Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Find semi-scientific answers to your most pressing questions, each month in Triathlete magazine.
Q: My friends dropped me on a group ride and I was all alone and pretty much lost until they looped back to find me 20 minutes later. It made me mad and upset. Is it normal for people to drop others on a ride?
Depends. If you’re on a ride designated as “no drop,” then yes and you must’ve done something fabulously egregious to make everyone take off. (Did you show up with a boombox straddling your handlebars, blaring Nickelback?) Otherwise, some rides have segments, like from a certain water fountain to the top of a climb, where everyone who’s done that ride before knows it’s time to hammer. The good news is anyone laying it out there is probably using Strava to track their suffering. That means you can stalk them. But it’s going to take a little finesse.
Strava Beacon lets athletes push their real-time location to three “safety contacts.” So sometime during the pre-ride chitchat, you’ve got to make at least one other rider love you like they love their mother and spouse. I’m sure you’re charming enough to pull it off. But just in case, here’s option No. 2: Scout the crowd when you’re stopped together to see if anyone has a Garmin Edge 510 or higher, Forerunner or Fenix. Garmin’s LiveTrack app lets athletes using certain Garmin devices push their location to whomever they want, so you don’t have to be part of their inner sanctum to get on the list. The Glympse app does the same thing.
A few other not-so-techy options: Email the ride organizer a day or more before you roll out and ask for a link to the route. Should you find yourself pedaling solo again, at least you won’t get lost. You can also ask if the group has any no-drop rides so you’ll never again feel the wretched dejection of watching everyone pull away on unfamiliar streets.