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  1. #1
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I made the normal rookie mistake and was dropped.

    I've been riding with different groups in Chicago. I have been avoiding the ones that describe 30 mph plus speeds. The result has been moderate travel in the 16 mph range for the entire ride, including traffic stops. These groups just ride, no pace line is ever maintained. These slower groups have allowed me to rack-up the miles without overtraining, but I've been hoping to find a faster crowd.

    Well, I found a faster crowd. The advertise 22 mph pace with some faster travel. The first 20 minutes went well, I stayed with the leaders at a 22 to 24 mph pace. I felt like I could pick up speed as needed. We had a strong cross wind, I should have followed to the left of the riders in front of me. But I was reluctant to ride near the center line, so I sat in the wind for a few miles at around 22 mph.

    Needless to say, I was soon running on empty. No longer able to pick-up speed as needed, I was dropped after 15 miles.

    I will say I expected it, everyone gets dropped when starting to group ride.

    This was this clubs "A" group, their "B" group meets on Monday. I'll be there next week.

    Michael
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  2. #2
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    In an experienced group the first few miles are warmup. If you feel like your loafing you may have a chance on the rest of the ride...

    It's not a rookie mistake to be dropped - it happens to all of us and there is no shame in it. Ride your own ride.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I don't mind riding near the center lane line, but I refuse to cross over it. For some reason, the guy in front of me is usually within inches of it, leaving me the difficult choice: ride by myself behind the group or ride by myself ahead of them.

  4. #4
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Most of the ride was fun, I'm eager to try again. This large club has several different rides, this was their fastest weekly ride. I'll ride with the slower group ride on Mondays.

    Should I just stay in the last 1/3 of the pack and focus on pacing myself?

    Michael
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Most of the ride was fun, I'm eager to try again. This large club has several different rides, this was their fastest weekly ride. I'll ride with the slower group ride on Mondays.

    Should I just stay in the last 1/3 of the pack and focus on pacing myself?

    Michael
    You made 15 miles of the ride with the group, that's good. If you didn't belong, fitness or skill wise, you would have been "off the back" within the first 5 or 8 miles as soon as the warmup ended. Next time try to follow the biggest butt in the line, that will keep your exposure to the wind down. You could ride the whole line and when it's your turn to lead just "roll through" and not take any time at the front. Let the group know in advacne that you are new and don't feel that you can pull the line just yet. If they know you are new and want to learn, most of the time they will watch out for you and not let you hang out in the wind. Riding last in line does take more energy than riding within the group so avoid riding last and opening a gap to let the returning rider get back in line.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  6. #6
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    You could ride the whole line and when it's your turn to lead just "roll through" and not take any time at the front. Let the group know in advacne that you are new and don't feel that you can pull the line just yet. If they know you are new and want to learn, most of the time they will watch out for you and not let you hang out in the wind. Riding last in line does take more energy than riding within the group so avoid riding last and opening a gap to let the returning rider get back in line.
    Thanks for the tips & encouragement. I'm sure I understand the concept of "roll through", could you further explain?

    Michael
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Thanks for the tips & encouragement. I'm sure I understand the concept of "roll through", could you further explain?

    Michael
    In really fast pace lines the person leading may only be pulling for 10 to 15 seconds, on more relaxed lines it could me the guy on the front might be there for 2 minutes or longer if he/she is the strongest rider and others rely on his strength to do the lion's share of the work. To "roll through" means that when it's your trun you do not take a pull. As soon as the guy ahead of you completes his pull and rolls off to the left, you make sure he is clear, then signal (elbow flick or whatever the group does to tell the buy behind the pull is done) then pull off to the left and drift back to the rear without taking anytime at the front. Rolling through is even done in races when a team is protecting a teammate or another rider is in a break and wants to slow it down to protect another teammate up the road.

