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First Group Ride Ever... Got Shelled

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

First Group Ride Ever... Got Shelled

Old 03-13-15, 10:54 AM
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Brian: I think I've ridden some of those roads when visiting my wife's aunt in Beaverton. Do you ride your road bike or track bike? Occasionally you'll see a track bike (with a brake of course!) on the River Ride. It's miles and miles of flat so there's no real disadvantage to a fixed gear as long as you've geared properly. There's a couple of corners where they have to take care, but I've never seen a problem.
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Old 03-13-15, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Brian: I think I've ridden some of those roads when visiting my wife's aunt in Beaverton. Do you ride your road bike or track bike? Occasionally you'll see a track bike (with a brake of course!) on the River Ride. It's miles and miles of flat so there's no real disadvantage to a fixed gear as long as you've geared properly. There's a couple of corners where they have to take care, but I've never seen a problem.
Out west of Portland, fixed gears are a poor choice. Even if it looks flat, it's actually a lot of rolling hills.

Best place for riding fixed is in North Portland around the Columbia River/PDX airport area. Very very flat.
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Old 03-13-15, 12:10 PM
  #78  
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Now, with the change to DST our Wed's night ride will begin to gather a large group. We have three groups: A, B+, C . This ride is about 28 miles on a flat MUP with little to no foot traffic, so its very safe to open up the legs. That A group gets a bit wild depending on who shows up. The numbers will swell to 30+ for the A's and this group can get a bit sketchy. You'll have stronger beginners that want to test their strength and put themselves in harms way as things get bunched up. There's often Cat 1/2/pro riders that will attack off the front and everyone tries to chase. You have to anticipate the surge and be ready to go, otherwise, your off the back with no warning. Fun stuff and a great workout. Depends on how much I've been riding and how I feel to whether I can hang on for the full ride. This ride usually roll at around 23-27 mph with some surges above 30, and of course the final sprint. Many of us come early to do a warm-up ride, about 20 miles before the actual roll out.

The B+ group usually rides at about 21-24 mph on average and is a much more steady ride. It is usually a steady pace with a rotating pace line, giving everyone a chance to do a pull and do some work. Those that fall off the A group often get picked up by this group for the remainder of the ride. I'll sometime ride with the A's to a certain point in the loop, then return with the B+ group. This tends to be a strong and steady group, with riders who are much more predictable and safe. It's a good workout, especially if you want to do some longer pulls.

The C group is a mellow bunch, sometimes with beginners that have little pace line skills. They usually roll at about 16-19ish and sometimes go a shorter distance. They are really the only no-drop ride of the 3 since anyone dropping from the A or B's can get picked up by this group.

Most other rides I do go out as a single group, but some separation does occur due to the strengths and abilities of the riders, especially if there's any elevation. Once a group gets bigger than 10+, I think its good to have more than one group anyway.
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Old 03-13-15, 01:04 PM
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I don't think I'd feel safe riding like that on a MUP. I've never done it, but it seems unsafe for a number of reasons.
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Old 03-13-15, 01:31 PM
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I get what you're saying, but I'm certain that you would feel this MUP is safe to stretch the legs. This one has very little to no foot traffic and is used almost exclusively by cyclists. Once you go beyond the first few miles (warm up anyway), the small amount of foot traffic (if any at all) is done. It is essentially a nice smooth, wide training path with only a few crossroads for a 40+ miles stretch from one end to the other, and no traffic to negotiate, so its ideal for a very fast pace for groups, solo rides or TT training. There's other local MUP's that I stay far away from, but this one is ideal for training rides, which I'll typically do 3x per week during the week. This is much safer than trying to ride on the local roads while people are commuting home from work with their heads buried in the phones and minds on other things. On the weekends, I'll ride other routes to mix things up.
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Old 03-13-15, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by FLvector View Post
Now, with the change to DST our Wed's night ride will begin to gather a large group. We have three groups: A, B+, C . This ride is about 28 miles on a flat MUP with little to no foot traffic, so its very safe to open up the legs. That A group gets a bit wild depending on who shows up. The numbers will swell to 30+ for the A's and this group can get a bit sketchy. You'll have stronger beginners that want to test their strength and put themselves in harms way as things get bunched up. There's often Cat 1/2/pro riders that will attack off the front and everyone tries to chase. You have to anticipate the surge and be ready to go, otherwise, your off the back with no warning. Fun stuff and a great workout. Depends on how much I've been riding and how I feel to whether I can hang on for the full ride. This ride usually roll at around 23-27 mph with some surges above 30, and of course the final sprint. Many of us come early to do a warm-up ride, about 20 miles before the actual roll out.

