Saturday, October 22, 2005
'Tween the Waters
This ride offers beautiful views, flat to slightly rolling terrain and and a long history of well marked roads and good support. The start/finish rotates each year, this year it would be in Nassawadox. I was happy to see a good group did brave the threat of bad weather to show up for the ride.
Now in my short apprenticeship as a group road rider I've learned a few things:
- The toughest position to hold in a paceline line is directly in front of a stronger ride. You pull hard, then roll off. The stronger rider has been very comfortably relaxing in your draft and because they ARE a stronger rider, the pace instantly increases as you try to slide back and grab last wheel. If you're not careful you miss that last wheel and fall OTB, hopelessly watching the paceline rocket away like you were dragging an anchor.
- The next toughest position to be in is BEHIND a stronger rider. You try to tuck in close to get a good draft as they pull, but because they ARE a stronger rider with a faster pace, you aren't quite as comfortable, then your pull begins and you feel like you should try to hold the same pace they were, which of course is futile and leads to desperate gasps for air, blurred vision and weak knees.
- Today I'd find that combining these two is the recipe for sure self destruction!
We rolled out in twos at a nice conversational pace, but it wasn't long before the speed increased enough to stop the talk. It was a pleasure talking to Harlan and I comfortably tucked in as he began his first long pull. My first pull felt fine and I tucked in to last position I noticing the pace had jumped. Hah! I thought Sally was behind me but nooooo. It was JDiesel - Puttin' the power down on his fixey! A real sweet looking ride. Jim said he "upped" his gearing a tooth so he wouldn't have to spin as hard. The bottom line - Here I was with a stronger rider (Haulin' Harlan) in front of me AND a stronger rider behind me. I was the cheese in a power sandwich. Three or four cycles through the line and the inevitable happened - I went OTB. This was just before our first stop at 27 miles. YIKES, this has the makings of a long day. I rolled out of the stop a bit earlier then the group just to keep my legs moving and blood flowing. As they motored by I jumped in. We'd picked up a few more and were now 10-12 strong. Well, maybe 9-11 strong and one weak (me). Pete took a good long pull, then me, then JDiesel, and once again - I was that group cycling species :
I try to find a steady state in these long rides, but it just wasn't happening. I got into a good groove on my own and rolled into the lunch stop at 52 miles a few minutes after the group. After a leisurely lunch I went out on my own and finished the last 50 or so miles solo with only a brief stop to refill water. The result - I did find my rhythm and finally felt strong after about 60 miles. The last 40 miles were a real joy as I gained strength and power. There were a few stretches into a slight breeze towards the end, but I finished feeling like I could go on further.
Cheers and congrats to all that rode. The group in the line - Pete, Sally, Haulin' Harlan, JimDiesel, Dag, a couple on a tandem, and a few others I don't know - great job. It was a sweeeet day to ride, and the threat of rain never materialized. I still have a lot of work to do to keep that pace. Once again I brought my camera, but left the memory chip home. JD took some photos and I'll put them up when I get 'em.
Jim, Dag, Sally and I had a wonderful dinner afterwards at Willis Wharf, one of the oldest running establishments on the Eastern Shore. We toasted another great ride (with soft drinks and water!) and enjoyed a great view as cyclists in the 20 and 40 mile rides pedalled by the screened in porch. We had some great discussions about cycling, training, and nutrition.
Why? Because it's natural and makes you toot!
I'm considering it, but I'd have to give up my cult membership.
THE 2006 VCA SCHEDULE IS UP!
You're definately right! One thing at a time. I really have to revise my diet, keep publishing those recipes.
Tell JE and B-Man hi for me.