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How not to do group training rides(21 posts)

How not to do group training ridesshirt
Feb 16, 2002 4:49 PM
So I was approached by a potential team last week and asked to come on a training ride today.

1 mile into the ride we were doing 22 mph up a hill.

We were riding two-abreast on the west side of the GG bridge, where there's really not room to do that with two-way traffic. We ran into somebody coming the other direction and four people went down. Lots of blood and a bike thrown into oncoming traffic.

When people finish taking their pull and rotate to the back, the last person should say, "I'm last" so you know you can slip back in. Nobody did this. It's common courtesy.

People kept screaming at each other to slow down, "today is TEMPO you M8thrfu9k3rs!!!" This after a 'mini race' was organized. Weird.

We dropped one guy, I said, "Should we wait? Do you want me to go back and get him?" Nobody answered me. Ten miles later we waited for everyone to catch up at a stop sign, and the guy we dropped yelled very sarcastically as he blew the stop sign and left us standing there, "THAT was fun."

Most of us do this sport for fun. Why a bunch of cat 3/4s ride like this is beyond me. The group I ride with in another city in California includes a bunch of pros and ex-pros and you know what? They are much more civil and _appear_ less competitive. Ironically, they lay waste to the group I rode with today. And yes, we do the first half hour to hour at about 18 mph.

I think I'll stay with my old team.
oh wait, two more itemsshirt
Feb 16, 2002 5:27 PM
How could I forget?

We're going through a section where there are stop signs every 200m or so. I'm second in the paceline. As we approach the stop signs, I call out, "Slowing." You know, how we do? After the second sign or so, the guy leading us through looks back at me with an irritated look on his face and says, "SSSHHHH." Oh, right. Sorry. I forgot how pleasant a 25mph cornholing can be.

A couple hours later I'm second in the paceline and suddenly we're riding through HUGE, SHARP rocks. Does the lead rider bother pointing them out? Does he move left of the white line until we're through them? No. Do I hit a 5" rock and get a blow out? Yes. (I was only about 3" to his side, so I know he had to navigate it.) Then I had to swerve into oncoming traffic to keep the tire from rolling, then discover a very nice set of sharp gouges in my new Xaeros. Nice!
oh wait, two more itemsDY
Feb 16, 2002 6:04 PM
What city do you ride in? I mean where in CA?
Feb 16, 2002 6:08 PM
I don't feel like ratting these guys out, even if some of them desperately deserve it. Mainly cuz I'm friends with one of them and a few seemed like really decent guys.

I normally ride up in Redding; today I was down in Marin. You know, home of the American Taliban, cults that starve their children, hot tubs and peacock feathers. Where I live during the week. :-)

welcome to the cat 3/4 mentality, sorry dudelonefrontranger
Feb 17, 2002 12:17 AM
It always amazes me how the lower cat riders are such d1cks, when they are the ones who need to learn the most. But oh, no - you can't tell a 2nd-year Cat 4 anything - he's already God's own expert on bike racing.

The more I race, the more I find I know nothing about bike racing, and I've been at it for a decade now. My suggestion is to ride with the other group you mentioned, or barring that, a Master's group, even if they're not "your team". You'll find that Masters racers are more focused, safe, social, friendly, sensible, and about a thousand other things.

Sadly, this is a very common circumstance. It boils down to this: your typical cluster of twentysomething Cat 3/4 guys is too spaced out on the scent of their own testosterone to respond to reason, pleas, threats, oaths, or (as you mentioned) bludgeoning with heavy objects.

If you need to really focus on specific training (hill intervals, sprints, whatever), do it with one other partner or by yourself. You can't get a quality focused workout from a group ride - even the most mannered group rides occasionally succumb to mob stupidity. That being said, I ride one to two group rides per week to keep my group skills sharp - it's good race simulation because they always go hard, no matter what they say they're planning to do.

My best bike mentors ever are a pair of Cat 1s who've raced in Europe, and my old coach, a former Cat 2 Master. The Cat 1's even swore they preferred to go with me on the days they had long slow rides scheduled - although it was no reflection on my abilities :) They simply used me as an "anchor" to keep from riding too fast. Shoot, I didn't care - guys who've raced that much tell excellent stories, and don't mind doing six laps to my one on every hill.


One small, irritating statisticshirt
Feb 17, 2002 10:15 AM
Probably half the group was over 35. Also, at least two of these older guys displayed behaviour that would make my 6 month-old blush.

