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Why do I do this?(28 posts)

Why do I do this?Wannabe
Jun 7, 2002 10:33 AM
I can see why Simoni takes cocaine! :) Ha! I'm a serious newbe to serious riding (have always ridden and am a long-time fan), as evidenced by my handle, and got hooked up with a local team for the start of this year.

Last night there was a scheduled meeting after the Thursday night "fast" ride/training race so the anticipated group was expected to be larger and faster. Little did I know! The ride started out and they were crusing along 27-28mph and I was hangin' on the back. Over a little rise, HR hits 195 and then the road flattens out, but they were going so fast I had no time to recover. A few more hills are hit, and they are bigger this time and a gap opens, but I sprint (or what passes for my sprint at this point) and I close the gap down. I cough up a lung but I quickly shove it back into my chest and try to recover. No chance. The club's big guns are really tightening the screws up front. But they did slow to ~26mph. Short time later after the next hill, one of the team members who's nick name is "fast Matt" turns off, says it's too fast for him... Danger...

Well, I totally pop on the next hill. My HR hasn't been below 182 since we left the shop and once we got out of town it was more like 187+ the whole time.

I'm falling off the group when the shop owner comes by going a few ticks faster and says to catch his wheel. But there is no way. There is no sprint this time and I could not accelerate to catch his wheel.

That was the last I saw of the group. I rode another 22 miles or so on my own (I didn't even end up doing the same route as the club and my route acturned out to be a few miles longer) using the "force" to guide my on the country roads.

So I am here today, thinking about all the ridding and training I've done this year and I still got shelled in no time. Very frustrating and not the least bit discouraging. Will I ever simply be able to hang on these guys' wheels? I'm in beter shape than I ever have been but I still suck!

Then, in my next thought I am thinking about my endurance (my endurance, not you folks'!) ride tomorrow and how I can't wait to get out there and just ride. My training program has slowly built up and my weekly endurance ride now has me at 100k. I brought my Gazeteer to work and picked out a route that should have me doing my first ever metric century. And I will now be doing a weekly metric or more until by the end of the summer, my weekly training will have me riding 100 miles on the endurance ride of the week.

I am nuts.

Jun 7, 2002 10:39 AM
My advice is to ride with the group for your intensity. Do a good warmup and treat it like a race. Then when you get blown out the back no worries. I used to get blown out the back door of crits so I'm very impressed you can hold 28 km/h so well. I am a coach so if you'd like to chat with me just email me at

Have fun with your metric century! It'll fly by!

Nick Corcoran
Jun 7, 2002 10:51 AM
Nick, normally I dont reply to posts because I dont know much, but he clearly meant 28 MPH!!! common man, I thought you were a sprinter...
Jun 7, 2002 11:20 AM
I can go upwards of 28 mph on a flat road. How much faster doesn't matter. But as I near my top end my endurance to hold it shatters. Heck my endurance to hold 20 mph at times goes. Especially uphill.

Nick Corcoran
Thats not even the speed limit.Lowend
Jun 7, 2002 11:48 AM
As per what you said in a previous post, I thougt you were fast. I guess I was wrong.

" have quite a bit of top end speed so in a way I'm safer since not as many cars have to pass me."

You must have "moderate" cars on your roadways, if they can't pass you.
My explanationPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jun 7, 2002 11:55 AM
They do pass me... however, if I can hold 50 km/h for quite a while in downtown Calgary. How many cars need to pass me in comparison to someone who can only maintain 50 km/h? For the record the speed limit downtown in 50 km/h... not to say cars don't go faster but anyway.

-Nick Corcoran
Is your 50kmh faster than another's 50kmh? NMLowend
Jun 7, 2002 12:06 PM
If a cyclist falls on the road and noone sees... did he fall? nmPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jun 7, 2002 12:32 PM
Obviously not...Falling is embarrassing...(nm)TJeanloz
Jun 7, 2002 1:48 PM
re: Why do I do this?No_sprint
Jun 7, 2002 10:44 AM
I know exactly what you are talking about. There are several training rides in my area where the group is led by pros and the pack is filled with everyone down to 5s. It takes some (good) riders years before they are able to keep up. I still cannot keep up with the lead Simi ride group, nor the lead group at most of the Tues/Thurs crit practice rides.

It is my opinion that one will never be a good race type rider without training with these groups and racing a lot. One cannot train into a being a good racer without the real experience in my opinion. At least not in Califoria, perhaps in North Dakota.
Pros are pros for a reasonelviento
Jun 7, 2002 12:21 PM
You are sure to get your ass kicked if you hang with the pros. Just find a pack with a demanding speed, but not so demanding that you have little chance of keeping up with.
re: Why do I do this?sharkey
Jun 7, 2002 11:02 AM
Ooooooooo!! So familiar!!! I know exactly how you feel!! You are going about it the right way -- getting in a lot of base miles and increasing your endurance. But that's only PART of it (you didn't think racing would be easy, did you?). Being "fit" and being "fast" are related, but definitely not the same thing. You are closer than you think, but (based on my own experience) there are a couple of things you need to do. First, work intervals into all of your rides. Interval training help you maintain a higher HR, and more importantly, it decreases your recovery time. Second, watch those fast guys in the practice race closely. See how they conserve energy (spinning, not standing a lot, effective drafting and pacelining, definitely no big gear efforts early). Engergy saving techniques make for a smart fast rider.

