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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    204

    "Fun" Ride vs. Race - how to tell?

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    Perhaps there's no such difference, but I'm looking for a first organized ride to register for to create a goal for myself. But, I want to make sure that I'm getting into a ride where I'm not completely outclassed. (Coming in last is OK, but coming in last by an hour isn't.)

    Are there certain key phrases to look for when browsing the various rides? (Like in running, they call them "fun runs", but I'm not finding anything like that. I'm finding some "family friendly", but they're only 12 miles or so.

    Is there a particular length that would be most appropriate? Obviously I'm not going to go for a full century, but I'd like a metric half-century on semi-flat terrain.

    Any ideas to help me choose a "safe" first ride?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    3,387
    Usually Century rides clearly state that "This is a ride, not a race" which is not to say that there are some who ride it as fast as they can- but there are plenty of others who are just out to have a fun relaxed ride. Centurys frequently have shorter distance rides included, from 12-12 miles on up to about 70-something as well as the 100 miles (which is usually ore like 102, or 104!!)

    Anything that says Time Trial or Criterion is not what you want!!

    Nanci
    ***********
    "...I'm like the cycling version of the guy in Flowers for Algernon." Mike Magnuson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    North Andover, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    1,643
    I'd have to say that most of the organized rides out there are rides, not races. If you're looking for a race, there are women here who are very involved in the racing world both as racers and as coaches, so I'm sure they could steer you towards the racing world if this is where you want to go.

    There are club rides in most areas where the pace is specified. That is, the group will specify how long the ride is, and how fast they will go. But these are usually their "normal" rides.

    As far as organized centuries or charity rides go, obviously you should pick one that covers the distance that interests you. And then you should set your own goal for time. Don't get caught up in competing with other people on the ride - most of them are there to ride their own ride as opposed to race.

    In fact, I had an interesting experience on a 2-day MS ride many years ago (before I stopped participating in group rides!). A co-worker asked if she could ride with me. I told her yes, but I also told her that I didn't think she'd be happy with my pace since I'm a relatively slow rider. She started with me, and then joined up with some faster riders (which I encouraged her to do). At the end of the day it turned out she was pretty upset because I finished the ride (100 miles) about an hour & a half before she did. The reason? I stopped quickly at the rest stops to grab more water & food & use the porta-potties. Then I hopped back on my bike and kept riding. She stopped and just hung out talking at each of the rest stops. Classic tortoise & hare...

    Have fun on whatever ride you decide to do.

    --- Denise
    www.denisegoldberg.com

    • Click here for links to journals and photo galleries from my travels on two wheels and two feet.
    • Random thoughts and experiences in my blog at denisegoldberg.blogspot.com


    "To truly find yourself you should play hide and seek alone."
    (quote courtesy of an unknown fortune cookie writer)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    Almost all the "invitational" rides clubs and orgs put on are definitely not races. Folks in the front can and do ride as fast as they can, but - no prizes, no mass start, so in a way that's there idea of a "just for fun" ride, too.
    Generally there are fast riders and then all the rest of the world, and it's good company among the masses that are just trying to challenge themselves.
    I have a strong preference for rides put on by bike clubs because they tend to know what is important. Many of the rides that a local lions or rotary club puts on will not realize that oh, that stretch of a mile of gravel is horrible to ride through (and by turning south a mile earlier, we avoided it) and... oh, saying your family route is 16 miles when it's 23 will mean those folks aren't coming back... and the rest stops at a club's ride are going to have Gatorade or Powerade and trail mix, not the donated-from-McMaggots orange clot and who knows what to eat... oh, and club rides haven't closed up their rest stops before I got there (and before the time they said they'd close). (These weren't all the same ride, fortunately - but there's a pattern there.) I *do* be sure to have my own "reserve bottle" of Gatorade or whatever because sometimes they run out of something when I'm pulling in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tustin, CA
    Posts
    1,308
    Most event rides are "fun rides" particularly if different options (say 25, 50, 75 and 100 miles) are offered. Doesn't mean some folks won't race it but also means you and your friends can just go out and enjoy the event, party through the sag stops etc.

    Races are generally called that and usually require some sort of classification and CAT license.

    As for Club rides, look for clubs that offer "social" or "recreational" rides. A lot of clubs are now offering "newbies" or "introduction" rides to non-members.
    BCIpam - Nature Girl

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    204
    OK, I think I've got it. Thanks for all the red and green flags to look for.

