First club ride preperation

Ajax_Gaz

Shut up Legs!
Location
Cardiff
Hey guys

I'm planning to go along to a local club ride this Sunday and I'm worried I'm not going to be ready or prepared for it.

I'm currently commuting about 8 miles per day 5 days a week but on my mtb so the Road bike isn't getting much use. I know I'm continuing to lose weight and I'm getting stronger but I really need to increase my mileage and I want to learn how to ride in groups and become a better cyclist which I'm hoping a club will help me achieve. I've also signed up for a cycle challenge next summer that's given me a target to lose more weight and get stronger on the bike.

However despite my regular short journeys I've only cycled 20 miles before in one go. The slowest group at the club do 40-50 miles.

I'm wondering what I should eat sat night and Sunday morning, what I should take with me and whether i need gels or energy bars or whether I should forget it until I'm far better prepared..

It's late and I'm tired but any advice on preparing for this type of riding would really be great!

Cheers

Gaz
 

oliver

Senior Member
Location
oxfordshire
hi GazP,
i was in the same situation as you a week ago - i hadn't done a ride of more than 25-30 for about a year and a half, and decided to join the local club - we did about 48 miles, i stuck on a nice guys wheel for about 90% of it - at the end a few of the guys went for a breakaway and I still was fresh enough to keep up (just :blush: ) - i guess my advice is have a good nights rest - and stick on someones wheel (ask to make sure they don't mind - can't see it being a problem ) - oh and have fun! ^_^
 
OP
Ajax_Gaz

Ajax_Gaz

Shut up Legs!
Location
Cardiff
Hi Oliver

Thanks very much for the response. How did you find the distance overall? Did you ache any more than normal the next day or do you think staying on the wheel in front got you through?

Did you use any snacks/gels on the ride?

Sorry for all the questions

Cheers

Gaz
 

oliver

Senior Member
Location
oxfordshire
to be honest i would say i found the distance ok - but i was careful not to sprint from junctions and to conserve energy where possible.... once we got home i realized that i probably had another 10-15 miles in me - which has never happened before - the only thing i can think of would be that because a lot of the ride was undulating hilly areas - where i would normally sprint up and down hills(to be as fast as possible ^_^ ) - we were not going to fast up the hills and we just coasted back down.
in terms of gels i took about 6 with me (in anticipation of needing them all!) - but only ended up using one! - i did also but two bottles on my bike - again only using about 75% of the first.
not sure if they we just going particularly easy/slowly but it definitely felt easier than when i go out solo
 

defy-one

Guest
Don't underestimate the effects of drafting (slipstreaming) a bunch of riders. You will be towards the back of the peleton and will conserve a lot of energy.
The group effect also gives you a real boost in being able to ride faster & for longer.
As said before,good nights sleep,hearty breakfast,take water and a banana. Enjoy :smile:
 

PK99

Legendary Member
Location
SW19
Don't underestimate the effects of drafting (slipstreaming) a bunch of riders. You will be towards the back of the peleton and will conserve a lot of energy.
The group effect also gives you a real boost in being able to ride faster & for longer.
As said before,good nights sleep,hearty breakfast,take water and a banana. Enjoy :smile:
If the group are sharing round the lead, you will of necessity be towards the back, if not, then try to be closer to the front. # 3 is the easiest position, last man at the back the hardest because of the rubber band effect: the group of necessity stretches and comes back together round junctions, over rises etc and the guys toward the back are slowing and speeding while the guys near the front can keep a steady pace and more energy is used on the catch up than is saved on the stretching out.
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
Key things: Don't do anything sudden, hold your line, do not overlap wheels, call out obstacles in the road if on the front, if further back, pass the call/signal on, it should propigate down the line. Other than that there isn't much to it.

Other things to consider: Make sure you are self sufficient and can sort out punctures and minor mechanical's proficiently, people will help you if you struggle, but you will feel like a jessie if you are fumbling about while everyone waits on you, if you drop your wheel out like a pro (do NOT turn the bike upside down :tongue:) and have the tube changed and wheel back in within 2-3 minutes, you will earn respect. Take water! Take some food to eat along the way, if you want, take a gel, but I would advise only using it if you are really flagging and real food isn't a realistic prospect.

