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Old 07-05-08, 03:40 PM   #1
RoMad
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My first real pace line ride

I do almost all of my riding either by myself or with my wife. A few times I have met up with friends from work and once they gave me some pace line training. My friends have been asking me when I am going to show up for the Saturday morning ride from the local shop with them. I told them last week that I only rode 40 miles in June due to me putting a new roof on my house every mornig I was off work and most evenings when it wasn't raining, so it would be a while before I was back in shape. Well, this morning I drove down to the trail and was planning a nice easy 40 miles. At mile 4 I was passing the bike shop and there was one of my friends waiting on the other riders to show up. I stopped and said hi and they invited me along. The next thing I know we were stopping for a drink 21 miles later. It was really different from my normal riding. We Averaged 18.8 on the first half and rode almost all of it on roads instead of the Rail Trail. You really can't do much sightseeing as you need to pay a lot of attention to what is going on, but it was fun to be with a good group and they were very patient and helpful to me. On the way back they slowed down a little until about 2 miles from the shop and then they took off pretty good. I held on for a while but they dropped me. When they got back on the Rail Trail they waited on me to catch up. By the time I got back to my truck I had ridden 50 miles, a good ride and a fun experience. I think I will do it again every now and then, but I won't give up my solo riding.
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Old 07-05-08, 04:09 PM   #2
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Nothing like group dynamics to get us to stretch! Great story.

Yesterday while on the MUP in Sausalito, we rode next to a young man who was running. He started running faster and faster to keep up with us. He kept up with us for a couple minutes, even though we gradually increased our speed. My husband read the speed to him as he started slowing down. The runner had a big smile on his face. Fun!
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Old 07-05-08, 05:39 PM   #3
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I don't do pacelines with people I don't know and trust. I've had people do some nutty things and cause me to crash. However, there is nothing like a good paceline to get you moving and it is some of the best fun there is to be had. It is a very different experience from riding solo, as you know now. Both are good.

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Old 07-05-08, 10:49 PM   #4
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Here's my pace line story.

I had just started road riding. My sister arranged for me to ride with some friends of hers. When I met them at the start of the ride, they asked if I had ridden in a pace line.

"No", I said.

"Just stay in back, we will pull you". There were two singles, a tandem and me.

A few miles into the ride, the guy in fronts says, "Rock Up!"

I had no idea what that meant. Possibly, "we're going to pick up speed" or " get closer together". When nothing bad happened, I figured what ever I did, I did the right thing.

A little later, the leader shouted, "Truck up!".

OK. Clearly, that means speed up or something. Again. I apparently did the right thing.

Finally, the leader shouted, "Bus Up!" I looked ahead and saw a school bus making a U-turn in front of us.

Oh. I get it now.
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Old 07-06-08, 12:42 AM   #5
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Like Romad- I ride on my own but on a 40 miler I did back in April- I got tangled up with a group of 6 Roadies. They were aged about 30 to 40 and on the latest good range bikes. Once I got in the middle of them-I told them I was just in for the ride as they were working a pace line. They said it was fine and I sat at the rear.

There we are and I am at the back being towed along. No wonder these pace lines are used. Then one of the older ones dropped behind me and stayed there. Gradually I got worked to the front and I found the nearer the front- the harder you work. There I am 2nd in line and working hard. Got to the front and I pulled off almost immediately. That was hard. Worked back in the line and found that 3 of the others were just sitting there. Kept in the line for about 12 miles till the first checkpoint and the roadies stopped for a break. I kept riding on my own. Aboout 30 miles in and the 3 fit ones caught me up and invited me to join in the line. Sat with them for about 5 miles but they were too fit for me.

Got to the end of the ride and I thanked the Fit riders for putting up with me getting a tow from them. Turned out that they were on a training ride and nothing to do with the organised ride. They had done 85 miles that morning and were now waiting for the rest to catch up and then they would do 15 miles home to finish the ride.

I'll ride on my own in future- That pace line may have increased my speed while I was with them- but riding with fit youngsters is Stupid. I felt so worn out- I nearly went home without having breakfast at the cafe.
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Old 07-06-08, 06:04 AM   #6
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I normally ride solo. The metric century club ride I did on the 4th was rare for me. The group I started with said they were going to keep the pace to about 18mph. I figured in a group, I might be able to keep up with that. What they forgot to mention was that 18mph was their uphill pace.

I kept up for a while, but then dropped back and they took off. Along the way, a few from behind me and ahead of me got together and a natural group began to form. We rode together for the rest of the ride and picked up a couple more late in the ride.