If the "A" ride is too far above your ability, it won't benefit you, so try the "B" ride. Hanging with a group that pushes you to your limit for 20 to 30 miles is what you want. A group that immediately pushes you past your maximum, and rips your legs off after 6 miles doesn't do you any good. Hope this helps!!
my "training"Wannabe
Jun 7, 2002 11:46 AM
I do have a training plan (I didn't make it, I had a "coach" set it up for me), in a nutshell, it goes like this:

Sat/Sunday: Endurance ride one day, recovery the other. This week it is ~60miles. Every second week 5 more miles are added.
Monday: Recovery Ride
Tuesday: Speedwork, 25miles with acceleration intervals, standing intervals (both low and high gear).
Wednesday: Recovery Ride
Thursday: Group Ride, 30-35 miles (this last ride was unusual due to the meeting after which drew a high percentage of riders when some would normally skip due to training/race sched).
Friday: Recovery Ride.

I know that it is my interval work that needs the biggest attention. Once I was shelled, I had recovered pretty well after about 5min and was able to push hard the rest of the way. I am not fast (I'm a cat6- racing next year!) but was able to average 20mph for the last 19-20miles.

I guess the real point of my post was that last night, I got shelled, frustrated and discouraged about my riding, and today, I am really looking forward to my ride tomorrow. I just finished "laminating" my map and directions that I put down on a 3x5 index card for tomorrow. By laminating, I mean wrapping in several layers of clear packing tape so the card doesn't get all wet and disintegrate in my jersey pocket! Maybe I'll take along my digital camera tomorrow for a ride report as MB1 suggested! :)

Donut RideHBPat
Jun 7, 2002 11:10 AM
There is a ride out here in LA called the Donut Ride and the first time I tried to hang with the lead group I felt exactly like yourself. Bit discouraging really, but hey.
Donut Ridefracisco
Jun 7, 2002 2:26 PM
I was going to give that a try tomorrow, too. I like the route, but if it's that fast....I'll think it will be a solo adventure for me.
Donut RideHBPat
Jun 7, 2002 2:57 PM
The first climb up to the cove is where they separate into the fast riders and the slower ones. If you're not in the lead group at the top of the first climb it is still a good ride but you probably won't rejoin the lead group. If you can make it through the first few miles you should be ok, until the switchbacks. That's usually where I blow up like Cadel.

I am relating my experiences though, and if you are a really strong rider it could be much easier for you.
Donut Ridefracisco
Jun 7, 2002 8:12 PM
I'm going for the Easy Riser the next couple of weeks, and try to get onto the Donut later in the Summer. Too new at this to try and be where I shouldn't. I'm also going to try and eventually crack the Tuesday/Thursday Marina ride, when I can figure out how to get a bike about 30 mph on the flats. ;)
Donut Ridemickey-mac
Jun 7, 2002 8:20 PM
If you're concerned about hanging on the Donut Ride, try picking a Saturday that's followed by a big local race the following day. I did the DR most Saturdays in from the end of '96 through '98 and almost always found that the pace was more civilized when the hammerheads were racing the following day. It's a fun ride and relatively safe for a ride of its size.
Donut Ridefracisco
Jun 8, 2002 1:10 PM
I did the Easy Riser this morning, which takes more or less the same route (, except instead of cutting down Miraleste to Western and through San Pedro, we continued down to PV North, skipping a lot of additional miles. There were a lot of regroupings, but it was just what I needed today, since I haven't done any hill climbing, or fast descending in a long time. We also went around the PV Golf Club outbound, cutting through some residential. It was fun, and I'll be out there the next couple of Satudays.
Vista del Montemickey-mac
Jun 8, 2002 1:32 PM
It sounds like you're pretty familiar with the PV area. If you haven't already done it, you should try the climb up Vista del Monte, which is just on the residential side of the arch at the shopping center in PV. The climb is nice, and the view north toward Santa Monica and Malibu is pretty amazing on a clear day. It will take you up to Hawthorne, where you cant head back down toward the beach or over the hill heading inland. With the exception of some overzealous cops, I miss riding in PV.
re: Why do I do this?BikeViking
Jun 7, 2002 11:30 AM
I ride with a group at lunchtime and I was regularly blown off the back. I have been concentrating on the weekend endurance rides and, when the pack isn't pummeling me, get some speedwork in (4-5 min hard, 15 min easy) after I warm up a good bit.

After 3 months, I am now keeping up, but they still clobber at the sprints.

