Riding together? group ride? too much ego?????

Mr. Beanz

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2015
As mentioned many times before, I usually ride alone. 25 years of being at the front of my rides. I rarely draft anyone on my rides. If anything, I would ride with one or two guys who were usually behind me. Or my wife and another chick who I would just set the pace, best they could do and held it there.

It gives me no great pleasure to drop my wife. It gives me no great pleasure to drop a ride partner. Most my rides with a group of 4, I am almost always at the front unless I drop back to take pics etc. Holding steady is my game, start together, finish together, finish strong. At times, the wife and I would finish a 40 miler at 17.5, other times 16 depending on the elements. My wife might get tired the last 3 miles so I'd back off half a step. It was no pleasure of mine to attack her and look back as if to say, "you can't catch me!". Though I have seen it in other couples, not my style and puzzles me.

But lately, I started riding with a group. Just so I could ride at night, safety in number when you have a whole light tunnel on a road at night. Few good people that can be fun to chat with.

BUT! The one thing I do not understand is the need to show off! We do 25 mile rides so it's a good workout. Out is slight downhill so high averages. Few get in front and hammer away, I just sit at the back and stay safe. Then on the return, all the hammerheads are burnt out and have a hard time maintaining the pace back on the gentle 2% climb over the next 10 miles or so. OK, I get that, show off while you can to cover up the next section, good excuse to cover up why you sucked on the grade.

But on a group ride where it is a plan to ride together? OK, some guy gets up front and starts the pace out at 18-20 depending on terrain. Train of 8 guys. 2 really fast riders. Later the guy should need help by now so I end up at the front. I'm holding the same pace figuring this is good for everybody.

After a couple miles, I move off so others can take their turn contributing to the group. Some dude gets up front and I'm in 3rd position now as some seem to be avoiding their turn at the front. I even sit up and look back at the guys as if to say, what, don't want to help?

Ok with me as long as I need help, they should help, right?

But the dude at the front, once I move back to 4th position lifts the pace to 25. Holy cow, WTH! First 2 guys end up rolling off as I mention, let them roll away! The group stays with me and the lead 2 roll away. OK fine, but it's after 10 miles of a 55 mile ride. Pretty sure someone is going to get tired along the way. But I hold the pace as I end up in front again. Couple of the other riders seem to be shy when it comes to helping.

So we roll far up the road and we are all pretty much together. Later the fast guys says sorry and not sure why he lifted the pace like that. OK, didn't impress me as I think he's a fool but hey, more power to him!

But later on the return, the group seems a bit shy again about helping out. My buddy is a strong rider so he finally takes the front after an 8 mile turn at the front. He keeps steady so that I can recover, it helps. We regroup about 10 miles before the finish.

Again I find myself at the front pulling the train of 8. 8 miles from the finish, the fast guy sprints around and takes off. Again, more power to him. He's strong and can do the final stretch himself at a good clip, I'm not going to chase him. I hold steady but then see that the other riders also sprint around. OK, same guys that were shy about helping out earlier. Maybe some but let's say I took time at the front far more than they did, let's say 70% more.

So now they are sprinting around an pull away with a 40, 50 yard gap to the nearest one. I keep my pace with a couple other guys on my wheel. Next thing I know, the 2 guys behind me fade so I just keep my pace and I'm rolling away with no intentions of dropping anybody. I am actually concerned with maintaining my current pace and average speed as it is a good one for me today.

So couple miles up the road, I roll up on the fast guy. A fast guy who flies through the weekly 25 milers like a bullet. But this is 57 miles, a bit different. I roll up on him and think we can work together. But he looks back at me and sprints off. OK! Another mile and I roll up on him again, he sprints off again. I don't get it! But the third time is on a short little gentle climb. Not much but makes you think about it 50 miles into a ride if you're tying to hold a pace. So he tries to take my wheel and I'm actually unhappy with the guy at this point so I kick it up a bit. Maybe a bad choice on my part right now as I'm tired and the temp is up to a dry 87 degrees. So I could have pooped out but this guy rubbed me wrong and I hope he falls back. Pretty loud obnoxious guy I'd have to say. But I keep on and notice about 1/4 mile down the road he couldn't keep up this time. GOOD, learn a less on here punk ha ha!

So missed out on that chance to work together. Must have been his ego being known as the fast guy on the shorter rides, getting passed by the guy who sits at the back on midweek rides trying to avoid chaos.

So I roll up on the next guy. As I roll up, again I am thinking we can work together after all, I did pull this fool a long way on the ride. But he sees me about 10 yard behind then sprints off. YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!

