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First club run....reality check!

Lycraboy_AndyLycraboy_Andy Posts: 37
edited June 2013 in Road beginners
Took part in my first club run on Sunday (not counting the one in February!) and it's opened my eyes to the amount of work I've got to do. It wasn't even the fast group, during the pre-ride briefing the leader advised we were going to ride about 18 to 20mph (I noticed a couple of times we were doing 23mph on the easier sections). To cut a long story short I got dropped after about 40 minutes :oops: They did of course stop and wait for me, but the sight of the rest of the bunch stood by the verge as I rolled up to the junction made me wish they hadn't!

I know I will get better, the reality check is I was hoping to do some 4th cat closed circuit racing later in the summer but at least I can safely put that on hold until next year!

Really enjoyed it though, the only brown lycra moment was when I was right behind the other newbie in the bunch and his pedal hit the ground :shock: He did well to recover, could easily have ended up with me and my bike using him as a brake...not to mention what the riders behind me would have done to the growing heap!

So goal for this year, forget the racing, just ride lots and enjoy it!
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  • supermurph09supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    Was it a flat route? If not then that average speed is quite high imo.
  • Not flat, a few slopes to get the heart working but not exactly the Pyrenees either!
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    I know I will get better, the reality check is I was hoping to do some 4th cat closed circuit racing later in the summer but at least I can safely put that on hold until next year!

    The groups I tend to lead in my club go "18-20" mph, there are plenty of people getting results in 4th cat circuit racing who get dropped...
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  • jibberjim wrote:
    The groups I tend to lead in my club go "18-20" mph, there are plenty of people getting results in 4th cat circuit racing who get dropped...

    Hmmm....interesting to know Jim. Thank you. I've only got a provisional licence so wouldn't be racing for points anyway. You've got me thinking about it again now :wink:
  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    If it's an undulating route then 18-20mph average is really high, even my local group seem to ride at about 15mph and I think of that as unattainable at the moment!
  • bondurantbondurant Posts: 858
    Also, it won't take you that long to get fitter. I've seen people take enormous strides over a couple of months.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    As above Andy, a lot depends on the profile and terms like 'flat', 'undulating' and 'hilly' are very subjective (but most would say 1,500m+ of climbing over 100k is hilly). I went out on what I call a flat route (315m over ~65k) at the w/e and my club run did a similar avg to yours by the sound of it:

    http://app.strava.com/activities/56131552

    Most A groups will have 4th and 3rd cat racers and would expect very similar to the above for flat routes but speeds normally drop to about 20mph average for rides of 1,000m over 100k. The climbers will always race ahead on the climbs and the powerful riders will tow everyone else on the flatter sections (works for me, I'm an old climber :wink: ).

    IME, good racers have the ability not to up the pace once or twice (whether on the hills or flat)...but to keep attacking and that is what interval training will help you with.

    Stick at it, most 'normal' riders wouldn't be able to do 40 mins with an A group so it sounds like you are not far off. My advice would be that you should drop to the fast B rides for now but work on your hills and spending more time on the front. Then, when the A group are planning a hillier route give it a go again but just sit in and be content to tow, you may surprise yourself how you manage to hang on and then feel like pushing on :)
  • I agree 18-20 mph is pretty high on anything other than a flat route. If that was the slow group that club sounds a bit serious to me and I'd probably be looking for a different one.
  • Scotty-GeeScotty-Gee Posts: 156
    Nothing more soul destroying than the group waiting on you, you riding past and them smoking by you again shortly after.

    This was the experience of my last group ride after getting spent too early, I haven't been back since.
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    That's super flat. Over 20mph solo wouldn't be an issue for many and would be very easy in a group.

