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Extrapolating your solo average speed to group average speed

Old 12-05-21, 09:02 PM
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Cramic
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Extrapolating your solo average speed to group average speed

Hi all,

Planning to start cycling with a local club. They run multiple groups for their long rides (50-60km), based on your group average speed. Now I don't know mine, as I virtually always ride solo, but on the odd occasion I've benefitted from a slipstream I've obviously noticed a significant easier/faster ride and am aware of the advantages of group cycling.

I'm planning on, first time, simply going with the group that matches my solo average, but wondered if there is a rule of thumb? Like expect to do 2kmh quicker or something? Just out of interest.

Cheers!
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Old 12-05-21, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Cramic View Post
Hi all,

Planning to start cycling with a local club. They run multiple groups for their long rides (50-60km), based on your group average speed. Now I don't know mine, as I virtually always ride solo, but on the odd occasion I've benefitted from a slipstream I've obviously noticed a significant easier/faster ride and am aware of the advantages of group cycling.

I'm planning on, first time, simply going with the group that matches my solo average, but wondered if there is a rule of thumb? Like expect to do 2kmh quicker or something? Just out of interest.

Cheers!
If youíve never ridden in a group before, you will need to devote some of your attention to the dynamics. You donít want to be the new guy who crashes the pack. Go with a slower group until you get a feel for things.
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Old 12-05-21, 10:03 PM
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If you're on the fast end, a group will go substantially faster than you can do solo.

On the slower end, there tends to be lots of stops and re-groups, so overall speed could be slower than solo.
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Old 12-05-21, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
If youíve never ridden in a group before, you will need to devote some of your attention to the dynamics. You donít want to be the new guy who crashes the pack. Go with a slower group until you get a feel for things.
I have to agree. Easier place to learn the dynamics of riding in a group, more time to react if something goes wrong or is close to going wrong.
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Old 12-06-21, 02:21 AM
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My average speed on my computer on solo rides, which includes coasting and stops is normally in the mid-upper 17mph range. But I'm not going at a race pace. Fairly strong rider but I won't be winning the Giro any time soon. I'm an A group rider and we average over 20mph. My last 100K charity ride I averaged just over 22mph with the lead group.
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Old 12-06-21, 09:01 AM
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One approach might be to pick the group that corresponds to your average solo speed for a few rides. You'll probably drift toward the front; if you end up pulling much more than the average rider in that group, you're ready for the next faster group.

The wrinkle to this is that when you get in the group where you belong, you'll still feel like you could be going faster when you're in the pack. Relax and save that feeling for when you rotate to the front. Don't forget to pull off earlier than you have to -- you'll still want to ride with them after that painful acceleration to get back with the tail of the pack.
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Old 12-06-21, 10:40 AM
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I'm usually somewhere between 1-3mph faster on group rides than solo - on the same (or similar) route. Some of this is from the draft, some of this is just the pace that the group rides at, which in turn encourages me to ride a little faster than I might if I were solo.

Agree with others that you should just start in the slower group for a few rides, even if the pace is too easy. I remember the first few large group rides I did were mentally exhausting, feeling like I was hyper aware of everything on the road and concentrating really hard, paying attention to everyone around me, etc. I remember thinking how impossible it seemed to find a spot where I could relax and take a drink of water.
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Old 12-06-21, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Don't forget to pull off earlier than you have to -- you'll still want to ride with them after that painful acceleration to get back with the tail of the pack.
I've been doing group rides for a few years and am still learning this one. I always try to remind myself that my "turn" isn't really over until I'm fully latched onto the tail of the group, and can't just coast back to the rear and expect to latch on.
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Old 12-06-21, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
If you’ve never ridden in a group before, you will need to devote some of your attention to the dynamics. You don’t want to be the new guy who crashes the pack. Go with a slower group until you get a feel for things.
EXACTLY !
Let me emphasis this. Riding, even in a small group, requires far more skills than anyone uses riding solo. It's not just 'group dynamics' but your own ability to to ride smoothly, safely and alertly - a group will always have variations of dynamics happening within it.
You, of course, have done extensive web searching and becoming acquainted with ways to integrate and ride safely in a group. But in case you haven't:
google search for Beginner Group Riding info
Even many of these links don;t really do a proper job in giving basics or a hierachy of things to learn/do.
If there is a group leader, let them know you're a 1st time group rider. If no leader, a quick announcement to group that you are 1st time on this group ride - it is not a negative, doing it helps to take away some of the 'unfamiliarity' you will generate for regular group members/riders.
Ride near the back, near any 'sweep' (if there is one.
Learn common hand signals to use in group rides. Many, many group rides seem to rely heavily on 'vocal' comm, its the least effective way to comm for group riding essentials.
Learn how to 'anticipate' and react appropriately. You are responsible to those who might be directly behind you, not just yourself.
Develop a good sense, throughout the ride, of those who show skill and awareness, and those who might be clueless.
Don;t assume 'younger' means more skillful or faster, Don;t assume much about age. Same for bike equipment/kit.
Pick a group level which seems at or just below what you perceive your current level might be - the key to your early group rides is to develop strong 'skills', not to prove your strength/speed or fitness.
There are so many elements to being a good group rider - focus on those which lead to safety and steadyness, aim to being steady and predictable. Being labeled a 'squirrel' is the hardest, longest lasting image to lose...
Proper integration into group riding is a major, significant step in skills for riders.It's a 'ride' not a race...
Have fun, be safe, a nice group ride is one of the best things in cycling !!! and an opportunity to make some longterm friendships!
Ride On Yuri!