PS: "LoneFrontRanger." Come on, admit that sounds mildly masculine. "Ranger?" Thou dost lurk! Of course, if you're Genevieve that's probably a perfect name.
One small, irritating statisticlonefrontranger
Feb 18, 2002 10:20 AM
That is an irritating statistic. Don't know what to tell you there - all the older guys I've ridden with are much more polite. Sometimes the fellows clean up their act when ladies are present, but typically not.

I sure wish Bicycling Mag and Velonews would address these issues with the stultifying regularity they address topics like "the latest, coolest, lightest widgets" (Bicycling) or "the most recent misadventures of the Evil Federation" (VeloNews), since many out there treat everything they print as gospel.

Most women on the web tend to select gender-neutral screen names. In my case, I have been in the sport since the late 80's, am a former head shop mech, did event promotion and race management for five years, managed my own racing team for four years, as well as having raced on the road for ten seasons, MTB for six, cyclocross for five and on the track and BMX as a lark on occasions. I can probably safely say I know a thing or two about cycling. The neutral screen name lets me cut to the chase and the guys don't get preconceived notions that since I'm female, I don't know what I'm talking about. Saves me from some condescending attitudes.
I agree with shirtJames Curry
Feb 20, 2002 7:05 AM
I rock climb a lot, and come across some sketchy people. The climbers who illustrate bad form are usually young pot-heads who got their first paycheck, blew it on some cams, and instantly became king-tradd climbers, invincible and fearless. They are all about the same age 20-24, because they eventually die due to a careless error, or bad judgement. Biking is rarely THAT treacherous, but the same youngster mentality exists there. I much prefer hitting an easy 5.5 climb with an old guy that can tell awesome stories, like Steve Longnecker. Nobody enjoys a jackass. And if these guys are as mindless and (more importantly because they are a team) incohesive as you say, they are losers. They won't win races, and they probably won't be together for a long time. They'd better get a drill sargent for a coach.
Ooops, I meant I agree with lonefrontrangerJames Curry
Feb 20, 2002 7:07 AM
lol....You think that's bad..gonzo77
Feb 17, 2002 7:25 PM
I live in Miami, Fl, a virtual melting pot of cultures and much Hispanic Machismo, myself included, but man the guys I have here take the cake. We've had actual fist fights in the middle of a damn group ride. We've had TEAMATES in one of the top local teams get in a fist fight, IN THE MIDDLE OF A RACE. CLowns I tell you. Then they go and get smoked in regional races outside of Miami. I love it though, we have a local guy who's actually on the Saturn Men's team and always puts everyone in their place when he comes down. But whatever, I don't get involved, I can still keep up with them, but I'm a humble cat 5 and know where I belong, if I ever make it to cat 3 I swear I wont become one of them......
Dude, I'm from Californiashirt
Feb 17, 2002 8:15 PM
I expect lots of positive reinforcement, wellness, and self-actualization to come from my cycling. It's good for the environment, good for me and contains just the right amount of whimsy and fun for a good-natured adult like myself.

- Dr. Jekyll (who trains)

Did I mention I only do crits? Do you want to know why?

- Mr. Hyde (who races)
Its the same everywhere...Wayne
Feb 18, 2002 7:14 AM
I live on the East Coast and in our area there are several group rides to choose from on any given weekend. One of which is always an all out race from the parking lot, literally people are sprinting from stop sign to stop sign. The pace is relentless and it's this way everytime. I do it sometimes but the last time pissed me off so much I've not been back. There were only 6 or 7 of us and one guy was trying to crack the group by putting everyone in the gutter in crosswinds. Only the "gutter" was the yellowline with oncoming traffic and a total disregard for any traffic overtaking us. It's amazing to see 30-50 yr old men with the high school football, jughead mentality that turns these rides into pissing contests. This group is typically a mix of very strong older riders, and strong recreational riders (so no need to save themselves for races, this is their "race"). Anyway, as I said luckily I have several rides to choose from and some of them actually allow you to maintain a nice aerobic pace.
Its the same everywhere...jim hubbard
Feb 18, 2002 9:17 PM
Well I live in New Zealand and it is the same here. There a Sunday ride that leaves about 8.00am and does 120k before finishing in town. I did this ride when I first moved to town it has about 60 odd riders most days.

I was blown away the first time I did this ride because the bunch was running stop signs, red lights etc. It was during this that I came to the realisation why some drivers hate cyclists especially when you see this type of behaviour. The bunch has a serious accident every couple of months and they don't seem to learn from it.

