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coach - fits in each individual /personal needs but could be boring at times when on your own
group rides - great if the whole group is about the same speed/fitness, can really encourage others to go faster if one is slightly faster by a bit.
 

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Group rides have their place.

I've done best when mixing up my rides, during the right times of the year. Group rides all the time is not a good thing.

The right type of Intervals at the right time......is a very good thing.

This is probably where a coach can really help. I've had two different coaches for 2 different seasons. I learned A LOT from it. It really improved my "self-coaching" abilities.
 

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The answer is going to be different for each "a person."

For me, as a beginner, our local women's weekly mountain bike ride seems to be the best thing.

I ride with people who are way better than me. Skill-wise, I watch and learn. Fitness-wise, I try to fall behind less each time.
 

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Coaching costs are usually pretty high, but joining group rides is usually pretty cheep. If you are just getting into the sport and putting in your base miles and joining the group is going to encourage you to get out there and put in the miles then for sure do that for a season. If you have already done your base miles a coaches knowledge is way better and can take you a lot further then any group or self training you could do.
 

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funny...

i would say neither. i have been dropped by every challenging group ride i have ever been on (though i have learned some things) and i have never had a coach but have progressed year on year by educating myself.
 

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Your profile shows you've been riding since 1986 so if you've been at it this long and are looking to improve it seems some coaching would help. Continuous coaching may not be required though, depends on your goals. If you can find a training camp I'd suggest giving it a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have been racing for 4 years I will be going to cat 1 next year, I can train full time cause I don't have to work. I was just told to not waste my money on a coach and just do the group rides.
 

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My opinion is group rides hurt training more than help. Your stuck doing the group's pace. Often, intervals are non-existent. I train completely by myself, and only ride with someone if it's a longer endurance ride. 1 hour of hard intervals at the right time in your season is by far more beneficial than a 3 hour hard group ride when you don't need it.
 

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.......by far more beneficial than a 3 hour hard group ride when you don't need it.
Absolutely. To me, these are the most unbeneficial group rides, if done too much (the 3 hour hammerfest).

Easily, the most beneficial group rides, are the shorter evening or lunch time "drop" rides. Where normalized power is around threshold for 40 minutes. The whole purpose of our local lunch time ride is to "hurt the hell out of each other."

We have "A" and "B" groups (about 30 total people), where the A group has some Cat 2 roadies, and strong Cat 3's. Our local lunch time ride had a few Cat 1 roadies show up, and that was just too much for me. Popped off the A group in 10 minutes, but then I join in with other guys who got dropped and we continue the hurt (because that's the whole purpose).

These group rides are great for build periods, but intervals with 100% recovery is better for truly "sharpening the knife" for peak periods.
 

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funny...

i would say neither. i have been dropped by every challenging group ride i have ever been on (though i have learned some things) and i have never had a coach but have progressed year on year by educating myself.
Progressing every year is one thing, but progressing to your "potential" is entirely something else...

I have the utmost respect for what you and your wife have accomplished in the last several years. By reading you and your wife's blog we know the Mann's are great riders and you train your a$$ off. In addition, you rub shoulders with some of the superstars in cycling and motorcycling (Bostrom brothers, for example.) However, your comment about training and lack of a coach makes me wonder if having a coach would make those challenging group rides become more bearable. I'm not being critical, just wondering if a coach could "quicken" your progression. Again, this isn't criticism, it's posing a question....that's all.
 

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I'm not being critical, just wondering if a coach could "quicken" your progression. Again, this isn't criticism, it's posing a question....that's all.
I ask the same thing quite often, but racing self-supported has its limits, and coaches are pricey. In addition, it's hard to argue with success as Justin has put up some really good results this season. We'll see what next year has to offer, since he will have super fast competition.
 

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.02

I ask the same thing quite often, but racing self-supported has its limits, and coaches are pricey. In addition, it's hard to argue with success as Justin has put up some really good results this season. We'll see what next year has to offer, since he will have super fast competition.
Oh come on....I am not THAT fast:p I kid I kid...

Anyways...to the OP, I am not sure why you can't do both. Group rides are free. Just make sure that you inform your coach about when/what type of group ride you are going to be doing and they can give you a "plan" so that you can incorporate some of them into your training.

