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Informal Group Riding Etiquette Question

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Informal Group Riding Etiquette Question

Old 09-03-19, 10:12 AM
  #1  
DaveLeeNC
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Informal Group Riding Etiquette Question

Early into a small-ish local century ride, I found myself in a group of 7 riders. The guy leading was certainly going as fast as any group that I would choose to be a part of. And 20 minutes later - same guy. 10 minutes after that we had to slow for a somewhat complicated intersection so we were more of a pack than a paceline at that point. I just said to the guy "are you OK doing all this work with no help?". He said he was there for the workout so this was OK.

But there were (maybe in jest, but maybe not) one or two comments along the line of "don't say anything - this is almost too good to be true". And I was not sure if this was just a humorous statement or if maybe you 'just don't ask such things in a group like this'. I think it was pretty clear that none of these guys wanted to share the work.

10 minutes later he did drop off and I took the lead. I kept up the pace but no way could I do that for more than 5 or 10 minutes, so we turned into a more normal rotating group (and at some point we ended up at only 3 riders). And this guy continued to do way more than his share of the leading.

I have close to zero group riding experience (and have never before ridden in a group that 'just formed out of strangers'). Maybe I should read the Velominati Rules more carefully, but was I out of place with this question?

Thanks.

dave

ps. Turns out that this guy regularly does Ironman Triathlons, so that explains a lot.
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Old 09-03-19, 10:31 AM
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You were not out of line. I think the biggest problem with pacelines is that there isn't enough communication.
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Old 09-03-19, 10:31 AM
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njkayaker
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
...but was I out of place with this question?
No. It's courteous to ask. The others were likely (hopefully!) kind of joking.
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Old 09-03-19, 11:11 AM
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Steve B.
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My thought would be that anybody strong enough to pull that distance is a seriously fit rider, has probably been in that situation before, so let him pull as far as he wants. He'll drop off when he's ready. OR he's a Tri-Geek and doesn't know that roadies are more than happy to wheel suck a triathlete.
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Old 09-03-19, 11:34 AM
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Nothing wrong with that. If anything, it was considerate to ask to share the load.
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Old 09-03-19, 11:39 AM
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Been on both ends of that depending on the makeup of the ride. It's fun to be the strongest rider in a group so no issue being asked, it's a compliment.

If there was a specific purpose for the ride, like everyone training, or if it was a race it's a totally different dynamic.
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Old 09-03-19, 11:39 AM
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That all went exactly like it's supposed to. Glad you had a fun ride and a good workout.
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Old 09-03-19, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
Nothing wrong with that. If anything, it was considerate to ask to share the load.
+1. I was asked the same question while pulling long and hard with the GF during big charity rides. Nothing wrong with it the question at all. I would say "No, thanks" because we did not want to get mixed up with strangers. When we needed breaks we would pull off, drop back and let the others go.
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Old 09-03-19, 12:15 PM
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You did well to ask, but if the leading guy wanted to train that way, that's OK IMO.
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Old 09-03-19, 01:14 PM
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caloso
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Absolutely appropriate, and it sounds like that was the guy's plan. I've had situations where I'm out on the road doing intervals and I get people on my wheel who then want to pull through and "do their share" and I'll have to say I appreciate it, but I'm doing wattage based intervals so I don't want to draft anybody. But I don't mind if you sit on, and thanks for letting me know.
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Old 09-03-19, 01:23 PM
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That guy is an ox. A friend who did 20-25K miles per year was an ox. He got a kick out of people lining up behind him. One time he teamed up on a tandem with a trackie and they did the Solvang Century. It was ridiculous but some people could stay with them, I couldn't.
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Old 09-03-19, 01:37 PM
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Did right to ask.

Me? I do my interval work totally alone. If it's a casual group spin, I share equal until people either can't rotate OR they have to take weak turns. Then we'll pull a lot more.

If it's the hammer ride, it's all about destroying the other people. If you can do that by pulling for 10min in a cross-head wind where they can't get a full rest.........go for it.

On a casual ride it's a matter of:
-if you're strong pull longer, not harder
-if you're weaker, pull strong, not long, and skip if you must

Gotta learn to read a crowd. When on front, I also yell back after a while if people want a go at front or not. Silence? We keep going.
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Old 09-03-19, 01:52 PM
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During century rides and other rides where your lumped together with strangers, what you saw is common. There are guys who will pull for hours if you let them and guys who will suck wheel the whole century unapologetically. You played it just as anyone should.

