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Necessary to ID group ride "neutral zones"?

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Necessary to ID group ride "neutral zones"?

Old 01-24-19, 02:30 PM
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Necessary to ID group ride "neutral zones"?

We've got a nice sized local ride. Two week nights once the time changes and it's warm outside it meets and there is a sizable group.

I feel like there's always a bit of group identity confusion in the faster group. There's consternation on when the group breaks up during the ride.

I think there needs to be neutral zones (and go zones). If the route never changes (it doesn't), then trace the map in red where it is "game on".

There's places we should stick together and places we shouldn't.

Make sense?

How is this announced or notified for your groups? Route map? Verbal? Do you shout out the zones?

It'd be nice so folks aren't left behind who shouldn't and aren't holding people up who shouldn't.
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Old 01-24-19, 02:49 PM
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Beats me. Same issue with a local club ride with A and B groups. I've tagged along only occasionally and can never be sure which is the A or B group or whether it's another joint A/B ride, which means I'll be dusted in a few miles anyway.

I'm familiar with the route so even on the B group rides I know where it'll split up. Some folks at the front will hit those Strava sprint zones and break away. I'm always at the back and just let 'em go. There's a regroup point but if you're more than a minute behind they look really annoyed at having to wait for stragglers.

Often it's not really a group ride. There's always a handful of folks who aren't quite fast enough for the A group but too impatient to stay together for the B group's designated 16 mph pace. So it always splits up.

Which probably explains why I haven't ridden with that group in almost a year. It's an interesting challenge of sorts, more of an informal impromptu crit than a group training ride, but I need to get back into better shape before trying again.
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Old 01-24-19, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
We've got a nice sized local ride. Two week nights once the time changes and it's warm outside it meets and there is a sizable group.

I feel like there's always a bit of group identity confusion in the faster group. There's consternation on when the group breaks up during the ride.

I think there needs to be neutral zones (and go zones). If the route never changes (it doesn't), then trace the map in red where it is "game on".

There's places we should stick together and places we shouldn't.

Make sense?

How is this announced or notified for your groups? Route map? Verbal? Do you shout out the zones?

It'd be nice so folks aren't left behind who shouldn't and aren't holding people up who shouldn't.
On the rides I do, it's passed on by word of mouth. If you show up to a ride and you don't know where it gets hard, then ask someone. As for regroups, on the Saturday ride, it's an out-and-back so if you get dropped before the first sprint, just keep riding and you'll catch the group coming back. If you get dropped after that, you're on your own.
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Old 01-24-19, 03:29 PM
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All of the fast (24++) rides I do have been going on long enough that everyone just knows. There are definitely stretches where the pace is relaxed and those where it's brutal. But again, everyone just knows. Well, everyone who's done the ride. First timers usually just get caught off guard and spit out the back... but get it next time.

Usually, if you stay in the front 1/3 of the group, you'll catch the acceleration soon enough to stay on. If you're in the back, you can easily miss it - because lots of those riders know about the fast sections but have not intention of keeping up.
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Old 01-24-19, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaskar
All of the fast (24++) rides I do have been going on long enough that everyone just knows. There are definitely stretches where the pace is relaxed and those where it's brutal. But again, everyone just knows. Well, everyone who's done the ride. First timers usually just get caught off guard and spit out the back... but get it next time.

Usually, if you stay in the front 1/3 of the group, you'll catch the acceleration soon enough to stay on. If you're in the back, you can easily miss it - because lots of those riders know about the fast sections but have not intention of keeping up.
This is my experience too. If you get dropped, keep going back. You will learn which wheels to follow and which corners/hills/strava segments/town-line sprints require a little extra gas, and the group ride puzzle is solved.
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Old 01-24-19, 04:10 PM
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I never get dropped, i ride by myself.
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Old 01-24-19, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
On the rides I do, it's passed on by word of mouth. If you show up to a ride and you don't know where it gets hard, then ask someone.
Yes. The way it's always been done. Before strava and gps routes and all that.

