Group Riding

Group Riding

Many of you will have already planned to ride Saimaa Cycle Tour in a group. This is really recommended because over a long ride like this the group can become a real sanctuary for riders, helping them save valuable energy, offering some shelter from the elements, and giving them the chance to talk with other people.

If you have ridden in a group before, you will also know that a good deal of stress and focus are involved at first. It takes some time and practice to get used to the ebbs and flows of the group, which is a little like a washing machine with riders moving around and around as they change positions or float around potholes and road furniture while always following the wheel directly in front of them. This may sound challenging but it is a skill that anyone can learn, at any time with a little practice.

I recommend that you start practicing with a group as early as possible. Ideally you should ride a lot with the people you are planning to ride the event with. The more you ride together the more normal it is going to feel during the event. Whether you plan to ride in a group or not, it is also likely that you will meet other groups out on the course, and riding together for some kilometers in a larger group will benefit everyone. For this reason it is necessary that you have learned how to safely ride in a group.

To get the skills you need for riding in a group, I suggest reaching out to your local cycling club to ask if they organize group riding. Many cycling clubs will organize weekly group rides starting in early spring, and these rides will roll throughout the summer. Typically these rides start at the same agreed upon time and place each week. You show up there ready to ride, and the club will take care of you from there. These rides always have a number of experienced riders on them who will be able to answer any questions you might have about how the group works, how to ride safely and communicate with other riders. This is one of the most fun and enjoyable ways to get some kilometers in your legs.

Many clubs organize 1 - 2 rides per week. One might be a training ride, which usually has a goal of keeping an average speed of 30+ km/h, or a social ride, which tends to be a lot more relaxed and inclusive. There may also be a long ride on the weekend. You could try to find the kind of ride that suits you best and try to make this a part of your weekly training routine.

If you are finding that the group rides add a little too much fatigue to your training week, then you could try replacing a hard ride with a group ride.

Training Plan

See below for more details about Easy Day and Hard Day routines.


Monday - Easy Day

  • 75-100 min continuous moderate exercise

Tuesday - Hard Day

  • Session 1: 20-30 min strength training
  • Session 2: Your choice 2-3 x 15 min or 3-4 x 10 min (2 min rest between efforts)

Wednesday -  Rest Day

  • Complete rest or make an easy 20-60 min walk

Thursday - Easy Day

  • 90-120 min continuous moderate exercise

Friday - Easy Day

  • 60 min continuous easy exercise.

Saturday - Hard Day

  • Session 1: 20-30 min strength training
  • Session 2: Your choice 2-3 x 15 min or 3-4 x 10 min (2 min rest between efforts)

Sunday - Long Day

  • 150-180 min continuous moderate exercise (See Training sessions chapter below for details)


Monday - Rest Day

  • Complete rest or make an easy 20-60 min walk

Tuesday - Hard Day

  • 60 min - Warm up for 10-15 min then ride hard for 30-40 min, and warm down (RPE 6-7/10 - Not a maximal effort but this will feel difficult and uncomfortable)

    Wednesday - Easy Day

    • Around 90 min continuous moderate exercise

    Thursday - Rest Day

    • Complete rest or make an easy 20-60 min walk

    Friday - Easy Day

    • Around 90 min continuous moderate exercise

    Saturday - Long Day

    • 120-150 min continuous moderate exercise (See Training sessions chapter below for details)

    Sunday - Rest Day

    • Complete rest or make an easy 20-60 min walk

    The Training Sessions

    Easy (marked with green color)

    During these easy sessions try to maintain an average cadence of 90-110 rpm throughout the session. If a session is over 2 hours in duration add between 4-6 max cadence sprints that last between 10-30 seconds during the last hour.

    These rides are calm, they feel easy (2-3 out of 10 RPE) breathing is comfortable and you can speak in full sentences. 60-70% of HRmax and somewhere right in the middle of your zone 2 power.

    Long (marked with green color)

    During these long sessions you should try to maintain an average cadence greater than 90rpm throughout the session. Typical durations for long sessions range between 1-6 hours. It’s important to start a bit easier because as you extend the duration past a certain point fatigue will start to set in and heart rate and perceived exertion (RPE) will gradually rise. With long rides you’re looking to reach that point where the easy ride starts to feel somewhat hard. I don’t recommend using power for this type of training.

    Hard - Interval Training (marked with orange color)

    For this first base phase I’ve given you two options 2-3 X 15 min or 3-4 X 10 min. With 2 min rest between pulls. Keep the cadence between 85-100 rpm during pulls and greater than 90 rpm during the rest periods.

    The way I like to prescribe these efforts is to keep the highest intensity you can maintain for the entire session. I would estimate this to be around 70-80% of HRmax or an effort that feels like 5-6 out of 10. This kind of effort will bring on heavy breathing, only able to respond in short responses but after the effort you should feel okay and that you could make another one. So these are not maximum efforts. This ride could also be replaced with a group ride.

    Hard Days - Strength Training (marked with orange color)

    Core and body conditioning will make you a more robust rider and strength training has been used to increase both short and long duration endurance capacity. If you’re new to strength training give this session a try or use a routine that you're familiar with and enjoy doing.

    Warm Up - Dynamic Stretching 6 exercises 1 set 8 reps

    1. Prisoner Stand Ups
    2. Down Dog with Toe Touch
    3. Cat-Camels
    4. Kneeling thoracic rotations
    5. Down Dog to Runner's Lunge
    6. Glute Raises-Fire Hydrants

    Block A – Strength Training: 3 exercises 1 set 6-10 reps (each side)

    1. Back Leg Elevated Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
    2. Skater Squat (you can hold on to something)
    3. Split Squat

    Block B – Strength Training: 3 exercises 1 set 6-10 reps (each side)

    1. Tall Kneeling Press Up
    2. Single Arm 1.5 Floor Press
    3. Single Arm DB Row Off Floor

    Block C – Core Training 3 exercises 1 set 6-10 reps (each side)

    1. Deadbugs
    2. Forward Off Knee Crawls
    3. Half kneeling Side Plank Hip Lifts
    4. Side Plank Half Kneeling

    All the movements for this strength training session can be found here:

    Keep the legs warm!

    -Jamie Given