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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

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Old 06-23-14, 09:03 PM   #1
aggiegrads
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Rule of thumb for determining group pace?

I am getting ready to attempt Seattle to Portland in one day, but all of my training rides have been solo. My pace has been 100 miles in just under 8 hours with about 20 minutes total off the bike.

I am getting nervous in my ability to finish is 16 hours at this pace. My questions are:

1. How much time should I expect to gain if I can ride in groups
And
2. What pace group should I try to join? My flat solo pace is somewhere around 14-15 miles per hour.

On my two century rides so far this season, I have been able to keep my heart rate well under 150, usually around 140. I finished both rides in very good shape, but they have only been half the distance. In the rest of the week, I am riding about 60-70 miles total.

Am I in over my head?
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Old 06-24-14, 11:25 AM   #2
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Start off part of the way back through the pack, not all the way at the back, and start riding at a pace you can sustain for several hours. Your 14-15 mph solo pace is a good starting point.

You'll probably get passed by a good number of packs. If a paceline goes flying by you, let it go. Wait for one that makes you think, "I could catch up to that one pretty easy," and latch on to that group. It'll probably be rolling at around 16-18 mph. If you start thinking, "Wow, I'm going to wear myself out at this pace," let it go and wait for the next likely candidate. OTOH, if you start thinking you're riding with a pretty slow group just as you see another group going by just a little bit faster, try to jump on that pack.

Try to practice your paceline skills ahead of time -- especially the part that goes: Keep pedaling and don't coast.
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Old 06-24-14, 12:13 PM   #3
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It's a two-edged sword. A group can pull you along, but trying to hang with a group that's considerably faster can cause you to run out of gas long before the finish. Don't over-extend yourself early in the ride.

A 7:40 moving time century is slower than 14-15 mph. It's in the 13-13.5 mph range, if my arithmetic is correct. I doubt you'll be able to sustain 14-15 for a double, even with groups pulling you along. Wind and hills tend to break up groups. Once you're 100' off the back of a group, it's a lot harder to catch back onto it. Your goal is to finish, and have fun. Play tag with the groups that come along, and if they drop you, wait for the next group.And avoid the temptation to try to latch onto a group going 16+.
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Old 06-24-14, 07:09 PM   #4
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A 7:40 moving time century is slower than 14-15 mph. It's in the 13-13.5 mph range, if my arithmetic is correct. I doubt you'll be able to sustain 14-15 for a double, even with groups pulling you along.
Sorry, I was unclear. My flat solo pace is 14-15 miles per hour, but not my overall moving average. I know that my overall average has to be 12.5 mph. While I only spent about 15-20 minutes off the bike, I did spend time at stoplights, busy road crossings, etc., and I don't stop my computer for breaks. I also climb slow, and I'm not a lunatic on descents, so a hilly course slows me down.

When I am on a long, flat straightaway, with no stop signs or lights, I roll at about 14-15 mph.

I will be wearing a HRM, so I will know when I am trying too hard to hang on to a group that is too fast for me.

I do have some experience in pack riding, enough to know the dos and don'ts. I try to peel off and catch the wind instead of braking, and try to keep consistent cadence in the pack, and a consistent speed at the front of the pack. Hopefully, that enough. I'm more worried about eating in the paceline. I try to eat about 100 calories every 20 minutes, so I feel like I am always eating, and I don't want to surge the pack by sitting up to ride no handed while I open packages.
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Old 06-25-14, 01:30 PM   #5
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You averaged 13 mph for a century, if you coold do this pace for 16 hours, that is 208 miles in 16 hours. Does not lead much time if you get a flat or another bike issue.

You state you are riding 60 to 70 miles a week? Was this the same week as the century or is this your weekly average. I would say your weekly average would need to be much higher to do a double.
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Old 06-25-14, 04:25 PM   #6
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I'm more worried about eating in the paceline. I try to eat about 100 calories every 20 minutes, so I feel like I am always eating, and I don't want to surge the pack by sitting up to ride no handed while I open packages.
Go to the back of the group at snacktime. Start rolling through again after you're finished.
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Old 06-27-14, 08:13 PM   #7
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You averaged 13 mph for a century, if you coold do this pace for 16 hours, that is 208 miles in 16 hours. Does not lead much time if you get a flat or another bike issue.

You state you are riding 60 to 70 miles a week? Was this the same week as the century or is this your weekly average. I would say your weekly average would need to be much higher to do a double.
To the first point, yes. This is why I am asking about group riding.

Second point - I am riding a weekend century plus 60-70 miles during the week. ~170 miles per week.
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