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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

View Poll Results: How do you prefer to ride?
Social creature: I love the groups and meeting people. This is MY kinda party. 8 24.24%
Lone Wolf: I prefer to be one with the course, not the croud 7 21.21%
I don't care: If they are my speed, we're buddy's. If not, Hasta Later! 19 57.58%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-07-12, 08:37 AM   #1
BasicJim
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Alone vs. Groups

I am new to Randonneuring and wanted to get some other opinions. Everything in my shiny new RUSA handbook talks about how great and social Randonneuring is. I have ridden century rides in groups and alone. I like groups normally with people to talk to, drafting, sharing resources, etc.... but some times I think other people make it harder to ride. Sometimes I want to just ride my own pace, listen to an audio book with my one earbud, skip stops when I want, etc... Is that seen as a 'jerk' move to be that guy in the Randonneuring world?

Are there people out there who prefer to be on their own? I had one guy say if you want to ride on your own, why do you pay an entry fee? Just go ride on your own without the organization!

Thoughts?
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Old 09-07-12, 08:56 AM   #2
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depends. I don't like to be constrained. I'm not very consistent. Sometimes I like riding fast, sometimes I like riding slow. Turns out for me, misery doesn't love company.


I find randonneurs often like riding near each other, not with each other. It's unique in my cycling experience. I wouldn't necessarily expect people to stay with you on a brevet. Sometimes people start riding together, and then if one of them fails they all fail.
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Old 09-07-12, 09:48 AM   #3
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Most randonneurs just ride at a pace that they find comfortable, and if that pace matches some company they can tolerate, so much the better. If it doesn't, or they can't, the group quickly dissolves.

Myself I enjoy the social side of the sport a great deal. I rarely ride at a pace that I find particularly challenging, preferring to simply find some company I enjoy and roll along together. Randonneurs are often very interesting people!

Also, I'm still learning how to deal with the longer distances and I feel more comfortable having a more experienced guy along to provide some guidance. The shorter rides, however, I feel more free to just hammer out whatever tempo my legs are capable of.
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Old 09-07-12, 01:09 PM   #4
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When I rode PBP, I just sat at the back of a large group (84 hour start). The ride started off with lots of big groups, and it was a good idea to be in one of the groups, as they followed the route, and got the right of way at the stoplights. For a while I rode at the back of a Seattle Randonneurs group, but they had a "ticket puncher" at the back of their double paceline who made it clear that they didn't want anybody but SR's in their group. Which was fine with me, as I had no desire to hit the front, so I just sat in behind the ticket puncher for a while. Eventually I was with another group when the tempo picked up once past the Forest of rambouillet and into some climbs in open country. I was on the fixed gear, so I just kept rolling at a tempo I was comfortable with and let the guys in the group go up the road and tear their legs off.

And this is basically how most organized rides are done. You just go from group to group as your comfort level dictates. Some groups will drop you on the climbs; other groups you'll find you've dropped when you look behind you. Even when I've started with a ride partner, gaps start to open on hills, so you reconnect at the food stops. It all works out in the end.

As far as casual rides, or Sunday rides, you tend to stay together, primarily since they know the route, and there are no food stops to reconnect. But generally, after work I just go off somewhere by myself, since I don't like wasting time waiting around for others to show up for a very casual ride. If there's a fixed organized club ride somewhere (usually these start at some bike shop every Tuesday evening or whatever), I might show up. But it's nice to get out by yourself and just go where the spirit moves you, or where the day's training object is best served.

Luis
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Old 09-07-12, 11:56 PM   #5
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"Sometimes I want to just ride my own pace, listen to an audio book with my one earbud, skip stops when I want, etc... Is that seen as a 'jerk' move to be that guy in the Randonneuring world?" (Not really, it depends on how you work the details and how you relate to other people. You can be a nice guy and still ride by yourself.)

In the local club, riding in the group usually means riding with the same people I always ride with, not meeting new people.
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Old 09-08-12, 03:01 AM   #6
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For me, a long solo ride is a different kettle of fish from a long social ride. I like both, but I think it's the solo ones I look back on with extra pride - even though there was no one to enjoy it with. There's usually a moment of terror when you suddenly realise that you're 50km from the nearest town, and 20km from any civilisation at all, it's dark, you don't have any shelter, and that if you have a major mechanical now, you're in for a long miserable night. But then you get over the terror, and you're the better for it.
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Old 09-08-12, 03:55 AM   #7
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Sometimes I ride alone but I enjoy the company on Sky Rides and I find that I will work harder on tougher rides when I am with a group.

