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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Finding the sweet spot

    I spent Christmas with the kids in Colorado Springs and the whole time I was there I was cold. I looked forward to getting back to warm Sunny Southern California. I got home and it was still cold, by Southern California standards. Not only that I caught a cold/Flu or something either in Colorado, Flagstaff or on the way home. I haven't let it stop me from riding however even if I am not totally set up for tempatures under 40 degrees. I have assigned myself to riding sweep for our group rides and I have been taking it pretty easy.

    Yesterday it warmed up and bit and I was feeling a lot better but now it is almost expected that I ride sweep. Not a problem but it is like being on the end of a slinky. After we started our ride the A group dropped the hammer on a long straight and I ended up collecting 4 riders that fell off the back and pulled them to a regroup spot 12 miles down the road. The next section had three Strava segments in it and because it involved to large rollers once the segments started it was every man for himslef. As we took off from the regroup spot two riders created a gap and I ended up doing the pull to try and pull then in. I didn't do all that well but they didn't extend the gap and as we started up the first roller the A group pulled around to chase them down. As I looked up the hill I watched some puiing away and some were being tossed off the back again.

    I picked a gear that seemed confortable and instead of trying to close the whole gap on the first segment I just stayed steady and one by one I started to roll buy the drop offs. On the flat section after the first roller one of the drop offs tried to make a run at the next roller. In days past when I was feeling good I would have picked the biggest gear I had and tried to close before he reached the hill but this time I picked one gear down and saved the legs. At the bottom of the hill I was spinning just short of my max rpm and the rider in front of me started to bog down. I past him with hardly any rpm drop and almost made the top of the hill before clicking down one more gear to keep the spin going. Twenty yards later I had crrested and started working towards 50x11. I was able to just make the hard right off of the hill and start the second segment almost flat out. As soon as I noticed any rpm drom I clicked down one and cruised that segment and the next with two personal bests. No it wasn't a KOM and no I wasn't feeling as strong as before Christmas. But I knew what it felt like to be in the Sweet spot so I will know what to look for when the weather gets better and I am at 100 percent.

    It felt good and I just wanted to share By the way all week or rides have started out in the mig 30s. Here is a picture of me with the B group.
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    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Only just started group rides with my local club and I am the one that you would pick up as sweep. I have noticed one thing however and that is my position in the pack as we re-start after a sweep. If I am at the back--I will stay there. No picking up speed and that gap that opens up 6 riders in front of me will get bigger. It's not me that made the gap but I get dragged down by it. When the others have re-gained energy they pull away leaving me at the back. I just cannot pick up speed once I have settled into a rhythm. But If I start 2nd or 3rd in the line I stay up the front. I get dragged along by the strong guys and when I have to put in energy for a short spell- I can do it to retain my position. But that 15 mph-Last ride out along the seafront they were doing 21 mph and I stayed with them but I wished I had been with the back markers. Those 3 miles with a tow still hurt.

    The group I ride with is the 15 miles at 15 mph. May seem low distance and speed but the next group up is 26 miles at 18 mph. Too fast for me and I am not going with the 50+ mile group. They are long distance at 21 mph on the flat but a hilly ride slows them down to 20.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Group rides differ between areas and conditions. Our area has a mix of flats and hills and they are spaced in such a way that we can get in 40 miles with little or no climbing to speak of or 30 to 40 miles with 3 to 4000 feet. I don't do 4000 feet very often because I climb like a snail. But I have noticed that your perception of being in the first 3rd of a pace line is a lot better than the last half is a trueism.

    What I was trying to relate to is the lesson sometimes it is better to finesse your ride than try and muscle your way through. It has been a long time since I felt one with the machine and I think being down on power was one reason I noticed it.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

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