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Group Ride Research Question

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Group Ride Research Question

Old 03-04-22, 08:31 PM
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Group Ride Research Question

Doing some research for a podcast episode. Need a sampling.

What do you look at during a road group ride or a race?

Think about it for a minute. Put yourself in the middle of the pack.

Where are you looking? And specifically, why? Or for what?
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Old 03-04-22, 09:17 PM
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I'm looking at the wheel(s) immediately in front of me, and keeping my peripheral vision further forward so that I won't be caught unawares when the pack (or paceline) slows, rounds a corner, dodges a pothole, etc.
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Old 03-05-22, 04:35 AM
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Partly I try to watch body language for the rider(s) immediately ahead, partly I look for group ride hand signs from the front of the pack, partly I try to watch the road/course ahead. And I listen for motorized traffic catching up from behind.
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Old 03-05-22, 06:28 AM
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Ride or race are two very different scenarios. What are you really looking for??
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Old 03-05-22, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
What do you look at during a road group ride or a race?

Think about it for a minute. Put yourself in the middle of the pack.

Where are you looking? And specifically, why? Or for what?
I'm looking just past the ears of the rider in front of me, doing my best to see through them [sic] as if they're invisible so that I can see what's happening two or three or more riders ahead. I get a mental image of how much of my field of vision the rider directly in front of me should occupy and use that to guage my distance so I never have to look down at their rear wheel. I want to be able to anticipate what's going on up front so that I'm prepared long before the rider directly in front of me reacts, and so that my reaction has as little negative effect on the rider(s) behind me as possible.
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Old 03-05-22, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
I'm looking just past the ears of the rider in front of me, doing my best to see through them [sic] as if they're invisible so that I can see what's happening two or three or more riders ahead. I get a mental image of how much of my field of vision the rider directly in front of me should occupy and use that to guage my distance so I never have to look down at their rear wheel. I want to be able to anticipate what's going on up front so that I'm prepared long before the rider directly in front of me reacts, and so that my reaction has as little negative effect on the rider(s) behind me as possible.
I was going to write something like this, but this really covers it.
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Old 03-05-22, 11:37 AM
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I stare directly at their back wheel the entire time
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Old 03-05-22, 03:50 PM
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I look up the road while keeping my focus also on the rider in front of me. I don't know exactly how to describe that but you can watch the lead bike while still seeing what is immediately in front of you. I find this to be helpful since whatever that lead bike does is going to come down the line to you. At least you can anticipate. I also adjust my distance to the rider directly in front of me based on whether I think he/she is a "good wheel."
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Old 03-05-22, 04:53 PM
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I attempt to see the road two to two and a half bike lengths ahead, while keeping a wide 'field of view'.
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Old 03-05-22, 05:33 PM
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Hmmm... I enjoy looking at the scenery.

I guess my group rides are a bit different than others here.
......................
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Last edited by CliffordK; 03-05-22 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 03-05-22, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
Doing some research for a podcast episode. Need a sampling.

What do you look at during a road group ride or a race?

Think about it for a minute. Put yourself in the middle of the pack.

Where are you looking? And specifically, why? Or for what?
In a worlds type ride, I scope out the folks before we start. If there are riders without a team kit, I will keep tabs on them throughout the ride. In a race and a worlds, I always keep an eye on my front wheel, and also look for a smooth wheel through the corners. There's a ton of processing going on, so it's really hard to say exactly, because every race/crit/worlds is different. Head is always on a swivel, but forward is a given.
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Old 03-05-22, 08:44 PM
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dependz...
for performance type assorted group of assumed experienced riders...
ideally looking over the riders in front of me, quick scan to road surface conditions, distance to wheels in front of me is pretty much calculated by the perceived distance to the torso of rider directly in front.
staying aware of most rider postures of those in front of me. calm and stready is what I'm wanting, frequent on-bike changes keep me on the alert.
if road conditions become really sketchy, I move more emphasis to road evaluation, but keeping a high priority on rider 'posture' . If the road becomes really poor, I'll drift to the outside. I'm almost never riding the front anymore, so no decisions to be made other than 'survival'. LOL!
If it's ona route/ride I'm not familiar with, I try to find riders who seem secure in road, route, steady pace for the section
I'm very choosey on what 'group rides' I do these days. Experienced groups, yes. Really higher performance groups (like our 'Worlds' ride) No longer... When riders are at their 'limit', probability of mistakes is much higher. I certainly don;t want to be the rider who causes others to go down. Short sections of suffering OK, but if I get cross-eyed, I peel off (unless I've already been shelled)... LOL!
Aging needs to be respected.
Ride On
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Last edited by cyclezen; 03-05-22 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 03-05-22, 10:35 PM
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Sometimes we ride on really bad roads so I try to look around other riders to find holes and especially cracks running parallel to the road. Also those big gaps between the concrete bus pads and the asphalt.

I'm reminded of Mike Singletary, former linebacker for da Bears. He was known for his crazy eyes before the ball was snapped. Someone asked him what he was looking at, and he said "Nothing". Meaning he was looking at nothing in particular but ready for anything.
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Old 03-05-22, 10:42 PM
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Hi all, new here, but when I'm with a group, I look at where I'm at with my sprocket, and compare it with others...