What is it with these guys and the end of the ride? Is it ego that tells them they have to finish 4th rather than 5th? Ego that tells them they shouldn't try to work with another rider to show they're awesome!?

So I roll up on the guy again about 1/2 mile down the road. maybe this time? Nope, another sprint. Wow, if we work together, we can catch the guy ahead of him and if he works with us, we can all improve our comfort and average. But nope!

OK screw you too! I catch up a third time and blow by him this time. He burned himself out trying to be macho I guess. So then I roll up on another guy. OK, maybe he will help a bit and we can both finish strong. Nope, he smells me coming up then he sprints off. WTH! These are the guys I pulled for an 8 mile stretch tho the finish before the sprinted off. Of course, what kind of an ass hat tries to beat down the dude who got you there? So at this point, I set my sights on passing him no matter what. Just because he ****** me off now!

So again, 3 times he sprints off as I am about to catch him. I keep my pace and the fourth time is the charm. I catch my breath then roll by him on the last mile stretch. It took a lot to pass him but I did and so I just put my head down and cranked it up as much as I could so he could not take my wheel. At this point I was thinking, "F#@K all these guys!".

I was wondering trying to figure out, "why do these guys do these things?". Is it ego, is part of being macho? Is it a blow to the ego to work with another rider? Do they have to be first?

Always puzzles me! But either way, 2 guys I knew I would not catch, finish ahead of me so that is cool and they did take turns at the front. But these guys who do what they can to get out of the work really puzzles me and rubs me the wrong way.

After the ride, 2 of the guys are telling me, "dude, you're a beast!". OK so that is a little cool getting recognition but really, I'd rather have someone work with me. Especially someone I helped a whole lot along the way.

I just don't get it! Ride together? Group ride?

I can't just say it is the men, but the women as well. Couple of rides we did I saw a gal or two fading and falling off the back. I slowed and fell back so she could take my wheel. I let her recover then pulled her back up the the group. Later heading back, there was a gap between me and the group ahead. Not because I faded, more the fact that the others would jump on their bikes without warning and leave you behind. Almost intentional I think.

So again I had this gal on my back wheel and maybe another 3 or 4. Not planned but we are gaining on the group as I pull them steadily back up. The group is about 50 yards ahead and I know I'm going to catch them. But all of a sudden, this chick sprints around me in an attempt to catch then group on her own after sitting behind me for a couple miles. OK!

But she fades halfway and I pass her as she jumps on the back again taking a wheel. OK!

Now what the heck? I have never had another rider help me then sprint around trying to drop him or her. I have never had another ride help me out then left him behind when he got tired. I have had guys pull me then fade and tell me to go ahead without them. Nope! If you help me, I'm helping you even if it means dropping my speed and average a bit. Now if you are a wheelsucker and get dropped, that's ok. But if you help me then I am going to help you until you recover before I lift the pace at all. I have done so only to find the rider comes back and once again we can resume the pace without too much trouble.

But I just don't get these ride together/group riders!!!

Been a real turnoff for me and on this last ride, one of the things that went through my head was that I am done with riding together and group rides. I may only do the weeknight night ride to be around other riders for safety in numbers reasons. But the riding together, I'm done. I have more fun riding alone or with my wife.

I just can't accept the fact that you help people then when they think your're tired, they attack you rather than return the favor. Really sucks!
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Regarding overtaking then fading, I’d chalk much of that up to inexperience.
Some people don’t know realize much more effort it takes to be up front.
So drafting feels easy, no idea of the cost of being in the lead and there you go.
I get a bit embarrassed by yo-yo overtaking, and put in a deliberate effort to be certain that I have the stamina to keep pulling when I go to overtake someone.
And unless the one overtaken tries to fight it, I’ll usually get it right.
Another is that people react differently to changing riding conditions.
I do a couple of big MTB XC races each year, and in those I just about always end up leapfrogging some guy.
Most likely b/c I do well on the ”steady grind” sections and tend to chicken out a bit on the fast descents.
With the number of riders there are at those events, I don’t think either of us deliberately pick the other to ride against, it’s simply created by the interaction of the course and individual ability.
And while ego certainly can explain some of it, I don’t think it’s the only explanation.
Some get caught up in the thrill of the moment and simply lose the idea of riding to a plan - if they ever had one.
There’s a saying:”to finish first, first you have to finish.”