The B+ group usually rides at about 21-24 mph on average and is a much more steady ride. It is usually a steady pace with a rotating pace line, giving everyone a chance to do a pull and do some work. Those that fall off the A group often get picked up by this group for the remainder of the ride. I'll sometime ride with the A's to a certain point in the loop, then return with the B+ group. This tends to be a strong and steady group, with riders who are much more predictable and safe. It's a good workout, especially if you want to do some longer pulls.

The C group is a mellow bunch, sometimes with beginners that have little pace line skills. They usually roll at about 16-19ish and sometimes go a shorter distance. They are really the only no-drop ride of the 3 since anyone dropping from the A or B's can get picked up by this group.

Most other rides I do go out as a single group, but some separation does occur due to the strengths and abilities of the riders, especially if there's any elevation. Once a group gets bigger than 10+, I think its good to have more than one group anyway.
Interesting how that pretty much lines up with TT speeds around here (I do TT's, not pack riding) The fastest guys will go about 26-27, sometimes 30 mph for 40k, the middle packers about 22-25 mph and the slower ones 21 or less. Of course, that's without benefit of a paceline.
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Old 03-17-15, 08:03 PM
  #82  
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3/17 Update - Same ride, made it about 10 miles this time. Felt a bit more confident in the draft, but still the "climb" and rollers at the beginning of the route got to me. I think if I can make it another couple of miles, I'll be able to hang the whole ride because the rest of the route is flatter. At any rate, its fun to challenge myself.
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Old 03-17-15, 10:21 PM
  #83  
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In my club, everyone starts at the same time and we just naturally split into really fast/kind of fast/relaxed pace groups. Captains are supposed to sweep, though some don't.

At the end of the day, if you want to ride faster, you need to ride faster, i.e. go one faster rides with faster riders. Sounds like it's working for you. Beyond tactics, learning the etiquette of the group is important. They're different for every group, and you're probably riding with people that have been riding together for years and are used to each other's behavior.
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Old 03-17-15, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by sjuguy View Post
3/17 Update - Same ride, made it about 10 miles this time. Felt a bit more confident in the draft, but still the "climb" and rollers at the beginning of the route got to me. I think if I can make it another couple of miles, I'll be able to hang the whole ride because the rest of the route is flatter. At any rate, its fun to challenge myself.
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Old 03-18-15, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sneakyflute View Post
I'm a novice and beat a few members of an 'A' group after spontaneously joining their pack. Maybe I'm just gifted, but cycling is pretty easy.
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Old 03-18-15, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by sjuguy View Post
3/17 Update - Same ride, made it about 10 miles this time. Felt a bit more confident in the draft, but still the "climb" and rollers at the beginning of the route got to me. I think if I can make it another couple of miles, I'll be able to hang the whole ride because the rest of the route is flatter. At any rate, its fun to challenge myself.
You're probably right about being able to hang on in the flats. Even minor hills will separate some, so maybe you can work on doing hill repeats to help you stay with the group. It might also help to get a few miles in before the actual roll out for the ride so your legs are properly warmed up. Some people need more than 10 miles before the legs are ready to start pushing the pace. Have fun.
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Old 03-18-15, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by FLvector View Post
I get what you're saying, but I'm certain that you would feel this MUP is safe to stretch the legs. This one has very little to no foot traffic and is used almost exclusively by cyclists. Once you go beyond the first few miles (warm up anyway), the small amount of foot traffic (if any at all) is done. It is essentially a nice smooth, wide training path with only a few crossroads for a 40+ miles stretch from one end to the other, and no traffic to negotiate, so its ideal for a very fast pace for groups, solo rides or TT training. There's other local MUP's that I stay far away from, but this one is ideal for training rides, which I'll typically do 3x per week during the week. This is much safer than trying to ride on the local roads while people are commuting home from work with their heads buried in the phones and minds on other things. On the weekends, I'll ride other routes to mix things up.
Must be the Suncoast Trail...and you're right once you get past a certain point you are out of range for walkers and joggers.
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Old 03-19-15, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
I get shelled all the time on group rides, even when I am fit. Aerobically I'm pretty untalented (w/kg is typically 2.6-3.0 w/kg - right now, at a light weight and with good fitness, it's 2.8 w/kg, and I got close to 3.0 the year I upgraded to 2) so I struggle to hold wheels of even non-racers while on group rides. I can race well but I really can't climb. This is one reason I like racing - with a closed course there's a limited amount of climbing and an immense amount of tactics/thinking.

