Posts Tagged ‘group ride’

Told ‘ya I felt bad for not posting as often. here is a photo of our local B-Group ride, and a bit of footage to satiate your appetite for media.

Fat Tiree Cycle, WV, USA, West Virginia, Buckhannon, Upshur County, 26201, road bike, cycling, wvcycling, wvcycling.net

So many bikes in one location 😮

This footage is pretty typical (except for the Lady Gaga; I don’t know what was up with that…) for our beginner/B-group rides on Monday afternoons. The pace is pretty leisurely while riding by the river, but can vary depending all on who is there, how everyone is feeling, or if we feel like pacelining. These are your typical, but not boring no-drop rides.

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Man, I’m tired; I came to Apex, North Carolina thinking that these flatlands would be a breeze to do with tempo running perfectly with the lack of Appalachian ridges. I was awfully wrong. First day in town, I ended up meeting someone named Tom who invited me to a fairly popular group ride. My previous obligations had me running about ten minutes late and disappointingly missing the ride. Luckily my Garmin came in handy, and I had a few popular local routes installed as courses. Setting off alone in this new town was exciting and none the bit scary; it was so great to be riding in a place other than North Central WV for a change.

Several miles down the road, caught up to an older gentleman name Matt/Mark/Something… I can’t remember his name right of the bat… Asked him if we could take turns pacelining, and he agreed. This guy stated he was on a recovery ride today, and he was only planning on a 35 mile ride. That sounded perfect to me. About ten miles in, I was blowing up on every pull. The tempo was crazy. While Matt was cruising at this speed, I was pushing myself to near-anabolic to keep up and hold his wheel. Knowing when to secede from a hopeless battle, I asked which direction I should go to get to a road that I could recognize and get back to the hotel on. We parted ways, and I was solo again.

Passed four or five cyclists on the way back to Salem Road. It wouldn’t surprise me if I was doing some local popular ride backwards; I’m always guilty of starting off in the exact opposite direction that a ride loop is supposed to go…

I kept my pace up as well as I could to make the most of this unexpected hammerfest I volunteered for. I would have hated to seen what it would have been like riding with the A group or B group riders if I had made it there in time. It was just a different world to me.

apex north carolina bicycle chain bike shop LBS

Oddly enough riding that much on the flats also caused me to sit differently on the bike, and the pinched nerve in my shoulder started to give me issues. I also seemed to be riding in a way that was using my hips more. I guess I would need to modify my fit or adapt to this foreign area in order to optimise my position.

I have to hand it to this area though, there is an abundance of stores, suburbs, and interesting opportunities to be had, but go out five or six miles in some directions and the land is either residential with acreage, or farmers still making a living on crops or holding out on selling. It is nothing like the rural roads of WV, but it is a very welcoming atmosphere. Is nccycling.net registered? 😛

apex north carolina bicycle chain bike shop LBS

The bike shops in the area  are top-notch. The Bicycle Chain was a very sharp and modern store, but still felt welcoming with items and resources suitable for anyone! The store employees were witty, intelligent, and more than “this is just my job” type of friendly. I was glad they were willing to lend a hand to someone from out-of-state in learning the area and to true a wheel.

If you are ever staying in North Carolina near the Raleigh/Durham area, you have no choice but to check out this area!

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Everything is ready. You have your matching kit on, found your shoes, co2, and spare tube; almost done pumping the tires. You’re off on the ride, luckily a few friends were capable of making it too. It’s a Friday afternoon, and nothing was on your mind all day, except making sure that this would go off without a hitch. You even stuck your waterbottles in the refrigerator overnight, so you could enjoy cold water on the climbs.

The group is passing mile seven, and everyone is taking their turn up front like a bat out of hell. It’s your turn. You do your pull, sweep off to the left, and fall back in. The ride continues. The turnoff to the planned road is coming up ahead; everyone slows down, anticipating incoming traffic up ahead.

Everyone seems to disperse from a paceline when facing the first steep hill climb. You can see the dread in some of the older rider’s eyes, luckily you are ready for this. You look back for a second, wondering if the rear tire is flat, or if the brake pads are rubbing the rim… something feels funny.

Several riders pass you.

You open up the indexed quick release on the rear brake, stand up, and start to slog after your peers.

What is wrong? I ate a well balanced lunch and snack, had enough sleep last night, I’m not dehydrated…

Going through your mental flow chart of routines before riding, you see that everything was done correctly, and everything should be going according to plan. The bike is in good shape, nothing is malfunctioning, but it is taking more effort than it should be to get up this hill. The group passes around a bend, and are out of sight; you try to stand and rush up to them, but your legs feel like Al Dente fettucini noodles. You just don’t have it today.

un jour sans

Pic via Cullman Cycling

You wonder what is the IT that you are missing and come up with no answer. You suffer through the climb, and think about going home. None of this is making sense. You never feel like this; the last time you gave up on a ride was when your first bike was two weeks old. Even Old Man Scuzzlebutt made it up the climb before you; this NEVER happens. Something is wrong.

What you are experiencing isn’t listed in an episode of The Twilight Zone, nor is it capable of being diagnosed by any medical book; this is just a case of Un Jour Sans. A day without.

From the pages of le grimpeur:

Défaillance. A sudden weakness. A synonym: un jour sans. A day without. All cyclists experience it sooner or later, from the most hardened professional to the lowliest amateur pretender. It differs from the ‘knock’, when the body runs out of energy, and the remedy for the knock is simple: take on more sustenance. Défaillance is something else, more insidious, its symptoms like a creeping dread. On a climb, one struggles to find one’s rhythm, or settle into the saddle and spin, to find a gear that feels comfortable, to follow wheels as they pull inexorably ahead. The remedy is also not immediately obvious. Overtraining? Undertraining? A myriad of other possibilities, physical or even mental.

We have all had a case similar to this, where nothing is right; up is down, black is white, hot is cold. Its as if everyone else on the group ride found some kind of magical pill bottle with magic puncheur pills, and stormed off without you. We all know that cycling has more implications and second meanings than we all like to admit to, and it is humiliating and demoralizing being the last one up the pass. You would rather be riding a Huffy, or wearing some awful dayglo yellow jersey than be the last one up the hill, and your face shows every moment of your embarassment.

Don’t worry, this deficiency will only be with you temporarily, and will have you looking that much better when you have IT once again. Let them laugh now, because they also know it will be their day too, possibly sooner than they think…

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Everyone knows him. He is in every group ride. He is like an omnipresent veering fool on wheels. Yes, we’re talking about The Squirrel.

Characteristics of The Squirrel are as listed:

  • Has been an avid cyclist for a whole five or six months
  • Loves to talk or chat during a ride
  • Never looks back before taking any kind of action
  • Suddenly decelerates without warning
  • Crosses the yellow line on the flats

These are just a few of the many traits that make our majestic friend so enjoyable to ride with. If he’s not trying to talk it up about meaningless things like the weather or how the Colts are going to do at the Super Bowl, then he is talking about his wife or children. Some have come to believe that cycling is not enough for The Squirrel in terms of venting life’s problems. You are his auxiliary escape mechanism. The only downside is that he is nearly taking down six or seven riders in the process.

The Squirrel's typical steering course

The worst thing about The Squirrel is that there is there are no real distinguishing or explicit visual features about him that will give him away. The Squirrel may end up looking like this:


or even just every day cyclocross friends on the road with you: (more…)

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