Today my stoker and I did our first group tandem-only ride. The BBC CRABS had a 40-miler out in north Baltimore County this morning. The turnout was light-only six teams, but that may have been because of the weather and the early (9 AM) start time. I was watching the weather radar closely to decide if we were going to go as it had rained all day the day before and was still raining at about 7:30 AM. But, the front was being blown out by a strong breeze out of the northwest - that never let up - and by 8 the rains had stopped so off we went to the ride start. It was a hilly route. I was bemused to see how much ‘stuff’ other teams keep on their bikes - a multitude of small frame bags and/or a rack and trunk bag, whereas we have a small tool-only seat bag.
It was fun riding with other teams! They were so friendly and welcoming. Everyone we passed along the way stopped to look as the group rolled up the road. Two of the teams fell off the pace on the first climb. I figured we would slow and wait, but the ride leader said we would meet them at the rest stop. My stoker and I were working hard on the climbs and would get gapped on the steeper grades. But my plan was not to kill ourselves trying to climb with lighter/fitter teams and instead close it down on the flats, which we did. In fact, on volunteering to relieve the lead team and take a pull at the front on a flat-rolling section, we inadvertently rolled away from the group - oops! I soon noticed that the other teams did not really like to wind it up on the flats or hit the descents very hard, so followed their lead.
One short but really steep section on Vernon Road put a my heart rate close to max but we survived and it was neat to see the other teams standing and climbing together.
All-in-all a great experience which I am sure we will repeat soon!