New England group rides are usually super self-contained, which isn't my all time favorite thing. I think this gets back to the insulator culture up here. I like riding with different guys when I can especially when they are stronger than me. It keeps me honest and makes me better.
Pro's race so much they don't get into the rut of repeatedly rolling familiar miles with the same people. While this is fun, too much of it will level them off. Pro's travel and race different stuff every week and they do it for many months in a row. This makes them faster than the rest of us. It's pretty simple.
This is one reason I'm heading south next week and looking forward to doing the rides down there. One of these is the Goon Ride and it is pretty cool. It goes through Washington DC's Rock Creek Park. It's roots point back to a bunch of DC couriers that started taking bike racing seriously after doing the Courier World Championships. Greg LeMond also won one of his junior World Championships on these same roads.
Haines Point is basically a crit on Tues & Thur at lunchtime for the DC racers working in the city.
Haines is on the Potomac River so it's flat, wide open and a great place for speed work. In another month the whole park will be accented with incredibly beautiful cherry blossoms that can be problematic for asthmatic riders. The Statue is also the turnaround point for DC's Cherry Blossom 10k Run Race.
There is also great riding on the Skyline Drive on the Shenandoah's Blue Ridge Parkway. This road is ideal for steady state riding. The road is as smooth as glass and there are many strong guys training there this time of year. The place also has great air and good views. It's just short drive from DC so I hope to get out there as well.