    Riding through the whole line will give you the experiance needed to be comfortable in close proximity to other riders who are riding at a different speed than you.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  8. #8
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    It sounds like you were in a peloton taking up the entire lane and were caught on the windy side. Otherwise, I do not understand how the centerline came into play. If you ride in a single or double line on the side of the road, you are not near the centerline unless the line was echeloning taking up the entire lane. It seems like it should have been fairly easy to drop back and get partially out of the wind.

    One key problem in this type of ride is participants tend to protect their position and hold the wheel in front of them. If you are out of position and trying to get out of the wind, they will not let you in. The reason is that they do not know you or your skill / strength level. With this class of rider, no one wants to hold the wheel of a weak unskilled rider at the speed at which this group rides. So until riders know you and know that you can take an acceleration and not gap, ride in a straight line, not accelerate the pace or do other weird stuff, they will relegate you to the back or preferably dropped.

  9. #9
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    It sounds like you were in a peloton taking up the entire lane and were caught on the windy side. Otherwise, I do not understand how the centerline came into play. If you ride in a single or double line on the side of the road, you are not near the centerline unless the line was echeloning taking up the entire lane. It seems like it should have been fairly easy to drop back and get partially out of the wind.

    One key problem in this type of ride is participants tend to protect their position and hold the wheel in front of them. If you are out of position and trying to get out of the wind, they will not let you in. The reason is that they do not know you or your skill / strength level. With this class of rider, no one wants to hold the wheel of a weak unskilled rider at the speed at which this group rides. So until riders know you and know that you can take an acceleration and not gap, ride in a straight line, not accelerate the pace or do other weird stuff, they will relegate you to the back or preferably dropped.
    That's a good description of the ride. My feeling today is that I need to train with a slightly slower group for now. I'll try the slower paced ride this club offers next week.

    I'm wondering if better pacing (I was at about 90% during the warm-up and near the front of the group) and a better position in the pack might allow me to run with this group. I was almost dropped at the 8 mile mark as the paced picked up, but pushed hard and recovered. After being caught on the windy side I was done.

    Michael
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  10. #10
    Pat
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    I agree, it is not a "rookie" mistake to get dropped. In facts, it is a rookie mistake to fight getting dropped when your fitness level just is not up to the pace. I have seen riders push themselves so hard on fast rides that they cease to really be fully aware of their surroundings. I have seen a number of crashes caused by this. Ride within yourself. Of course, hanging with a fast group as long as you can is fun and it is great training. But it is also important to know when to let them go.

  11. #11
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    ...These groups just ride, no pace line is ever maintained. These slower groups have allowed me to rack-up the miles without overtraining, but I've been hoping to find a faster crowd.
    Well, I found a faster crowd.
    ...We had a strong cross wind, I should have followed to the left of the riders in front of me. But I was reluctant to ride near the center line, so I sat in the wind for a few miles at around 22 mph.

    This was this clubs "A" group, their "B" group meets on Monday. I'll be there next week.
    Michael
    from another perspective
    chicago area not being very rural, and even many rural areas have enough traffic to not warrant spreading across to the yellow.
    I'd say this group needs to rethink their ride method.
    Yes, crosswinds are tough
    But echeloning across the entire traffic lane is a sure formula for trouble.
    A good group can still ride a very tight 3across and not block the lane. that's about as far as I'd go...
    IF a heavy crosswind develops on a section usually reserved for a hard jam, well then the roadies need to re-insert 'brain' and not just do the 'sheeple' thing.
    Having to hang out for a few miles AND having the roadway completely blocked for that long is typical roadie mentality and is what gives us all a bad name with non-riders.
    just sayin.

    Our Sunday Bathhouse 'Worlds' is generally a free-for-all hammerfest of anywhere from 30 to 50 riders and yet we still somehow seem able to keep the traffic lane open enough to allow passing when we're moving easy. Even so, there are times when we just do really dangerous things. I've learned to pull out when things get really sketchy, and feel good about it.
    I mean, unless you're getting big bucks for sacrificing your hide on a ride, I'd sooner just keep my skin, thank you.
    Goin fast is fun, and on a closed course, great. Otherwise I ride to live another day.
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  12. #12
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    That's a good description of the ride. My feeling today is that I need to train with a slightly slower group for now. I'll try the slower paced ride this club offers next week.