    I've gone on our LBC's "slower" weekly ride and been fairly challenged (and plan on continuing with them), but I'm looking for a "bigger" ride. I've been looking in Cycle California! magazine (I live in Nevada), and there are a TON (both charity and not) and I'm just so overwhelmed with options!

    One other question: how do I know when I'm "ready"? Let's say I want to do a 35 mile ride. What should I be able to do before the ride? Just be able to do 35 miles, or is there a diffent milestone (per se) I should be looking for?
    Fall down six times, get up seven.
    My Blog/Journal: Fat Athlete

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,507
    I did my first charity ride in May. I chose 34.2 miles. I had never ridden that far before! So don't overthink it. Just do it. Don't care how long it takes. Your only race is with yourself.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tustin, CA
    Posts
    1,308
    Witeowl:

    I am training for a century in August. So far my longest ride this year is 45 miles but am I worried? No. I have good base, have been riding for a while and have the knowledge in my head that I can do a century. So for your 35 miles, if you have ridden 15 - 20 miles and ride fairly often, you can do the 35 Good luck have fun. Event rides are fun and exciting! Make sure you get the jersey or t-shirt from your first ride.
    BCIpam - Nature Girl

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    Depending on the club, "slow" rides sometimes aren't. It takes a conscious effort for riders to be welcoming to new folks - many clubs are mainly serious, experienced riders who like to ride together nad that's what they do. (Sometimes they sit at the table at the lunch after some of those big invitational rides and "wonder" why they cdan't attract new people and I try not to brain them with my pump, because they *know* that when these people show up on their "slow" rides they end up leaving them in the dust.)

    With clubs like that, there are usually a lot of people who aren't in it (because it's no fun for them), but who ride a fair amount anyway, so they go on the "fun rides" to get in that 35 mile goal or whatever.

    Our rule of thumb is that you can go three times as far on a supported, special ride as you can ride any ol' day of the week. So, when you can go 10 miles without feeling sore the day afterward, you can prob'ly go 30 if you're pacing yourself and stopping periodically and eating and drinking. Supported rides generally have sag options so a lift back is a cell phone call away - you don't want to abuse that but it's nice to know it's there. You *don't* have to have gone that far on your own before. Most people are pleasantly surprised at their endurance (three days later, though, *not* on that 68th mile of what they *said* was a 63 mile route when every muscle and bone is saying "But you said we could STOP!!!! )

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    I'm not sure how it works in the States, but over here most of the "fun rides" of 100km, and 150km have several sections - most of the entrants are casual riders, but the ones that want to race it are started first... with people having to place themselves in time-zone starts of how long they think they will take to finish the course.

    This is for safety reasons so the very fast riders don't take risks trying to pass slower riders and so forth...

    There is often a prize money category but you have to provide evidence of a qualifying time for that.

    The best way to find out is to ask the organisers.


    Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
    "I will try again tomorrow".


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    204
    OK, then I'm already "ready" for a 50-mile ride (or a little more). Well.... I may just have to pick that as my "goal" ride, rather than a "measly" metric half-century. Hmmm... oh, but wait - the hills, the hills! Have to include plenty of time to catch up from my 1/2 mph hill climbs! :

    Thanks again for all the help. I still haven't picked one out of the many, many options, but I'm getting there.

    BTW, I have to say that I'm lucky to have experienced a pretty supportive and welcoming LBC. The first ride I rode with them was pretty challenging for me, but there was often someone willing to drop back to check on me and/or someone behind me.

    Unfortunately, I heard an opposite story about the same bike club just this weekend. She was literally dropped from a town-to-town ride and had to decide to just turn around and head back on her own, not knowing at all where she was or how to get to the destination! (Unfortunately, I know a feeling very close to that from a school district wellness ride.)

    Then again, I was *very* choosy about my first ride with the LBC, and we're lucky enough to have two LBCs in this city. Apparently the other club is for the really fast (and really insane), or so I've been told.
    Fall down six times, get up seven.
    My Blog/Journal: Fat Athlete

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    3,387
    Maybe you should do a metric century then!! (62 miles) I think it's the most fun to do a longest ride (or run) as a formal event. Makes me remember it more!

    Like when I was training for a Century, I was riding a lot on this trail that was 92 miles both ways, so it would have been so easy to just add on eight more miles (well, not riding easy, but logistically easy) but I resisted because I wanted to go 100 miles first as part of the Santa Fe Century.

    Nanci
    ***********
    "...I'm like the cycling version of the guy in Flowers for Algernon." Mike Magnuson

 

 

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