Please tell me about my group ride (analysis)

Those in the know please could you take a look at a couple of screenshots from my group ride last night and tell me what you see? Intrigued to see if it matches my thoughts…

What specifically do you want peoples thoughts on. Training effectiveness I am assuming?

From what I can see it seems just be a classic group ride, high variability, IF of around 0.75-0.85, not too hard and not too easy, 65% of it spent below zone 3 with not a huge amount of time in any zone excluding the anaerobic zone, but that is too be expected over a group ride of that duration and given the length of the workout and the extended breaks the overall period of time in this zone is effectively reduced and will elicit less adaptation.

It seems like a classic case of the group ride gray zone, were it is just pretty hard, not really hard. Fine to do sometimes, and it will build your general fitness but if you are doing this 3 or more times a week you will probably plateau pretty quickly.


You stopped for coffee around 20 mins into the ride? This is probably too early for a coffe stop😜


I thought that was the ride to the meetup, and the actual group ride happened after the stop. :slight_smile:

It was really just to get a sense of how tough people thought it was and some advice off the back of it. I got dropped at 2.15 ish to the brief stop at around 2.40, just had nothing left in my legs. It felt like everytime I looked at my Wahoo all I could see was 7 red lights!
Ultimately I guess the questions I am asking myself are

  1. is the group too good for me?
  2. what should I be eating on the ride?
  3. I normally do TR workout 90 mins on a Monday night should I reduce this so I can go harder on a Tuesday group ride? Which will be best in the longterm for my improvement?
  4. Do I just need to harden the … up?
  1. If you are hanging onto the group ride for 90% of it, the group isn’t too good for you, they are just marginally better and you will probably close the gap over the next few weeks.

  2. For me, on a 2.5hr medium intensity ride like this, water in the bottles and 2 bananas is all I would have, but this is something you need to figure out through trial and error.

  3. Make your hard days hard and your easy days easy. This isn’t a race and don’t treat it like one, you are going there to get fitter not to win, so hit it as hard as possible, pull hard, attack a lot, sprint for every sign. No ones cares if you drop yourself, and if doing an easier ride on monday will help you go harder on tuesday then do it. The caveat on this, is that some group rides really won’t facilitate good all out workouts, and will generally always lack focus on any energy system. They are fun, but if you are seeking the ultimate gains in fitness, structured work is just better, doing a one fast group ride a week is fine.

  4. Probably not, you can only do what you can do, and your performance on any day is a mix of your mentality going into it, your physiology, how fresh or fatigued you are, nutrition, sleep etc. I feel when people say you need to HTFU, it is just ignoring all the reasons for a possible sub optimal performance (and writing valid reasons off as excuses) and blocking any critical review of said performance.

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Harden up and hold the wheels!


Rule #5.

You should Isolate the portion of the ride up to where you got dropped and see what the Power Numbers look like as well as the IF - I assume the IF will be a little higher when you do that but I don’t think you’ll be pushing an IF above .90 where you’re really pushing against your limits.

If that 's the case then it could be that you just don’t have the endurance built up to be able to keep up the effort for the length of time required. Or, more likely, you had a mental lapse in a moment of suffering and just let that wheel get away from you.

Group rides can good for you but how often depends on what you are training for. If you’re a TT guy, once a week or less is fine. If you are a road racer, I’d say a hard, race like group ride throw down once a week is a must IMHO if there is no race on the schedule.

Eat what you need to get through the ride. As you get more fat adapted, you should be able to do a ride like this on 200-300 calories or so, or nothing if you want to push it or started off topped up.

If you have to choose, the structured workout should be favored over the group ride for long term improvement unless your doing the group ride to get some race simulation in.

HTFU is always a good plan!

Once you get so you are not just struggling to hang on, you can, and should, have a plan and some goals for any group ride. You can get a lot of work done on a good group ride if you ride intentionally. Conversely, you also can dial it back by hiding in the pack.

Thanks for your response.
As to point 3. The workouts on a Monday are things like Fang Mountain, Avalanche Spire, Darwin etc… Are you saying better to do those as structured training and then hang on in a group ride for long term gains?

I think I need to do a better job of nutrition, and see if I can stay with the group a bit longer. If not I guess its as @darrenadam says and muscular endurance. Is there a best way to split the ride (i.e. hills) to see if there was a loss of power as the ride went on?

You look like you need to sit in more, not rotate through, and be smoother when you are riding. That will help you save energy and prevent the big anaerobic digs that rapidly deplete your anaerobic capacity.

You should look at what happened in various blocks right before you got dropped (e.g. 15 min, 10, 5 and 1 minute). If like most group rides it follows a fixed course, you can then make some intelligent decisions about how to save energy and/or position yourself if you are getting dropped in the same place or in the same situations. There is way more to not getting dropped than just fitness.

What overall thought processes and strategies do you guys use to analyze outdoor group rides? Or even better, is there something written about it (besides the book…I own and have read Allen & Coggan’s book). I think I have a handle on analyzing solo rides, indoor workouts (be it TR or otherwise) and how they fit into my training (even though there is always something to learn).

I’m glad @wapes asked this because one blind spot for me is “what the hell am I supposed to make of this group ride?” I’m not asking so much about how to read the data, but more: what data to read and what conclusions to draw.

Happy to clarify if needed but hopefully you guys see what I’m asking.

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I have 3 regular group rides I do (not all 3 every week but at least 1 every week in the summer). All 3 are fairly predictable in terms of where we go hard and where we take it easy. In terms of “analysis” which may be overstating things a bit as it is not as detailed as it sounds. I use TrainingPeaks and a little Strava.

Overall I’ll look at TSS and Kjs to gauge how hard the overall effort was. I also make some notes on how I felt and any highlights. Things like how fatigued was gong in, was i super hot or windy, did the young stud cat 1’s show up so it was unusually hard, etc. I’ll look at my peak power for various times (5 min, 1 min etc). The hard parts of all these rides are segments on Strava so I’ll look at my performance on the key segments relative to my prior performances. I often will have a specific set of goals for the ride in mind so I’ll also look at whatever data I have to see how i did on those.

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The ‘big digs’ as you put it are pretty much all climbs. I think the jumpy nature of the power is largely down to the undulating terrain?

As you say there is almost so much data that I’m blinded by it. I wasnt fast enough but breaking it down past that I’m unsure of other than as has been said looking on strava to see if I was faster or slower on a given segment. But there must be better ways than that.

First off, understand you are looking to answer 3 basic questions whether you are looking at an entire ride/race or a part of a ride/race. This will drive your analysis and even the data, subjective or objective you focus on.

What happened?
Why did it happen?
What can I do to change the out come? (or, do I need to change the outcome-sometimes things do go well :wink:

So, this can run the gamut from detailed power analysis to just noting you need 3 bottles instead of 2 when its over 85 degrees when you got home with 2 empty bottles. Frame your questions first and the analysis gets a lot easier. There is no one analysis, there is answering a series of questions.

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Often what I’m trying to ascertain is what workout does this replace, if any? What part of my structured training did I get/not get from this group ride.

@wapes That high percentage of anaerobic in your group ride can also be closing short gaps, standing while leaving a stoplight and other extremely short but high power efforts. They add up and skew the time. You can see this with mtb ride files as well. A naive way of looking at that would be “ok, don’t need to do sprint intervals this week because of all the time in that zone”. But that’s not right, unless you see where you have done it intentionally for a non-trivial duration.