The weekend is almost here and time for the long training ride with a group of friends. In most cases the rides have one main goal which is to do over distance training with some tempo sections or significant accelerations up the hills. Over the years I have learned a few different idea's to spice up the miles and keep it challenging but not to turn every ride into a "slug fest time trail". Here are my 5 Challenges to consider for your weekend group rides:
1. Signs - The sign game should begin about a third of the way into the ride so everyone is warmed up and the key is to sprint to specific signs. For example, a Township, County, or State Road sign that is along your route. Define the specific signs before hand but it's up to each individual to spot the sign in the distance and then begin the sprint.
2. Road Kill Sprint/Jumping - This involves looking for road kill in the distance ( the road in the lane your riding - be safe!) which in my area could consist of dead raccoon, deer, groundhogs, opossums, etc. and the goal is to have everyone sprint to the road kill and the leader must successfully jump over the road kill. No scraping the back wheel on the animal allowed and focus on being safe for the jump over the road kill!
3. Big Chain Ring Climbs - These consist of several long gradual or short steep climbs preferably during the second half of the climb when the legs are getting tired. The goal is to have everyone shift into the big chain ring and climb the hill. The main focus is just to get to the top no matter how long it takes to crest the hill.
4. Big Chain Ring total rides - These rides are best when all the riders are have plenty of miles of training during the season. It's a difficult workout and if your legs are not strong there will be plenty of suffering. Pretty easy concept, everyone in the group shifts to the big chain ring and are not allowed to be in the small ring for any part of the ride. The climbing can be very tough!
5. Hill Climbs - Pretty basic, it's a sprint for everyone to see who can climb the hill the fastest. There is one twist to make it fun and embarrassing. The winner of every climb is required to circle back down the hill and laugh at everyone suffering to the top and will receive the added benefit of another hill climb.
Enjoy your long rides this weekend and hope you try some of these challenges to keep in interesting for everyone!! Don't forget to check out RaceTwitch.com http://www.racetwitch.com