I rode with the bunch for about a month before I got sick of this BS. I guess I am the equivalent to the US Cat1/Pro in terms of racing ability and I don't need this when I go out to ride on a Sunday. The bunch is categorised as a medium training bunch and is surppoes to do about 27-30kph. I found that at times we were doing 40+ blowing red lights etc. So after a month I got sick of it so during the ride I swung out of the bunch we were doing 45kph at the time and people were getting shelled left, right, and centre. I start riding up the bunch still in my 39x14 and get to the front and just sit there 2m off to the side looking at these guys driving it. Now they are in the big ring 14-13 driving so I just sat there till I had there attention then let rip. I started abusing the shite out of them. It is amazing how quickly the speed dropped back to something reasonable, especially when you start embarising people in front of a large group.

So I don't think that there is a moral to this story, except that I don't bother with this bunch anymore. I generally train by my self as I have more control over the tempo. This bunch is still the same and I hear they had another major accident last week. I think the thing to be learned is that you can't change the bunch so if you don't like it find another bunch that is more suited to your needs
I don't believe youshirt
Feb 19, 2002 9:07 AM
You don't even have bicycles in New Zealand. I've seen the movie. You have more than enough problems with Orcs and Uruk-Hai to worry about finding the right group ride.
I don't believe youjim hubbard
Feb 19, 2002 9:34 AM
Nah thats only in Wellington, and the women down there do look like orcs!
it wasn't always like thisTig
Feb 19, 2002 12:27 PM
I took a few years off from riding until last year. I started riding with a very large local club (not a racing club) and was in shock over witnessing the exact same cr@p so many people have described in here. I've ridden with several of these guys in the past and don't remember then acting this bad. This change is alarming. These battles of ego and testosterone are pointless and are not good for training. The safety decrease is even more alarming.
Our team is not like thisallervite
Feb 20, 2002 11:20 AM
But our Leaders are very experienced riders that do not tolerate unsafe riding or leaving dropped riders behind on the long aerobic Sat rides. The pace is fast for some of us because there are some super riders in the group and their easy pace up a hill is my hard pace.

Wed nights in the summer are wicked fast, but everyone is forwarned of the route and the speed. No one is allowed to attack until we are past the last stop light, and no one is allowed to attack across a road. We also stop about 10 miles into the ride and wait for about five minutes to let those just off the back catch on. Also, new riders who show up are approached and welcomed.
Re:Our team is not like thisEric16
Feb 21, 2002 5:37 PM
Once again, here here allervite...the way it SHOULD be...
Our team is not like thisTrypsin
Feb 22, 2002 2:35 PM
That sounds great. Where is your ride at? can I show up?
Redding Californiaallervite
Feb 26, 2002 12:52 PM
Sue's Java Cafe off of Churn Creek Road just a stone's throw away from the intersection of Highway 44 and Interstate 5. Sat. 9 a.m.

Out of towners show up all the time. We had a couple of pros from Oregon a few weeks ago.

When the time changes Wed Night Ride begins. Usually 25 miles of fast hilly country, but can be as long as 60 miles. Same city, corner of South and Gold Wed. 5:00 p.m.

If you're serious and need more info.

I'll be in LA next week then at Sea Otter, but after that, I will make almost all the rides.
Mine either...Wannabe
Mar 6, 2002 9:20 AM
I found a great, great team at the end of last summer. It is just a great group of folks. I was preparing to move to that little city so hooking up with this group has been the best. They do two weeknight rides during the season. Wednesday is to be a "slow" ride where anyone is welcome and the ride is swept in case someone can't hold on. Pace should be around 14-17mph. Thursday is advertised as a simulated race ride and is not swept. This is explained well before-hand along with the route. Pace for this ride is to be 17-22mph or so.

While there are no jar-heads in this group, there is a healthy amount of competition, as one would only hope. Nonetheless, even to this point, I am not aware of to which category any of the riders belongs! On my first group rides members were very friendly and welcomed me in and after the ride, after I was dropped, showed sincere interest and hope that I would return. I appreciated that and it did make me feel better. The members are also willing to help with any questions that I have and help me to correct any problems that I have. I enjoyed riding with them so much that it inspired me to make the following New Year's resolution: "To become a very fit recreational cyclist so that not only will I be able to keep up with the team on the fast rides, but that I will be able to actively participate in the fast rides."

At this point, I am moving out of my base-training phase which lasted 9-weeks and am starting to build my strength. I can already tell the improvements and am looking forward to the first group ride of the year which will hopefully occur this month (despite the 8"+ of snow we got this weekend!).

Andy - Wannabe