This weekend’s ride featured something a bit different for me. Instead of the five or six riders in the “slow” group, there were eleven of us. It was great for the club to see such a big turnout on the “relaxed” Sunday ride, and I definitely benefited from the experience. After all, in a few weeks, I will be riding with several hundred (or more) people when I take part in the previously mentioned “Epic Tour”. While it won’t be the pro peloton of a grand tour, it certainly will involve cooperative riding on a larger scale.
There are several things I noticed while riding:
Communication is key–when riding in two by two formation, there isn’t always an opportunity to pass. While I am not the fastest, if the climbs aren’t too steep, I can generally get a lot of momentum going and blow past a few people. Letting them know I am coming should prevent problems.
Momentum–when I am moving, it can be a real frustration if I am climbing faster than someone in front of me and there is no room to get by them.
Twenty-two sets of wheels–the sound of a group of riders on good tarmac is rather loud and exhilarating. In fact it sounds like a car, which can be a little confusing.
Intersections–If the group is large, there is always the chance that some riders won’t make it through the intersection. Luckily, Sunday’s ride has a no drop policy.
Jockeying for position–after an hour (or less), it became pretty clear which people I did not want to ride behind. That meant surveying the road ahead to see if I needed to be away from them or had to worry about the moves they were going to make. (I should note that this also applied to me and the unfortunate person who was frustrated riding behind me. However, as the new guy, I would hope that they had already figured this out and blasted past me when they could.)
Don’t forget my stuff–despite getting up early, preparing my water bottles and electrolytes, eating properly and inflating my tires, I left the house without my gloves. While this didn’t stop me from riding, I was acutely aware of being gloveless the whole ride. I really should have a checklist by the door. Luckily for the “Epic Ride”, I will be taking my cyclist case, and it has a checklist on the inside.
So ends my tale of a big group ride. We will see what next week brings.