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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been training approx 100 miles a week this year and yet I am unable to
gauge my overall status objectively without participating in group rides. Last
week I rode with a 'B' group and had no difficulties whatsoever. I am considering
going on the 'A' level ride. I am familiar with the course, so if (or perhaps when)
I got dropped, it would be no problem. Question is, would it be cool for me to
just show up at the A ride, or is that a no-no? I copied an excerpt below:
Thanks for your input.

"This ride attracts people who enjoy being athletically fit year round, but who aren't aggresive enough to be racers (else we would be on the oval Tuesday nights). One of us rides time trials, another runs marathons, one randonneurs, and some just like looking buff on a bike. We actually do try to keep track of everyone during or after the ride, but in general on this ride WE DO DROP (starting with each other) as the season progresses."
 

· Yo no fui.
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You'll never know if/when you'd be dropped by the As until you try. If you can ride with the Bs no prob, sounds like the As are worth a go.
 

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You won't become a faster and more powerful rider by riding with people you can comfortably ride with. If that's your goal you need to be willing to swallow your pride and intentionally ride with people who are faster and stronger riders than you are. You may get dropped at first but eventually you will be right in there with them at the end.
 

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phoehn9111 said:
I have been training approx 100 miles a week this year and yet I am unable to
gauge my overall status objectively without participating in group rides. Last
week I rode with a 'B' group and had no difficulties whatsoever. I am considering
going on the 'A' level ride. I am familiar with the course, so if (or perhaps when)
I got dropped, it would be no problem. Question is, would it be cool for me to
just show up at the A ride, or is that a no-no? I copied an excerpt below:
Thanks for your input.

"This ride attracts people who enjoy being athletically fit year round, but who aren't aggresive enough to be racers (else we would be on the oval Tuesday nights). One of us rides time trials, another runs marathons, one randonneurs, and some just like looking buff on a bike. We actually do try to keep track of everyone during or after the ride, but in general on this ride WE DO DROP (starting with each other) as the season progresses."
sounds like a bunch of old freds with hairy legs.
 

· Climbs like a sprinter...
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There has been a lot of whining lately about our Monday "no drop" ride since there is still a group that goes off the front and then all the others try to keep up and cry because they are working too hard. "People show up for one ride and get dropped and never come back" is the common complaint. Last night I was talking with a (strong) girl about this and she said "Nobody's holding a gun to their head forcing them to ride at the higher pace." My response was that it just makes you faster/stronger anyway. Last year I spent the summer getting my ass kicked but I kept coming back for more and now this year I'm kicking the ass. So if you want to ride at a steady pace then ride it. If you want to spray testosterone all over the place and nobody brought their rain gear it's their fault not yours.

Go for the "A" ride. In the end you'll be rewarded for you effort.
 

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bmxhacksaw said:
There has been a lot of whining lately about our Monday "no drop" ride since there is still a group that goes off the front and then all the others try to keep up and cry because they are working too hard. "People show up for one ride and get dropped and never come back" is the common complaint. Last night I was talking with a (strong) girl about this and she said "Nobody's holding a gun to their head forcing them to ride at the higher pace." My response was that it just makes you faster/stronger anyway. Last year I spent the summer getting my ass kicked but I kept coming back for more and now this year I'm kicking the ass. So if you want to ride at a steady pace then ride it. If you want to spray testosterone all over the place and nobody brought their rain gear it's their fault not yours.

Go for the "A" ride. In the end you'll be rewarded for you effort.

Well - will it?? one intense effort and you get dropped will make you stronger?

or several smaller hard efforts while riding within your 'limits' in a group rotating through?
 

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Drichman said:
You won't become a faster and more powerful rider by riding with people you can comfortably ride with. If that's your goal you need to be willing to swallow your pride and intentionally ride with people who are faster and stronger riders than you are. You may get dropped at first but eventually you will be right in there with them at the end.
yup...my neighbor can ride me off his wheel most days, but I get a pretty good workout riding with him because it pushes me to ride harder.
 

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My two cents:

If this is a group ride with sponsored riders, shaved legs, etc. and you have not ridden at that level before, proper etiquette is to pay your dues by starting the ride at the back of the group punching tickets. You accomplish two things at the back: (i) you learn the flow of the ride and identifying the technical turns, etc.; and (ii) it's pretty hard to bring anyone else down if you crash at the back. The worst thing you can do in the middle of the pack on only your third ride in a new group is piss off the veteran riders with on-off pedaling, too much braking, overlapping wheels, fish-tailing or -- heaven forbid -- a crash. Face it, a group ride with fast(er) riders is a lot like cliques in high school. There is initial skepticism but eventual acceptance into the posse -- if you don't ride like a dork. So keep a nice, straight line, don't brake needlessly, pedal continuously and smoothly. Of course, at the back you will work harder but that's a good way to build up your strength and confidence, etc. Another benefit of riding your first few rides at the back if the pace is hammer: nobody can see you get dropped! Eventually after a few weeks where you are comfortable with the flow and speed, your strength improves quite dramatically (compared to your B group riders), then start moving up to the middle of the peloton, then a few weeks later start moving to the front third or so.

Here are some other basic tips from pezcyclingnews.com that apply here: "Sprinting at the wrong moment, setting the wrong pace up a climb or pushing the tempo at the wrong time can draw just as much scorn as pushing the pace on a recovery ride. Get to know the etiquette of a group ride by doing it at least two or three times before even thinking about getting to the front."

