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Group ride etiquette when having a bad day

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Group ride etiquette when having a bad day

Old 08-01-12, 06:33 AM
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Group ride etiquette when having a bad day

Last week I went on my usual group ride but due to whatever excuses I could come up with, was having a bad leg day. The spirit was willing but the legs just didn't have it in them and I was much slower than usual. This is supposed to be a B/C ride (advertised at 16-18 mph) but at times gets more aggressive (18-24+ mph) depending on the group that shows up. Most nights I can keep up but that night I fell off the back and the group leader came back to check on me and tried to help me draft up into the group again. I didn't have it in me so I told him I was fine and to take the main group and I'd meet them back at the shop. I still felt like people were slowing down and waiting longer at stops to allow me to catch up.

I really appreciate the leaders' and groups' concern but at the same time I don't like dragging down the pace for others. I wasn't sure what to do. I had already told the leaders that I would be fine and not to wait for me. I considered just calling it a night and leaving the group, but my truck was back at the shop so I had to go there anyway, and I'd rather have a crap showing than be a quitter. On the A rides, if you get dropped, you get dropped but what is the proper etiquette when, due to whatever factors, you suck on a no-drop ride?
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Old 08-01-12, 06:40 AM
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Do what you did.

Or just tell people you are going at your own pace. When I hear people say that I just say "Okay" and go.
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Old 08-01-12, 07:39 AM
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Sounds like you did all you could...also sounds like a nice group.

Our ride is a "tough luck if you can't hang on we're not waiting for you" free-for-all and your truck would have to sit in the LBS parking lot for at least three days before someone might go out and scour a ditch for your rotting carcass.
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Old 08-01-12, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by thump55
Our ride is a "tough luck if you can't hang on we're not waiting for you" free-for-all and your truck would have to sit in the LBS parking lot for at least three days before someone might go out and scour a ditch for your rotting carcass.
I have never figured out these egofests. I usually get dropped, but am not always the slowest guy falling off the back. I can't help myself - I will drop back with dropped solo riders and ride with the dropped. I have been dropped on unfamiliar routes before, and have been either lucky to make the correct choices on where to turn (good thing, I'd still be in the North Alabama woods a year later...) or have been rescued by the ride leader (good thing, I'd have had to call a taxi to find my way through town). My local club will drop your butt on all but the most relaxed ride, and once dropped you are on your own. I don't like that! I feel too responsible for the dropped folks (often rookies). Rather, I just ride solo or with a couple of buddies - if someone gets dropped, they get waited for.
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Old 08-01-12, 09:31 AM
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I sometimes show up for the Thursday night LBS ride which is relatively fast (20 mph avg for a 30 mile course with 1500' of climbing). I tell the ride leader (shop owner) not to worry when they drop me. I suck wheel for several miles, working very hard, and drop off as the gentle ups begin. Still, last ride I worked very hard on my own and averaged 18 mph - not bad for an old guy.

When we ride the tandem on club rides I will tell the leader not to wait for us at the top of climbs. Generally, we can meet or exceed the rated average speed, but if we elect to ride with the group they will drop us on climbs, but we can catch up.
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Old 08-01-12, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by david58
I have never figured out these egofests. I usually get dropped, but am not always the slowest guy falling off the back. I can't help myself - I will drop back with dropped solo riders and ride with the dropped. I have been dropped on unfamiliar routes before, and have been either lucky to make the correct choices on where to turn (good thing, I'd still be in the North Alabama woods a year later...) or have been rescued by the ride leader (good thing, I'd have had to call a taxi to find my way through town). My local club will drop your butt on all but the most relaxed ride, and once dropped you are on your own. I don't like that! I feel too responsible for the dropped folks (often rookies). Rather, I just ride solo or with a couple of buddies - if someone gets dropped, they get waited for.
The big clubs in the San Jose, CA area are very disciplined, generally have a sweep and will account for all riders unless you inform the leader that you're going your own way. The very fast rides, of course, tend not to have regroups, but these are for very experienced, fast cyclists. I do think one's carcass would only accumulate one day of rot before someone went out and looked for the body.
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Old 08-01-12, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by david58
I have never figured out these egofests. I usually get dropped, but am not always the slowest guy falling off the back. I can't help myself - I will drop back with dropped solo riders and ride with the dropped. I have been dropped on unfamiliar routes before, and have been either lucky to make the correct choices on where to turn (good thing, I'd still be in the North Alabama woods a year later...) or have been rescued by the ride leader (good thing, I'd have had to call a taxi to find my way through town). My local club will drop your butt on all but the most relaxed ride, and once dropped you are on your own. I don't like that! I feel too responsible for the dropped folks (often rookies). Rather, I just ride solo or with a couple of buddies - if someone gets dropped, they get waited for.
It's not an egofest... If you show up to the A ride, it's your responsibility to make sure you're ready for it. If you're not sure, it's your responsibility to have a back up plan and not mess up other peoples training/ride.
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Old 08-01-12, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by thump55
Sounds like you did all you could...also sounds like a nice group.
Agreed. The no drop part is really for the person who would be dropped. If the slow person wants everyone to go ahead, it's OK to drop.

