SIG suggestion

24 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

I am sure this is a question every SIG rider goes through.

Should I ride in a slower SIG and be one of the faster riders or should I ride in a faster SIG and be one of the slower riders?

Personal Notes: I did the C-SIG last year. Trying to decide between the B or the A. The SIG will be the start of a preperation for a 7day ride in June.

Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)

There is a big difference in the goals of the A and B SIGS. What do you want to achieve this year? Pacelining? Improvement in strength and stamina?

It also depends on how much time you've put in riding since the last SIG. Have your abilities progressed? Your fitness? When you were in the C SIG, were you among the better riders, or average?

In general, I would recommend riding with people whose abilities are slightly higher than your own. Riding with such people will make you work and improve. Also, many people undercut their abilities and potential, and don't think they can attain a certain level of riding (or whatever it is). You won't know until you try it.

Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)

I think all the SIG groups work on improving your strength and stamina. The faster ones touch upon pacelining in a substantial way. A bigger question would be how much time can you put in to train during the week after it has started.

A classics- min 2x 2hrs/ wk (everyweek) of hard workouts
(you could start racing if you finish)
A-19 – less speed, duration and intensity
B-18 – you might get by training once a week if you’re strong, but it’ll be easier at any level(A B or C) if you train 2x a week.

>Should I ride in a slower SIG and be one of the faster riders or should I ride in a faster SIG and be one of the slower riders?

That is a question for you to answer. How ambitious are you?

>Trying to decide between the B or the A.

Like Fendergal mentioned, The trick is to find the fastest group you can comfortably keep up with, then you’ll have a much more enjoyable spring. But don’t be so certain that you’ll be one of the faster riders with the B’s. Last year 3 or 4 A19’s moved down to the B18 during the middle of the SIGs. All but one was dropped on their first ride.

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)

I would love to be able to follow Lance up the climbs:) I just got the 2000 Tour de France. It is incredible the way he dropped Pantani and Zulle on Stage 10. I got dropped riding my bike on my trainer trying to follow him.

Ideally I would like to ride with the A-classic on the climbs and the B16 on the flats. I hate the miles, but love the climbs.

From Yogi's post I could always drop down to the B's. Can you move up to the A's. I guess the thing to do is try to ride with the A-19s and if I keep getting dropped to switch down.

Time would definately be an issue, but a commitment is a commitment.

Anonymous's picture
Classic sufferer (not verified)
A-classic climbs

On the flats you can tuck in behind a stronger/faster rider and survive. On the climbs, that isn't really true.

You might want to suffer some A-Classic climbs before you deem them fun...

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
To re word my post

I should have said that I prefer to suffer on the climbs than suffer on the flats.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Do a self-test in the Park

This is only one criteria you should use bfore deciding which group suits you, but you should go out and do a self-test in Central Park of four continuous loops none stop (24 miles). Do a slow warm-up lap first. Do not treat the self-test as a time-trial. Ride at a pace you can sustain for the four laps.

You should try and do it when the park is closed to motor traffic.
The best time is between 10AM and 3PM on weekdays, as you will encounter few pedestrians, roller bladers, children, dogs etc, as opposed to the weekends when you will encounter all of the above.

Time yourself. If you complete it in between 1 hour 30 mins and 1 hour 20 mins, that would put you in the 17 to 18 mph cruising speed range, which is just below the A19. With good training and using the SIGs, you should be able to keep up as the groups spend the first few weeks below the advertised speed and gradually build on speed and endurance. You may actually find you can keep up with the Classics, especially if you are a strong climber.

Check page 10 of the January bulletin and also look at the website. It gives a guide of timings and cruising speeds, based on your time on the Central Park self-test.

This is a good test, because it is a solo effort. When you are in a rotating paceline, you save around 30% of your effort compared with riding solo.

But, as other posters have advised, you should also decide on what you want to achieve this year. I know people who have gone from doing C SIGS one year to A Classics the next, but it is a big jump and requires a lot more in the way of bike-handling skills and disciplines, as well as strength, fitness and endurance.