Also, take a map or make sure you know where you are going, unless the ride is an intro ride or a clubrun that states no-one is to be dropped the etiquette is generally that if you can't hack it, you drop off and find your own way home! Although club's will vary on this.
 
OP
Ajax_Gaz

Ajax_Gaz

Shut up Legs!
Location
Cardiff
Many thanks for all the very helpful information and motivating posts! :smile:

I'm taking part in the steady group, which is the clubs slowest group but as they've no specific beginners rides this weekend. All i know is the size of the group varies and its an approx 40-50 mile ride. I know where we're going as they've posted up the route but i'm obviously not familiar with roads so i appreciate the advice above. I can change an inner tube/puncture etc though i'm sure doing it on a run has a different pressure which may take some getting used to. I'll be sure to get the ground rules clear on arrival though as the last thing i want is to disrupt anyone else's ride.
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
I am sure you will do fine, most clubs are pretty inclusive and supportive and aren't out to tear the legs off of new members etc (it is usually the higher level cat racers who like to go out together and play about trying to destroy each other). I would hazard a guess that if you did struggle a bit, someone will help by dropping back and giving you a wheel, this was certainly my experience when I have once or twice had a bad day.

I just warn about the etiquette incase they do operate this way so you understand why, because last thing you want is to get dropped 25 mile out without any idea of where you are and be left thinking "what a bunch of daffodils" all the way home and getting a bad impression of them and being put off club riding when they are all assuming you called it a day and dropped off without any bad feelings.

I VERY MUCH DOUBT THIS WILL HAPPEN AND YOU WILL BE FINE!

(Just making clear, it is unlikely :tongue:)
 

Sittingduck

Legendary Member
Location
Somewhere flat
Don't over-think it. Just turn up, introduce yourself and let them know you are riding for the first time and perhaps that it's longer than you are used to. Forget about gels - it's not long enough for that. Take a banana or a few fig rolls. Point out holes and you will soon pick up the other warning signs and calls from other riders. Above all, have fun :smile:
 

lejogger

Veteran
Location
Wirral
Rob3rt's first post covers most things, and as he says, there's no need to worry about it. All club members have had a first ride and will be understanding and willing to show you the ropes as far as group riding is concerned.

In our club we like riders to spend the first couple of rides at the back until they get the hang of taking someone's wheel and so they can observe how we operate. You therefore don't need to worry about not knowing whether or what to shout for potholes and obstacles initially and you don't need to worry about taking a turn on the front, although this will obviously all come in time. If they don't specify this they will have no problem with you requesting that you stay at the back to observe, although don't be afraid to have a go if you take to it quickly. Just remember that no-one will mind you shouting for a grid or a pothole that didn't really need shouting for. Better to be safe than sorry.

If you're struggling don't be afraid to let people know. Our club runs have riders of all abilities and on the climbs we try to ride at the speed of the slowest rider. At the very worst we'll all wait at the top.

You will be surprised at how much benefit you get from group riding providing you stick close enough to the rider in front, so the pace and the distance will not seem as fast or as far as you'd expect. The last thing you want to be doing is yo-yoing off the back - you'll only be draining your own energy. They'll warn you if there's lights or if they're slowing or stopping suddenly so be confident enough to stay close, just don't overlap in case they need to change their line for a hole etc.

In terms of food, you don't need to overdo it. I usually have a good bowl of porridge the morning before a club run, and have one bottle of water and one bottle of SIS or high5 energy drink on the bike. I'll carry an alpen bar or two and sometimes a gel for emergencies. Do you know if they'll be having a cafe stop? 40-50 miles should be fine without one, but if they're not stopping for some beans on toast and a slice of cake then I'd be tempted to have a banana and even some sandwiches or similar in my back pocket, just in case.

Above all, just try to enjoy it. I can still remember my first club ride, and it's a really great feeling to be part of the group. Make sure you come back on and let us know how it goes.
 

Reece

Veteran
Location
Leicester
Pretty much as everyone else has said

I did my first club ride last Sunday. Even though it was only the social ride (aimed at beginners with a slow pace) I rode 33miles which was my most in the 4weeks I've been cycling properly and did it with ease. Even T the end I rode the last 4mile home with 2more experienced riders at a nice 18mph pace using the slipstream. Really don't underestimate the power of group riding for mental and physical abilities.
 
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