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Poll - Group ride pace(17 posts)

Poll - Group ride pacechazman
Feb 18, 2003 4:53 AM
What is your typical group ride pace for a flat section of road with no wind? Please indicate your groups level of experience and typical ride length. Just want to get a feel for what I am up against (and decide what kind of group to ride with) before I try to do the group ride thing.
re: Poll - Group ride paceMR_GRUMPY
Feb 18, 2003 5:53 AM
In an ideal situation, where everybody knows what they are doing, a good pace is around 22 to 24 Mph ave. That sort of ride usually only happens in dreams though. There are always people who are unclear or unwilling or unable to do their share in a paceline. Some people go to the front and slow down. Some people accelerate off the front when it is their turn. All these things can destroy an even paceline. In reality, in a typical ride, the speed will jump around. Sometimes the speed will be 19, and sometimes the speed will be 28. In any group ride, unless it is a "team" ride, there is always a large spread of experience.
Depends on group's organization...biknben
Feb 18, 2003 6:17 AM
When I ride with a couple guys I know well, we'll do a couple MPH faster than solo.

When with strangers it can vary widely. I often find the group rides with strangers are slower than what I would do by myself. Kinda frustrating.

If you are trying to figure out what group ride pace to start out with just add 2 MPH to your solo pace. You shouldn't have trouble riding within a group at that pace.
Depends on group's organization...CaliforniaDreaming
Feb 18, 2003 6:47 AM
It is also important to politely ask at what pace the group usually rides. If you're not sure that you can handle the pace, pass on the ride. I approached a group, inquired about the pace, felt confident it was well within my ability, and got completely hammered for an hour and finally blew up. The "advertised" pace was honestly about 7-8mph slower than actual. I didn't do myself any good by trying to stick out the pace and definately didn't help the paceline. I should have pulled out sooner, saved my training ride, and let the fast guys do what they do best.

Just one experience, your actual results and experiences may vary.
Depends on group's organization...The Human G-Nome
Feb 18, 2003 11:10 AM
The "advertised" pace was honestly about 7-8mph slower than actual. >>>

if there's one thing you'll learn about group and club rides it's that they rarely seem to mimic what's "advertised". i've been on plenty of "advanced" rides that turned out much more like a stroll in the park and likewise, plenty of "all level" rides that end up blowing up into a bunch of scattered tiny groups only half way in. all it takes is one or two folks (and they're usually newbies) who try to seemingly drop the group after only a few miles. i'll just chalk it up to nerves i suppose. it makes one wonder what the point of riding with a group is in the first place if you're just going to immediately try to drop them on flats (and what's the fun of that if you're only a few miles into a 75 mile ride?). inevitably, these folks get caught again on the climbs and then end up suffering for the rest of the day. the other conclusion is that some of the more veteran riders begin chasing them down and then pretty soon the entire group spends most of the day just trying to hang on.

if you're concerened about being dropped, it would seem best to join a NO DROP ride. otherwise, be prepared to possibly find yourself alone.
Ham-ma Time!eschelon
Feb 18, 2003 6:39 AM
As far as my group rides go...it is very unstructured and unorganized...just about everyone doesn't belong to the club that is sponsoring the club ride...but everyone seems to know what they are doing and the abilities have a wide range.

Typically, the first 5 miles are slow (22mph) and then it's time to hammer...which ends up between 25-28 mph. Then we have those frisky types that attack and then the pack ends up trying to nail them back...I love hearing people around me gasping for air..."IT'S UNBELIEVEABLE PHIL! THEY ALL HAVE THEIR TRAPS OPEN WIDE!!! HA HA HA!!! BUNCHA GOLD FISH PHIL!
re: Poll - Group ride paceCHRoadie
Feb 18, 2003 7:09 AM
My club generally goes in three groups: A, B, & C. The A's are your hammer-heads, and on flats w/o wind they'd be in the mid to high 20s. The B group is for people out for an ice cream social ride, and they'll average around 20 on the flats. The C ride is for beginners, and they'll do 15-17.
vast differencesDougSloan
Feb 18, 2003 7:47 AM
You never know. Hook up with a couple of guys, and it's around 22 mph. My default flat ground speed is about 20, so it's a little faster. With the racer guys, it's generally around 24-26, but on a 30 mile training ride it frequently goes to 30-32. That hurts, even in a good draft. Drift off a tiny bit, and you'll max your heartrate in a futile attempt to re-attach.

Remember there are vast differences between riders, groups, and even certain days or types of rides. No way to generalize very meaningfully.