No drop rides are fundamentally different than drop rides in that they are really about helping people and social interaction rather than improving everyone's fitness.
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Old 08-01-12, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Yaniel
It's not an egofest... If you show up to the A ride, it's your responsibility to make sure you're ready for it. If you're not sure, it's your responsibility to have a back up plan and not mess up other peoples training/ride.
This.
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Old 08-01-12, 11:22 AM
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^^^Yup, that's our Sunday team ride....

Well the second half...The first half is a bit more civilized, but then all heII breaks loose when the town signs appear
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Old 08-01-12, 11:32 AM
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Don't most hammerfests have a civilized, social portion? If not two? The Saturday River Ride starts in the alley behind the LBS, has a neutral roll through town, on to the bike path for a mile to access the river road, and then the mythical flag drops once it rolls into the country. The first sprint point is the county line, there's a regroup where if you're dropped on the way out, you can rejoin on the way back. The second sprint point is accessible from a shortcut if you get dropped on the second half, and then it's a neutral roll back into town.

I really enjoy the dual nature of it. For the first 20 minutes it's chit chat about kids and work and other stuff, then it goes to beating each others brains out, then back to chit chat. There have been times when I have been dropped so hard that I spent an hour riding back into town by myself, but that's no biggie either. Everyone has a bad day.
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Old 08-01-12, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by thump55
Sounds like you did all you could...also sounds like a nice group.

Our ride is a "tough luck if you can't hang on we're not waiting for you" free-for-all and your truck would have to sit in the LBS parking lot for at least three days before someone might go out and scour a ditch for your rotting carcass.
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Old 08-01-12, 05:52 PM
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I think it really depends on you and the other riders.

Some rides are clearly hammerfests and if you are having a bad day, you should be prepared to be dropped.

Other rides are no-drop, kinder and gentler rides where the folks slow down and everyone rides together.

Still other rides, in between, will break into a "faster" and a "slower" group.

If it's a fast ride and you are having a crap day, it really depends on the ride leader and the expectations of the riders in general whether you just drop off...or suck wheel and do your best, or drop back to the slower group. If it's a no drop ride and you are really hurting, I think it's wise to tell the leader to go ahead and you will finish up at your own pace.

In other words, like most inquiries in here (and in life), the correct answer is "It depends."
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Old 08-01-12, 06:37 PM
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ive yet to even figure out the allure to group rides any way. it sounds like alot of alpha types that want to show off. no thanks. i already know i kick ass anyway so ill just stick to my hillclimbing sufferfests.....i don't really kick ass, im just anti social...well, i mildy kick ass....carry on.
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Old 08-01-12, 06:43 PM
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You just described my club rides.

Our faster rides naturally break up into faster and slower riders, and we usually have regrouping points.