I would also suggest that you go on a 'meet the leaders' of the A19 SIG informal ride on Saturday 19th February at 10AM from the Boathouse in Central Park. It will only be 30 or so moderately-paced miles and you can ask the leaders all your questions.

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
Thank You

Thank you for all your suggestions.

I would do the self test in the park, except for two things. One, I am terrified to ride at speed in Central Park. If I can avoid the park, I do. Second, there are signs up saying that park drive will be closed for the next week. I am guessing it is for the Christo exhibit. Lame excuse, but it helps justify the first line of reasoning.

I am going to try to do the meet the leaders ride on the 19th. I did not see it posted in the monthly ride listing.

Anonymous's picture
bike man (not verified)
Do you know?

"The A sigs tend to leave the park at speed, about 24 inches apart.
If you are terrified to ride at ""a comfortable, sustainable pace"" alone in the park to time yourself, you will probably have issues following a foot behind a dozen people well above speed at times."

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
Riding in groups

All of the rides that I have been on, leaving the park, have not passed the Tavern on the Green section of the park. The lower section of the park is what bothers me.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)

All the A SIG rides I've ever done never left the park at speed.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
That's why during a weekday is best

I understand your fear of riding at speed in the park, because of the unpredictability of pedestrians, children, roller bladers, other cyclists, motorr traffic, squirrels, etc. That's why I suggested doing it during a weekday when the park is shut to traffic and the kids are at school.

Point taken about the closures next week for the installation of the Gates. I hadn't realised there were going to be closures until then. I checked to see whether the closures include bikes, but they do not, just motor traffic. However, if the expected crowds turn out, it will be impossible to ride around the park.

The lower section south of 72nd Street is definitely the worst. Whenever I do laps when the park is shut to motor traffic, I still use that section to ease off for a few moments of recovery before opening out once past E72nd Street.

If you work anywhere near the park and can afford to take a long lunch break, I would still recommend you try and find the time this week, before the closures, to do a self-test during the day when it is shut to traffic.

The 'Meet the Leaders' ride is mentioned in the blurb about tha A19 Sigs on page 10 of the February bulletin. It got to me too late to include it in the monthly listings.

Anonymous's picture
Sonny (not verified)
Weekday Morning

If you can ride before work, between 7 and 8, the park is good. There are cars but the only pedestrians are people with dogs or joggers. Next week, when the park is closed to cars, early in the morning will be great before the tourists and other pedestrians get out to see the exhibit.

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
Ride still happening

Is the A-sig, meet the leaders ride, still meeting at the boathouse tomorrow?

Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)
Point B to Point A

I think most people are fine with participants moving between groups early on in the program. I think we had at least one strong rider go from B to A19 (then racing?) last year. Would you rather skip a grade (move up), or have people think that you got left back because you couldn’t hang.

For whatever reasons(?), some people are perfectly happy riding with the wrong (speed) group all spring.–go figure. You really can’t lose with any of these groups. If it doesn’t work out you can always get your money back.

My guess from reading your posts– The C’s were a little too slow for you last year. When you got to the hills, you kind of dusted everybody. Things might be a little different if you’re sucking wind on the flats, your climbing legs might not be there when you get to the hills.

Anonymous's picture
John Miller (not verified)
training approaches

"what's the value of placing the SIG's in the context of contemporary training theories that emphasize ""train slow to go fast?""

i ask because i would like to race this year, but not having an indoor option this winter, the SIG would represent the first step to training to race in my season.

would it make any sense to choose a less intense SIG -- say B18 instead of A19 -- and use the Saturday ride as long endurance rides, while saving intervals for the shorter, midweek rides?

i ask in the context of a beginning racer, with only a year and a half of road cycling under my belt, hoping to finish a cat 5 race of appreciable distance (say, Kissena series in Prospect Park) in the main pack, with the distant hope that i could do something interesting at the end.

thanks for all the conversation above. this would be my first SIG.

john m."

