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Getting dropped - good or bad?(14 posts)

Getting dropped - good or bad?mr_spin
Jun 18, 2001 10:38 AM
I'm sure this will provoke a harsh response from some, but hey, that's part of why this board exists!

In Bicycling Magazine last year or so, they had one of those dumb little lists about rites of passage, and one item was "getting dropped on a group ride." Yeah, I thought. That's probably happened to most riders.

The next month, they published a couple of letters from people blasting them, saying things like "That's mean and unfriendly. You should NEVER drop anyone on a group ride."

NEVER drop anyone? So here is the question. What's wrong with getting dropped on a group ride? Just to eliminate the obvious responses, let's assume that you know the route, won't get lost, and getting back to the start won't be a problem (i.e., you have water, tubes, sense of direction, etc.)

Also consider that in my mind, getting dropped, especially to a newbie, is somewhat like crashing. I don't recommend it, but it keeps you humble. Hopefully you learned something that you can work on for the next time (pace yourself, drink more, eat more, train more--whatever). I've had been on rides with friends where I was having a bad day, and I always tell them not wait. To me it's the courteous thing to do.
re: Getting dropped - good or bad?DaveG
Jun 18, 2001 10:45 AM
Depends on the ground rules established (sometimes informally) before the ride. If its a friendly wait for stragglers kind of ride, then you should not violate that. However, if its understood in advance that if you can't keep up the group won't wait than there's no obligation to wait. If there's a crash, injury or safety issue then you need to do the right thing.
Jun 18, 2001 10:55 AM
...the club that I helped form has Level 1, 2, and 3 rides. For example, Level 1 rides typical average about 50 miles and speeds range from 22-24. The rides are posted and the level of the ride is enforced so that a Level 2 ride does not turn into a Level 1 ride. Personally, I do not think that getting dropped is a bad thing...we all have off days.
My club works the same way...biknben
Jun 18, 2001 11:52 AM
We have 7 different levels. Everything from slugfest (10-12 mph) to hammerfest (23-25mph). The speeds of each level are explained in the monthly newsletter. It also explains that the top three levels are not required to wait for stragglers or those with mechanical problems. That doesn't mean the riders on those rides are jerks. They are out to enjoy a fast paced ride with others of the same ability.

In many cases, slower paced riders join a faster group knowing that there is a good chance they will be dropped. They have the moto, "To become faster you need to ride with faster people."

It's all about communication. Let people know what to expect and your less likely to have problems.
good and bad.....GregR
Jun 19, 2001 6:56 AM
If it is a race training group ride, its an incentive to get better. If you know they will regroup, you can have the tendency to give up too soon. Some group rides are just plain too big, it can be a good way to break into smaller, safer manageable groups. Regrouping constantly slows the faster riders down, they are there for a workout too you know! Plus you get that sense of accomplishment when you finally "hang" with the fast group.

On the bad side, if someone gets dropped and they are left alone, that is bad. Use the buddy system. If you flat, have a mechanical or just plain get spanked, at least you are not on your own. I have also seen people take risks in order to get back with the group. Its not good to have someone off the back trying to catch up in a state of oxygen deprived psychosis...

Smack Downgrz mnky
Jun 18, 2001 12:31 PM
I think you hit it - it keeps you humble. There's two general scenarios - dropping someone who deserves it and dropping someone who doesn't. Case in point some buds joined us for a ride on Sun., but we'd already had a gruelling day on Sat., but they didn't ride that day. So they show up all fresh and full of P & V. They stormed the hills which was fine. However, on the pace line back they would sit back in the draft for quite a while then surge and burn the group that was pulling them - making it tough for the remaining folks to close the gap. They weren't cooperating - so after a bit they started to fade and got dropped by the fatigued but more experienced group. We're all good friends so we discussed it afterwards and they then realized what was going on - they're a bit new to group riding so it was an important lesson. We have one guy who still hasn't learned and we kinda have a sick enjoyment in watching him blow often as possible. What you give is what you get.

Dropping people who don't deseve to be dropped is inmature and a sign of insecurity. On the previous day's ride we had a couple of gals starting to hit the wall at different points so a couple of us would stay with them and give them as much drafting and assistance as we could. We even flagged down a ride up the last 2,500' pitch when knee problems were starting to take their toll for one rider. Was it different b/c they were women? Maybe, but we've done the same for guys.

True we were among friends, but trying to be a decent person is more important - unless you hate group rides. If you want to get all agro go enter a race and see who drops who. If it's a group ride you're going to have some mixed abilities and it's important to decide if the needs of the group outweigh the needs (ego) of some individuals. If people discuss the issue and let someone go ahead or fall back then it's a lot better. It always seems to keep things a lot nicer if there are a few women along. If the group is all guys then usually there is going to be some trouble.
re: Getting dropped - good or bad?Hank
Jun 18, 2001 12:36 PM
used to do a group ride where the point was to drop people (pace ramped up pretty quick after the first few miles). Everyone knew the route so it wasn't an issue of getting lost. Just an issue of whether you could hang or not. Learning to hang on is about learning to be smooth - not pull too hard if and when you go to the front, and learning to be smooth with other riders - not letting gaps form, etc. Good experience if you plan to race (and for experienced riders, there's the plus of weeding out the squirelly, inexperienced riders). If not, it's probably no fun.
Sometimes you want to be droppedDCP
Jun 18, 2001 12:36 PM
In my club there tends to be a small group of faster riders, a larger group of average speed, and a small group of slower riders. The faster group usually separates and often will pick longer routes. I am faster than the average speed group, but if I go at the fast group pace, I know I will need to slow at about 30 or 40 miles. I am building more speed and endurance, but I am not at their level yet.

