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  1. #1
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    Organized rides - Leisure riders dilemma

    I'm getting back into riding and plan to ride in a couple of big rides around Dallas this spring and summer. I was looking at the Tour de Goatneck....a 100K ride that I did about 15-16 years ago. I ran across this comment by someone on a review page of the ride.

    " With respect to the prior comment about the 40 mile rest stop closing at 11:30 almost 4 hours into ride, that individual has no business riding that distance if he cant get 40 miles in nearly 4 hours."

    I had that same experience when I rode that particular ride long ago. Closed rest stops after the first couple. My finish found me in an empty parking lot. My bike is a big box sporting goods store Iron Horse hybrid/city bike. My average pace, if I recall correctly, was 9-10 mph on the rural, hilly course.

    Could I have pushed myself harder and finished a little faster. Yes. But why? I had plenty of water and lunch in a cooler strapped to my rear rack, but I would have liked some camaraderie. Perhaps organized rides should consider posting a schedule of closing times for the rest stops/finish area to allow leisure riders to see what they are up against.

    I can understand that volunteers are awesome people that have other plans for the weekend. But at best I ride about a 13 mph pace on my bike for a ride of an hour or so in length. Do I really have "no business riding that distance" of 100K at something billed as a bike ride, not a bike race? I can't see driving somewhere to ride only in the shortest rides offered at the event.

    Brian

  2. #2
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    Running smooth tires? What kind of gearing are you using?

  3. #3
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    An average of 9-10 mph is pretty slow even over that distance. Were you riding with anyone else at the end when you arrived at an empty parking lot? Maybe shorter organized rides are more to your style and if you want to ride longer rides save your money and do them alone since you're going to be alone at the end of the paid ride anyway.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
    Running smooth tires? What kind of gearing are you using?
    Street tires, 700x38 @ 60 lb or so. It's a fairly standard 21 speed setup. I like the bike, still, and haven't found anything in the lower end hybrid market that would justify replacing it.

    The 9-10 mph is including stops.

    There just seems to be an unspoken emphasis on pushing yourself on a long organized ride vs. making a day of it.

    Brian

  5. #5
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    Street tires, 700x38 @ 60 lb or so. It's a fairly standard 21 speed setup. I like the bike, still, and haven't found anything in the lower end hybrid market that would justify replacing it.

    The 9-10 mph is including stops.

    There just seems to be an unspoken emphasis on pushing yourself on a long organized ride vs. making a day of it.

    Brian
    Maybe people aren't pushing as hard as you think they are?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    An average of 9-10 mph is pretty slow even over that distance. Were you riding with anyone else at the end when you arrived at an empty parking lot? Maybe shorter organized rides are more to your style and if you want to ride longer rides save your money and do them alone since you're going to be alone at the end of the paid ride anyway.
    I was pretty much alone at the end, but I enjoyed the atmosphere at the start, the light vehicle traffic on the well planned course, and having the goal of the ride as an incentive to stay active in the months leading up to the ride. I think I'll save my money on the short rides (since I do short rides in my neighborhood and local park trail system on a consistent basis) and continue to look for well-organized and interesting longer rides....where I can meander a bit...maybe take some nature pictures....instead of thinking about the finish at the start.


    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    Maybe people aren't pushing as hard as you think they are?
    You're probably largely right. I tend to be a back of the packer in 5K's and 10K's as a jogger, too. I guarantee that a better bike would shave some time off of a 100K or century for me, but the bike I own is perfect for most of my needs and is definitely capable of going the distance. I'll never be one to be concentrating of my cadence when I'm out on a beautiful country road that I may never have the opportunity to be on (on a bicycle) again.

    Brian

  8. #8
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    You could go with skinnier, higher pressure tires that might gain you 1+ mph. Perhaps 700 x 28 ??
    My mtn bike w/ 26" 1.75 tires is about 3 mph slower over the same route as my road bike with 700 x 23 tires at 100 psi.

    Also, can you start towards the beginning of the event to give you a bit of a head start over the main crowd ?
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    I can understand that volunteers are awesome people that have other plans for the weekend. But at best I ride about a 13 mph pace on my bike for a ride of an hour or so in length. Do I really have "no business riding that distance" of 100K at something billed as a bike ride, not a bike race? I can't see driving somewhere to ride only in the shortest rides offered at the event.
    What cutoff is reasonable? One that happens to work for you? What about people who are even slower?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    I'll never be one to be concentrating of my cadence when I'm out on a beautiful country road that I may never have the opportunity to be on (on a bicycle) again.
    No one spends their time always "concentrating on their cadence". Once you've trained yourself, it's automatic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    There just seems to be an unspoken emphasis on pushing yourself on a long organized ride vs. making a day of it.
    A lot of people on many of these rides are not "pushing themselves".

    You just need to get a bit faster. Yet, apparently, that's not an option: other people have to make an effort to accomodate you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    I can understand that volunteers are awesome people that have other plans for the weekend. But at best I ride about a 13 mph pace on my bike for a ride of an hour or so in length. Do I really have "no business riding that distance" of 100K at something billed as a bike ride, not a bike race?
    There are always going to be requirements for doing such rides. If somebody can't meet those requirements, they have "no business" expecting to be accomodated.

    ============

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    ... Tour de Goatneck....a 100K ride ...
    http://www.thegoatneck.com/

    We provide rest stops every 8-9 miles on all courses.
    That's a lot of rest stops!
    Last edited by njkayaker; 02-07-14 at 10:36 AM.

  10. #10
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    I'd suggest the OP contact the organizers of any ride he's interested in and ask the implied question, "When do your rest stops close?" Most every big ride I've been on has had sweep SAG (at least one of them annoying; I was last on the course when the group I was with quit at 55 miles!). They'll normally be in contact with the rest stops ahead and let them know how many more riders are on the road.

