Let Me Clear My Throat!

Okay, I have to get this off my chest. Maybe it will reach a few. Maybe it won’t. I don’t know, but I need to just say it. I hate to use my blog as a soapbox too often, but this is just ridiculous. This might be an isolated incident or only happen in our group ride, but I must speak. I won’t take time to explain cycling terms, because I’m frustrated. Just Google it.

The Thursday night group ride is what is know as the Cat 6 ride. It is a drop ride and hammers out somewhere in the 35-45 mile range with an average speed landing in the 23-24 mph area. The group is good, and many riders show up to see where they are in their training. Some of these riders show up, hang on for a while, and get dropped; that is perfectly fine, but I have a problem with 2-3 riders who show up for different reasons that I have yet to figure out . . . correction: I know why they are doing what they are doing, and this could be a good tip for new riders.

The overall group consists of strong riders who show up and do their fair share of pulling in the front. I completely understand if the rider is having a bad ride or he’s not strong enough to pull for a certain period of time, but . . . in our ride, like most weekly group rides around the world, has sprint points that are already predetermined. Here’s the sticky part: like I stated, there are these couple of riders or so that want to get off of the pull as soon as they start their turn only to drift to the back and ride smooth until the next sprint. It is then that these riders will burst from the pack and launch the sprint, finish the sprint, pedal easy until the pack catches up again, and of course go to the back. If they do happen to work their way back up front before the next sprint, the cycle repeats itself.

Maybe you are reading this, and you happen to be guilty of this. Guess what, dude? We are not your team. You are not a GC contender or our sprint guy. We are not doing a group ride to shelter you. We are not working for you. Terrific, you win most of the sprints . . . because the other riders are worn out! I personally refuse to pull five to someone else’s one time. Yes, I am aware that all of the pulling is helping me be a better rider, but it’s the principle of the matter. Heck, I’d like to hit a sprint with fresh legs too, but I’m coming off a pull every time I look up!

We all have experienced the guy who pretends be having a mechanical the entire ride, hanging out in the back, until the climb comes up; then that dude goes up like a rocket and “beats” everybody to the top. No one likes it, but I never see anyone saying anything, other than the shaking of a head or two. Now, please don’t get me wrong. If you are in a race, of course you are working for you or your team and need to take every advantage you can get, but group rides are group rides. Don’t use a group for your personal Strava trophy hunt. It’s just NOT cool. A little bit of competition on a group ride is always expected, but wearing out your group then acting as if you are the dominate rider is just plain ridiculous. Whew! Okay, I’m finished.

Bon Velo!

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19 thoughts on “Let Me Clear My Throat!

  1. I haven’t done pack rides in a while (mostly do long hill climbs, and is usually myself, or group of 5). But when I used to, this did bug the hell out of me, and along with the rest of the group too. I’m sure you are not the only want who feels this way … good to get it out in the open.

    1. Yes, it’s gotta be something like that. I mean, for the love of Pete, I’d feel terrible if just cruised and everyone else did the work. Mom didn’t tell them that she loved them enough? Idk. Ego problem.

  2. Yup. I read a few blogs where I know that’s what the person is doing, but they’ll never admit it. I don’t do group rides for a *lot* of reasons. This is not one of them, but I would be the person always dropped. Plus, I’m probably the least capable of holding my line of all riders in any given group. At least I know this about myself!

      1. I’m new to riding at this level (triathlete, not a cyclist–I also know there’s a difference, even though I do use a road bike). 🙂 Just wish I were better. I guess that comes with time.

      2. Oh, it will! Keep your eyes and ears open. Imitate good cyclists. Ask questions. 😀 I rode with a 71 year old New York time trial champion, this afternoon. Boy, my ears were wide open. Blog on that coming on Monday.

      3. Wow. Looking forward to that. My state tends to have very individualistic triathletes and cyclists who already have their “groups” and are not that willing to include others (except the women’s group–okay, the one woman’s group that exists). Thank god for them! Sheclismo–and they even hold a roadie cycling clinic with an hour of practice. That’s the only peloton I have ever done. I wasn’t bad, in fact, I was complimented on my bike (old but well kept) and my capacity to learn the ropes. I should try it again sometime. But frankly, I’m intimidated. THere. I said it.

      4. Oh, I can understand the intimidation part . . . but when you ride with really good riders and bike handlers, it makes you better; then YOU will be the one intimidating others. 😀

  3. Yeah, I have mixed feelings on this. I used to agree with you 100% and would usually say something to the offender, but I have since softened my stance. People do gorup rides for different reasons. Some see it as training, others want to hang out with the guys (and gals). There is always someone on every group ride that once to test their fitness against others. Then there is the group that you are referencing–those that do not see the front until the hot spot/finish line. A while ago, after getting mad at every Tom, Dick, and Harry that did not approach the group ride the same way I did, I finally realized that they might have a different approach/different goals.

    And that has to be fine.

    My suggestion is to do what our team did: we started our own rides with an emphasis on sticking together and not being jerks. Sure, it is a smaller group, but I don’t get upset (unless the pace is just painfully slow).

    Remember, for most people, riding is a stress reliever. If others stress you out, get away from them. In my mind, coming back from a ride all stressed out (no matter how great the workout) is far worse than training on my own….

    1. Yeah, we’ve tried to stealth around, but the “offenders” always seem to find us. I don’t know. I’m okay. It’s just the fact that I can see it on those dudes faces that they truly believe they are dominate riders when they did nothing but ride easy then sprint. Grrrrr . . . oh well, I’ll keep trying. You’re right though: riding is enjoyment and I’m allowing it to be stolen from me. Thanks, DC!

  4. Prearrange a plan with some of the other regular riders. You know when the sprints are coming up so get a couple of your guy’s on the front, box in the wanna be heroes and attack early so they haven’t a clue what’s happening or have time to react. Keep targeting these guys and they will soon get the message. Plus it’s great race training 😉

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