Before you know it, you will be taking pulls at the front, countering attacks, shaving your legs, and burning away money on unncessary upgrades to your bike(s). Have fun and good luck! :)
 

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bmxhacksaw said:
There has been a lot of whining lately about our Monday "no drop" ride since there is still a group that goes off the front and then all the others try to keep up and cry because they are working too hard. "People show up for one ride and get dropped and never come back" is the common complaint.
If it's actually supposed to be a no-drop ride, they seem to have a valid complaint. Monday night rides are typically easy recovery, and if a couple of clowns are turning it into a hammerfest, they are in the wrong place.

Not every group ride should be a ride-your-nuts-off affair. It can be aggravating when every single ride turns into a hammerfest because of a couple clueless people. In an ideal world, the rest would just let them ride off the front, but sometimes it's hard to recognize while it is happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, everyone. Fornac's advise is exactly what I was going to do. Sprinting at
the wrong moment. Wow, now I'm worried, because in the 'B' ride on a rather longish
hill, I couldn't stand the holding back and rode up fast, having to wait for the others
at the top. Hope I haven't alienated anyone, it's so difficult for me to hold back sometimes.
I somehow don't think that will be a problem tonight. Definitely some hairy legs, but
most assuredly not Freds. Please don't think for a minute that I am afraid of pushing
it or thinking of whining or even opening my mouth to speak except to ask politely if
I may attempt to hang as long as possible, or some conciliatory beta male comment
to assuage egos.
 

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phoehn9111 said:
in the 'B' ride on a rather longish hill, I couldn't stand the holding back and rode up fast, having to wait for the others at the top. Hope I haven't alienated anyone, it's so difficult for me to hold back sometimes.
You are definitely ready for what you call the "A" ride. It's a truism: the only way to get faster is to ride with faster riders. If you are constantly leading your B group on the climbs, you're not going to get any faster. Remember -- just punch tickets tonight at the back! Watch, observe and get a feel for the flow of the ride.
 

· Climbs like a sprinter...
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bas said:
Well - will it?? one intense effort and you get dropped will make you stronger?

or several smaller hard efforts while riding within your 'limits' in a group rotating through?
I suppose if one were to put my closing statement in the context of my full post one might be able to extrapolate that I meant riding in the "A" group on a regular basis. Then again one might not possess sufficient exegetical skills to effectuate such an extrapolation. Dude.

:D
 

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pretender said:
If it's actually supposed to be a no-drop ride, they seem to have a valid complaint. Monday night rides are typically easy recovery, and if a couple of clowns are turning it into a hammerfest, they are in the wrong place.

Not every group ride should be a ride-your-nuts-off affair. It can be aggravating when every single ride turns into a hammerfest because of a couple clueless people. In an ideal world, the rest would just let them ride off the front, but sometimes it's hard to recognize while it is happening.
I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything but I never once complained about getting dropped all last year and it has paid off. And the people complaining are the ones that don't have the speed/strength to keep up with the A group and end up back with the "no drop" riders. Nobody got dropped because there is the slower group that tools along at their pace yet the crybabies complain because they can't keep up with us. I worked my ass off to get where I am at now so I was making the case that you can hang back with the recreational riders or you can stick your nose in the A group and hang on for dear life as long as you can. Keep doing it and it will pay off.
 

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bmxhacksaw said:
There has been a lot of whining lately about our Monday "no drop" ride since there is still a group that goes off the front and then all the others try to keep up and cry because they are working too hard. "People show up for one ride and get dropped and never come back" is the common complaint.
I don't think "no drop" should be misconstrued to mean nobody will go off the front. It just means that you don't have to go with them and that there will be a ride leader to ride with newbies to the finish. That ride leader should be designated and everybody should know who is staying behind with the slower riders.
 

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I agree

I agree with the others. I started riding with the A group last year. I usually end getting dumped sometime after the 1/2 point (when they really ramp up the speed). By the time I am dropped, I have nothing left, so the ride home is long, lonely, solo, and not really that much fun. BUT, every week I still go back. Some weeks I finish with the group; that makes me feel really fast....only to get shelled out the back the next week.

BUT...it's also made me faster than the B's:thumbsup:
 

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hanging at the back of the group will most assuredly get you dropped. If you have good pack riding skills ride in the middle front of the group. Ride like you have been there before. Be safe and adhere to good pacelining techniques. With less experience and strength on the back of the whip you may not make it to the 5th turn if the boys throw the hammer down out the gate. Cornering skills play a big part in keeping up with faster groups (that and climbing strength to weight ratio) and my guess is this is where you will need to learn. You will probably create some gaps in corners that you will need to close but that same gap at the back of the pack will leave you on a solo ride

good luck and stick with it
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Only four other riders showed, three of whom had shaved legs and 'looked fast'
Turns out they were. I was able to hang for about half the ride then made the mistake
of falling out of the paceline and had to work like a maniac to keep up. I was getting
close to talking to dear departed uncle Bill la la land, but managed to stay with the
ride leader, who was paradoxically slower than me in the hillls and one of the other three,
who didn't know the course. Things on my side 1) best bike in the group (shades
of fredland), good hydration and equipment. 2) willingness to dig deep. 3) good bike
handling instincts. Coming back, I again raised my pace to max and the other guy
just rode my wheel, sort of nonchalantly, barely breathing hard. Whew!
At the end of the ride the two fast guys were at their cars and greeted us with those
wan, fading smiles of 'yeah, I know, those guys'. For the first time ever, I was not
offended. There are so many strata of rider abilities and the gulf between the best
and the lowest is so profound, I honestly understand their attitude and was grateful
for the greeting. It will take years of hard work until I am a good rider, but know what?
That's OK. I'm having a blast beating myself to a pulp.

Need Bigger Engine!
 
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