Flutterby™! : group riding clinic

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group riding clinic

2006-10-01 18:32:20.878557+00 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

It will be one of the continuing ongoing challenges of my life that I don't move through cultural and social structures in the prescribed manner.

Yesterday I participated in Marvin Zauderer's Group Riding Clinic, one of the Marin Cyclists perks. It was a good day with a relatively mild ride, 40 miles from Fairfax to Point Reyes Station and back, with a bunch of breaks for various practices and pointers.

There were parts of it which were really good. Practicing 30 second rotations through a paceline was good for me. Riding in amongst other inexperienced riders gave me a chance to re-evaluate some of my own foibles. Hearing some of the concerns others expressed gave me some good perspectives.

The problem is that I've been doing this stuff at 20-30 MPH with C level riders for several months now, and most of the riders seemed to be A level riders graduating up to B. So one of the challenges was trying to practice drafting techniques at speeds where I'm normally sitting up and riding no hands. One of my usual things is to hold a fairly slow cadence in the draft because it gives me more fine speed control, and when I rotate through the front of the pack downshift and spin while I'm leading, because then I don't want control over my speed, I want consistency.

However, in this group, if I came off the front and started spinning I'd just completely lose the pack. So while much of my practice in my other riding has been about not letting the pace of those behind me dictate my lead speed, not trying to back adjust for them, in this case I was completely about keeping an eye on what was going on behind me and not holding 17MPH up that roller, because the rest of the pack was going to drop to 12.

Which was kind of disappointing given that one of the questions when I signed up was "Can you sustain 18 mph on the flats and 6-8 mph on climbs?", because there were essentially two climbs on the ride (well, two each way), but the rest is gentle rollers, and if I can sustain 18 on those stretches solo then I'd expect that in a paceline we'd be holding 20-22. Instead, a lead at 17MPH was pushing the pack.

The really good bit was that on Thursday's ride I'd admired Gary's mirror and mentioned that I must be getting old, 'cause I was looking around for a good one. Gary said "yeah, this is road find, I've got one almost like it, but with a shorter extension, in my truck that you can have". It's a great little mirror, looks like it's bent together from an old spoke and some brass tubing, with a real glass mirror (not that half-foiled surface that most bike mirrors have), and it was very nice to have that much more information about what was going on around me amongst those less experienced riders.

So I'm glad to have been through the formal instruction, but it was really just stuff I've picked up over the past few months, practiced at a much lower level than I've been doing it.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Bay Area Sociology Bicycling ]

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