I saw this last Tuesday and forgot to share it with you. Our club ride begins at the Minnetonka Lifetime Athletic Club. Better known as The Spa, this is a unique LTF facility. Definitely not a Big Box, this club began as a women only club before being purchased by Lifetime.
When I got there Tuesday night they were setting up for an outdoor ride. How fun is that? We rolled before they got started and I heard later that they (Manager and Instructors) did a very nice job making this outdoor class an event, rather than just a class.
The area behind the fence is a small patio. After the class participants enjoyed Hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar - this is an adults only club. They even had live entertainment from a local duet. Is that something you could do at your club or studio?
Could I keep up in a group ride?
With Amy visiting her family in Phoenix, I become the de facto sub for her Saturday AM class. Which was fine - 55 and rain this morning = no outdoor ride for John. After class a regular member asked me if I felt she could keep up in a group ride. I dislike giving answers beginning with; "well that depends" - except in this situation it really does. Riding with a group depends on a number of factors. So I asked her the following:
- Do you have a suitable road bike?
- Are you comfortable riding close to others?
- Are you OK riding on the road?
- How far (miles) can you typically ride at a consistent pace?
It surprised (and delighted) me a little when she quickly answered positively to each question and then clarified what she was asking:
How many Watts do I have to make, to keep up in a group ride?
She's been listening and wanted to equate the power/watts she seeing in class to riding outdoors 🙂
I had to think about it for a few minutes, before I could answer her. I explained that most organised group rides have multiple "levels":
- "A" groups are normally drop rides. If you can't keep up you get dropped, and ride home by yourself. Based on my purely anecdotal experience, "A" groupers can sustain 1.5 or more watts per pound of body weight for the entire ride.
- "B" groups, depending on the organization and/or leaders, are partial drop rides = we may wait for you or there maybe someone who will come back to help you catch up. To hang with the "Bs" you should be comfortable producing your body weight in watts > and be able to climb at around 1.5 watts per pound.
- "C" groups are no drop rides. Everyone stays together and ride at the pace of the slowest rider.
But I don't want to slow everyone up - so what's the minimum watts I need to make?
I told her that there's no way to know that number. I encouraged her to show up one night and see what happens...
- ICI/PRO Podcast 299 – Power and your Playlist… don't make it too hard - June 5, 2023
- Please come back to my class! - May 30, 2023
- My Life Time Instructor Teach Back - May 24, 2023
I’m with John. I dislike saying it depends but in this case keeping up depends on so much; length of the ride, ride leader, how much climbing, how steep, wind, road condition and personal condition that it is impossible to put a number on it.
That said, during the research for writing Power Training, Cycling Fusion concluded that to realistically ride outdoors a rider needed to be able to sustain a minimum of one watt per pound during a 20 Functional Threshold Power test. (FTP)
At that power most riders should be able to generate – on the flatter grades (up to 3%) – roughly 15mph.
I would recommend to that rider – if she has not already done so – to do a couple of FTP tests. At that point she will have better information so she can pick from A or B. Otherwise go with the C group and see what happens.
Agreed Chuck. It also depends so heavily on who shows for the A B and C ride and who is leading it. I have found the speed of each level ride depends on who shows….