I put up YouTube clips under sprinterdellacasa. In 2014 I did a set of clips (look for "CCAP Tuesday Night") where I did the B race (Cat 3-4-5) and helped my Cat 4 teammates. Although the first race we did got rained out (we started but the race got called). The clip below is of one of the good races we did after we decided to work on our racing. There are two more, one in July, one in August.

Blog posts related to that clip above:
Sprinter della Casa: Racing - CCAP Tuesday Night Race, May 27, 2014

There's a lot of advice in that post for a new racer.
I have to admit, at first I thought it would be boring to watch people ride in a circle but, your commentary was really informative. It was nice to watch and read since I have been stuck in this house for almost three weeks now with Acute Bronchitis. Thanks
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Old 03-19-15, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bikecrate View Post
Must be the Suncoast Trail...and you're right once you get past a certain point you are out of range for walkers and joggers.
Yes, Suncoast Trial. As you know its a race course for many. We had our Wed's night ride last night, prolly about 40 riders. Finished with a 25.1 mph avg - managed to hang on the whole ride.
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Old 03-28-15, 03:39 PM
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Update to this thread. So, it's been cold and snow here the past week. That said, I did our group's Thursday no-drop ride and Saturday brisk, but no drop ride. Both rides went well, and I was easily able to keep up, improve drafting skills, etc. Amazing, what 1-2 mph in average speed does. Anyway, will be testing myself again this Tuesday A ride. Continuing to challenge myself, good times.
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Old 03-28-15, 03:48 PM
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Old 03-29-15, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
I get shelled all the time on group rides, even when I am fit. Aerobically I'm pretty untalented (w/kg is typically 2.6-3.0 w/kg - right now, at a light weight and with good fitness, it's 2.8 w/kg, and I got close to 3.0 the year I upgraded to 2) so I struggle to hold wheels of even non-racers while on group rides. I can race well but I really can't climb. This is one reason I like racing - with a closed course there's a limited amount of climbing and an immense amount of tactics/thinking.



I put up YouTube clips under sprinterdellacasa. In 2014 I did a set of clips (look for "CCAP Tuesday Night") where I did the B race (Cat 3-4-5) and helped my Cat 4 teammates. Although the first race we did got rained out (we started but the race got called). The clip below is of one of the good races we did after we decided to work on our racing. There are two more, one in July, one in August.

Blog posts related to that clip above:
Sprinter della Casa: Racing - CCAP Tuesday Night Race, May 27, 2014

There's a lot of advice in that post for a new racer.
Yep. Love the videos. Are you going to do more?
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Old 03-29-15, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by intransit1217 View Post
Yep. Love the videos. Are you going to do more?
Plan on it. 3/15 I got footage, haven't had time to look at it. 3/22 never managed to turn on the camera. Today I was sick and didn't race. April 4th I might race (Ninigret Park so a cousre I've done in the past), then April 12th another New Britain. After that I don't know my schedule. So hopefully yeah, I'll get the 15th up there. Nothing special result-wise but some stories to tell.
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Old 03-29-15, 08:48 PM
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Love the stories !
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Old 03-31-15, 08:08 AM
  #95  
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Keep at it and keep training.
Losing ground on the "climb"...what does that mean?...and the rollers at the beginning of an "A" ride means your fitness is not even close to what is needed to stay with this group.

Strategy is not involved in "drafting" or riding rollers...that is skills/experience.

Many riders are very skilled regarding handling skills, how to climb efficiently, etc. but would never make it in an "A" group ride whereas I've been in many an "A" group ride with riders that were exceedingly strong but barely had the skills to do more than ride a straight line by themselves...there is a difference.