Seriously, when I'm riding with others, make sure there is plenty of space between me and the one infront especially when going down.
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Old 03-06-22, 01:24 AM
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As far up the pack as I can while still being aware of what those closest to me are doing. Twitchy and unpredictable riders get more attention until I can get away from them.
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Old 03-06-22, 09:57 AM
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one thing I should clarify, road conditions really matter for group riding, especially in our Santa Barbara area. Although there has been improvements, there are still many roads/sections which are very broken and can be dangerous. Riding solo or a small group makes it easier to navigate without great impact on your riding group.
But in a larger group, riding mid-pack, you're often at the mercy of pack dynamics. If I know the route and roads, I plan ahead. Worst place to be on rough and deteriorating roads is in the wheel tracks of cages/motor vehicles. Those 2 main tracks on each side between yellow and white, are the most dangerous. One thing which seems less of a problem around here is the center 'oil' track. Many roads are rough and coarse enough for 'oil' to not have a real 'surface' down the center. LOL !
I try to anticipate well ahead to NOT be in those tracks...
Ride On
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Old 03-06-22, 12:02 PM
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As others have said, in a group ride, my attention is divided between the rider directly in front and whatever I can see of the road and riders ahead. Why? Because I'm old and my bones will break if I fail to react and crash. I also like to look at the scenery a bit, when things settle down. I haven't raced for decades, but I remember it being all the group stuff plus keeping an eye on desirable wheels and looking for good spots coming into corners. Why? Because being DFL makes yer wiener shrink.
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Old 03-06-22, 12:12 PM
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I mostly look at the road ahead, scanning up and down looking out for potholes etc. I don't consciously pay any attention to the wheel I'm following or the scenery.
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Old 03-06-22, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
Where are you looking? And specifically, why? Or for what?
It depends. Am I riding behind shirtless Larry?
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Old 03-06-22, 06:40 PM
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I look for who I want to yell at.
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Old 03-06-22, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I look for who I want to yell at.
​​​​​​​Well played!
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Old 03-06-22, 07:34 PM
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Thanks for playing along. This is pretty much what I was looking for. No wrong answers.

I don't think I can publicize my podcast without sounding like a shill, so if you want to know what it is, ask me offline.

Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Ride or race are two very different scenarios. What are you really looking for??
Pretty much what I got here. Just a sampling of various ideas. Nothing too super specific.

Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
I'm looking just past the ears of the rider in front of me, doing my best to see through them [sic] as if they're invisible so that I can see what's happening two or three or more riders ahead....
Some people, when they turn their head, you can see though their ears because there's nothing blocking your view.

Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
I stare directly at their back wheel the entire time
No, you don't. C'mon now.

Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I look up the road while keeping my focus also on the rider in front of me. I don't know exactly how to describe that but you can watch the lead bike while still seeing what is immediately in front of you. I find this to be helpful since whatever that lead bike does is going to come down the line to you. At least you can anticipate. I also adjust my distance to the rider directly in front of me based on whether I think he/she is a "good wheel."
I get what you're saying. Enough of a buffer about the rider immediately in front of you. Watching the rest for advance warning.

Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I look for who I want to yell at.
There are candidates on every ride.
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Old 03-06-22, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
Doing some research for a podcast episode. Need a sampling.

What do you look at during a road group ride or a race?

Think about it for a minute. Put yourself in the middle of the pack.

Where are you looking? And specifically, why? Or for what?
I look at the ride leader to call out people who don't know what they're doing. In no particular order:
- accelerating off the front
- half wheeling
- not falling to the back after taking a pull (squeezing themselves into the smallest of gaps because they're afraid of getting dropped)
- letting up when they can't hold the pace (leaving gaps between themselves and the riders in front of them),
- people skipping pulls
These are exactly the people I try to avoid on group rides.
What I look for is a steady predictable wheel to follow and try and keep them in front of me until it's my turn on the front and then latch back on to them when I fall to the back.
Unfortunately group ride dynamics is a lost art as far as I'm concerned, although every once in a while I'm lucky to find a group who knows what they're doing and life is beautiful for a couple hours.

EventServices please provide a link to your podcast, would love to listen in some day.
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Old 03-06-22, 09:11 PM
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I yell at people.
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Old 03-07-22, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by BarryJo View Post
I look at the ride leader to call out people who don't know what they're doing. In no particular order:


- people skipping
EventServices please provide a link to your podcast, would love to listen in some day.
what’s your objection to people skipping pulls. If you’re struggling, it’s better to skip a pull, than slow or disrupt the group by attempting to pull when you’re not up to it. IMHO, it’s perfectly acceptable to rotate through at the front without pulling for any significant time, or to allow people to rotate in ahead of you at the back. Neither disrupts the group, and your mere presence adds to the overall draft effect of the group. Also you may be able contribute more after you’ve skipped a turn or two.

Just don’t skip pulls the whole ride and then contest the sprints
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