What I do is I will overtake the guy pulling if he doesn't peel off and pull a while, then peel off and recover. Is that the right thing to do? Who knows... I'm sure it depends on the person pulling, but they never complain.
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Old 09-03-19, 02:03 PM
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I have done a lot of group riding over the last 25 years and one thing I advise to any group that gets together on the road is to talk to each other. I have actually done a couple of informal century rides in the Pinehust area with a bunch of my friends who were there in early April for a spring training session. Since we were all just starting our season after a long Montreal winter, we had to communicate with each other to make sure that everyone was going at a pace that would allow us to stay together. Asking other people how they are doing is both polite and practical. If one rider is obviously much stronger than the others is would be natural to allow them to ride the front if they want to. However, staying in front too long without knowing if the people behind are struggling may not be the best choice if the goal of the group is to stay together. Sometimes, for people unused to group riding, holding a wheel for hours on end can become stressful and they may choose to drop off and continue at their own pace. As long as this is understood by the group, there is no problem if they have been communicating with each other

Last edited by alcjphil; 09-03-19 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 09-03-19, 02:04 PM
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Rolleurs are riders who can ride at a fairly high tempo for long periods of time. That kind of rider seems most comfortable/efficient at a particular pace. I let them stay on the front for us long as they want. I figure if they get tired, they will pull off.
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Old 09-03-19, 02:49 PM
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That's pretty common. Our club's A group include some serious amateurs and occasionally some budding young pros. They tend to set the pace, with two or three guys more or less rotating the spearhead, while 85% of the pack are wheelsucking for dear life. Which explains how old dudes like me are able to post impressive looking Strava times that we didn't really earn. I've never been able to hang onto that pack for longer than 8-10 miles. Mostly because I tend to drop back when I see sketchy bike handling at the bike, lose the draft and just go my own way.

Our usual B group leader is a steady wheel, safe and predictable. He usually sets a sustainable pace for the entire ride and only occasionally drops back to get a breather while someone else takes a turn.

I ain't fast so I usually drop back to tow stragglers who want to keep up. Folks did that for me when I first resumed riding a few years ago so I try to return the courtesy. Works out pretty well, although some folks aren't comfortable being any closer than a full bike length off the wheel in front. That's usually okay for a 15 mph pace. At that point it's as much a psychological boost as drafting.
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Old 09-03-19, 03:00 PM
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BTW, here's a great example of some seriously tight teamwork by Lotto Soudal in extreme conditions. A bit long at 10 minutes but worth watching for the carefully orchestrated teamwork domination (and some borderline dangerous tactics, but it's a pro race).

I dunno who this Lanterne Rouge kid is but his analyses of the nuanced complexities of road racing beats anyone else's I've seen on YouTube. The established network commentators seem clueless in comparison.

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Old 09-04-19, 11:28 AM
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Yep, Lanterne Rouge is awesome!
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Old 09-04-19, 02:20 PM
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That guy is me a lot of the time depending on the group, here in Seattle there are variety of group rides at various designated speeds and depending on who shows up and how many I might take 10-15 min pulls at the front right at threshold, to 1 min pulls at V02max, or no pulls and just try to hang on during the really fast rocket rides.

Since its not a race or formal training ride group pacelines can be flexible and dynamic. The main thing is that you are with like minded people if you're trying to cooperate ie don't up the tempo when you get to the front to try to show your strength and also get off the front before you start slowing the group down. The point is for everyone to work as hard as they can an still consistently recover in the pack/paceline to continue to work together to be faster overall
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Old 09-04-19, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
BTW, here's a great example of some seriously tight teamwork by Lotto Soudal in extreme conditions. A bit long at 10 minutes but worth watching for the carefully orchestrated teamwork domination (and some borderline dangerous tactics, but it's a pro race).

I dunno who this Lanterne Rouge kid is but his analyses of the nuanced complexities of road racing beats anyone else's I've seen on YouTube. The established network commentators seem clueless in comparison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FETRUv5h2wU
Excellent video. Thanks.
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