I'm hoping to go for the CATriple Crown in 2008. About time I get back into shape! I wonder though, is it a good thing to go with a partner or just show up and ride? Just about every century I've done, maybe 30, has been solo with the exception of maybe 3. I completed them without drafting anyone. To be honest, I think I wouldn't have a problem doing a double while riding alone either.
BUT!!!! It seems that everytime I ride an organized ride, some wheel sucker jumps my wheel. Now I know it shouldn't phase me but it is really irritating when I catch up and pass a rider on my own. He jumps my wheel for a few miles, then decides taht he is stronger and sprints around me. Not only does he sprint around, but he looks back as if I can't catch him. Of course if a stronger rider catches you once, he'll catch you again. And we all know that when you do, the same sucker is going to jump back on your wheel.
Not only does this happen on organized rides, but also on my usual weekend rides. No problem when I invite others or run into friends on the trail. I know that I am a stronger rider than my friends and wife (Gina) so I expect to pull into the wind or even the whole 40 miles of our usual ride. These people don't bother me at all.
Prime example of irritating wheel suckers. Last weekend, I went riding alone. Wearing my raggedy old cotton t-shirt torn the armpits. Big Dog t-shirt to be exact! Ijump on the trail at the same spot as a couple of other fancy dressed riders in fullkits. I ride by and say hello. Do they bother to say hi? No! They look me up and down like I'm a homeless guy. I stop at the porto-o-potty about 50 yards away. They go by while I'm in the POP. I begin my ride and notice I'm catching them at a leisurely warm up pace. Soon I am within 20 yards. They look back and begin working together to stay away. They do gain some ground but I'm not even trying to compete. They slow as they can't keep the pace, again I catch up. I ride by and say hello, they just once again look me up and down. But sure enough, they are more than happy to take my wheel. I feel if they can't be friendly, I have no desire to help them fight the wind. So I slow and wave them by. They look at me as they pass and sure enough they team up once again to pick up the pace. At this point, I think to myself this is going to be fun. I catch them once again and once again, they are on my wheel. At this point, I just picked up the pace to torture them a bit. Sure enough they drop on the small inclines of the underpass. I open a small gap so that the wind is causing resistance for them. I look a back and see them teamed up trying to catch up while standing and doing whatever they can to catch up. I open more ground but I sit up and let them think they are doing well. When they think they are catching up, I put it on again and drop them far behind. Later it is too much for them so they are out of sight.
At my usual stop, one guy rides up and asked why I had a problem letting them draft my wheel. I told him,"you didn't return my greeting, you're not my firiend, so why should I help you?".
A couple of weeks ago, another guy did the same. I caught him, he drafted about 5 miles, then sprinted around me. I caught him again, drafted me again,then sprinted around again. Not only with the sprint, buit also the look back at me like 'you can't catch me' look! I didn't sprint, just maintained my pace and sure enough I caught him again. This time he took my wheel I said,"please don't draft me". he asked why and I explained that it was irritating when riders draft tme then sprint around in an attempt to drop me. He said he didn't mean to drop me. I said, "well that's fine but don't draft me again". He said ok and dropped back.
On one ride, I caught up to a line of maybe 15 riders. They jumped my wheel. I pulled for nearly 10 miles. I attempted to move to the side for some help. Everybody slowed down avoiding a pull, so I continued. About 1 mile before the 65 mile rest stop,one guy did move to the front and said," I guess I should help at least a little bit. He waited long enough but I was totally surprised anyways. That one mile to the rest stop helped big time.
For the record, I don't have a problem with a guy that catches me and sucks my wheel for a bit to recover. I don't mind helping these guys. They were going to pass me either way. No way am I going to try to take his wheel either. I'm glad to help him but I'm keeping my pace.
So now as far as double centuries, do they have the same mentality as most other riders? I hear stories about double centuries and large pacelines. What I don't hear in the stories is "I moved up to the front to do my share and help the group". Honestly, I don't have a problem with doing the double on my own or solo. If I can get into a group where all the riders make an effort, that would be great. Is it that way on doubles?
I wonder if I should go with a riding partner. Only problem is finding one that will help me out in return. Honestly, I have ridden with only one guy that was a good partner. We did a few centuries together. After I had pulled for quite sometime, he'd come up to the front, get right in front of me and continue the pace without sprinting or lifting the pace. This was sweet cause I had a chance to recover for the next pull. Plus his turn was matched closely to mine in distance. Most riders get in front and pick up the pace 2 or 3 mph after you have pulled 5 miles. I spend most my time trying to close the gap they have created. When I finally do close the gap, they drop off and say your turn afer a 1/4 mile pull. I haven't seen the guy in quite sometime or I'd invite him to ride the doubles with me.
I've ridden with 40 or 50 other riders. Only 2 or 3 out of the bunch will go to the front without intentions of dropping me. And that's after I held a nice steady pace for them.
So what will I expect to find on a double century? Do riders work together? Should I just go at it alone? I won't team up with any rider that has intentions of dropping me, or any that has intentions of drafting me for 200 miles. If I help, I will expect help in return, otherwise, get off my wheel!