My club rides always give me a dilemma.
Speed-wise, I could - in theory - ride with the intermediate group.
But I don’t, b/c they are so undisciplined.
They take off like you wouldn’t believe, burn out and limp home.
To keep up, I have to ride my heart out first, then babysit the walking wounded the rest of the ride.
Maintaining their average as seen over the whole ride would be within reach. But their first half, or first third average is a killer.
No fun.
So I end up riding in the casual group who are far more consistent. And usually not much slower than the intermediates b/c they don’t have to finish in ”limp-home-mode”.
Those are mixed groups, so there are women there who are every bit as undisciplined or ego-driven as the men.
Last year we did a double century. Big, big ride. Thousands of participants. The ”casual” group caught up with the intermediate right after the finish line despite the plan would have had them finish two hours ahead of us.
But they’d tried hanging with the fast group, and managed to keep up for almost 1/3 of the ride.
Then they pretty much spent the rest of the ride in a ”rolling recovery”.
Now, sure. Long distance road riding does have an element of suffering in it.
But I’m not spending months in preparation to be part of that kind of performance.
The club rides, we usually have one ”official” captain for each group.
And a clear plan. We usually ride in a rolling chain, ”belgian”.
Works well as long as someone is willing to monitor the hotheads and tell them to mind their manners as needed.
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Yes, inexperience is a part of it as well. One guy is lickity split on the Thurs nite group rides. But only 25 miles. He takes off on the climbs and I can't match his speed though he is 100 pounds less. But on flats and into the wind, different story. I know the ride only has a couple of short steeper climbs, if they can be labeled as steep, sections but not overall steep.

He takes off on the climb then waits at the top. So I have never seen him on a longer ride. 15 years younger than me and only riding for a year. Mostly with the group so I will say he is more than likely lacking experience riding with this group. There is a whole lot more out there.

We were talking one day on the ride. The ride leader has been riding longer than I have and not sure why he doesn't teach people things. Maybe he doesn't know how, but I see he is caught up in this attitude as well. Funny, he raced on the college team and riding for 40 years I'd guess.

But the lickity split guy mentioned to me one night on the ride. He said he could see what us veterans do on the ride. He said he noticed we sit back the first section of the ride knowing how to ride with a plan. I have 2 other friends I invited that do the ride now, for about 3 or 4 weeks now. He said he sees us just hanging back with the group on the first half, then jumping on it and killing everybody on the way back. I explained to him that if you plan it right, that's the way it goes. People stupidly burn themselves out and if I just hang with them, they have no chance on the return. That is where the vets show because there is a plan and it works. Funny because me and my buds can always tell how the ride is going to go. Kill themselves, then fade. I can take the lead on the first half of the ride on my own, pull everyone for 12 miles and average 20 mph. But that would be stupid. But others try to do it and show the superman side of themselves. Total inexperience ha ha!

But lickity split was looking really good on the ride Sunday. 57 miler. He is fast on the 25 but this was double and more. He looked great on the first 3/4. Even did some clowning around to show off his talent a bit. But at mile 45, I noticed he left the pit stop a couple minutes before the rest. I knew he was in trouble. But once we caught him, he hopped a wheel and then sprinted around. Rookie mistake. You aren't going to recover on your own once you start suffering. And I'm sure all the clowning around he did, entered his mind at this point.

The rest of the group broke up as mentioned and I ran down Lickity split 3 times. Took my wheel 3 times and then the 4th, he could no longer hold my wheel.

So yeah, he is still learning and I hope he learned something. I'm hoping he brings up the vet comments again on the next ride. I explained it to him on the ride, hopefully this time he relives the experience and learns something from it.

I've done rides up to 126 miles. Maybe 35 centuries. Some with 10,000 to 12,000 ft of gain. So people who play race with each other over 25 miles are lacking the knowledge of how to get it done. Many many times I have started at the pack of the pack on organized rides but finished well before the majority of riders just holding a steady pace.

But another of my buddies, been riding together since 1995. EVERY FREAKING TIME, I know I am going to pull and he will sprint around, or take the front and lift the pace for no reason. That is a long time to ride and not learn something about riding together. It is at the point where I have been avoiding him for the last 10 years ha ha!

Couple weeks back, I finally got trapped so I figure ok, we can ride together. I told him that we would hold the pace. If he goes around me, or sprints off, I'm letting him go. I have a plan and sticking to it, if you mess it up, feel free to ride off on your own. He said he wanted to stick to the ride plan. He knows he has no chance in the wind.

So I pull into the wind and we are doing well. Holding 17 into a stiff headwind. After 10 miles, he says he wants to help. OK! He gets up front, we hit a slight dh section and he starts lifting the pace. This is the 50 yard section I use for recovery and to take a drink since it is easier, perfect on the bike break spot to keep the pace but yet take a break.