Anonymous's picture
hogwichguy (not verified)
A19 or A classic SIG

"since you plan to race either during the SIG or immediately after, i'm not sure if i see the point in doing the B SIG. yeah, doing long slow recovery rides are wonderful, especially after a day of intensity (a race), but i think it'll be really hard for you to go easy on the SIG ride unless you really worked hard the day before. that means killer intervals or hill repeats on friday night after work. then it makes sense.

otherwise, what'll happen is that you'll do your intervals wednesday or thursday, rest on friday, then you'll come out on saturday saying to yourself, ""okay. i'm going to take it easy and not go too hard."" then, you'll end up going hard anyway because you'll be rested and getting stronger every week. then you'll be dusting your B SIG friends, who will then hate you and wonder what the hell you're doing.

i think you might also benefit from the skills training of either of the two A SIG's.

you plan on racing: do the A SIG. if you ride smart and are constantly drafting someone(take very short pulls, you won't get in trouble!), the A SIG's won't be too hard. it'll be moderate tempo training at its' hardest.



Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)
Off to the races

">""train slow to go fast?""
Sounds like a ""Eat more to lose weigh"" type of diet. All kidding aside, if you’re serious about racing. You should train for the type of races you like to do. Most of the PP and CP races are less than 40 miles, it doesn’t make sense to go 80-110 miles hard. You would just get wasted. Join CRCA or look on their site to get more general/ training info.

If you’re not sure about racing, the SIGs are a great way to see if you like to ride at speed sitting on someone’s wheel, testing you stamina and your nerves with like-minded people.

If you’re up to snuff for the AC, you’ll finish near the front of the CAT5’s
If you ride with A19 or B18 all spring and try racing afterwards, it’s going to hurt and you’ll probably get dropped a bunch of times in the beginning.

Fast women cyclists will kick butt in the entry-level races if they finish strong w/ the AC.

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)
Eat more to lose weight

"""Eat more to lose weight"" is not so dumb, IMHO. I've actually done this (based on ""The South Beach Diet"") and lost 30+ pounds (& have kept them off for 6+ months.) The key is to ""fill up"" on fruits, veggies, grains & lean proteins & reduce dependency on nutrient-poor but sugar-rich & sat-fat/trans-fat laden junk."

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
Healthy diet

"That actually just sounds like a healthy diet, Isaac, especially if you take some emphasis off this ""lean protein"" part (sounds suspiciously like animal protein to me). I've eaten like that for as long as I can remember. This, however, has nothing to do with the Sigs. But I concur with the person who said they never saw an A Sig leave the park fast and sucking the wheel in front!"

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

"Mostly bean products, with a little ""dead animal"" thrown in. That'll be you standing between the (not lean at all) shepherd's pie and me at the next club meeting, right?"

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
I like shepherd's pie!!

Is the club's version good? Also, nothing wrong with carbs like bread, potatoes, brown rice, even pasta. Esp. if you're riding your bike!! They've become much maligned. Hence, big advertising binge being launched by the bread industry.

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

"Yum! It's the only one I've ever had & I like it. Try it at Annie Moore's on Tuesday.

Agatston (doc behind ""South Beach"") backed off from several of his original ""don'ts"" after the book came out (updates here: ) but the point he tried to make in the book was there's ""bread"" (grainy, nutrient rich) and there's ""bread"" (all the good stuff refined out, some vitamins waved over it, stuffed in poly-bag.) And correct, when cycling, you need the energy."

Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)

30 pounds! That’s huge (we’re talking Oprah territory). Congratulations.

What does it feel like to ride around after shedding the weight of a small child? No wonder you’re feeling cold, you lost quite a bit of insulation since last winter.

Congrats again and Good luck. Maybe you should start the weight loss SIGs.

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

...or of a cheap mountain bike.


How does it feel? I climb like a billygoat! (the B-SIG helped)


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