    To give you an idea here is a flat ride that a few of us did as a recovery ride:
    http://app.strava.com/activities/52704739

    3 of the guys had done a 70 mile cat 2/3/4 road race the day before (Norman Harris which had an average of about 25mph), 2 of which are new to racing (they started cat4 this season) and I was off of a 250+ miles ride. Had that route been done as a club ride then the average would have been at least 2mph higher. Circuit racing is a different, but you'll still be looking at average speeds above 24mph in the 3/4.
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  • Churchill123Churchill123 Posts: 341
    For a rider who's been riding around 3 or 4 months and now averages 15-16mph over 40miles what could you expect to average in a club run with the added benefit of the group pulling you along
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Over identical routes you should be able to pick up 2-3mph without too much trouble.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • Grill wrote:
    Over identical routes you should be able to pick up 2-3mph without too much trouble.


    A bit optimistic I think. Perhaps this would work on a flat route where the speeds are relatively high but where there's lots of climbing the gains are likely to be a lot less than this
  • Cleat EastwoodCleat Eastwood Posts: 7,508
    I've yet to do a club run but I'd want my first to be at 12mph and have a pub stop.
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  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Grill wrote:
    Over identical routes you should be able to pick up 2-3mph without too much trouble.


    A bit optimistic I think. Perhaps this would work on a flat route where the speeds are relatively high but where there's lots of climbing the gains are likely to be a lot less than this

    The varying factor would actually be the intensity of the group. Given that it's the same/similar it's pretty easy with proper rotation on the front.

    I've seen a slow-medium group average over 19mph on a 60+ miler. Considering that most could barely hold that pace over a 10, it's pretty easy.
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  • thescouselanderthescouselander Posts: 549
    edited May 2013
    Well, if you look at the physics to get from 18mph to 21mph you'd need to find an extra 50% of the power you we're putting in at 18mph. You certainly don't get efficiencies like that from riding in a group.

    I think the info on this thread is misleading. 20mph average even on the flat is still going some and would require a sustained output of between 200 and 250 watts - certainly not beginner territory and not what I'd call slow. To pretend otherwise is just bravado and needlessly puts off newcomers to the sport.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I've done crit racing and when you're in the pack you hardly need to pedal at all. Riding in a pack makes a huge difference.

    My advice to any new rider wanting to join a club is to give it a go. Don't be put off by speeds mentioned. If you can handle a bike you can do a club run. If you're not as strong then you can sit at the back and take advantage of the shelter all the way round.

    Pretty much all clubs split their runs up into abilities. Just don't ride out with the skinny whippet racing boys.
  • Churchill123Churchill123 Posts: 341
    So is 15-16mph on your own after a few months riding an OK average then?
  • drlodgedrlodge Posts: 4,826
    So is 15-16mph on your own after a few months riding an OK average then?


    Yhh I'd call that an OK average. To give some context, I lead a club ride on Sunday, it was a more "leisurely" group and over 70 miles averaged just over 15mph. I would hope to average 17mph on a long run with a few hills. Lots of hills would slow me down.
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  • Churchill123Churchill123 Posts: 341
    drlodge wrote:
    So is 15-16mph on your own after a few months riding an OK average then?


    Yhh I'd call that an OK average. To give some context, I lead a club ride on Sunday, it was a more "leisurely" group and over 70 miles averaged just over 15mph. I would hope to average 17mph on a long run with a few hills. Lots of hills would slow me down.


    OK that's alright then.. I know i'm not as fast as i want to be, but i also wanted to make sure i'm a complete snail either - some of you lads on here are quoting 18-20mph averages which currently i can only dream of
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    drlodge wrote:
    So is 15-16mph on your own after a few months riding an OK average then?


    Yhh I'd call that an OK average. To give some context, I lead a club ride on Sunday, it was a more "leisurely" group and over 70 miles averaged just over 15mph. I would hope to average 17mph on a long run with a few hills. Lots of hills would slow me down.

    Last year I was averaging just over 15mph (moving) over a 50 mile ride and about 750meters climbing.
    it was training for a 85mile sportive that I rode with my brother (who is/was faster than me) - we did that 85miles at avg 16mph elapsed - for the most part I was being towed ... I suspect I could do it a fair bit faster now .. ;)

    So avg 15/16mph solo is fine - it'll get you into a leisure club ride - then you can start extending your range & speed.
  • Churchill123Churchill123 Posts: 341
    Slowbike wrote:
    drlodge wrote:
    So is 15-16mph on your own after a few months riding an OK average then?


