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Michael Barry on group rides

Old 11-17-11, 08:48 AM
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Creakyknees
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Michael Barry on group rides

Great summary of the how and why, especially for this time of year... more people need to read and understand, pass it along.

http://michaelbarry.ca/2011/11/the-group-ride-2/

The Group Ride


The group settles into formation meters after leaving the café. Like the table manners learned as children the formation is innate to us. Two abreast, tight against the curb we form two lines. Cars pass us with ease as we pedal out of town and into the countryside. The pair on the front increases the tempo as soon as we are out of traffic and onto the rural roads. From experience they quickly find the rhythm of the group. On the rural roads, we’re in synch. Knowing how to ride properly in a group is taught and learned.

Click link above to see rest of article........

Last edited by LowCel; 11-17-11 at 10:37 AM. Reason: copy and paste article....copyright infringement.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:11 AM
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I rode with McKinney Velo last weekend. They did this for nearly 55 miles until it was time to contest the New Hope sign (it was mine, all mine). I tried with the current team, they just never would.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:16 AM
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This is how our team rides go too (the few I've been able to join). It's really great when I have the time to put into a good group ride. Most of the time, my time is too short, and then I can't stand big group rides.

I do enjoy the Austin Tri Cyclist ride though, even when short on time. That one is about 200 riders, and it turns into a race once you get out of town, with really only about 30 who can keep the pace. The front of the ride looks nothing like the description above, but I'll bet that the other 170 riders are doing something similar in fractured groups of 20 or so.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:44 AM
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On rare occasions my team's Sunday ride is like what is described (like when we rode 80 miles to the beach), but usually it degenerates into complete shenanigans as we approach the first sprint point.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:44 AM
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my ideal group ride would have a ton of rotating paceline work. It's a skill that should always be practiced, yet so few take the time to hone it.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:44 AM
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"At the right moment, when everybody is ready, the tempo will increase, the group will splinter, the strongest will surge ahead, and then only to regroup again at a designated spot."

This is where on all of the group rides I do, save one, where people get mad or have their feelings hurt. The smaller the group (>20) the greater the affront.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:47 AM
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very PRO
impossible to teach
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Old 11-17-11, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Doggus View Post
I rode with McKinney Velo last weekend. They did this for nearly 55 miles until it was time to contest the New Hope sign (it was mine, all mine). I tried with the current team, they just never would.
tell me about it...
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Old 11-17-11, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by wanders View Post
"At the right moment, when everybody is ready, the tempo will increase, the group will splinter, the strongest will surge ahead, and then only to regroup again at a designated spot."

This is where on all of the group rides I do, save one, where people get mad or have their feelings hurt. The smaller the group (>20) the greater the affront.
yeah, the thing Barry left unstated is that everybody knows in advance, "this is how this ride works"

the problem is when you get open rides, or even club rides where everybody has not heard the ground rules, and/or just is going to do their own thing no matter what.
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Old 11-17-11, 10:38 AM
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Sorry guys, had to edit the original post to get rid of any copyright infringements.
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Old 11-17-11, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
very PRO
impossible to teach
You can teach anything. The problem in a lot of teams is that there's no "big dog" (or dogs) to bark at people who aren't going with the program. Leadership, coupled with an "invite only" team membership provides the discipline. The McKinney Velo ride noted above started out with an ex-pro and a bunch of Cat 4's, the guys from other teams that joined the ride were told what the protocol was before the ride started, and the rest were discouraged from chasing people who decided to be rabbits.
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Old 11-17-11, 11:14 AM
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We're using a 2 group method to team rides, since there is an invite only team, and an open/development team. When the A group decides to boogie up the road the B group just holds a reasonable pace and eventually catches those stuck in the wind after getting dropped chasing the As.
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Old 11-17-11, 10:03 PM
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That's pretty much how our lunch rides go - on a good day, anyway. I'm still guilty of half-wheeling now and then - not so much intentionally as from momentary lack of attention to my neighbor's position. Then I get duly yelled at, and things settle back down
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Old 11-18-11, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
This is how our team rides go too (the few I've been able to join). It's really great when I have the time to put into a good group ride. Most of the time, my time is too short, and then I can't stand big group rides.

I do enjoy the Austin Tri Cyclist ride though, even when short on time. That one is about 200 riders, and it turns into a race once you get out of town, with really only about 30 who can keep the pace. The front of the ride looks nothing like the description above, but I'll bet that the other 170 riders are doing something similar in fractured groups of 20 or so.
When I did that ride for the first time, I was one of the 170! No one waited; it was a battle the whole way. I kept cranking, catching people here and there. Finally got to a "just right" group and worked with them for a few miles. Can't recall the climb, about 30 miles in maybe, I was tired and wanted to get it over with, worked it hard passing everyone, telling them I just wanted to get it done. Didn't matter, after we crested, they advanced my tempo and buried me (included BrandtS et al). That ride imho is like a ride of truth.
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Old 11-18-11, 06:44 AM
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Nice article. This togetherness is what I loved about the VC.
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Old 11-18-11, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by bostongarden View Post
When I did that ride for the first time, I was one of the 170! No one waited; it was a battle the whole way. I kept cranking, catching people here and there. Finally got to a "just right" group and worked with them for a few miles. Can't recall the climb, about 30 miles in maybe, I was tired and wanted to get it over with, worked it hard passing everyone, telling them I just wanted to get it done. Didn't matter, after we crested, they advanced my tempo and buried me (included BrandtS et al). That ride imho is like a ride of truth.
That hill is climbing off of the Mansfield Dam bridge. Nasty under pressure.
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Old 11-18-11, 10:01 AM
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I shared this with my club. Thanks.