I always taught the "Three L's" to new riders and hope to be racers: They are Look, Listen and Learn...look at what is going on around you, listen to what is going on around you...braking, gasping, chatting, etc...learn by asking questions, after the ride not during the long, steep climb lol...but don't take what you are told as gospel...we all develop our own "systems", "methods", etc. that may or may not really work for us but often pass it on as gospel.

Focus and train your weeknesses...they can and should develop faster than focusing on your strengths...
Good luck and keep riding...
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Old 03-31-15, 08:11 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
Plan on it. 3/15 I got footage, haven't had time to look at it. 3/22 never managed to turn on the camera. Today I was sick and didn't race. April 4th I might race (Ninigret Park so a cousre I've done in the past), then April 12th another New Britain. After that I don't know my schedule. So hopefully yeah, I'll get the 15th up there. Nothing special result-wise but some stories to tell.
Love Ninigret...really miss the old Bob Beal Masters Weekend...really miss Bob Beal...I've done that course and raced in that area for many years with many great memories...a superb area to ride and race...
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Old 03-31-15, 09:09 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
Keep at it and keep training.
Losing ground on the "climb"...what does that mean?...and the rollers at the beginning of an "A" ride means your fitness is not even close to what is needed to stay with this group.

Strategy is not involved in "drafting" or riding rollers...that is skills/experience.

Many riders are very skilled regarding handling skills, how to climb efficiently, etc. but would never make it in an "A" group ride whereas I've been in many an "A" group ride with riders that were exceedingly strong but barely had the skills to do more than ride a straight line by themselves...there is a difference.

I always taught the "Three L's" to new riders and hope to be racers: They are Look, Listen and Learn...look at what is going on around you, listen to what is going on around you...braking, gasping, chatting, etc...learn by asking questions, after the ride not during the long, steep climb lol...but don't take what you are told as gospel...we all develop our own "systems", "methods", etc. that may or may not really work for us but often pass it on as gospel.

Focus and train your weeknesses...they can and should develop faster than focusing on your strengths...
Good luck and keep riding...
Kai you make good points. I tend to be a person that picks up things quickly, mostly because I pay attention to what others that seems to be experiencing success are doing. So your look, listen, learn makes total sense to me. You were also correct in your assessment that my fitness was not quite there the first few weeks of riding. I can feel my legs coming around a bit now, which is nice.

Anyway, I did my 3rd A group ride tonight, and did not get dropped. 37 miles, similar route to prior weeks, but we added 5 more hilly miles (by midwest standards) around mid route. Few things: We had a bigger group, so it was a bit easier to stay sheltered. I made sure to take advantage of that, although I did do a couple short pulls on the front, which was probably a little much for me at this point. We did also have a flat toward the last part of the ride, which may have also helped. Kind of fun to see improved results, guess next week will let me know if today was a fluke or not.
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Old 04-01-15, 06:59 AM
  #98  
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Good for you.
Glad you took a couple of short pulls...pushing yourself a bit is important to test yourself and your improvements...It's knowing when to pull back and not blow yourself to pieces that's also important...


Well done...
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Old 05-01-15, 09:45 PM
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Quick Update:

Did a road race a couple weekends ago. A little disappointing b/c I thought I had a flat and came off the back to make sure. At that point there was a pretty stiff head/cross wind, so I had no chance of catching up. Basically TT'd the rest of the race. Few things that I learned... 1) Be smarter about positioning related to wind direction. I was caught in the gutter near the beginning of the race and was doing way too much work. The would have likely led to my demise even if I didn't have the flat incident. 2) Warm up more effectively. It was cold, I should have brought a trainer just in case. Lesson learned. 3) I struggled a bit during sharp accelerations. I need to work on being able to hit 30-31 mph without feeling like I'm in a full on sprint.

This past Tuesday I had my best A group ride yet. I fully participated in the pace line, including pulling on a regular basis. I sprinted at one of our normal sprint points and held my own. A little better fitness and a lot smarter riding can apparently do wonders. One thing I've noticed on all my rides over the last week is that I really feel all my leg muscles firing, which is in contrast to mostly my quads in the past. Don't know if this is perception or reality, but it seems to make a positive difference in my riding.
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Old 05-01-15, 09:55 PM
  #100  
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Bikes: 2008 Trek Portland, 1989 Nishiki Altron

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Great job on the progress.
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Appreciate the old bikes more than the new.
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