    Yhh I'd call that an OK average. To give some context, I lead a club ride on Sunday, it was a more "leisurely" group and over 70 miles averaged just over 15mph. I would hope to average 17mph on a long run with a few hills. Lots of hills would slow me down.

    Last year I was averaging just over 15mph (moving) over a 50 mile ride and about 750meters climbing.
    it was training for a 85mile sportive that I rode with my brother (who is/was faster than me) - we did that 85miles at avg 16mph elapsed - for the most part I was being towed ... I suspect I could do it a fair bit faster now .. ;)

    So avg 15/16mph solo is fine - it'll get you into a leisure club ride - then you can start extending your range & speed.


    Thanks pal!

    Lets not beat around the bush, the more miles i put in on the bike, the quicker i'll get! - It's that simple isn't it...
  • goonzgoonz Posts: 3,106
    As a beginner 15-16mph is fine and will only get better.

    Some of the guys on here quoting 18+ averages are pretty experienced and pretty good riders. Grill e.g. cannot compare with us mortals and should not listen to everything he says otherwise it could put you off cycling! :)

    Grill as you can tell I am only slightly envious!
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  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Lets not beat around the bush, the more miles i put in on the bike, the quicker i'll get! - It's that simple isn't it...
    Well - there's no good just being the leadout man for a toddlers race ... but yes - the more you ride the more you will be able to ride ...
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 5,061
    Anybody quoting 18-20 mph in road beginners isn't helping anybody if they're implying it's easy. It's not exceptionally quick if the truth be told but neither does it happen by accident. I'd compare it to 3 1/2 hour marathon pace or a low teens golf handicap, that sort of thing.
    15-16 mph means you've got a good base fitness.
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Well, if you look at the physics to get from 18mph to 21mph you'd need to find an extra 50% of the power you we're putting in at 18mph. You certainly don't get efficiencies like that from riding in a group.

    I think the info on this thread is misleading. 20mph average even on the flat is still going some and would require a sustained output of between 200 and 250 watts - certainly not beginner territory and not what I'd call slow. To pretend otherwise is just bravado and needlessly puts off newcomers to the sport.

    It certainly doesn't take close to that much power for me to get from 18mph to 21mph...
    You seem to have forgotten that the biggest drain on speed is drag. Reduce that by riding in a group and holding a higher sustained speed is quite easy.

    The "beginner" label is simply a state of mind and I'm quite confident that I can tow someone who averages 16mph to 18mph and even more in a group (done it before). Saying it can't be done is silly as it's more a question of just going out and doing it.
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  • paul2718paul2718 Posts: 471
    All else being equal and in windless conditions it takes about 37% more power to run at 20mph than it does at 18mph.

    The force you have to generate is mostly proportional to the square of the air speed. The power is then that force multiplied by the ground velocity.

    So force increases in ratio 20^2/18^2 = 1.23, but power then increases by 1.37*20/18 which comes out at about 37%

    Into a head wind the increase in power is proportionately less, but on a higher base. So into a 10mph wind the force rises by 30^2/28^2 = 1.15 and the power by 28%. But the power to ride at 18mph into a 10mph headwind is about 2.5 times the power required on a still day.

    Paul
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Maybe I'm missing something, but are you saying that if it normally takes 200w to ride at 18mph then it would take 500w (2.5 times) to do the same into a 10mph headwind? Really?

    So given an 11mph tailwind how much more power would it take to increase speed from 21.2mph to 23.8mph? And would a constant 1% gradient make a difference as I'd imagine more power would be required to hold speed uhill rather than downhill...
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • Dont forget to add the rolling resistance too! If you're not comfortable with the maths you could just use a power calculator like this: http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

    As you start going faster the extra power needed to go that extra mph faster goes up and up. As an aside this means if you're on a really steep decent there's little point in peddling down hill and you might as well save your legs for the bottom stretch or the next climb.
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