Originally Posted by david58
I have never figured out these egofests.
They aren't necessarily "egofests". Did you consider that people just ENJOY riding fast, with a well-oiled fast group? That's some of the best fun I have on a bike, and it sure'n hell builds strength and skills. I don't see any problems with that.
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Old 08-01-12, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by DGlenday

They aren't necessarily "egofests". Did you consider that people just ENJOY riding fast, with a well-oiled fast group? That's some of the best fun I have on a bike, and it sure'n hell builds strength and skills. I don't see any problems with that.
I understand the desire to ride fast in a group etc, but what I don't get is rolling out and never looking back. To each his own, but just not what I'm after.
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Old 08-01-12, 07:05 PM
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If I ride with friends (or a group) I generally match their pace. At present the people I know who ride are slower than me so I save the max output rides for when I'm solo, or I'll ride relays out at max speed, back to the group, out again. Eventually I've used the energy I want and enjoy the slower ride home. This way I get to exercise and not lose the group at the same time. Its no fun going out for a long ride in a group and being dropped and then ignored. If the group I'm riding with is faster, then obviously I'm with the wrong group for my fitness level and I'll ride at my own pace - if I get lost its fun to find my way home.
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Old 08-01-12, 07:09 PM
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Sounds like a nice group. I wouldn't worry about it. You did the right thing.
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Old 08-01-12, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by pdxtex
ive yet to even figure out the allure to group rides any way. it sounds like alot of alpha types that want to show off. no thanks. i already know i kick ass anyway so ill just stick to my hillclimbing sufferfests.....i don't really kick ass, im just anti social...well, i mildy kick ass....carry on.
you've no clue. great group rides are an exercise in cooperation as well as competition. Our A and B rides focus on fast double pace lines where you might spend 10-15 sec. at the front, sharp little climbs and flat sprints. these rides offer opportunities to challenge yourself and improve as a rider, as well as train with elite level riders. If you are there just to show off, take too long of a pull at the front, you will be dropped. Which is what the C, D, E and F groups get to pick up.
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Old 08-01-12, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by david58
I understand the desire to ride fast in a group etc, but what I don't get is rolling out and never looking back. To each his own, but just not what I'm after.
If it's a ride that is advertised as a drop ride, why would they look back? It's not like its a group of girl scouts dropping the 6 year old weaklings, its grown men and women who presumably know how to ride a bike by themselves and fix a flat on their own and specifically showed up to get their butt kicked.
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Old 08-01-12, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jmX
If it's a ride that is advertised as a drop ride, why would they look back? It's not like its a group of girl scouts dropping the 6 year old weaklings, its grown men and women who presumably know how to ride a bike by themselves and fix a flat on their own and specifically showed up to get their butt kicked.
I've just spent too many days and miles on the trail, the mountain, and the river to feel comfortable "dropping" somebody and not at some point regrouping, sweeping, or otherwise making sure all is ok.

As to advertised "drop" rides, I've never been on one. I have been on rides that were advertised as one thing and turned out to be drop-yer-ass hammerfests, or club rides that had no problem with leaving solo folks strung out behind them. I simply don't care for that. My last hammerfest, advertised as a much easier ride, I got dropped at about mile 8, crossing a particular county line road, and all I could do was laugh - it was funny how effortlessly I was left, but I was very familiar with the area and had a nice time towing in a kid that got dropped faster than I. But the year before, I rode with that group and got dropped in a rural area where a cue sheet was worthless, as there were no road signs. I totally lucked out and reached the rest stop before they left, and hooked up with a slower group on a different route that shared the rest stop.

I ride for fitness and fun. I ride solo and in large and small groups. But my nature just doesn't work with the concept of "drop" rides - I can still ride my hiney off, drop or be dropped, regroup, and ride more, and STILL get a good workout. For ME, however, I have less fun if we have dropped someone back there someplace and we don't know whether they are lost, have a flat, or are face down in a ditch (like one coworker I have) or suffering an asthma attack (as my wife did on a climbing day), or whatever.

But enjoy your drop rides - sincerely, I mean that - I don't really understand them and I am fine riding in "no drop" rides.

And back to the OP - MY etiquette on a "I suck" day is to reassure folks I am ok, and I just ride on home to keep from holding the ride down to my level.
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