Last edited by cyclezen; 12-06-21 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 12-06-21, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I'm an A group rider and we average over 20mph. My last 100K charity ride I averaged just over 22mph with the lead group.
I've had similar experience. I rode with a group a lot last summer and found I gain about 2 MPH or 10% when I'm in a paceline. The course we ride is quite flat, with usually little or no wind. It's 22 miles long, and when I ride it solo I can maintain 18-20 MPH. With the group I can do 20 to 22.
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Old 12-06-21, 05:19 PM
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120-125% of solo speed. More or less.
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Old 12-06-21, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
II always try to remind myself that my "turn" isn't really over until I'm fully latched onto the tail of the group, and can't just coast back to the rear and expect to latch on.

That's a good tip! Nothing worse than doing a huge turn, pulling off, not having that little kick left to latch onto the tail, then getting dropped! 😅
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Old 12-07-21, 07:53 PM
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Group vs solo speeds depends on whether you're riding hard trying to keep up with the group, or if you're going slow so they can keep up with you. If I ride off the front, I'll typically finish a 30-mile ride about 5 minutes in front of the group.
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Old 12-09-21, 06:36 AM
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Our local club has standard group ride classifications based on speed/hills/distance - but they also include "drafting" as a parameter. At the faster levels, drafting is "frequently" and at the slower rides "rarely/never." This is not a racing-specific club.

So, at the B and C levels there isn't all that much drafting going on - if the average pace is advertised as 17 mph, that is pretty much the individual pace. At the A level, the group pace is higher than what you'd hold as a solo rider - the 25% figure posted above is a good, maybe a bit high unless it is a really established group ride where everyone has known each other a long time.
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Old 12-09-21, 09:33 AM
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I based the 120-125% on my own solo rides compared to my local Saturday group ride. It’s been going on for 30+ years. Route has evolved due to suburban sprawl, but it’s essentially the same every week.
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Old 12-09-21, 11:23 AM
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Interesting. I didn't know that, outside of competition, that people rode in true peloton style on group rides. Sounds scary. I've managed to ride for a bunch of years and have never drafted nor been drafted by anybody. So how do you know when your turn at the front is done? Is there an ettiquete? What if you are strong enough to stay at the chosen pace indefinitely? Especially if you are riding with a slower group? For that matter, how short is too short for a pull?
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Old 12-09-21, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Interesting. I didn't know that, outside of competition, that people rode in true peloton style on group rides. Sounds scary. I've managed to ride for a bunch of years and have never drafted nor been drafted by anybody. So how do you know when your turn at the front is done? Is there an ettiquete? What if you are strong enough to stay at the chosen pace indefinitely? Especially if you are riding with a slower group? For that matter, how short is too short for a pull?
How do you think racers learn how to draft? In my mind, if riders aren't working together, it's not a group ride. It's just a bunch of individual riders who just happen to be going the same direction. It's not scary if you know what you're doing, which takes practice, of course.

There is an etiquette. Don't surge, pull off into the wind, better to skip a turn rather than disrupt the flow. Groups can do single, double, or continuously rotating, in which case you'll only be on the front for 15 or 20 seconds. If you're strong enough to stay at the front indefinitely, then you probably need to find a stronger group. Or you could just stay up there and pull all day, but you might as well ride by yourself then.

Oh, and then there's echeloning in a crosswind...
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Old 12-09-21, 12:47 PM
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This is my biggest gripe about a lot of "so called A-rides". They don't actually teach or enforce good pack riding skills. My race team does drills as a group on our weekend longer easy rides. Rotations, longer pulls, echelon. Many of the local A-rides just mean the random avg speed pace the group can post on Strava is at 20mph or a hair over.

When in reality, there's huge gaps between wheels. Folks meandering left/right of the riding line constantly. Folks not being smooth on the front when encountering a downhill or uphill or short roller. Surging. Taking digs out of a corner on non-competitive group rides. Not letting folks rotate properly as you think you can keep pulling, or not sitting out of rotation if you can't pull.

Our team rides that practice that stuff includes some advanced age masters racers who no longer have megawatt ftp's. So the pace is their pace. You have to view the skill aspect as equally important to work on as the power.

Cry in the dojo. Do your meaningful power development work on your own. Even weeknight worlds ain't the dojo, it's a lesson. The group ride is a lesson. Show up to learn, not to cry.

For the above questions the person had:
-Ask the ride lead what type of ride it is "drop, no drop" and also "what kind of paceline"
-Google the "types of paceline" and look at the animated gif graphics, it'll make a little more sense
-Ask the ride lead to explain the type of paceline they say the ride does
-Ask the ride lead to show you how to "sit out" of a rotation. This is a very important skill folks don't learn until the 3rd or 4th time they get dropped because they didn't "sit out" and kept in the line and having to take a short pull or struggle. It takes more practice for a beginner than just latching on the last wheel as you have to manage your position as folks come off the front to the rear, or rotate in front of you. Practice this on a slower ride at first where you won't get dropped if you get it wrong. You can have folks on a not hilly ride sitting out of a rotation going well over 25mph and not be doing a ton of work if you do it right.
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Old 12-10-21, 12:41 AM
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If these are competitive rides, figure you’ll go about 30% faster than your solo pace, provided you are fit, and your solo rides are done at a good pace, and that you hang with the guys at the front of the group. Group rides start slow, pick up speed gradually become fast, and usually break up later on when the faster riders pull away. This is the usual formula where I have ridden in America and Europe, I can’t imagine it being much different in Australia, except being on the wrong side of the road.
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