I get a lot of questions from triathletes about my thoughts on group riding. Every community has their local group Hammerfest. Many communities even have options to just get together with a small group of peers to share the riding fun.
I have always included group riding into my training. The fun and friendships I’ve enjoyed over the years from group rides is something I’d never trade in.
There certainly is a time and place for everything. When preparing for an A priority triathlon race you will need to spend a percentage of time doing some solo time trial riding with work specific to your event. But I do think including group riding will further your development as an athlete.
Learning to handle yourself in a group requires skills and requires being alert and mindful on your bike. You get pushed by fellow athletes outside your comfort zone and not on your terms which will teach you new things about yourself.
There certainly are some etiquette rules on the road everybody should know before jumping into a group:
- Stay out of your aero bars.
- Learn a proper pace line.
- Be able to hold a comfortable distance smoothly to the wheel in front of you.
- Be aware of braking smoothly and moving around smoothly within the group.
- Stay in order, not dangling off the back, or sitting out in the middle of the road.
- Point out holes and objects and not moving suddenly to avoid them.
There are rules within every group and you should embrace them to further your learning and your friendships. Save being selfish for your TT solo sessions. Learn to ride as a group, within your group.
Group riding has so many training benefits. Here’s a straightforward workout you can apply in a group environment:
Objective: Maintain intensity and group riding skills in a dynamic riding environment. Build endurance and durability with optimal duration ride.
- Heart Rate: 60-75% MHR with some surges up to 90% MHR.
- RPE: 7 or 8. Easy to Challenging.
- Gearing/RPM: Variable – average 90-100rpm
- Group skills – positioning, reaction time, tempo and rhythm
- Increased V02 Max and O2 transport
- Improved endurance capacity
- Increased oxidative enzymes
- Enhanced ability to use fat as fuel
- Improved economy/efficiency
Including a group ride into your routine can be fun and will improve your overall ability on the bike. Learning the full range of being a good bike rider will make you a better triathlete and you’ll never forget the experiences you’ll share with new friends. I’ve met so many great people in every community around the world at group rides.
Have fun, get stronger and enjoy your community.