Made even more fun if you show up without knowing the route or the area and have to keep up so you don't get hopelessly lost.

Ahhh, the good ole days.
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Old 01-24-19, 05:38 PM
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A's roll out first, then B's, then C's, 10 to15 minute warm up/chit chat, then the hammer drops. Keep up or wait for the next group, C's are no drop.
The pace can be super hot, or just simmer depending on who shows up.
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Old 01-24-19, 06:44 PM
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Cool. I agree on announcing the end to the neutral zone.

I think the hills speak for themselves.

I think itís the rollers people have trouble with. If Iím pulling I donít lift pace much over a roller shorter than about 30 seconds. Or if itís a false flat. Nor do the other hammers.

Hills? If earlier in ride I wait at top. No fun TTing for 40min. Later in the ride I ride on in solo OTF and make sure the beer is cold. Iíve gotten away over back to back hills a few times.

The route never changes so maybe I could use some paint with a big ďGO!Ē.
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Old 01-25-19, 01:02 AM
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My former club had such a route. Marin Cyclists would ride the Tiburon Loop (California). On counterclockwise rides, all was well and good until we got to the top of the hill just past downtown Tiburon. Then, the imaginary green flag was waived and the race was ON! It was a mad race to the Marin Country Day School over-crossing. Then, everyone regrouped and it was a mellow ride back to the start/finish. On clockwise rides, it was the reverse, starting from the top of the hill just past the over-crossing.

It was great fun, even for those of us who struggled to keep up with the super fast ones (which, one day, even included the legendary Bob Roll!)
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Old 01-25-19, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
Cool. I agree on announcing the end to the neutral zone.

I think the hills speak for themselves.

I think it’s the rollers people have trouble with. If I’m pulling I don’t lift pace much over a roller shorter than about 30 seconds. Or if it’s a false flat. Nor do the other hammers.

Hills? If earlier in ride I wait at top. No fun TTing for 40min. Later in the ride I ride on in solo OTF and make sure the beer is cold. I’ve gotten away over back to back hills a few times.

The route never changes so maybe I could use some paint with a big “GO!”.


Sounds like it's time to ride with people that aren't cat 4s and 5s anymore!

My most rapid improvement came when I was a 4 and started doing the big city 1,2,3 ride. Where I was no longer the fast guy. Where I had to hold on or get lost. Where people actually rode really, really fast, and I had to quickly learn how to be efficient. Where I learned that you never, ever attack the bottom of the hill, lest the fast people decided to attack the top and leave you for dead. Where I learned how to get into position and sprint.

It was like two seasons of racing packed into one summer of group rides.
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Old 01-25-19, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2
I never get dropped, i ride by myself.
Same here.
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Old 01-25-19, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
Sounds like it's time to ride with people that aren't cat 4s and 5s anymore!

My most rapid improvement came when I was a 4 and started doing the big city 1,2,3 ride. Where I was no longer the fast guy. Where I had to hold on or get lost. Where people actually rode really, really fast, and I had to quickly learn how to be efficient. Where I learned that you never, ever attack the bottom of the hill, lest the fast people decided to attack the top and leave you for dead. Where I learned how to get into position and sprint.

It was like two seasons of racing packed into one summer of group rides.
Agreed. If youíre riding OTF so easily on this ride, itís probably time to graduate to a harder ride if one is available and use this as a social/recovery ride. If there isnít another one, you could give yourself a handicap. Ride a mountain bike or FG maybe.
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Old 01-25-19, 11:10 AM
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Just postulating here, my thought is if you can get someone to stay with the slow group and have them wear something very visible (safety vest or just anything that's easy to remember).
At the beginning of the ride give a 60 second accouncement that the group often splits up in certain sections and point out the person as the anchor for the "slower" group.

