My first experience of group riding was in New York. I lived in Manhattan (St. Mark's Place in the East Village) and periodically joined the Saturday ride that headed north to Nyack, NY with a pit stop at the Runcible Spoon Bakery. I think it took us maybe 1.5-2 hours each way. When we would almost reach the bakery, there was always a group sprint to the New Jersey state line. Even though i never won the sprint against the guys, I really enjoyed getting keyed up for the jump.
And when i lived in California, group rides there also had pre-set sprint spots (such as the funny-looking mailbox or the top of a climb) to give the ride a little flair.
But in Belgium I haven't found any rides that incorporate that little bit of mid-ride competition. In an effort to re-live those mini-sprint thrills, Jonas and I made an effort to sprint each other at every "finish line" that crosses the road during our ride.
Within the first five minutes, the score was 4-1 in my favor. Within ten minutes, it was 5-4 with Jonas taking the lead. And within twenty minutes, we were both dead! Before making plans to have this little sprinting game, I should have taken into consideration where I am. In just about every little tiny town here in Belgium (aka the country made of little towns) there are at least 2-3 permanent start/finish lines that are used for yearly road races.
Even so, we kept at it for another 2 1/2 hours. It's funny how creative people can become when they are tired and losing the "race" - or desperate to win! We became sprint-line hoes, sprinting for any random line that could fall under the category of a line. If it was white and spanned most or all of the road, then it counted. If one of us started sprinting, the other would sprint too whether or not a sprint line was spotted. At one point, I scored six lines in a row (three sets of two) in a distance of only 200 meters. I won the first two because Jonas wasn't quick enough to figure out that they could be considered sprint lines. The next two were won because he mis-shifted and the last I got by holding onto his jersey as he sped towards the lines and flung myself - track-racing style - to cross them first!
After a few more sprints, we decided not to keep track of the score any longer (I won - 27 to 24.)