Doug
My experiences...joekm
Feb 18, 2003 8:08 AM
I started doing group rides fairly recently (last August) so this is still fresh in my memory. My first time out, myself and another rider were a little late (The ride started early and we were not on the mailing list). Anyway, he says, "follow me, I think we can catch him". Well, this guy tore my legs off for about 6 miles and all the time I'm thinking, "If I can't keep up with this guy, maybe I'm not ready for a group ride yet".

Thankfully, the ride groups were all going together due to small turn out that day and we eventually caught them (it also helped that one of them had a flat). Once with the main group, the ride was pretty effortless and I began to know the joys of drafting in a paceline.

By next week, I was there on time and the ride leader was asking me which group I wanted to go out with. She recognized me and said, "Oh, you're the guy that followed Tony up, you should go out with the A riders.", to which I replied, "Tony tore my legs off, I think I'll try the B+ group.".

Turns out the B+ group was a good choice for me. It was a sprited workout and they really focused on paceline skills which I needed to learn. By contrast, I eventually went out with the A riders (by accident) and it was all I could do to keep up with those hammerheads, let alone develop paceline skills.

I would recommend going out with a fairly low impact ride group first (B or even C riders) just to get a feel for riding in a group without the distraction of a hard workout. Then, find the group that's most focused on developing paceline skills and run with them for a while (this might well be the A group, but not necessarily). The big thing is that it is probably a good idea to give yourself some time to get accostomed to riding in a group before starting to really use it for training.

Hope this helps,

Joe
club ridesvelocity
Feb 18, 2003 9:00 AM
If you're talking about club rides, our club's 'A' rides are generally listed as 19 or 20+ and 'B' rides generally as 15-17. We also have 'C' rides, which are intended for the casual cyclist, and they usually have an advertised pace of 12. Actual pace, of course, varies depending on the ride leader(s) and the group. Distances in all groups vary as well but are always stated explicitly in ride announcements.

If you want to learn good paceline skills, I suggest picking a group with whom you feel fully confident you can keep up. Once you have group riding skills, and a foundation of cycling fitness, you may want to challenge yourself with a faster group.

A good club leader, IMHO, makes clear what the cruising speed is to be in the flats and tries to have those pulling maintain and not exceed that speed. The accordion-like effect that happens when the paceline's speed is erratic isn't fun and is counter-productive. To go faster ought to be agreed upon by the group.

In general, our A-20+ rides in the flats tend to low- to mid-twenties -- or greater as these often have hammerheads who attempt to push the pace even further. On A-19 rides there's generally more of a consensus to keep a steady paceline & max speeds on flats is kept at 19 but will hit low-twenties. 'B' rides tend to place an even greater emphasis on moderation and steadiness and their cruising speed tends to adhere closest to "as advertised": 15-17.
re: Poll - Group ride paceMR_GRUMPY
Feb 18, 2003 9:27 AM
One thing that you have to understand is that the average speed of a ride doesn't mean very much. On one day, a ride could be very even paced and average 23 mph. The next day, could average 23 mph, but have large blocks of time at 15 mph and large blocks of time at 30+ mph. There is a big difference in those two rides.
re: Poll - Group ride pacetarwheel
Feb 18, 2003 9:58 AM
The best way to estimate your "group" speed to is add about 2-3 mph to your solo pace. Go with your averages for an entire ride, not the peaks you hit on ideal stretches -- eg, flats with no wind. Seldom will you ever ride in "ideal" conditions, at least not around here. My solo rides average about 15-18 mph, depending on conditions. Group rides generally average about 17-20 mph.

If you're new to pacelines, I would start out riding with some of the slower paced groups to practice your group riding skills. There is more to riding a paceline than just maintaining a given average speed. There are guys who can hammer with the best of them that I wouldn't want to ride in a paceline -- doing stuff like lapping wheels, suddenly jerking sideways, pushing the pace too fast when it's their turn to pull, not maintaining a steady pace. Riding with a fast-paced group is not the place to learn these skills -- you could easily take down an entire group by doing something stupid. Fortunately, I was able to pick up these skills riding with a congenial group of B+ riders. I could probably ride with some of the local A groups now, but it's just not as enjoyable. The local A rides almost always turn in to hammerfests where the object is to try to drop everyone.
re: Poll - Group ride pacewillin
Feb 18, 2003 10:55 AM
In Miami Fl area on the Sat ride there is a group of "A" riders who keep a pace between 19-28 mph, but no one gets dropped and the group is well organized, older, with most folks who could ride the hammer ride but choose instead to ride paceline.

Leaving the same time is a larger group which is also A but is a training ride rather than paceline ride. These are riders who train to race, or like riding as if they were training to race. Depending on which riders are there, and which teams are feeling frisky, the pace will go from 23 to 35-37 on the flats, no wind. This is the hammer ride. As other posters said, these rides have a mix of quite fit riders who may be sitting in and are not actually training too hard, and less fit riders who are redlined, suffering from oxygen deprevation, and sloppy.

