OTOH even the fastest group says only 22-24 in the flat.
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Old 07-16-07, 10:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlc20010
I think I'll withdraw any bragging rights about riding that I may have previously claimed.....
I have been noticing a training ride in the area that list itself as 25 miles for the following classes (Average speed for rides of flat/hilly combination) B(16-18); BB(16-18); A(18-20); AA(20-22). The B/BB groups are sort of at the upper limit of my ability, so I decide to take the plunge and give it a try.
... The first 10-12 miles are pretty flat or rolling….then come the hills…..Let’s just say that at the end of the ride, I was not last (or even in the last group) but most of the group was standing around the parking lot chatting and completely recovered when I got back. I said thanks very much for the ride and rode the 13 miles home…..at my own pace. At least I arrived upright.

Trying to decide whether or not to go again…..
"ridden to the ground" - completely so 'NOT' - You did GREAT!

hanging in there for most of a 'training' ride that you've never ridden before is a great accomplishment for anyone. Even seasoned, younger riders riding with equivalent talent will have some difficulty figuring out how to ride a 'ride' on their 1st time. So you did GREAT!

Of course the discussion about 'mislabeled' rides and speed will ensue...
But it sounds like they succintly hit the nail on the head in the beginning with some brief comments. And if it is a 'training' ride, the expectation wouldn;t be any different.
I always get a chuckle when I read stuff on BF about avg pace and expectations. Except for serious flat areas, like the plains states and florida, most anywhere else with some real rollers an 18 mph avg is pretty strenuous stuff for a 25 or + mile ride. Especially iff'n you can;t 'suck wheel' for some portion of it.

There is a really fun side to clippin along at a brisk pace in a steady group, especially as the 'comfort' factor grows.

-"Trying to decide whether or not to go again….."-

since you haven't ruled it out all together, you mustta had some enjoyment outta the experience. I say give another go, when you feel decent and not tuckered from prior riding. As you get more comfortable riding in close groups and the route and jams become familiar, it all becomes even more fun.
Don't be worryin about the equipment and rider 'bling'. My guess is many of them internally, if not with direct comments, were impressed when you rolled back into the finish area. Young-uns are impressed by hardy old geezers! They'll be triple checkin their chains, gears and rolling stock before the next outing!
I say go!
Just remember, on those particularly knarly hard sections, what would eddy do?
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Old 07-16-07, 10:20 AM   #19
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Sounds to me like you hung in pretty well for your first time. Not finishing last or in the last group is impressive on a ride like that. I suspect you will be back for more, if I'm reading your personality right. I would do the fast group rides around here more often if I could hang with them as well as you did. But the groups here are not that large and there are not as many stragglers to keep up with.
Fortunately there are other groups I ride with where I can keep up or even set the pace for them to keep.
Some people seem to want to use ride descriptions like this as reinforcement for their preferences to ride alone. My point of view is that not all group rides are like this and there is nothing wrong with some rides being like this. I don't like to get my ass handed to me on every ride, but every now and then I like to see if I'm coming any closer to being able to hang in with the big boys.
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Old 07-16-07, 10:33 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
you mustta had some enjoyment outta the experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
I don't like to get my ass handed to me on every ride, but every now and then I like to see if I'm coming any closer to being able to hang in with the big boys.
It's all what you make of it.
Thanks for the kind words. You both captured my feelings pretty well. I do go on rides where I am the kicker, but I think I get better faster if occasionally I am the kickee.
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Old 07-16-07, 10:53 AM   #21
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Thanks for the kind words. You both captured my feelings pretty well. I do go on rides where I am the kicker, but I think I get better faster if occasionally I am the kickee.
This is the only way to really get faster. You work harder each time to hang on and before you know it your in the middle rather than on the end and if you are really get good you get up to the front.

But don't just really on your physical ability use your head as well. Know where the sprint zones are and don't get caught on the front at your limit as they start speeding up, when you rotate back you will get dropped. Try to get your pull done in time to give you a break or get in the middle prior to that. Know where the hills are and practice the same technique.

Pros don't win races just because they are the fastest or strongest rider, they win because they know when to conserve energy and when to use it.
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Old 07-16-07, 11:06 AM   #22
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This is the only way to really get faster. You work harder each time to hang on and before you know it your in the middle rather than on the end and if you are really get good you get up to the front.

But don't just really on your physical ability use your head as well. Know where the sprint zones are and don't get caught on the front at your limit as they start speeding up, when you rotate back you will get dropped. Try to get your pull done in time to give you a break or get in the middle prior to that. Know where the hills are and practice the same technique.

Pros don't win races just because they are the fastest or strongest rider, they win because they know when to conserve energy and when to use it.
Great points. I noticed that at the start of the sprint (which I didn't realize was coming) I was falling back through the group and then off the back. I should have been spinning a little faster and been ready to jump. I totally get your point about riding smarter. Next time I'll know where some of those points are and not get caught so off guard. When you fall off the back, you end up working a lot harder than when riding someone's wheel and getting a pull. Up to now, most of my improvement has been using my legs, lungs and heart. Guess it is time to start using my head as well.
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