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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

group ride/dropped rider question

Old 08-21-10, 10:08 AM
  #1  
bad_mojo
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group ride/dropped rider question

There is a friend of mine who rides and we've ridden together a few times. Hopefully without sounding like a complete tool, we are at very different levels fitness-wise. We were already going to ride on Sunday but he wanted to ride Saturday too. I've expressed in the past that I usually like to go harder on Saturdays when I ride (I already have to slow down on Sundays when we ride). I said I was doing a shop ride I usually ride. He wanted to come along. About half way through as we go into a long drag into a headwind I realize he is way off the back. We aren't too far from the mid-way regroup so I hang in the pack until then. The group takes off after a reasonable amount of time from the regroup and he isn't there. I end up riding back and finding him. By this time, the group is way past gone. For the rest of the ride, I soft-pedal pretty much the whole way back with him struggling on my wheel.

Questions:
1. Was I morally obligated to wait for him?
2. How do you discourage or say no to someone from coming on a group ride or do you just drop people and let them learn?

I hate feeling like an elitist, but I really wanted to ride hard on Saturday, especially since I know I'm taking it very easy tomorrow
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Old 08-21-10, 10:15 AM
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You clearly warned him it was a fast ride.
It was his choice to try to hang on, not yours.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bad_mojo View Post
1. Was I morally obligated to wait for him?
2. How do you discourage or say no to someone from coming on a group ride or do you just drop people and let them learn?

I hate feeling like an elitist, but I really wanted to ride hard on Saturday, especially since I know I'm taking it very easy tomorrow
1. Not really, but you now have a concrete example (remember the date) to provide to him for future episodes. And you didn't leave him hanging out in the wind. Chalk this one up to "mentoring".
2. You warn them. And you tell this story.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:19 AM
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I'd say it's probably a good lesson. If he rides with you often, he just might not have understood the extent to which you were slowing down to ride with him, and gave him a bit of overconfidence about hanging with the group.

Anyways, have him keep going to do that group ride until he doesn't get dropped. Just let him know that you won't be hanging back to help him out.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:25 AM
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had this happen with a co- worker that wanted to join a group ride- told him speeds we'd be hitting, hills and even gave some bail out roads on the route we were taking that would get him back quicker etc. He was off the back within a mile - sometimes people have to learn by 1st hand experience. Good on you for waiting for him this ONE time it will make him train harder most likely or take up running like my co-worker did..
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Old 08-21-10, 10:31 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by bad_mojo View Post
I hate feeling like an elitist, but I really wanted to ride hard on Saturday, especially since I know I'm taking it very easy tomorrow
If you told your friend "You can't be in the same room as my titanium bike. It glows radiant light like in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and your unworthy eyes will be blinded" you would be an elitist. It sounds more like you're a guy who's trying to push himself with exercise, which is something you can feel a lot less guilty about. In fact, your friend might ought to feel guilty for preventing that.

Originally Posted by bad_mojo View Post
Questions:
1. Was I morally obligated to wait for him?
2. How do you discourage or say no to someone from coming on a group ride or do you just drop people and let them learn?
(1) Not really. I guess it comes down to your expectations, and your friend's. If he was terrified of getting lost, having a mechanical issue, or whatever, and you were more of a babysitter than a fellow rider, then you'd be obligated, at least morally, to hang back, but I think in most other situations you're just two people on bikes. ( When I go kayaking with friends, we stay pretty close in choppy waves, but otherwise it's a loose confederation. )

(2) "Come if you'd like to, but it's a brisk pace, and I do it for the exercise, so you should only do it if you can keep up, or don't mind it turning into a solo ride. I'll give you a GPX track log if you want to follow the route on your own and work your way up to the group's speed."

Or something like that. Depending on the person, the GPX thing can be really helpful; there's a short, but very hilly group ride in my area that I wasn't sure I was in shape for but having a navigable track log let me find out I was, without inconveniencing anyone else, or getting lost on an island.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:37 AM
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You did the right thing one time. Make sure he doesn't expect it again, I'm sure he'll understand.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:41 AM
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What did he say about it? Maybe he wasn't as concerned about what happened as you?
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Old 08-21-10, 10:46 AM
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In the absence of you clearly telling him before the ride that you needed to get a hard ride in and warning him about the pace then I think you did need to wait for him. Next time warn him explicitly that this is not a casual stroll and that you need to get some work in.

Getting dropped is a part of getting stronger. The goal should be to keep going further and further before you get dropped. If he isn't cool with that then he shouldn't ride at all with this group. You're not being an elitist, you're being a realist. Unless you're rich and don't need to work training opportunities aren't unlimited.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:54 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by skol View Post
had this happen with a co- worker that wanted to join a group ride- told him speeds we'd be hitting, hills and even gave some bail out roads on the route we were taking that would get him back quicker etc. He was off the back within a mile - sometimes people have to learn by 1st hand experience. Good on you for waiting for him this ONE time it will make him train harder most likely or take up running like my co-worker did..
If we're in telling stories mode, this reminds me of another one. Last night, a friend of mine who'd never been kayaking before wanted to join me for a paddle. I'd already done some hill climbing on the bike, so I was going to do a more relaxed, less vigorous trip anyway. Before we'd made it 100 feet, my friend went swimming with a big splash, and now a swamped boat.
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Old 08-21-10, 11:00 AM
  #11  
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The first time I would do what you did and hang back with him. Now that he knows what it's really like then he is on his own if he chooses to do the ride again. I would still encourage him to keep coming and hope he improves enough to hang with everyone some point. Maybe he will start pushing a little harder on your non group rides together. Good luck.
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Old 08-21-10, 11:24 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Quel View Post
I'd say it's probably a good lesson. If he rides with you often, he just might not have understood the extent to which you were slowing down to ride with him, and gave him a bit of overconfidence about hanging with the group.
I ride with a co-worker, she's made a lot of progress but will never be ( and isn't trying to be) fast. And yet, she truly had no idea that I slow down for her, she thought we were at the same level. I wouldn't be surprised if the OP's friend was similarly unaware. In any case, getting dropped might do him some good, it's great motivation for getting stronger.
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Old 08-21-10, 11:31 AM
  #13  
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If he wants to ride with that group again, let him hang on as long as he can. There would be no reason for you to wait on him again.
By hanging on as long as he can, will make him better.