    And, as long a the OP can keep pedaling, it's fine for him to do so.

    On the flip side, the organizers and volunteers have a reasonable expectation that the riders will maintain some average pace. 10 mph is on the low end for any ride I've been on. Good rides normally post their closing times at the finish. It seems reasonable that anybody who's out on the course after closing should expect to finish at a deserted parking lot.

    OP, how long have you volunteered to stay at a rest stop or finish line? You know these rides only work because of volunteers, right?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    I had that same experience when I rode that particular ride long ago. Closed rest stops after the first couple. My finish found me in an empty parking lot.
    There's a simple solution for that issue:

    Since they don't wait around for you to finish, why should you feel obligated to wait for them to start? Leave early. That way you'll get to the rest stops while they're still stocked and you'll have the opportunity to greet the other riders as they pass you.
    Last edited by Retro Grouch; 02-07-14 at 10:52 AM.
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    Sigh.....you seemed to start off with a reasonable question (What cutoff is reasonable?) and then you end up with assuming I expect to be accomodated. I said it was a dilemma...not an outrage. Jeez.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    Sigh.....you seemed to start off with a reasonable question (What cutoff is reasonable?)
    Which you didn't answer.

    These things always have time limits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    and then you end up with assuming I expect to be accomodated.
    The longer distance routes aren't intended for "leisure riders" (slow riders).

    You've made no indication that you would consider putting any extra effort into being a little bit faster! All you talk about is what the organizers should do!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dermbrian View Post
    I said it was a dilemma...not an outrage. Jeez.
    It's not "a dilemma". Just become a little bit faster.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 02-07-14 at 11:12 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    If they won't wait around for you to finish, why should you feel obligated to wait for them to start? Leave early. That way you'll get to the rest stops while they're still stocked and you'll have the opportunity to greet the other riders as they pass you.
    For the "Goathead", it seems the 70 mile riders all go at 7:30 AM. It's not clear that riders are allowed to leave earlier than that.

  15. #15
    Senior Member BruceHankins's Avatar
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    8-9mph is basically coasting. I don't know that I'd call that a leisure ride pace either. My leisurely pace is around 12-13 mph and pushing myself hard is around 15-18mph over long distance. A 12mph average should be obtainable, especially on paved roads, and would put you more in line with other riders I would think.

  16. #16
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceHankins View Post
    8-9mph is basically coasting. I don't know that I'd call that a leisure ride pace either. My leisurely pace is around 12-13 mph and pushing myself hard is around 15-18mph over long distance. A 12mph average should be obtainable, especially on paved roads, and would put you more in line with other riders I would think.
    I agree. I would have a hard time maintaining a pace that slow. I've averaged a faster pace when riding with my 11 yr old daughter with her on a huffy mtn bike that weighed as much as her and had knobby tires. Granted, that was only a 15 mile ride. That included us talking the whole time and taking in the sites.

  17. #17
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    I think Retro Grouch has a point. The point of putting on skinnier tires is good (simple) also. Leave early. That's what I do on many club rides, especially longer ones. Some people in the club average 23 mph or more so there is no hope of staying with them. If skinnier tires will speed up your pace by 1 mph, this also is a painless solution available right now.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Talk to the organizers and find out when the cut-off time is. Then apply your known average speed and decide how far you can ride. If you're the slowest rider there, it's not because everyone else is racing; it's because you're slow. You have choices:
    1. speed up
    2. do a shorter route
    3. expect to be the last person on the road and in the parking lot
    4. don't go on the organized ride

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The Rosie Ruiz solution : , hang out and jump in, near the finish line.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosie_Ruiz

    It's like N. 2, above :

  20. #20
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I would also suggest leaving early.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  21. #21
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Why do you need an organized ride to pedal your bike 62 miles? If you're the last one at the rest stops you're obviously riding by yourself. Just ride your bike regardless what everyone else is doing.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
    Why do you need an organized ride to pedal your bike 62 miles? If you're the last one at the rest stops you're obviously riding by yourself. Just ride your bike regardless what everyone else is doing.
    ??? Where does he say that he "needs" an organized ride?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbeachgary View Post
    Why do you need an organized ride to pedal your bike 62 miles? If you're the last one at the rest stops you're obviously riding by yourself. Just ride your bike regardless what everyone else is doing.
    I like being part of the event, earning the T-shirt, the same as when I take part in a 5K or 10K run. Signing up gives me an incentive to ride my bike more leading up to the event. If you're not riding with a group of friends, you're really riding by yourself anyway. For at least much of the ride, even for a slower rider, there is some amount of traffic control, and hopefully the farm dogs are controlled for a good part of the event's day.

    I re-read my initial post and will stand by those comments. I in no way said that rest stops should be kept open for stragglers, or that the finish line should be staffed into the early evening. I was only stating a little dismay over someone saying that someone had no business riding that distance. I suppose people shouldn't walk marathons, either, yet they do....even if the finish line closes and there's no support.

    Brian

  24. #24
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    When I rode my first organized century I had two goals: to survive and to have the odometer read 100+ miles when I finished. I didn't do too bad, but I was one of the last few riders in, the food for the post ride meal was cold and pretty much gone, the vast majority of riders had loaded up and left. I couldn't have cared less. The fat guy who had to catch his breath after walking up a flight of stairs a year earlier had just ridden a century on an old steel hybrid.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you want to "make a day of it" ... ride solo, or with friends, or join a cycletouring club.

    If you want to do an organised event ... ride faster.


    And I'm speaking as someone who used to be able to do randonneuring events, which require a minimum average speed including breaks of 15 km/h ... but who is now too slow for them.

    I won't ride an organised event until my speed improves.

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