Sometimes they won't drop me and insist on going at a slower pace. I end up feeling guilty and push too hard to keep up the pace.
re: Getting dropped - good or bad?badabill
Jun 18, 2001 1:40 PM
Another lesson in all of this is to be sure you are self sufficient. Being able to fix a flat or make a minor repair on your own is every riders responsibility. I ride with 2 groups, one a easy paced fun ride where no one is left behind, the other a racepace training ride where breakaways and being droped is part of the game. As long as the rules are clear either type of ride can be a blast.
This is a great letter about the subject.Live Steam
Jun 18, 2001 2:56 PM
This was written by a member of our club in response to a complaint by another member about this very subject. I think his sentiments are profound. I hope he doesn't mind that I post it here. Everyone referenced in the letter is anonymous.

In Defense of .......

We had an A ride, off the Island, on Wednesday June 13, 2001.

Should you have come?

It wound up as an 85 mile ride. The first 20-25 miles were through rush hour traffic, with lots of red lights in Bayonne/Jersey City/Hoboken/etc. Stopping and starting, while at the same time trying to maintain a 20/mph pace.
Then on to River road just before Fort Lee, some good climbs up to the Bridge then into the park with its hills and the mile long climb out. Then onto 9W, a couple of more hills and into Nyack. Then back down 9W ( I think it's worse coming back) over the GW bridge, down through Manhattan, over the Ferry and home.

I was the weakest of the group but just made it up the last hill on 9W before I blew up.

The people I was with figured I would, because we ride together 50 weeks out of the year and they know me as well as I know myself.

It was 90 degrees. It was humid.

Could you have done this ride without causing everyone else to change their pace or style?

If you don't ride with us on the weekend, on the training rides, I don't know.

There are a group of people who are called the "A" riders. They ride together all (repeat all) year long. 95 degrees and humid or 20 degrees and threatening snow.

When you show up on Saturday, you look around at who's in the group and you figure out what kind of ride you can expect. A couple of weeks ago I looked around and saw a couple of racers and assorted other killers and said "this looks like an interesting group."
One of the racers asked if I was nervous? I'm always nervous.

Turned out that was a great ride with a really good pace.

I now have a certain degree of comfort when I show up for a ride. It took me four years to get there. I know all the short cuts for catching up to the group after you get dropped and have used them numerous times, although not so much lately.

We are always looking for new people. It's nice to have a large group when you are really making speed(ie Little Neck). Recent arrivals are a father and son duo who started out by riding with us for short periods before getting dropped. They don't get dropped any more. They ride every weekend.

It's not unusual for new riders to show up. Ride for one or two weeks and then disappear never to be seen again. Sometimes they will tell us what we have to change about our rides so that they will stay.

I don't know why people want to ride with us if they don't like our style. Maybe it's that damn letter "A".

I am thinking of proposing that we become the "Z" group.

A suggestion..

Ride every weekend because you love to ride.....

Ride with whoever is there....

If there is a group you want to ride with, get your skills up to theirs'. Don't expect them to come to your level, be it higher or lower.

I know that in the NYCC newsletter it states that you should make sure you are capable of the posted pace of a ride that is leaving your area, before showing up. We are not insensitive b------s. If someone other than a male gets dropped someone will drop back and try to help. But if we are all at the same level that won't happen(most of the time).

I ride with these people every week, they are good people.

You are welcome to join.
We ride bikes.
Jun 18, 2001 5:02 PM
I agree...Our group consists of various skilled riders and we all ride to our potential...if someone is a beginner and is invited for the ride, then I feel that the 'inviter' should make sure that the 'invitee' is not left to ride by theirselves...aside of being a beginner, everyone should strive 'to be all they can be' :) If the beginner wants to improve for self-satisfaction or to the point of competition, then it involves learning proper cycling techniques and time in the saddle....can't do it reading a book..We've ALL been there..(even LA)....I'm not in our 'A' group, but do enjoy the comraderie and we ENCOURAGE each other to ride better/faster.....
people on this board don't read Bicycling!rollo tommassi
Jun 18, 2001 5:20 PM
I wish some people would show the humility that you have when you say it's courteous to not have people wait up for you. That's great that you give the option to your friends. If I'm having a bad day, that's my fault, and there's no reason for others to have to suffer for it.

Staying with the group is not an entitlement, and the sort of dumbing-down that Bicycling suggests cheapens the sport.
people on this board don't read Bicycling!Canidraftyou
Jun 19, 2001 12:32 AM
You are very correct! If you can't hang with the big boys, pick another group to ride with, dont expect the group to hold up, maybe with a crash or flat at best. If you want to play with the big boys you have to hang with the bog boys, otherwise, go ride at the park with the ladies and children. You need to know who the leader of the ride is, if he races, he'll hammer it sometime during the ride im sure, if he has good ethic's he'll wait until the closing few miles and spend all that he has, putting all of us in check, causing us to train harder the next week.


Peace out
re: Getting dropped - good or bad?Samu
Jun 18, 2001 10:58 PM
On our weekend rides, it is understood you need to be self-sufficient and you must bring bus money. I usually give the leaders a heads up if I might bail or shorten the ride.

On our weekday rides, the riders are divided up by ability not dropped on purpose.

The only thing I get nasty about is if someone shows up with aerobars and drops into them in a paceline. There are more triathletes here than road racers and I regular see the triathletes ride their aerobars in a paceline.