When I go on rides with other elite riders, this is the way they work. It's pure bliss. Sure, there will be the KOM's and the town line sprints. Nothing wrong with that. But everyone up ahead waits for the group, and nobody is constantly attacking or they'll find themselves getting yelled at or eventually riding alone. The whole group will stop for a mechanical and help out for up to 10-15 minutes, but after that arrangements are made for a pickup. One group I ride with peels off left and right, the other group I ride with peels off left only. It all works so well. During the season our hammerfests are much more aggressive and fast, and the paceline is single, but the pace is high and pretty steady (27-34mph on the flat) and everyone gets a good workout with very little frustration.

Our club rides are the exact opposite. They keep true to some of Michael's rules but there is a lot if stupid riding. Attacks, half wheeling, leaving riders behind. It drives me nuts. I had enough last Saturday and lost my cool with a few of them, a few I respect and a few I don't. I just don't have a lot of options out here. I am becoming more and more willing to drive 1:20 just to ride with a group that knows how to ride.
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Old 11-18-11, 10:21 AM
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shovelhd: Why is there attacking in your club ride? I'd probably lose my cool too.

Attacks are for races and race-style group rides that encourage angry pedaling.
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Old 11-18-11, 11:26 AM
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Our Saturday rides are always like that, most of Sunday too except the designated race sim stretch. On occasion a new guy will try something, we ignore it and they quickly learn; that or they "win" a lot of group rides in their own mind.

Thursday nights attack all you want.
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Old 11-18-11, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
shovelhd: Why is there attacking in your club ride? I'd probably lose my cool too.

Attacks are for races and race-style group rides that encourage angry pedaling.
I don't have a team to speak of, just a club. The problem riders don't race. That's the root cause if you ask me. They don't display the inherent discipline that racing demands. Everyone has egos and some people feel the need to exercise them. I have tried many times to try and teach them the proper way. Just last Saturday I took a long pull into a headwind at a pace that I knew would challenge everyone yet keep the group together. As I pulled off, I went down the line saying very clearly "This is the pace we must go to keep the group together". Within 5 minutes it blew up when I was at the back. I try and set an example but it can be hard to do when riders have their own objectives and don't put the health and safety of the group first, like Michael says.
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Old 11-18-11, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
I don't have a team to speak of, just a club. The problem riders don't race. That's the root cause if you ask me. They don't display the inherent discipline that racing demands. Everyone has egos and some people feel the need to exercise them.
This is exactly why I eventually stopped going to the Saturday group ride I used to frequent. It's run by a local shop and includes a mix of their racers (I'm not on that team) and non-racers. No matter what, each ride devolves into a mess of pointless attacks.

Both racers and non-racers are at fault too. Early in the summer I rolled out with a smallish group (maybe 20 riders) led by one of the women. We noodled around slowly for a few miles as we went over some small hills. Finally, we hit a nice stretch of flat road. I got to the front and began setting a steady pace (maybe 22mph). 90 seconds into that pull the ride leader suddenly sprints around me for 10 seconds, darts in front, and instantly slows the group to 15mph. There was no town line, no ''designated'' sprint. It was just bizarre. Why ruin the rhythm of the ride like that?

tl;dr version: Michael is right, and I need to find a new ride.
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Old 11-18-11, 04:14 PM
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Nice, usually smallish, group that heads out from Needham MA (Town Center) on Saturday mornings at 10 (not necessarily on the dot, but, by 10:10 or so). We just ride, anywhere from 40-100 miles depending on weather and other stuff. Lots of great racers on distribution list -- shovel, we race against them. Organizer is a former US Master's Champ and another regular is a former Ireland National Team rider. Pleasure to ride with imho. Townline sprints are there if you want to do it, but, generally, focus is on just ridin'

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Old 11-18-11, 05:09 PM
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Interesting to read the comments on other folk's team rides.

While my team has a lot of "shenanigans" on our rides, not much of it is pointless. Often it is great to have a "rabbit" to chase and then we get to practise an organised chase. Or it might be an opportunity to attack the group and bridge up and make it that much more difficult for the chasers. (I have some stories here, but I won't bore you.)

And if there are totally pointless attacks by noobs we often let them suffer just off the front alone for mile after mile. Better yet is to have one of the really strong riders bridge up and amplify the suffering.

Yes, sometimes the team ride is Sadistic. Sometimes it is "carrot" and sometimes it is "stick".
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Old 11-18-11, 05:26 PM
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My powermeter has a better personality than most of the guys who show up on the local groups rides.
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Old 11-18-11, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
My powermeter has a better personality than most of the guys who show up on the local groups rides.
But does your powermeter have 45,000 posts on BF?
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