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Author Topic: Picking the right group to ride with on a club ride  (Read 2417 times)

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Offline Kevan

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Picking the right group to ride with on a club ride
« on: October 08, 2006, 11:11:37 PM »
Anyone can come join the group rides on Tuesdays and Sundays and anyone can read about the different groups to ride with. The groups are listed as A (Gonzo); B (Medium) or C (Beginner).

How does a new person judge which group to ride with?  It is hard to tell what's going on or where to go when the parking lot is chaos.  More importantly it's even harder to judge your own abilities compared to other riders when you have never ridden with a group before.  I have seen new riders pick a group that is beyond their abilities. Before they know it they are tired and can't keep up.  That is not a fun day.

Things CAN be different AND a whole lot more fun.  Knowing what group you will ride with before they say "OK! Faster guys get going!" can make the difference between having a blast and feeling blasted within 3 miles.

No one cares what group you choose.  A (super fast for a lot of miles); B (More rests than A, not as many miles though) or C (a chance to ride new trails with plenty of rest stops and tips, sometimes the least amount of miles)

My suggestion is to ask someone who the C ride guide is for the day.  Before the start of the ride, position yourself near the back end of their group.  Let the faster riders go in front of you and start riding when your guide starts.  The C group teaches the most about mountain biking and the tips from other riders are sometimes priceless. 

No matter what group you pick for your first ride you should feel like you could have gone longer or farther the end of the ride.  The main point is to start slow, after all, the group rides at least once every week of the year.

On future rides learn who the guides are and what kind of pace they maintain.  The best part of a group the size of SWAMP Club is the fact that there WILL be riders near your skill (and pace) levels to ride with.  That is the best benefit of being part of SWAMP.

How do YOU choose which group to ride with?
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Offline Garry

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Re: Picking the right group to ride with on a club ride
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2006, 11:35:51 PM »
Every now and again I think we tend to lose focus on what the guided rides are.  They are broken up in the A, B+, B, B-, C+, C to hopefully give everyone a pace that they can hang with.  We even used to always take all groups in the same direction and basically trails as well so that if someone found themselves in a faster or harder group then they could drop back to the next group.  The introduction of the FSR radios made it easy for one groups guide to connect with another groups guide to switch people to the group that they should be with, so if not on the same trail we could still maneuver people about. For some reason that doesn't seem as prevalent as it used to be.  What happen?  Boyette seems to be a bit tough to get the groups broken up easily because the chaos at the gate is confusing to many.  Us guides should be able to lead the ride for that group that shows up.  I know I sometimes see people looking like - "I can't ride that persons pace because they are known to be fast".  When in fact if there are 15 "B-" riders and 4 "B" or "B+" riders it wil be a "B-" ride.  In other words it should be the majority of the groups ride. Generally speaking "A" and "B+" don't really need a guide as much because for the most part they know the trails and can fix mechanicals that may come up.  It's certainly good to have a guide for faster riders for many reasons.
So us guides should be trying a bit better to help get the groups seperated up.  And people should understand that the groups many times change and shift once we get 2 or 3 miles down the trail.
Hope this helps and feel free to talk to the guides about your ability, strengths and weeknessneses to see that you get in the proper group.  Or, even if some folks want to learn how to ride a certain trail, find out if you need to take one of the classes offered or if it's something that can be covered on the group ride itself.  We're all wanting to know how to do it and have fun.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2006, 11:39:58 PM by Garry »

Offline treadlight

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Re: Picking the right group to ride with on a club ride
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2006, 10:32:55 AM »
I never had been to the SWAMP club rides. I think most of club rides are broken into 3 basic groups; beginners, intermediate and expert, and each group maybe broken into sub-groups (i.e. intermediate-a, b and c. I guess it is hard to go up to the expert level? Or riders just donít recognize that they are already on the expert level? Or does not want the expectations of being one? ;D). Each group is rated based upon the technical difficulty of the ride (planned); speed, type of terrain and obstacles. Personally, no matter how you explain these types of group rides to a rider, he/she would not know until joining one of the group rides.

Garry (on separate discussion) has a very good point of using the same direction (planned route) for all groups, so as riders get tired they can drop to the next group or if a rider gets bored can go up the next level. I showed up the Boyette club rides this Saturday and basically followed each group and observe how you guys ride. I would suggest to riders to try the group ride one level lower than your actual skill level.

This weekend I saw a lot very enthusiastic riders and SWAMP did a good job of making sure everybody had fun.