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Am I fit enough to take part?

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Am I fit enough to take part?

Post  Admin on Mon May 02, 2011 2:28 pm

What level of fitness do I need to take part in the rides?

With our numbers growing and riders of differing abilities coming along, we have to balance 3 things; the desire to grow the group, the need to give everyone a challenging ride and the importance of ensuring no-one comes on a ride unable to keep up. While someone will always stay with a rider who falls off the back of the pack, coming on a ride where you get left behind is demoralising and may result in you giving up and not coming out with the group again; we really don’t want that to happen so deciding if you are fit enough to join the group rides on Friday and Saturday is really important.

Fortunately, with three rides scheduled each week, there is an easy progression route you can follow that will ensure you are riding according to your ability. Although there are no hard and fast rules, the following should give you an idea of where you may fit in but please be honest with yourself and try to determine where you should start. Please remember that while figures are shown below, this is not an exact science; paces and distances will vary and weather will also play a part with heat and wind being major factors.

Yas Marina Circuit

This is a great starting point for anyone new to the sport. The Formula One track on Yas Island, open to everyone on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9PM, is a safe environment with excellent facilities. You can use the Yas track to build up speed and stamina. You will find other beginners at Yas where you can learn a little about group riding before you join the Saturday ride which is done at an average pace of around 32/33 kph over 50 km.
Once you can sustain one hour of cycling at Yas at an average of 30 kph, you should be able to manage the group ride on a Saturday but will still need to work hard; this is good as it builds your fitness levels.

Saturday Ride

The Saturday Ride is split into 2 groups.

Main Group– Average Pace 32-34 kph. Distance 50km

This group is aimed at more experienced riders who can comfortably maintain a pace of over 30kph when travelling together. The group will be led by one of the more experienced cyclists and the pace will be controlled depending on group ability.

Fast Group– Average Pace 36 kph+. Distance 50km+

This group will travel at a much faster pace, requiring more concentration and a higher level of fitness. They will split from the main group after the underpass on Yas. Riders in this group will be expected to be completely at ease cycling in a group, including giving accurate and timely signals, being able to take their turn at the front without changing the pace and being familiar with techniques such as through and off. If you don't possess all of these skills, stay with the main ride to get more experience before attempting to join the fast ride.

Because these are group rides, you will benefit from ‘drafting’ (sheltering) behind the other riders. It is estimated that this saves over 20% of energy when compared to cycling alone. So even though the main Saturday ride is longer than the recommended one hour at 30 kph mentioned in the Yas paragraph, you should be able to do the extra time by working hard and drafting.

We all take turns at the front; there are no hard and fast rules for how far and for how long, you will just develop a feel for what is the right length based on your fitness. If you are new to the group, take your turn, but only stay at the front for a very short time so you don’t get too tired. Eventually, you will find that you can spend longer at the front.

Once you can comfortably complete the main group Saturday Ride, taking regular turns at the front without any problems, you are probably ready for the Friday Ride.

Friday Ride

The Friday Ride is the main ride for Raha Revolution. The pace is higher and the distance is double that of the Saturday Ride (there is a 10 minute break halfway) so you need to be fit to keep up. The first 23km is completed by the whole group at a maximum speed of 34kph. After that, the stronger riders will form a lead group and go off at a much faster pace (around an average of 36kph), while the main group will continue at a maximum speed of 34kph. If you have just progressed from the Saturday Ride, you will find the Friday Ride challenging, but you will be surprised at how quickly you get used to it. Eventually, you will be ready for the lead group, but even then, if you do struggle and fall off the back of the pack, you will know that the main group will come along and pick you up to bring you home.


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