On my own I dont tend to go far or into isolated areas.
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Old 09-08-12, 09:14 AM   #8
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See my response in a very similar thread currently just below yours ...
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...urance-cycling

As for riding your own personal Randonneuring events ... go to Alberta. Chances are you'll be dropped within the first 5 minutes, and then you can pretty much do what you like. Except you can't skip the controls.
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Old 09-09-12, 11:07 AM   #9
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Riding with a group can be fun and enjoyable.
It can also be a nuisance.


Riding solo can be a calm and serene experience.
Did 10 solo perms in 2011, and at least 2 solo perms (maybe 3 or 4) late in 2010.
Fond memories of each -- I admit I have to look them up to recall most of them, though.

I've done the last 90-or-so miles of a 200k brevet solo, but there were people at the controls.
And I got my fastest time ever for a 200. (No one to wait for at controls or elsewhere.)

I did my first 300 entirely solo, not one second of drafting or riding with anyone.
In the end, it was great, but with 45 miles to go, I wanted to get off the bike and NEVER get on one again.

Did a lot of my first 400 solo, on a day when I had NO energy.
Thank goodness two "traditional lanterns" swept me up with about 160-kms to go, or I likely would not have finished, and might well have never ridden another brevet nor tried a permanent.

I haven't managed to do a single permanent this year solo.
Just the result of scheduling, etc..
I did attempt a solo 200 on Sep-01.
DNF'd when I snapped the rear derailleur cable.
I could have done roadside repair and finished,
but I was already scheduled to do another perm the next day with a newbie.
So I turned around to get the cable properly replaced.

Last edited by skiffrun; 09-09-12 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 09-09-12, 08:17 PM   #10
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I usually ride alone unless I'm doing an event. That's just how I am in general- I prefer to be alone and do my own thing.

There's nothing like the free speed you get from drafting, though.
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Old 09-09-12, 09:12 PM   #11
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I rode a 200k by myself yesterday. I tried to keep up at first, but the legs weren't willing. No point in hurting myself.
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Old 09-10-12, 05:07 AM   #12
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^

Local buddy Ricochet Robert did the ToC-1200 in 85h57, and came away with a nasty backside (he's still trying to figure things out -- he turns 64-years-old today BUT his first bike ride as an adult was only 28 1/2 months ago. Anyway, here's an extract from a blog indicating what Robert rode this past Saturday:

Ricochet at the start and announcing, happily and "cleverly", I thought,
"I'm riding to Blue Jay Point."
[For the non-locals, and most of the local randos, too: BJP is two FLAT miles from PUE.]
I do, however, think that Ricochet rode the 7 or 8 miles from his house to PUE,
And rode back home after.
That's about all his ToC-1200 "injuries" will allow at this time.
----------------------------------------------------------------

So ... at least you're riding long already, and got your September-R-ride in (if you're pursuing that).
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Old 09-10-12, 11:55 AM   #13
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I think that being able to ride solo is an essential skill for randonneuring. Sometimes that's just how things work out, and if you are not comfortable with solo riding then you're that much more likely to DNF. But if there are riders who are going about the same speed as me then I do prefer to ride in a group. But preferably a small group, once you start to have half a dozen or more then you have to focus more on avoiding paceline issues than looking at the scenery.

Nick
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Old 09-10-12, 02:30 PM   #14
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I think that being able to ride solo is an essential skill for randonneuring. Sometimes that's just how things work out, and if you are not comfortable with solo riding then you're that much more likely to DNF. But if there are riders who are going about the same speed as me then I do prefer to ride in a group. But preferably a small group, once you start to have half a dozen or more then you have to focus more on avoiding paceline issues than looking at the scenery.

Nick
Yes.

I've ridden alone and picked-up groups along the way to ride with for a while. One doesn't need to start and end with the same group (which doesn't necessarily work well if the members want/need to ride at different paces).

Some of the sociability is talking to people at controls or when you ride with them for a while.
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Old 09-10-12, 02:32 PM   #15
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but some times I think other people make it harder to ride. Sometimes I want to just ride my own pace, listen to an audio book with my one earbud, skip stops when I want, etc... Is that seen as a 'jerk' move to be that guy in the Randonneuring world?
It seems to be standard operating procedure to allow people to ride any way they like but being polite about what they do!
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Old 09-10-12, 02:34 PM   #16
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After the humiliation of my 2nd brevet, I started working really hard at being good at navigation. What this means is that I often get people that want me to navigate for them. While I don't mind, it never seems to work out that well unless I've chosen the group. I think everyone should navigate like they are going to be alone at the next turn.
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Old 09-11-12, 09:29 AM   #17
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I think everyone should navigate like they are going to be alone at the next turn.
Very true. It's also a good idea to check your cue sheet even when you're with other riders, because I've gone off course by playing "follow the leader" before.
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Old 09-11-12, 07:33 PM   #18
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I am new to Randonneuring and wanted to get some other opinions. Everything in my shiny new RUSA handbook talks about how great and social Randonneuring is. I have ridden century rides in groups and alone. I like groups normally with people to talk to, drafting, sharing resources, etc.... but some times I think other people make it harder to ride. Sometimes I want to just ride my own pace, listen to an audio book with my one earbud, skip stops when I want, etc... Is that seen as a 'jerk' move to be that guy in the Randonneuring world?
When i started randonneuring a nice guy i was riding with made it really clear to me that it was ok to drop him for whatever reason. There is however IMO a complex social thingy where the longer you ride with people and the more they let you catch up, the more that you will be expected to do the same for them. You just have to play that by ear.