If you plan to race road, then faster group rides are fairly beneficial, as you will dial in your race skills/strategy a bit. Coaching can't help you there as much as experience can imo.

Your coach also may want you to skip a group ride here and there OR just ride them partially and finish on your own (according to plan) sort of thing...

.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I was talking with some guys at the bike shop I go to and one guy said to save my money and just do the group rides cause that will be better than any coach. I will do a couple road races but main focus is mtb.
 

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I was talking with some guys at the bike shop I go to and one guy said to save my money and just do the group rides cause that will be better than any coach. I will do a couple road races but main focus is mtb.
Umm... Riding once a week in a fast group is not exactly the same as having a professionally structured program that caters to your needs/abilities 6 days a week.

Again, if you know of a coach that has a great reputation and won't break the bank, perhaps do both group rides and get a coach.

Have you looked into all of the online free literature regarding training programs? Also, lots of fairly respected books are out there. J. Friel is one author you may want to look into. It will cost much less than a personal coach and many people will see improvements based on affordable legitimate literature. Maybe after absorbing all of the free lit out there it will be time for a professional personal coach.

I think that the dude at the shop is suggesting that a coach will never get you ready to ride in a group at extremely high speeds and anticipate breaks etc... He is right that you would never get this experience from speaking with a coach. You kinda just need to get in there.. Coaching is only fitness/support/motivator....

.02
 

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Would a person benefit more from a coach or riding (road) very challenging group rides?
i think it depends on how well trained you are and what type of motivation you have.

if you already have a big base from year(s) of training and/or you feel you've plateaued and/or need some plan to periodize for next season or reach a higher cat, then a coach will surely be of great benefit.

if you're just starting out with the itch to get faster and go further....then you might be better off saving the coach $, buying a couple books on training, a hrm or powermeter, reading (educated) blogs on methods of training and in general just riding a lot to build an aerobic base for the future. trying different methods, seeing how your body reacts...etc. and then use group rides as motivation and a measuring stick. i don't think a coach would accelerate the progress of a new cyclist/racer when compared to a general winter training plan......except a coach should be able to spot overtraining and take steps to avoid it before you mentally blow up if you think that will be a big issue for you (requires quite a bit of riding)
 

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Progressing every year is one thing, but progressing to your "potential" is entirely something else...

I have the utmost respect for what you and your wife have accomplished in the last several years. By reading you and your wife's blog we know the Mann's are great riders and you train your a$$ off. In addition, you rub shoulders with some of the superstars in cycling and motorcycling (Bostrom brothers, for example.) However, your comment about training and lack of a coach makes me wonder if having a coach would make those challenging group rides become more bearable. I'm not being critical, just wondering if a coach could "quicken" your progression. Again, this isn't criticism, it's posing a question....that's all.
certainly no offense taken. as Allison said she often poses the same question (we don't always agree on things) as she feels that a coach would maybe help identify/target weaknesses.

my first response is that having a coach isn't where i want to take things, i don't have any aspirations to go "Pro" despite the allure of riding my bike for a living (not going to happen though it makes a nice daydream!). you see she has a coach, and high aspirations of her own, and bike riding for me is about 2 main things: health (same as it was 90lbs ago) and sharing the outdoor activity with my wife (this one has always been #1). if i have a coach and my workout dictates that i need to ride solo then that contradicts one of the main reasons i ride. certainly paying for a coach and then not following his instructions would be stupid. this year when she was injured i rode solo a ton, i did so because i had something to prove to myself and i wanted to follow through with a goal (see what i could do at Nationals). it was hard and i didn't like it. i missed my wife.

i have worked hard off the bike to educate myself in training techniques. i helped to coach allison to a high level (till i broke myself and she started working with a truly high level coach). having a finger on my own pulse, and the knowledge i have, i have proven i can do pretty well. if a coach gave me some marginal increase and i picked up a couple minutes in a race, does that make my life better? certainly not if i don't get to ride with my wife.

as to challenging group rides... the problem with them is my "tactics" (or lack thereof). i don't do them often and when i do i wind up just going out too hard in the name of a workout. i could likely sit in and hang on, and maybe win a sprint to a sign at the end... but i like being at the front and rotating through and doing a hard pull on the few occasions that i get to enjoy that sort of riding.

sorry for the long winded response... much more info than anyone wants to read! :D here's a nice picture to make up for it...

 
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