Making a Group Ride Hard
Have you been asked to go on a group ride that you know will be too easy for you? You won’t have to find an excuse to get out of it and awkwardly meet the group on the road going opposite directions when using these quick tips on how to make an easy group ride hard.
Go to the Front
It takes more watts to be pulling the group than drafting at the back. The group may not like you monopolizing the front of the group the entire ride but before you rotate through to the back set the pace with a longer stronger pull.
Spin Like a Squirrel
Another way to make an easy ride harder and a great way to work on leg speed is to shift up a couple of gears. Riding with a high cadence raises the heart rate while maintaining a slower speed. Keep shifting until you find a gear that suits the speed of the group and that you can sustain for the entire length of the ride.
Training stress score (TSS) is a number system used to rate the effort of one’s ride by taking into account duration and intensity. Longer rides get higher TSS scores as do hard intervals or race efforts. A long easy ride will produce the same hurt as a short barf-bucket ride. If you have the time, ride hard the hour before meeting up with the group and use the group ride as active recovery.
Challenge yourself to see how long you can spin while standing on your pedals. Turn it into an interval ride where you stand up for 30-60sec then sit for 60-90sec, keep challenging yourself to stand longer and sit less often. It is especially challenging to stand while descending because it forces your legs to spin faster to keep up with the speed. When you don’t allow your butt to rest on the seat it makes the ride a lot harder.
Dust Off an Old Bike
Weight matters, so if you aren’t too concerned with looks or riding the best of the best, then dust off that old 6-speed in the garage that has a few extra pounds to it and take it out to the group ride. If that old bike does indeed have 6 speeds your workout will feel different moving through fewer gears. Add a bulkier wool jersey to go with it to increase negative drag and to impress the riders who will reminisce the old days while also impressing younger riders who love the retro get up.
Tell Stories, Whistle, or Breathe Through Your Nose
Training at altitude is harder because the air is thinner with less oxygen around to diffuse into your muscles. Talking or whistling while riding has a similar effect as altitude by decreasing you oxygen intake. You may be riding in an easy group ride but if you choose to tell stories, whistle or breathe through your nose you will be decreasing the regularity of breaths therefore less inhaled oxygen for your muscles.