Most of my solo rides are around 50 miles. I think I've done one other metric century. But I was surprised to find that I felt good coming in at the end of the metric and except for other obligations, could have been tempted to go for 100 miles.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the ride. I didn't know any of the riders before we grouped up during the ride. I have little pace line experience and hope I'll be welcome to join them again.
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Old 07-06-08, 06:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by soma5 View Post
I don't do pacelines with people I don't know and trust. I've had people do some nutty things and cause me to crash. However, there is nothing like a good paceline to get you moving and it is some of the best fun there is to be had. It is a very different experience from riding solo, as you know now. Both are good.
That's me too. I used to do a lot more pace line rides but I really don't have the attention span any more to enjoy them for a very long period of time and I've gotten real picky about who I'll pace line with.
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Old 07-06-08, 07:04 AM   #8
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My morning training rides are usually done with two other guys. Typically one or two of us are feeling spry and will be the pace setter for the ride pulling the other(s) along. This is a 15 mile ride with two good hills - when we hit the hills we go all out and see who gets to the top first (It's always the skinny guy - not me). We do a short pace line but mostly it's 2 and 1 so we can yak. About once a mont I'll do a club ride - thats a real pace line. I make sure I don't hug the wheel in front of me - leaving a 1/3 to half a bike length between us - not good pace line form but you never know what's going to happen - I am always watching where my bail out will be if the leaders stop short - trying to keep my left side clear. I also have a death grip on the bars with my fingers ready on the breaks, I find it hard to let go and point to the upcoming obsticals which is pace line edicate. When I am in the lead I usually am in the drops and can't really point out much stuff. If it's a fast group than I am also usually breathing hard and focusing on the road and my effort and can't even yell out much. I guess I am a poor paceline rider but what te heck. It's amazing though what you can do in a pace line, back in late April I rode a fast pace line - we came to a rest stop after mile 20, my odometer was not working so I asked a guy what the average was - he said 22MPH - and that was rolling hills! I could never have done that on my own - especially that early in the season.

Pace lines do make me nervous but they are great training tools - in a good pace line your effort is constant except when you are in the lead. When I get in the lead I try to keep the line moving at what ever pace was set previously - not to fast, not to slow. Pace lines can also ruin a long ride - if you are struggling to keep up and still drafting you shouldn't be in that pace line, you will not be able to pull when it's your turn, you will get dropped at the first hill and you won't be able to sustain the effort for long. You will get frustrated. Thats not to say you should not push beyond your comfort zone, but what I am really saying is don't feel bad if they take off after awhile and leave you on your own. They may wait for you to catch up at some point but you will get much less of a break than they did and you are even further in the fatigue hole.

I finished a rolling hill Metric with close to a 19mph average in a pace line last year, I did my fair share of pulling - the weather conditions for me were perfect and I had reached my fitness peak - that was a great ride. I am shooting for that next Sunday when I do an organized metric but I suspect this group will be too fast for me to stay with them.

In general though pace lines are fun - but more casual riding with friends is better - where you may do some drafting and pulling but you really aren't working as a machine - you are enjoying the ride together and helping each other along the way.

Good luck with it!
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Old 07-06-08, 08:53 AM   #9
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That sounds like a thrilling challenge, when I can keep up that pace... which won't be for a while.

Though I tend to speed up and challenge myself while riding solo or with Hubby, and I enjoy the thrill of speed, I usually prefer a more relaxing ride that I can sustain for more miles rather than a fast one at the end of which I feel like I'm getting off a roller coaster ride.
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Old 07-06-08, 09:52 AM   #10
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The best paceline rides are when you find a few riders who will ride together at a steady level of effort which is not too fast or too slow for you to maintain comfortably. That might be a 20mph pace or it might be a 14mph pace. Whatever works for you at the time.

Usually I only ride in pacelines with people I know and who know me. But occasionally on large rides, I will fall in line with a group of riders who are going my pace and who are riding steadily and predictably. If it goes well, I'll hang in there for a while. If it looks squirrelly, I'll drop off or drop them.

What you don't want is a paceline that is constantly accelerating and decelerating and acting like an accordion. You don't want people who can't hold a line and who hit their brakes unnecessarily. You also don't want to be one of those people.
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Old 07-06-08, 10:19 AM   #11
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I think one of the things that helped me with the pace line was what I have learned by reading about them. There was a very good article about it in Bicycle Magazine a while back (see, its not all bad) that told you how to listen to the wind and you can tell which side it is coming from so you ride just a little off center of the person you are following, how to watch a few riders up so you can see changes coming a little sooner, how to try to keep your distance from the bike in front of you consistant so you don't make the person behind you yo-yo. It was also very important to go with the correct group. The Saturday morning ride group welcomes new riders and doesn't mind coaching them along. There are a couple otther local rides that I would not even consider going on as it would be an unpleasant experience for me and them both.
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Old 07-06-08, 10:38 AM   #12
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Nice story, thanks for sharing. I really like the paceline. The effort, the pride of being one of the "fast" bikes in the group I ride with and the exhilaration of taking a turn leading a group of experienced, solid cyclists. IMHO, an 18.8 MPH is a fast ride, almost an "A" group ride. Sounds like you keep fast company. I know I could not have kept up with that effort but it would be a blast to try.
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Old 07-07-08, 01:40 PM   #13
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It's taken me 2 years to get used to pace line riding. It really requires some concentration and communication. One sloppy rider can ruin the ride. Last week we pulled one of our guys 15 miles at 22 MPH that he would not have maintained on his own. Yesterday, four of us caught a slight downhill and got the line up to 30 MPH for around 3 miles. Once the rotation starts to work well, you can take advantage of the whole share the load concept and begin to move.

I guess the only complaint I have is that 3 mile run doesn't last as long now that we are getting fit and faster.

We are not A riders by any means either, just a bunch of old guys getting better organized.
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Old 07-11-08, 07:24 PM   #14
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Yesterday, four of us caught a slight downhill and got the line up to 30 MPH for around 3 miles. Once the rotation starts to work well, you can take advantage of the whole share the load concept and begin to move. I guess the only complaint I have is that 3 mile run doesn't last as long now that we are getting fit and faster. We are not A riders by any means either, just a bunch of old guys getting better organized.
That is fast for 50+ age guys no matter how you slice it.
You must all be pretty buff or at least have a couple riders who can really drop the hammer and generate speed.
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