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Fitness and Club Ride Speeds


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Being relatively new to a cycling club I discovered a strange new phenomenon on our sat AM ride.


I joined Club 100 in June to try and get people to cycle with to train for the Jock as most of my cycling buddies retire between March and October.

I generally did the sunday rides that were a 70-80k ride at 25/26km/h. There was a slightly earlier ride for the A group but everybodty else was just there trying too keep in shape or avoid freezing to death.


Later I started doing the saturday morning rides, a little shorter, half an hour earlier start and I can do 80 or 95km and still get home before 9am so the family is happy.


saturday ride structure is something like this:

As leave before I arrive.

Bs leave in a medium size group (30-32km/h ave + a longer ride)

C1s leave (28km/h ave)

C2s leave (27km/h)

Ds leave (beginner short group)


So here is the problem. Most people aren't beginners, Nobody will dare ride with A except the good guys. Similarly the B group.

So C is always a big group (hence the split into C1 and C2). But now as people start getting fitter everybody seems to believe that they should start in C1 as C2 is too slow, B too fast/ long.


Second problem is the average guy who dusted off his bike in september and struggled too keep the speed of the group will be much too fast for the group in October.


sooo... should ride groups change their speeds as the year goes by? - like they have winter start times?

How many people should start off together in agroup ( I imagine start groups are based on robot change cycles?? If a club has 100 people wanting to start in the C group and they break them up into 4 groups will the cyclist's ego be able to handle starting in group C4!


this was based on last saturdays ride that started off with 3/4s of the Cs wanting to start in C1 instead of C2. the pace was very high and we finished the ride in 30.6km/h - with wind! (not that I'm complaining). The group (which I believe should finish together) ended up finishing in dribs and drabs.
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Beneke sports academy has a good system, they also break the riders up into groups based on the average projected speed, however, each group rides to the pace of the SLOWEST rider in the pack, so if the projected pace is 30kms and even if 100 of the guys there can ride at 45 kms - the pack rides at 30kms to accomodate the weakest rider.


Of course if the weakest rider only gos at 15 kms then there may be some dragging lips, but most folk underestimate their pace and generally gravitate to a slower pack, so its never really a problem.


I have been riding with them for 5 years and I have never,ever,ever seen them leave someone behind - it is explained clearly before the ride that if there are stronger guys in the pack they are welcome to ride up ahead for a period, but need to stop and wait at predetermined points for the bunch to re-group. It is rather frowned upon for anyone to not wait!.


They have a creed of "Start together - finish together" - works for me.
widget2006-10-03 02:04:14
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In the week everyone are welcome to meet us at the robot. (but somehow i always end up with people who are actually much too strong for me) We then decide where we will be heading and whoever feels(or know they are) strong works in front, allowing the weaker riders(like me) to sit slip.

When they push a little harder for some time they always wait for those of us who huff and puff to TRY to stay on their wheels.


Sundays are the real treat. Everyone from A-Z can have a lovely ride with lots of laughs, the odd sprints, breakaways etc. and then afterwards everyone heads to one of the local coffee shops. My idea of a perfect Sunday....
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Being relatively new to a cycling club I discovered a strange new phenomenon on our sat AM ride.



30.6 sounds a bit fast for the C?s ? what distance did you do?<?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


what generally happens is that you will always get a couple of guys trying to turn the clubride into a race ? the result of this of course is that the group tries to keep up,  but with a host of riders breaking off the back as the pace is too fast.


it is also not a good idea for the group itself to change it?s speed through the year ? what about newcomers coming in?  how will they know where to start?


if you started in a group,  but feel the pace being too slow,  rather move to the back of the pack and help the slower guys up the hills & pace them on the flats back to the group.  this way you will still get a good workout & you can start with the next level up group next time round.


remember that every club member is responsible for each others safety and nobody should be left to finish on their own.


i am also with the club and feel that the ride captains / marshals do an excellent job.

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Dr Suess: 30.6 was for the 60km, I dont think anyone went the longer Irene route.


I normally sit at the back, or a little off the back to give myself some room in case of accidents (and a bit more work).


I think the rolling hills around JHB are one of the reasons that it is difficult for everyone to keep the same speed.


2 weeks ago I stopped when a lady had a puncture (as did about 4 others) I though this was the decent thing to do and was looking forward to some hard pacing. My f*k, I was hanging onto that little group for dear life, I did nothing to help the pace at all, just hid in the slipstream. Embarrassed


Agreed that the club100 marshalls and ride captains do a brilliant job, especially while controlling intersections.
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Guest Michelle

Why have A's, B's & C's.. why don't they just have groups according to speed?  The marshalls should be able to keep an eye on the average speed.. if they're going too fast ease up, too slow pick it up.  Keep the groups to a maximum size & if there are too many people wanting to ride 30km/h split them up into 2 or 3 smaller groups.  That way you don't have people worrying about being labelled with a low group.  I've only ridden with Club 100 once... it was pretty hectic... too hectic for a training ride I thought.  I'd rather go at my own pace & stay in the zones I'm supposed to, which would probably mean riding with group D Tongue

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Dr Suess: 30.6 was for the 60km' date=' I dont think anyone went the longer Irene route.




yep - saturday was full gas - went with the B's & we did 70 @ average of 32,  so 30.6 over 60 is a bit fast for a C group




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I have riden with various clubs, and there is nothing I hate more than an egotistical minority trying to turn the ride into an unofficial race - sadly this can predominate if the rules of the ride are not clearly and concicely explained BEFORE the ride.


Generally, I will only ride with clubs who have the guts to control the packs and keep to predetermined arrangements.


Some clubs seem to think the "good old boys" deserve special treatment and are loathe to reprimand them or ask them to consider others who may be struggeling, and this can ruin the ride for many.     
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