But this is a group training ride, and the faster speeds are usually because the group is cathching a breakaway or there is a leadout to the final sprint, with the sprint being 37

Point is that in group rides there are paceline rides and then there are training rides. Both are group rides, but are very different in makeup and behavior.

If I were starting out looking for a group ride, I would go with a very slow group just to learn how to draft, then if feeling fit, tag onto the back of fast group until you get dropped. Just be sure you know the way home.
You can't really tell "what you're up against" until you tryBonked
Feb 18, 2003 10:58 AM
It is amazing how much faster you can ride when with a group of people. When I was in my teens, I did some team rides that covered some roads that I frequented by myself. When with the team I would do climbs in the big ring that I would do in the small by myself. You really just have to get out there and try it to find out what it is like and if you can keep up.

Of course, ideally, you won't be able to keep up at first and it will force you to improve! After a work induced hiatus and move, I was quickly dropped by the local group in my new area. Then, the next week, I lasted about half the ride and, finally, by the third or fourth week, managed to do the whole thing with the group.

When you do go out, two pieces of advice:

1) When you feel like you are about to die because the pace just picked up, dig deep and stay on the back of the pack; a) mentally tell yourself that it will be easier to ride home with the draft of the pack than alone and b) the ride will probably slow down soon, there may be a townline sprint or something and the pace will rapidly become more reasonable.

2) And the biggest piece of advice: DON'T GIVE UP. As I mentioned earlier, I was dropped like a stone on some of my first group rides, but you quickly gain the strength you will need to keep up. Just keep showing up every week and try to do a little better than last week. And remember that many first year pros get killed in their first pro races...just read LA's account of his first pro race in It's Not about the Bike.
Hee Hee...good advice actually...joekm
Feb 18, 2003 12:01 PM
From the above post:

"mentally tell yourself that it will be easier to ride home with the draft of the pack than alone"
.......

That time I accidentally split off with the A riders (see my earlier post), my motivation was that, even though I had my cell phone, I didn't know where I was. Therefore, not only would I have had a difficult time finding my way back to my car, but I also couldn't call someone and tell them where I was.

Yup, the prospect of being lost when it's starting to get dark outside is a powerful motivator.... ;)
You can't really tell "what you're up against" until you tryBonked
Feb 18, 2003 11:27 AM
It is amazing how much faster you can ride when with a group of people. When I was in my teens, I did some team rides that covered some roads that I frequented by myself. When with the team I would do climbs in the big ring that I would do in the small by myself. You really just have to get out there and try it to find out what it is like and if you can keep up.

Of course, ideally, you won't be able to keep up at first and it will force you to improve! After a work induced hiatus and move, I was quickly dropped by the local group in my new area. Then, the next week, I lasted about half the ride and, finally, by the third or fourth week, managed to do the whole thing with the group.

When you do go out, two pieces of advice:

1) When you feel like you are about to die because the pace just picked up, dig deep and stay on the back of the pack; a) mentally tell yourself that it will be easier to ride home with the draft of the pack than alone and b) the ride will probably slow down soon, there may be a townline sprint or something and the pace will rapidly become more reasonable.

2) And the biggest piece of advice: DON'T GIVE UP. As I mentioned earlier, I was dropped like a stone on some of my first group rides, but you quickly gain the strength you will need to keep up. Just keep showing up every week and try to do a little better than last week. And remember that many first year pros get killed in their first pro races...just read LA's account of his first pro race in It's Not about the Bike.
My club is well organizedKeeponTrekkin
Feb 18, 2003 12:21 PM
and the "leader" leads from the rear to make sure noone is abandoned.

From our website (mafw.org)

PACE AND TERRAIN INFORMATION
Ride pace as follows:

Pace Avg. Speed Comments
A 16 - 18 mph Hard fast riding, few stops, riders may be dropped.
B 14 - 16 mph For fit cyclists, riders may be dropped, leader rides at listed pace.
C 12 - 14 mph Accomplished cyclists, terrain varies, leader sweeps no slower than 12mph.
D 10 - 12 mph Easier pace, frequent stops, leader sweeps no slower than 10mph.
Casual 8 - 10 mph Relaxed riding, no steep hills, frequent stops, group stays together.

The riding speeds listed are average speeds while riding.
Riders should insure they can ride at the pace listed. The tourleaders will ride at the advertised pace. Novice riders should start off with a "Casual" pace ride, or possibly a shorter D pace ride.

Ride Terrain as follows: A=Hilly, B=Rolling, some steep terrain, C=Rolling, D=Flat

Rides are posted with length, pace and terrain information. Quite a variety with clubs and groups as this thread indicates.