Help! Sick of getting dropped on fast group rides What workouts to improve?

Now group rides are back in full swing in the Uk , finding it difficult to hang on to groups when the hammer goes down ie from 18-20 mph to 24 mph +
Is there any workouts on TR or plans that can help with these situations ?
Thanks .

Building a strong aerobic base will allow you to recover faster after those surges and in a sense will expand your gas tank, but that takes time. I don’t think there’s really a specific workout or type that would work best for targeting those surges but in my experience the real difference for me was before I could hang with the surge and then fell apart but now I feel fine after

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Should i should of really said before that i did Traditional base medium in Feb and March this year , before starting the new polarized medium plan in April currently on week 6 , yeah its the sudden surges that are doing me in on-the group rides , legs light up then i have nothing left .

What’s your FTP in raw watts and w/kg? You may just need more time, I remember feeling the same in my first years of riding. It’s also as much a skill as strength to know how deep to dig, if you’re trying to respond to surges at a lower cadence you may be loading your legs up with waste for no reason, etc.

Sounds like a fast group so I wouldn’t get too discouraged. Continuing to ride with them and trying different things is a great way to learn how you respond to different situations, we can only push so far on our own

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If you are riding with power you should be able to review the file and see exactly what the demands are and train for that. You could see that its a 20s burst followed by steady power until you pop? Vo2 max and threshold workouts can help with this. Also there are specific workouts that have initial bursts followed by the work.

Also, there could be a positioning and awareness element. Are you paying attention and reacting in time? If you are lagging in your response by a few seconds this can dramatically increase the amount of work required to get up to speed and onto a wheel. Are you following in draft? Are you trying to close gaps versus letting others close them while you hold wheels?

Unfortunately i don’t ride with a power meter outside, but yeah i agree on sometimes not reacting quick enough does coat me on these rides.

Is it short hard bursts, extended hard periods, climbs, accelerations out of corners of junctions or other situations? Where are you positioned in the group when these happen?

When I first started fast club rides about 10 years ago I’d been riding solo or with just a couple of mates and it was generally fairly steady paced. The dynamics of a fast group were simply something I hadn’t experienced and I was killed every weekend on 60-100 mile ‘fast’ rides - it was simply accelerations from junctions where I was near the back and the rubber band effect made things hard, and when the high w/kg guys kicked it up on some of the hills and I was well over threshold. None of this was riding I was really used to and it simply took me a year or so of these rides to adapt. It was undoubtably some additional fitness but also reading the group and anticipating and reacting. Our group rides are VERY structured with a strict rotation and timed turns, so its not possible to change positions in the group and it just requires taking advantage of drafting as much as possible, not getting caught out when accelerations are coming and pacing climbs more intelligently. Funnily enough as this happened I also ended up being one of the stronger diesels dragging everyone home for the last 10-20 miles…

At the end of the day though, if you’re riding with people with a higher FTP and/or w/kg on climbs, you’re always going to suffer when they drop the hammer until you can build your fitness to better suit the dynamics of the group rides.

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It sounds like you need to pay more attention to reading the group. Gaps don’t happen suddenly so when people are starting to ramp up you should be ramping up too. Remember you don’t have to close a gap immediately you can take your time so you don’t go into the red too much. If you’re on the back, try sitting closer to the front of the group. No plan can make up for bad positioning

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How long are these rides? Do you typically ride the same route? What are you carrying in terms of fuel?

Honestly, I’d say that Over/Under workouts should be your friend. Get used to working just above your threshold and then learn to recover just below it. The TR Over/Under workouts offer great progression so you’ll be able to tackle one per week for the next couple of months.

I’ve found this type of workout really helps if the ride has surges and/or punchy, short lumps and bumps.

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If you are lacking change of pace, I would throw in some sprint sessions, or get one of your friends to help you so you can get on their wheel and not get dropped. Which is very demoralising! There are some good vo2 max sessions too that will help . This is provided you have a good endurance base and handle sweetspot training well.

This is hugely important, often you’ll find that just by being smoother you’re able to avoid needing to put in a hard effort to close gaps, particularly paying attention to the road ahead as I often see riders sprinting to close a gap when there is a corner up ahead that the group will be slowing for naturally that would have allowed them to close the gap under breaking without using an effort at all. Each time that happens you’re burning matches that you could use to hang on when things really do get tough.

I believe that working on a big aerobic ‘engine’ is the best bang for the buck for most people, including myself. It benefits me all ride, every ride, where anaerobic development benefits me only in specific circumstances that are short duration. It is the rising tide that lifts all boats. I’d rather put my effort towards work that benefits me 100% of the time instead of 1-2% of the time.

For me typical workouts are:

  • Aerobic endurance rides - Solo or small group rides where I spend as much time in zone 2 as possible and minimize time in zone 1. I don’t need to do X hours to see benefit, I just need to slowly extended them and do more than I am doing now until recovery becomes a problem with doing a similar or sightly shorter ride the next day. Group rides, for me, are not good for this kind of effort. I spend way too much time (50%) in zone 1 and too many zone 4/5 efforts that encourage me to drop back to zone 1 for recovery.
  • Extensive aerobic intervals - My base includes tempo intervals (2x20 → whatever) than transitions to long sweet spot intervals (2x20 → whatever) in addition to plenty of aerobic endurance rides.
  • Threshold intervals - Threshold intervals and over/unders. I find them almost as important mentally as physically. Being used to maintaining a high workload and with over/unders recovering from surges at a pretty high workload helps mentally with dealing with it in the real world. I keep the aerobic endurance rides rolling during this time as well.

There is this plan called Short Power Build, you might wanna try that out.