The only time that dropping really becomes a no-no is when you're riding with teammates in a fleche . At every other time randonneuring isn't necessarily social if you don't want it to be.
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Old 09-12-12, 08:02 AM   #19
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Going solo becomes a very attractive option when one of your potential ride partners / friends can't make up their frickin' mind whether to ride or not, and once they've decided to ride, they keep wanting to switch the ride to a different option.

Solution? "I'm doing this; you do what you want."

I apparently have to keep re-learning that. Over and over and over and over.
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Old 09-12-12, 08:13 AM   #20
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... this means is that I often ... navigate ... . While I don't mind, ... I think everyone should navigate like they are ... alone ... .
Edited to fit my situation.

I don't get lost on the local Raleigh brevets -- it probably helps that I created the maps and electronically checked the cue sheets for the turns and road names (at request of the RBA). It is nice to be able to do an entire 600k without once needing to look at the cue sheet, and still be confident that one is on the correct route.

The only bonus miles I've collected on Raleigh brevets was on my first 600k (a DNF for other reasons). We were in Wilmington, NC. I was riding with a guy that lived in Wilmington; having a fine chat. He commented "oh, so that's what that church looks like at night", and we continued riding and chatting. About half a mile later, he says, "hey, we aren't supposed to ride past that church." I suspect that most bonus miles come about because people are having too good a time just riding and chatting, and forget to "navigate".

New permanents (or brevets elsewhere) -- I keep the cue sheet very handy.
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Old 09-12-12, 12:04 PM   #21
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...The only time that dropping really becomes a no-no is when you're riding with teammates in a fleche . At every other time randonneuring isn't necessarily social if you don't want it to be.
I'd say this isn't quite true. If you ride with a group for the first 120 miles of a 200km, then start riding hard just a few miles from the end to drop them so you can come in "first" then you're going to get ostracised and next time around, the group probably will not be so friendly to you.

Nick
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Old 09-12-12, 12:32 PM   #22
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I'd say this isn't quite true. If you ride with a group for the first 120 miles of a 200km, then start riding hard just a few miles from the end to drop them so you can come in "first" then you're going to get ostracised and next time around, the group probably will not be so friendly to you.

Nick
Also, I've been in situations where a group has formed as the sun goes down, and we all agree to stick together through the night. Once morning comes we might separate, but through the darkness we travel in a group ... safety in numbers.
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Old 09-12-12, 12:37 PM   #23
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I'd say this isn't quite true. If you ride with a group for the first 120 miles of a 200km, then start riding hard just a few miles from the end to drop them so you can come in "first" then you're going to get ostracised and next time around, the group probably will not be so friendly to you.

Nick
Hmm...really? It wouldn't occur to me to be bothered by that at all. If a rider has the strength to drop me after 120 kms, well then he should come in 'first'. I mean granted it's randonneuring so it doesn't matter, but to the degree that it does who should come in first? The slower or the faster rider?
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Old 09-12-12, 12:38 PM   #24
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Also, I've been in situations where a group has formed as the sun goes down, and we all agree to stick together through the night. Once morning comes we might separate, but through the darkness we travel in a group ... safety in numbers.
Oh yea, I definitely agree with this. Cycling through foreign lands in the middle of the night definitely makes me want some company. But then that might be just cuz I'm a big wuss.
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Old 09-12-12, 01:50 PM   #25
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I'd say this isn't quite true. If you ride with a group for the first 120 miles of a 200km, then start riding hard just a few miles from the end to drop them so you can come in "first" then you're going to get ostracised and next time around, the group probably will not be so friendly to you.

Nick
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Hmm...really? It wouldn't occur to me to be bothered by that at all. If a rider has the strength to drop me after 120 kms, well then he should come in 'first'. I mean granted it's randonneuring so it doesn't matter, but to the degree that it does who should come in first? The slower or the faster rider?
On some of the rides I've done, if a small group of us has been riding most of the way together, we finish together ... even to the point of arranging ourselves in a row across the road so we all roll across the finish together.
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