Something else to work toward...
very familiar. many of us are nuts. in my case,...JS Haiku Shop
Jun 7, 2002 11:35 AM
it's cat 2s driving that pack, and i'm hangin' on for dear life just to be in with the "best of the rest". 30+ on the flats leading up to the hills...UGH! that's on the "enjoy the pain" night. i also have an "inflict the pain" night, where i'm lucky enough to be one of the bigger fish. small pond, indeed. sometimes a shark or two will find their way into our wading pool, and then i'm 100% chum. :-)
I don't doubt the accuracy of your computer, but...elviento
Jun 7, 2002 12:29 PM
27-28mph is pretty damn fast.

This is what I found on the internet:

"What is the fastest average speed of a Tour winner?
Italy's Marco Pantani is the latest record holder in that category. In winning the 1998 Tour he covered 3711.6 kilometers in 92 hours 49 minutes 46 seconds an average of 39.983 kilometers per hour."

That's 24.8mph.
I don't doubt the accuracy of your computer, but...Wannabe
Jun 7, 2002 12:43 PM
Yes, well, I didn't say they averaged that for the whole ride. That's just where they started. By the time I was dropped, they were down to 26. I am pretty sure my computer is accurate as after rides we often compare (not last night, they were all packed up and changed and inside by the time I got back!).

The tour ave. of 24.8, what do they average when they are hamering? 35+? What does 55k/h translate to? The guys last night were hammering. What did they average for their ride? Dunno, like I said, when I got back...

Yes, those speeds are typicalTig
Jun 7, 2002 2:00 PM
A local club I sometimes ride with has a Saturday morning group ride that gets going pretty fast, but after we get away from the traffic lights (about 3-4 miles into the ride). The warm up followed by my 3 miles warmup riding to the ride helps quite a bit. It usually takes me about 8-12 miles to really warm up. You may want to find out what works for you. Depending on the wind and who's riding, the pace averages in the mid and upper 20's with plenty of 30-35 mph attacks. These guys are obviously strong, and there are even a few women that can keep with them for most of the 60 miles.

I like to measure my progress by seeing that I can stay with them longer and longer. On good days I can even push the pace a little, but those are rare! Remember, fitness gains are like stair steps, not a straight line slope.
Yep, you're right.look271
Jun 7, 2002 3:07 PM
Been in many rides like that. Those speeds are not unheard of. Not really that hard to do if you're in the pack. If you're not, you're sc$%!ed.
Been there, done that.look271
Jun 7, 2002 12:37 PM
Just last Saturday a similar situation occurred to me. It was my 1st time out this year with the Sat morning training ride. I am in better shape now tthan I ever have been, fwiw. No matter. About 2/3 into the ride the big boys went nuts. I got dropped at the bottom of a hill and just couldn't bridge the gap. 3 others suffered the same fate. Then the big group turned and we didn't. Fortunately I knew the area and I got us back. Humbling experience. On a positive note, I was still feeling OK at the end of the 50 miles and mostly pulled the other guys back, so I wasn't DFL. Know what? Gonna do it again, soon! This time I won't get dropped. It's the best way to improve your speed.
You're not nuts...bigdave
Jun 7, 2002 12:41 PM
Like many others, I was in the same boat at one time. The intervals are the key. I found a great help to be doing the intervals with a partner or teammate of slighly better speed. You have someone to share your suffering. :-) Plus, it pushed me to new levels of pain when I had to match his pace when I was gassed (older teammate, but far, far more experienced and an established winner). I found it easier to "chase the rabbit" when I was tired versus slowly losing velocity as I did individually in intervals.

Also, don't forget about circumstances. Some of my worst group rides were a day or two after intervals, or a day when because of work, I didn't eat that well that day. I was going off the back all the time. Then, on a group ride when I had decent rest and fuel, I not only did well, but was near the front of the group because my legs were fresh. People were like "who are you?"

Like one of the other poster's said, spinning round circles in the early parts of the ride (not mashing in only the downward direction) and smoothly drafting others (matching pace of a passing ride, not going slower then having to gas it to catch the wheel) also will help a lot. Try to keep that pedal pressure as light as you can on the flats, or if that's not possible, at least make sure you're being efficient... scrape that mud off the bottom of you shoe (metaphorically speaking).

Regardless, the bottom line is work in intervals, but don't base your view of yourself as a cyclist on the group rides. Train your weaknesses that get exposed on those rides and before you know it, you won't be getting shelled anymore.

Oh, one other thing just popped out of the cobwebs in my head... :-) You mentioned that when the shop owner told you to jump on his wheel, you couldn't. That might be one of those things where you can dig a little deeper (not easy) and say "I'll stay on until that road sign up ahead," and so on to help set little milestones for yourself. I say that because I also backed out of an early season race or two when it seemed I couldn't do it any longer, only to see the pace ease by a few mph a lap or two later. DOH! That slight easing of the pace would've allowed some recovery. Who knows, if you could have stayed on "a few signs" up the road, the pace might have eased a bit, or the group might've at least split, and at least you would not have been riding alone. Just a thought...