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Old 04-09-06, 06:34 PM   #1
Raketmensch
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First club ride of my life...

...was this morning. I learned a number of things:

I can ride with these guys. I really wasn't sure going in, and a first look at the group wasn't encouraging. Everyone looked very fit, and everyone had bikes that looked like they'd seen a lot more road miles than mine. I was not among rookie riders. But I stayed with the pace and took my share of pulls, and when people started dropping off the back I wasn't one of them. It was a good workout, though!

There are many intricacies of group riding that I need to learn. I picked up some basics today, like how to ride a paceline and a few hand signals. I still have a lot to learn, though.

Riding in a paceline is a blast! It's amazing how much faster you can go for a given amount of effort when you've got a group of riders working together.

When going out for a club ride, don't believe the published plan for the ride! Once the group had fragmented a bit, the guys I was with decided it'd be fun to add another fifteen or twenty miles to the day. And there I was with one water bottle and no food. It went okay, but by the end I was probably about five miles away from a bigtime hunger bonk. I ate a gigantic plate of spaghetti when I got home! Next time the pockets get loaded with goodies even if the schedule says we're riding around the block.

And, above all, the whole thing was a ton of fun. So now there are the Tuesday night rides, the Thursday night time trials... this could get interesting.
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Old 04-09-06, 06:45 PM   #2
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Way to go! Just keep your wits on those pacelines. I've seen a few ugly wrecks.
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Old 04-09-06, 07:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Blackberry
Way to go! Just keep your wits on those pacelines. I've seen a few ugly wrecks.
+1. Be careful. The guy in the back gets the worse of it, and the guy in front probably won't even know what happened. Ask my wife, she got tangled in my rear wheel last summer (at about 20 M/H on very rough pavement) and suffered a really bad case of road rash-really bad! Another suggestion; good recovery food is a PB&J sandwitch (or 2 or 3) with a large glass or two of energy drink, eg. Gatoraid. It turns out PB&J has a good balance of protene, fat and carbs (from the jelly). Potatos are good, too. The energy drink will help with rehydration and electrolyte replacement.

Aren't pace lines fun, however? With our tandem, we find ourselves often pulling, as long as we aren't going uphill. That way my wife remains safely close to "my" rear wheel without crashing... OHB
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Old 04-09-06, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raketmensch
...was this morning. I learned a number of things:
When going out for a club ride, don't believe the published plan for the ride! .

My favorite is "Just going out for an easy recovery spin"........and people are ballistic in the big ring before they're out of the parking lot. It is nice feeling....like being part of one organism--some weird amoeba that elongates and scrunches up and sometimes divides. Glad you had a good experience... Old Hammer Boy is right about not daydreaming-- some guy ahead swerves to avoid something and $^&@#-- stay alert. I like PBJ-- or a fruit salad or Endurox as soon as possible after a hard ride.
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Old 04-10-06, 06:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Raketmensch
...
There are many intricacies of group riding that I need to learn.
The hardest one for me (i.e., I made a big mistake!) was learning how to clear the nasal passages without people wanting to kill you.

Glad it was a good experience for you.

Last summer I had the chance to ride (only about 12 miles) with one of the pro teams on a training ride for the US pro cycling championship in Philadelphia. I found myself in a pace line that was doing 27 MPH and I was dying... those guys, however, were just chatting away like it was nothing. I got dropped on the first climb.
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Old 04-10-06, 08:34 AM   #6
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We did the same thing on Sunday. After riding for 8 months, my buddy and I decided we needed to do something different. There are a number of clubs around here so we picked one of the closer bigger ones. They have different categories and since this was our first ride we selected experienced 16-18mph with a 35mi ride. The ride was fun but the avg ended up being close to 16mph (we generally average closer to 18.5 for this distance) and there were a few that had difficulty doing the 35 miles. Next week we move up to advanced and see how that goes. Riding in the pack at 20mph with almost no effort and being able to have enough people to hold a whole car lane is great fun.
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Old 04-10-06, 07:29 PM   #7
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What OHB said. The best advice I ever got was to avoid your front wheel crossing or overtaking the wheel ahead of you. The person ahead of you swerves or moves over without warning and contact is made with frame, skewers, etc. The person in front rarely goes down but the person in the rear usually hits hard and bounces off the pavement.

To slow down- sit up, use an easier gear, spin slower and brake when needed. Our Tuesday/Thursday night group rides have just started back and are a lot of fun......jump on the front..get tired.....fall to the back...recuperate....repeat process.

Some of my best friends are now my cycling buds....
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Old 04-10-06, 10:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jppe
The best advice I ever got was to avoid your front wheel crossing or overtaking the wheel ahead of you.
Yeah, roger that. Next ride is tomorrow night, and that's definitely advice I can use.
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To slow down- sit up, use an easier gear, spin slower and brake when needed.
Yep. Just a quick sit-up usually does it... I try to stay off the brake to avoid the accordion effect for whoever's behind me. But whatever it takes.

I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this. I was sitting in my office this morning, trying to get work done, and all I could think about was hammering along in a paceline. I can't wait for tomorrow night...
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