You did the right thing for his first time out with the group.
No need to do it again.
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Old 08-21-10, 12:26 PM
  #14  
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if someone wants to go on a harder ride with me that I think they can't hang on, I tell them to be prepared to ride alone. I feel no pity for them because I've been dropped plenty of times and don't expect anyone to ruin a work out at my expense. If I get dropped, I just turn my group ride into a solo ride, no big deal. Anyone I ride with, I expect to have the same mentality, whether I drop them or they drop me. If I'm out riding with the sole purpose of having a ride with that person, then I'll wait, or expect them to wait but not in a group ride situation. On my morning fast group ride, I often invite slower riders because thats how you get faster. I tell them ride with us until you get dropped then meet me at so and so location at 7:30 AM after the ride is over and we'll do a softer ride.

Also, if he knows nobody will wait for him, he might push himself harder instead of just quitting while he still has something left because he assumes someone will wait for him.
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Old 08-21-10, 02:58 PM
  #15  
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If he knows the route I wouldnt worry about him. Know that he does dont worry. Id would encorage him to stay alert and stay close or otherwise hell have no chance.
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Old 08-21-10, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bad_mojo View Post
Questions:
1. Was I morally obligated to wait for him?
2. How do you discourage or say no to someone from coming on a group ride or do you just drop people and let them learn?

I hate feeling like an elitist, but I really wanted to ride hard on Saturday, especially since I know I'm taking it very easy tomorrow
1. If you and he actually had a meeting of the minds on the rules of the ride then No. If you did not then Yes you were morally obligated.
2. You don't do anything to discourage the other person. You don't say no to them. You explain the rules to them and give the other person to make their own decision. What you don't do is just drop a person without explanation. What the person learns is that you put your ego and recreation above friendship. I don't think that is what you want.
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Old 08-21-10, 09:48 PM
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Just quote to him the words of the famous latin scholar Caesar Armstrongus- "Caedo saecundum, adepto relictus". (Fall behind, get left behind)
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Old 08-21-10, 09:58 PM
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This is why I almost always ride alone. It is nearly impossible to find someone with similiar abilities and goals.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:39 PM
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Ive had a riding buddy for 5 years. We always have been the same 16 mph. We would ride and talk, weight was the same and all. Well, one of his buddys got a bike and went obsessed. Started racing and all. Within 6 months, the new guy was smoking us both. Eventually, my old buddy started riding more with him and now I cant even stay with them in the slipstream. Its very frustrating but I have a choice, HTFU or not ride with them.

you did the right thing once but you cant wait on him any more. I certainly dont expect my buddies too and I dont want them to have to stop at stop signs and wait so I just decline when they ask and ride with myself. One day, Ill get there.

One day.
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Old 08-22-10, 12:27 AM
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I've spent the past 3 weeks pulling for my girlfriend in our local shop ride. She can keep up with a brisk 23mph when she's in my draft, but we cruise at 26 or so in the fast group so there's no way she can keep up. I may ask if I can go with the fast group again every other week or something like that. I just don't feel safe leaving her as she'd pretty much get left in the open herself because she's WAY too fast for the slow group...
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Old 08-22-10, 12:39 AM
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My best friend has been cycling for years. I have been at if for a little over a month. He keeps saying, "Can't wait to ride with you." I keep saying, give me a couple of years. While his intention and heart are in the right place, I would slow him down to a terrible degree. He would need a fixie, and have to pedal backwards. I do not want to put him in that situation or put me under the pressure. When we do ride together, I expect he will do a century, I will do the 20 or 40 miler. I will see him at start and hope to beat him to our respective finish. I would NEVER expect him to drop back with me. Not fair to him.

I think you should tell your friend, apparently he or she does not "get it," that the Saturday ride will be "x" miles at "y" mph, while we normally ride at "a" miles per hour for "b" miles (sorry, I teach math) and that based on the latter, you are concerned he will not be able to keep up in the former. If he is ok, hanging as long as he can, and then ultimately getting dropped, based on the math, then ok, if not, let's wait till Sunday.
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Old 08-22-10, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jrobe View Post
This is why I almost always ride alone. It is nearly impossible to find someone with similiar abilities and goals.
same here, though I prefer to ride with others if possible. but the one person I used to ride with doesn't train and now I've overtaken him considerably.
has gotten awkward...
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Old 08-22-10, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by C_Heath View Post
Ive had a riding buddy for 5 years. We always have been the same 16 mph. We would ride and talk, weight was the same and all. Well, one of his buddys got a bike and went obsessed. Started racing and all. Within 6 months, the new guy was smoking us both. Eventually, my old buddy started riding more with him and now I cant even stay with them in the slipstream. Its very frustrating but I have a choice, HTFU or not ride with them.

you did the right thing once but you cant wait on him any more. I certainly dont expect my buddies too and I dont want them to have to stop at stop signs and wait so I just decline when they ask and ride with myself. One day, Ill get there.

One day.
you should still ride with them. push yourself until you get dropped but make sure they know you don't expect nor want them to wait. do it often, and you'll soon find yourself keeping up.
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