By Tim Cary
Published 06/07/2012; Updated 11/02/2021

by Tim_Cary » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:41 pm
I had flats in both wheels early on just past Chartpak in Leeds. Pretty new tires too, darn it. I hit a pothole and it got me good. To make it worse, this was the one time I did not bring my seat pack along. Thankfully, Jordan stayed back and lent me a tube. My luck turned for the better because Jordan’s landlord happen to be cycling by, and she lent me a second tube! Jordan and I ended up having a real nice, but surely a slower pace than the rest of the group anyway. To top off the evening, our timing was right to see a beautiful sunset over the reservoir and a family of black bears cross in front of us near the start of W. Farms Rd. I am really glad everything worked out and we were able to continue on. The weather also turned out to be great. Very grateful for fellow cyclists.

Post by jonathanbrody » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:51 pm
Tim, so cool! We soft-pedaled until Williamsburg, waited there for ten minutes, and then back-tracked about five minutes to look for you-all, but now we know what happened. Nick stayed true to his word about not dropping anyone on the ride, so I essentially got chauffeured along the TNR as the A-guys took off. We regrouped at 116 and kept a solid pace to the turn-off thanks to Scott and another rider (nice guy with tattoos). We then split again there, with Nick staying back with me, but the A-guys soft-pedaled to allow Nick to catch back on and we stayed together through the town line sprint, down past the reservoir where I lost everyone again on the rollers. Again, Nick soft pedaled and we road the rest of the ride together — thanks, man!

At the beginning of the ride I had my doubts about an shared A/B venture would work for this ride as it has been so A-dominated, but I think that it is worth a few more shots. We can either try and keep it together til Wiliamsburg, which would mean the As would have to slow down some, and keep the two re-groups, or we could just start two rides from the get-go. My vote would be for the former as it seems more club-like, not to mention that the As are far better looking! Whatever we do, that route is bad-ass and so beautiful!

Other thoughts?

Post by NickHarrison » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:45 am
Jonathan, thanks for the great summary!

It was the pefect evening for riding at an ideal average speed for me of 18 mph. I feel bad that we did not notice Tim and Jordan’s misadventures but I am glad you guys got to continue and had a good time. My aim was not to lose anyone off the back so I kind of failed there – I’ll be more attentive on future rides.

With a strong A group up the road the B group consisted of Jonathan and myself and as promised I refused to leave him, much to his initial annoyance. However, we maintained a good pace and finished strongly.

My personal thoughts lean more to letting the A group do their thing from the get go and having the B riders settle into a manageable group pace without feeling the pressure to keep up with the A’s. Conversational pace for A group riders can cause some lesser mortals to pop before Williamsburg. This allows the A group to continue without lengthy waits at regroup points and the B group not to feel bad about having people wait.

Feedback and comments are welcome.

Post by Tim_Cary » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:14 pm
Thanks all for the posts, and I appreciate you guys waiting for us. I calculated we lost about 30 minutes (non-riding) to my flats- partly because I did not realize I had a second until after getting the first one all set and test-riding. I would not have wanted to hold the whole group up that long. Nick- not to worry about not noticing- as you said, we still ended up with a good ride.

Anyway- I’ll weigh in on the A-B combined ride discussion. This was only my second TNR. Additionally, this is my first full season of riding. On my first TNR (last week), it seemed to be mostly an A pace. However, I stayed (or the rest of the group kept me) together up until Williamsburg. I was dropped on the second long climb, but they all waited (as advertised) at 116. At that point I let them know it was not necessary to wait for me again, though I did stay with the more B+ riders for a bit up until just after the 116 turnoff. That said, I do agree with Patrick’s post.I got ALOT out of my first TNR.  I was challenged, and I strive to get better- that is why I came back. I certainly don’t prefer riding alone, but I knew it could happen if I could not keep up. It would feel really bad holding anyone back. I think the updated description fits well, but, both the A and B riders should work together up to Williamsburg- in the sense not to make B level overdo it early to try to keep up, and not to get the A’s frustrated. That fits in with what Nick said, though I would not know how to put that into any description.

Post by NickHarrison » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:49 am
Tim, I think you have good take on the situation. Nobody wants to be left to ride alone – it is a group ride after all – and even with re-group points it can be a real stretch as you get there just in time to see everyone else take off again. My aim with the B ride is to keep a group together for moral support and to keep the pace high enough to provide a challenge without shelling riders out the back. Fitness will build on this route with the climbs and sprints and hopefully more riders will show up to make it interesting. Staying with the A group as far as Williamsburg is ideal as long as the hammer does not go down too soon – there should be a hold on 30mph pulls until the groups split. There will always be flexibility, riders dropping off the back of the A’s and stronger B+ and A- folks going off up the road and as you gain fitness you will find your own level. My fear is that if riders struggle on the TNR and get left behind week after week they will quit showing up.