He lifts it to 18,19,20........Dude, WTF! After a 10 mile pull into the wind and he lifts the pace like he said he wouldn't. So I waste my energy trying to keep up instead of recovering. Sometimes takes a minute or two to realize what the guy is doing. Wondering why the heck are we going faster! He gets up to about 22 and I just drop back to my pace.

He looks back about 30 seconds later and realized I dropped back. So he slows and says he didn't realize he had dropped me. Dude, I told you I was keeping a pace, ride on if you like but I'm sticking to my plan as there is no need to lift the pace to 23 and no way in hell is that helping me recover or even helping to keep a pace because I'll burn out having 20+ more miles to go. Not very smart.

He says,"oh, I just do it at this point for my own good, to see what I got!"

Dude, it's a slight downhill, wind shielded tunnel like section so it's easy to do a fast pace here but why? And why lift the pace on me when I have been pulling the last 10 miles because you said you couldn't?

He said ok I understand. But now the fast section is over and he's done so back to the front I go after he shot his wad on a 200 yard section and I got absolutely no rest.

Another time, pulled his **** for the entire ride after he was crying about the headwind. The final 10 miles section is a tailwind back of the 40 miler. After saying he couldn't help in the wind, he sprints around me. I was doing about 20 on the return but he picks it up to 25. WTH! So I drop back cause I can't keep this pace too long. He rides off to where I can't even see him anymore, at least 1/4 mile ahead.

8 miles down the road, I catch him as he faded. I blew by him like nothing. He got tired, cramped up and I took advantage of it. Bye! I asked him after the ride why he took off. He said he thought he could make it back on his own. OK, but why not help when I pulled your **** all day? I dunno, just trying to see what I have left.

Wow I've explained the plan to this guy over and over since 1995 and still doesn't get it. In the last 10 years, he has asked me about 200 times to ride and I always come up with an excuse. Only done about 5 rides with him in the last 5 years when I get backed into a corner and hoping he might have learned something by now. But I guess not!

I am not sure why, but MOST riders I ride with do the same thing over and over. New friends, old friends, maybe I make it too easy for them.

Check this out! One day Gina and I were riding and ran into a tandem, people we know. It got really windy so we ended up working together to get through the windy section. A section of about 10 miles, really breezy. They kept fading so I would slow a bit to make it easier for them to hang on knowing how tough it is to respond on a tandem.

So we help them through, even waited for them after not trying to pull ahead about 20 yards. I'd let them catch back on then continue at a slightly lower rate so they could keep on our wheels.

Then the windy section is over, we hit a tailwind section and they cranked it up and dropped us. We were doing about 20 with the tailwind but they kicked it up to about 25 hammering trying to drop us. OK, maybe they felt insufficient into the wind so they needed to show us what they could do with a tailwind. I can get Gina up to 22 at times but 25, I won't even try.

So I was kind of disappointed with them as we have been friends for a long time. Thought we were working together and not showing off.

So the next time we saw them, they were ahead of us. The guy records all his rides with a go pro so he sent me the footage to this one ha ha!

We saw them ahead on the trail, approaching and underpass and when the wind blows, it can be tough going up the other side. I saw them struggling ahead so I told Gina to hold on, we're not helping them this time. So it timed out perfectly, we passed them just at the right moment on the short 20 yard up section of the underpass. Wind was strong and we blew right by them leaving them far behind.

He sent this footage to me and said, "wow, we couldn't even come close to keeping up with you guys in the wind!"

I thanked him for the footage but my thoughts were, I'm keeping this footage to remind me that I should never help you again ha ha! I keep it as a reminder. :D

Been 3 years and have not helped them since. You can hear the wind whistling to give you an idea of the wind and why people usually struggle on this section. :D

The Tandem Pass into the wind! :p

The more people I meet, the more I enjoy riding alone ha ha!

One guy on the Sunday ride, fast for me, yelled at another guy saying, "C'mon man, if you want to ride with us, then move up and take a turn!". He was the one that invited this guy. ;)

The guy was obviously struggling and I figured he was having enough just trying to keep the pace. The struggling guy was another who actually does well on the group 25 milers midweek. Skinny wiry guy who can motor up the hills for a short bit. But never seen him on a long ride with wind. So once he looked weak, I was content with him just riding along.

But the ride leader shouted at him to help out. No more than 2 minutes later, the ride leader ended up rotating to the front. He held it for about 30 seconds then fell back ha ha! We were laughing about that one!

OK, EVERYBODY TAKES A TURN AT THE FRONT!!! Except me, I only can do 30 seconds and I'm done! :D:p:D

And actually the weaker guy, I had no problem with him. Of course he did not sprint around after we helped him out. That is the way it should be. If you can't help, then hold on but don't show off later when the others have helped you make it through the ride. :cool: