Group Ride Classifications

Hi all, I was searching this fourm high and low for something similar and did not find anything. So here goes nothing.

I live in a hilly part of europe and any ride that has less than 3000 feet of elevation (45 miles) is considered flat. This is a delight for a climby boy like me but it makes organising and pacing group rides a good bit harder.

All through the internet, group rides are classified by their average speed in mph or kmh. This concept howerver fails here due to three main reasons:

  • The average speeds of group rides is quite low anyway (a full hammerfest manages about 20mph).

  • Some 50 mile rides have 800 feet and some nearly 6000 feet of elevation depending on the profiles.

  • Lastly, due to significant hills, it is close to impossible not to drop anybody which creates differences in average speed up to 2mph in the same groupride.

Therefore we were looking at alternative ways to classify group rides:

  • The first metric that came to mind was obviously power: In absolute numbers in the flat and W/kg when the roads point up. So the fast rides would be something like 350W in the paceline and 4W/kg, the moderate ones 300W & 3W/kg and the relaxed ones 250W & 2.4 W/kg. Howerver, not every cyclist is fortunate enough to have a powermeter, so this classification would result in some gatekeeping in our eyes, which is not the inclusive approach we try to pursue.

  • The next metric that came to mind was VAM. (Ride up a steep hill for exactly 5min and multiply the gained elevation figure by 12. This would give you the feet or meters you would have climbed in an hour at that pace) Now, for expample, the faster group would require a VAM of 1200m or 4000 feet, the medium one 3000 feet and the relaxed one 2400 feet (the numbers lining up is more or less coincidental). This metric is obviuosly less “gate-keepy” but still quite technical.

This is as far as we have gotten for now, we have not yet tried any of the classifications.

Our main goal is to give a metric which allows people to judge if they will get spat out the back at every hill, just hang on, or drop everybody in Z1. (avg speed fails at that for the above mentioned reasons)

So if anybody out here has any experience with this, I would be really glad to hear about it.

Stay safe and ride on :frog:

ps, i hope this is the right category (Edit: format)