Post by Peter Crowley » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:02 am
For years, I tried to get the TRN to split into an A and a B ride. And it almost never happened. Sometimes the group was small -no point splitting a group of 5 into 2 smaller groups.
But the real reason that it was hard is because there is no logical split in the group. Most of the riders are somewhere in the middle in terms of strength/fitness. We have to work hard and sit in alot to keep up with a hard A pace but are stronger and want to go faster than a typical B pace.
Given a choice, most of us opt to test our legs against the big dogs and like to at least start with the A group. I guess that this is OK, but it means that the weakest riders get shelled early. It also means that when the somewhat stronger riders get shelled, they also ride alone and are down the road maybe even unaware if the other folks riding alone.
You really do get a good workout when you ride in a group in which you are the big dog. You take longer pulls and less fatigued so that you can put in a bigger effort for KOM’s or town lines. I have been preaching this for a long time, but next time that there are more than a dozen riders -try splitting into 2 groups and ride with slower one.

Post by Mike Hempstead » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:28 am
I think I agree with Nick that if you have two groups, why not let the A group go at some point? I like the idea of not hammering before Williamsburg even in the context of the A group. Last time I did the ride about six weeks ago, guys were pulling at 27 up Elm St. That is not a good place to hammer.

I would say keep it civil ’till Williamsburg and the take the gloves off. Getting dropped from the ride on Audobon is no fun.

Thanks for doing this Nick. Someday I will get out there again.

Post by NickHarrison » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:06 am
Thanks to everybody for posting useful comments and feedback.

I will not be riding this week – I have a previous engagement. I hope to be able to be there for most Thursdays throughout the summer and offer to lead a B level ride.

I might want to try and hang with the A group from time to time but at my current fitness level that won’t be very often. I got a very good work out riding with Jonathan last time, maintained a decent average speed and experienced less fatigue the following day.

The B ride may be slower but it can still be a challenge and as competetive as the A ride if enough people show up.

I look forward to June 21st.

Post by Chris deHahn » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:23 am
I can count on one hand the times I’ve done this ride. It’s usually a bad night for me with the rest of my midweek training load and family obligations. Therefore, my comments will be general.

I think this group needs to ask itself what they want out of this ride. Is it going to be a hillier version of the Wednesday Night Ride (WNR), or is it a club ride, for everyone to enjoy? There seems to be enough riders wanting both.

What makes the WNR work (besides Don’s eccentric leadership) is structure. The rules are explained every time at the start. We ride together to the market to warm up. The pace is relatively easy or you’ll get yelled at. The group then splits into A and B, with the A’s going first. This is usually the last time the A’s will see the B’s. The A’s will shed riders up to the Book Mill. We’ll take a quick count of how many riders start the climb in Montague as we pass the Lady Killgrew. Riders climb at their own pace, because everyone knows that we wait and regroup at the falls at the bottom. When all are accounted for, we roll at a good pace to 47, then drop the hammer until Rocky Hill Road. If anyone drops off of the A’s, they can fall in with the B’s. It’s the same thing every week.

If you want the A’s and B’s to each have a good ride without one affecting the other, you have to have some structure, or egos get bruised and people get upset. Nick has taken the first step to try and break the group up formally. I applaud him for that.

We have had similar issues on the Saturday rides where structure isn’t appropriate. In that case, it comes down to consideration and group think, because the routes and the rider abilities vary so much from week to week. That’s the way it should be. Every club ride shouldn’t be a hammerfest or Strava chasing KOM fest.

My two cents.

Post by Tim_Cary » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:20 am
Well said, Chris. Being a new to group riding this year, I have ridden the WNR, TNR, and SMR- all a couple of times so far. Don does an excellent job on the WNR. Having only ridden it twice, it has by far been the most helpful and organized ride. SMR and TNR both have been challenging for me and seemed to be a little loosely organized.

Peter has a good point that many of us are in between levels, so a split is hard.

For me, any feedback, help, and also criticism on the rides are always good. We are all there for similar reasons and goals, but hopefully overall we are there to have fun.

I am away on business this week, hope to see some of you Saturday morning.