    I'm wondering if better pacing (I was at about 90% during the warm-up and near the front of the group) and a better position in the pack might allow me to run with this group. I was almost dropped at the 8 mile mark as the paced picked up, but pushed hard and recovered. After being caught on the windy side I was done.

    Michael
    I suspected you got caught on the windy side and no one would let you in. You did not want to go to the back and give up your front position so you sucked it up thinking it would be okay. Now you know.

    Only you can make the determination of which group to ride with. In the fast group, stay at the back and conserve energy. The safest place in the peloton is the front, the next safest is the back. Stay out of the middle. The thing you do not know is how fast they were going to go and at what speed climbing some hills. You may have been dropped on the easy part of the ride. This type of group riding always includes some accelerations over certain terrain so that riders can showcase their power. You are clueless where this will occur. The first goal of riding in a faster group is survival and the second is observation. Who are the strong guys? Who is a good wheel to follow? Who is a sketchy rider who talks all the time and does not focus on riding? Who should you stay away from? Where do the accelerations occur? If you make the entire ride AND feel like you could have done more then great. Next time you will do more and you will begin to meet the other riders.

    Notwithstanding that, riding with the slower group for now may be a safer choice. Riding fast in a peloton is dangerous. Levi crashed in the ToC in the yellow jersey when he touched Lance's rear wheel and cracked his pelvis. Lance crashed in the Giro d'Italia when he touched the rear wheel of the rider ahead. These guys are the best. This is all they do. Your probability of crashing is much higher the faster you go. There is no need to rush riding in the A group when you can get a great workout in the Bs and practice your skills. Now if the Bs are a bunch of slow squirrels, then forget about them and ride with the As or find another group.

  13. #13
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I suspected you got caught on the windy side and no one would let you in. You did not want to go to the back and give up your front position so you sucked it up thinking it would be okay. Now you know.

    Only you can make the determination of which group to ride with. In the fast group, stay at the back and conserve energy. The safest place in the peloton is the front, the next safest is the back. Stay out of the middle. The thing you do not know is how fast they were going to go and at what speed climbing some hills. You may have been dropped on the easy part of the ride. This type of group riding always includes some accelerations over certain terrain so that riders can showcase their power. You are clueless where this will occur. The first goal of riding in a faster group is survival and the second is observation. Who are the strong guys? Who is a good wheel to follow? Who is a sketchy rider who talks all the time and does not focus on riding? Who should you stay away from? Where do the accelerations occur? If you make the entire ride AND feel like you could have done more then great. Next time you will do more and you will begin to meet the other riders.

    Notwithstanding that, riding with the slower group for now may be a safer choice. Riding fast in a peloton is dangerous. Levi crashed in the ToC in the yellow jersey when he touched Lance's rear wheel and cracked his pelvis. Lance crashed in the Giro d'Italia when he touched the rear wheel of the rider ahead. These guys are the best. This is all they do. Your probability of crashing is much higher the faster you go. There is no need to rush riding in the A group when you can get a great workout in the Bs and practice your skills. Now if the Bs are a bunch of slow squirrels, then forget about them and ride with the As or find another group.
    Really great insight and advice. Thanks

    Michael
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  14. #14
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    from another perspective
    chicago area not being very rural, and even many rural areas have enough traffic to not warrant spreading across to the yellow.
    I'd say this group needs to rethink their ride method.
    Yes, crosswinds are tough
    But echeloning across the entire traffic lane is a sure formula for trouble.
    A good group can still ride a very tight 3across and not block the lane. that's about as far as I'd go...
    IF a heavy crosswind develops on a section usually reserved for a hard jam, well then the roadies need to re-insert 'brain' and not just do the 'sheeple' thing.
    Having to hang out for a few miles AND having the roadway completely blocked for that long is typical roadie mentality and is what gives us all a bad name with non-riders.
    just sayin.

    Our Sunday Bathhouse 'Worlds' is generally a free-for-all hammerfest of anywhere from 30 to 50 riders and yet we still somehow seem able to keep the traffic lane open enough to allow passing when we're moving easy. Even so, there are times when we just do really dangerous things. I've learned to pull out when things get really sketchy, and feel good about it.
    I mean, unless you're getting big bucks for sacrificing your hide on a ride, I'd sooner just keep my skin, thank you.
    Goin fast is fun, and on a closed course, great. Otherwise I ride to live another day.
    More good advice, I'm glad I dropped out.

    Most of the riders were single file or two abreast, but a few were 3 abreast. The riders were staying out of the right 1/3 of the lane due to potholes on the road and to avoid the cross wind coming from the right.

    I tried to hang tough on the right. This kept me out of the pace line and after a couple of miles I was toast. I should of just dropped to the end and made the best of that position.

    Michael
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
    2012 Pedal Force CG2: "Secolo Bicicletta" the modern carbon fiber road bike
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Crank57's Avatar
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    Was this post supposed to be in the roadies forum?

  16. #16
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    At my age, I need a more supportive crowd. I doubt I would have found better advice anywhere else.

    Michael
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  17. #17
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    An update: I stayed with a fast group.

    Most of my riding is for fun and fitness. I'm not going to become a competitive level cyclist in this lifetime, But I will work hard and ride with a purpose. I also find cycling to be a great alternative to other forms of transportation and I would like to begin touring. I'm a motivated cyclist, but not a "A" type.

    Group rides are very popular in Chicago and dozens of groups are riding every weekend. However, most groups are either too slow for me to improve my fitness, or way too fast. I can hang with the fast riders in a pace line up to about 24 mph, but above that it's almost impossible. Being a six foot tall Clydesdale who likes a more upright bike-fit does not allow me to draft as easily as the typical 160 lbs cyclist. It's like drafting at a NASCAR race while driving a SUV, I'm not as aero as these smaller riders. They sure love the draft I create, I can tell you.

    Yesterday was the exception. I participated in the Waterford Factory Ride yesterday. The 63 mile route traveled from the Waterford Factory out to the Kettle Moraine State Park: http://waterfordbikes.com/now/news.php?newsid=234

    After about 5 miles of warm up, I found myself with the fastest group. Most were avid cyclists, but not racers, from the Kenosha Bike Club. They ride these hills often. Not only does this part of Wisconsin have plenty of short-but-steep hills, but a brisk 15 to 20 mph headwind the first half of the route was a real factor. This group of about 15 had a 20 minute lead on the next group by the 10th mile.

    Somehow I managed to (more or less) stay with this group the entire event. Most of the paceline travel was 21 to 26 mph. I had to work hard to stay in the group, but it was doable. The hills were another matter, I would drop from the middle of the group to the back on every hill. I could stay with the group for the first half of the climb, but the second half was murder. But I descended as fast as the fastest riders and I could close the gap and regroup. I did this about every 5 miles. It was demanding .

    We stopped at the 30th mile for water and again at the 40th mile for food. I was about 75% spent by the second stop. The group pulled ahead at about the 46 mile and I lost visual contact with them. It became hilly, I hit 40 mph on one downhill without really trying. Just when I was about to stop and check the map, I came across the group. They had stopped to help a rider who went down after touching a wheel.

    We were now within 5 miles of the start/stop, a group of 3 of us slacked off and rolled into the finish.

    My computer data provided the following data: 62 miles in 3 hours, 21 minutes of riding time. Not my fastest ride this year, but the most demanding and the most fun.

    Michael
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  18. #18
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    It is a great feeling when your efforts get rewarded - bask in it for awhile. My philiosophy is: Ride with the faster groups when you can and don't feel bad about getting dropped, feel good if each time you are able to stay with them longer.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    That's 18.81 average. Still very respectable.

  20. #20
    King of the molehills bcoppola's Avatar
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    Hey, if you don't get dropped now and then you're not trying!
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