Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sometimes those club rides JAM!!

I like club rides. I love the conversations and I usually learn a lot from listening. I guess I live a sheltered life. Not because I dont have a desire to know more about the world I live in, its just that I usually get obsessive (for years or decades) on one thing and let it consume my attention.

But thats not what I was here to talk about. The negative thing about some club rides is the social nature usually negates there usefulness as training. I realize not everyone is trying to train and being spring and everyone being on a different agenda makes riding at a pace that satisfies all hard. And its all good-dont ban me form the local rides!!

But every so often a ride for the sake of training and not socializing (not that its frowned upon, its just that your sometimes too taxed to talk) comes along. This has been the case the last two weeks with a hilly almost 3 hour ride.

The idea is to raise everyones game a bit and most important to not stop and wait for stragglers at the top of every hill. Momentum is a good word for it. Momentum is maintained and sometimes it hurts to keep riding tempo after a steep climb, just like in real races!!

Ahhh, so there you go its a ride that the touristas would call a ride to nowhere with a bunch of guys in matching kits all heads down missing the world as it passes by. I love reading comments like that. I am not saying that they arent right, I am just saying its far from being without purpose. And for some, like me its fun, not rolling looking at cows at 8mph for 5 hours. Again, I am not hating, just throwing it out there.

So this ride is an invite sort of thing, but not really which probably doesnt sit well with some and maybe even posting about it is bad, but its not like its a secret. Its like the no-drop ride and the drop ride. Dont show up on drop day unless you know your way home or have a cell phone. This is the drop ride.

And I am not being arrogant in the least, I just think its a good thing and takes balls to put together a ride like this. Its rides like this that sometimes become legend. When I was living in Columbus in the 80's there was the Sunday club ride. It always started as a big group and due to the windy nature and flatness of Columbus the pace was always brutal. You were either flying with a tailwind or dogging it into a headwind and there was always guys yelling to stay in line, get on that wheel, don't let gaps open, don't ride squirrelly, forming echelons and more yelling. I did a lot of them and I got dropped on almost every single ride. And dont ever be the guy who causes the split and shells 10 or 12 guys!! I kept showing up because it was a goal to make it to the end, but damn near impossible. Of course the prize was getting to do the last town line sprint into town.

The topic of conversation later in the week at bike shops across Columbus was who finished and who won the sprint. And it was rarely racers who doled out the pain. Usually an ex-racer or just a fast group of guys who lived for the ride. They didnt need to race because the club ride made races seem easy by comparison.

Theres hammerfests today like the Spin A ride on the westside, but its flat like Columbus, this ones got hills and a fairly rural route with not a lot of traffic. Ive heard of other ones that have a rep as being hard and fast, but I am a bit leary of riding with "fast" guys I dont know. Not because I am afraid of being dropped, but I like to know peoples riding styles a bit better when on the limit. Fit guys who jump all over the road, go left of center with oncoming traffic and ride erratically , now thats NOT my idea of fun.

I could go on a long fit about how we learned the hard way how to ride in a pack, how to echelon, rotate a paceline smoothly, rub tires intentionally and not go down, lean on a guy just for fun because you knew he knew how to disengage without both of you going down because we practiced it over and over and we got our fair share of yelling at and liked it or at least respected the source. And how in the new millennium no one believes in earning anything, much less listening to sage advice and trying to follow it. Everyone expects to buy the 15lb out the showroom door carbon bike with a 5 lb seat pack full of everything but a hex wrench and chain tool and NOT get yelled at by anyone and be fast and be respected. Not even The Man Eddie himself could tell these guys what to do.

So, are you man (woman) enough and are you ready to learn a thing or two about bike riding, yourself and your capabilities and maybe, just maybe build a legend? Ask me, I am always willing to help.

1 comment:

JimmyNick said...

No need to apologize for this drop ride, or for hammering. Just be glad you're able to do it! You ride graciously most of the time; guys at your level are entitled to ride without being bogged down by guys at my level. I'm grateful whenever folks wait up -- but I don't think anyone owes it to me. And I think most guys at my level feel the same.