From there let people figure out the details on their own. They did come to a social ride, socializing by asking others in the group is part of the experience.
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Old 01-25-19, 11:31 AM
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We have designated "sprint" sections along the route. Information is laid out to the group prior to rolling on where and if there is going to be a regroup, or if it is going to be a drop ride where one would be picked up by the B group (who are also doing the same route). We also cover safety with respect to pace line etiquette and how stop lights and stop signs are to be handled.
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Old 01-25-19, 11:39 AM
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I lead recreational group rides and have a similar problem. I announce where along the route we are going to regroup and always have a sweeper. Sometimes I announce that everyone should go at whatever pace suits them and we will meet at the end. The second option is not one I like as it rips apart any sense of community that the ride is trying to create. I also let me people know in advance how many miles and how hard the ride is (hills) and what minimum pace is expected. Sometimes that helps but not always.
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Old 01-29-19, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
Yes. The way it's always been done. Before strava and gps routes and all that.

Made even more fun if you show up without knowing the route or the area and have to keep up so you don't get hopelessly lost.

Ahhh, the good ole days.
Used to love doing this when out of town. One of the hardest rides I've done outside of a race was a new years ride in Athens GA (with BFer @EventServices). A little out of shape from the MI winter, big group of 1/2/3's with a few insanely fast Tri guys mixed in, rolling terrain, unknown route & distance. At the time, mid 90's, no phone or GPS.
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Old 01-29-19, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo76
Used to love doing this when out of town. One of the hardest rides I've done outside of a race was a new years ride in Athens GA (with BFer @EventServices). A little out of shape from the MI winter, big group of 1/2/3's with a few insanely fast Tri guys mixed in, rolling terrain, unknown route & distance. At the time, mid 90's, no phone or GPS.
Ha! I did a few WBL rides in Athens one winter way back when. Same story. Hang on for dear life or I'll never make it back on my own!
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Old 01-31-19, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
Where I learned that you never, ever attack the bottom of the hill, lest the fast people decided to attack the top and leave you for dead.
I have learned this lesson already. I went after a little 1min hill KOM from the bottom. I essentially ended up dragging an equal rider up with me who just blipped by me the last 100 yards and got it instead. Whoops.

Now, I know.

It is time to move up a group. It'll suck being slow man again, but ultimately mean I get faster/efficient. It's just fun right now to wait for the FD shift noise to leave it in the big ring on a hill and storm off. It's like a free 10 yard jump.

What'll suck about faster groups around here is that I'm skinny. I'm mostly w/kg versus just plain watts. The cannon legs will eat me up as they mostly ride pretty flow routes, no more than 40ish feet per mile. I like to ride 75ish feet per mile. Can't get much more than that in Raleigh.
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Old 01-31-19, 12:38 PM
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The trick for bad climbers like me is to get to the bottom of the hill at the front of the group, but not attacking off the front. Then you filter back through the pack, hoping you run out of hill before you run out of pack.
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Old 02-01-19, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
Ha! I did a few WBL rides in Athens one winter way back when. Same story. Hang on for dear life or I'll never make it back on my own!
There's a WBL here, from what I'm told it's modeled after the Athens one (unknown route, several attack zones, etc.). Learned an important lesson the first time I went out with them, if you hit a pothole and lose a water bottle, just gotta let it go lol I stopped for the bottle and never caught back up to the group, ended up just doing a nice solo ride. Went out with them again last weekend and had a blast, first fast group ride I've done.
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Old 02-02-19, 10:27 AM
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IThis thread is all the reasons why I avoid club road rides like the plague.

Somehow, all the MTB clubs I have ridden with manage to have rides with riders of varying ability without people being d!cks to each other.
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Old 02-02-19, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta
IThis thread is all the reasons why I avoid club road rides like the plague.

Somehow, all the MTB clubs I have ridden with manage to have rides with riders of varying ability without people being d!cks to each other.
Eh, riding through nature and all? Gross. Trees and rocks and stuff just slow you down.
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