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Cycling story Part II (Long)(5 posts)

Cycling story Part II (Long)MSA
May 13, 2002 10:10 AM
Anyway, the man behind the counter is a 50ish gentleman of Indian descent named Patel who is wearing a matching orange jacket and cap. He very cheerily welcomes me, "Velcome can vee help you this morning?" To which I ask, "Do you have any clif bars?" Patel is perplexed, "Clif Bars, Bars? Vhat Bars? I don't know about any Bars. Vee have lots of bars just look over der," he said pointing to the rows of candy bars. I felt like I was in an episode of the Simpsons. I started walking around the store looking at the Milky Way bars and Ding Dongs and wondering if they had the same energy potential as Clif Bars or Gu. Ready to give up, I walked past the check out stand and spied an old friend.Power Bars. Wheww, that was a close one. I bought two, one for pre ride, one for the break, and went to meet the guys.

I pull up as I am swallowing my last chunk of Power Bar and get out to shake hands with everyone. I meet my friend who introduces me to all the other riders. I try to look I belong. I casually look around and notice none of these five riders shave their legs.thankGod, no die hards yet. My buddy, who outranks me as less of newbie only by about 2 months, asks me about my pre- ride nutrition. "Did you eat a banana or something? You gotta get some energy in ya.gels or fruit are the best.clif bars are ok.just don't eat power bars, there're the worst!" I swallow hard and try to hide my shame. "Just be cool," I say to myself.

We joke around for another 10 minutes and then finally, it's time to leave. We mount up and I take my place in the rear of the pack as we slowly make our way out of the parking lot for our warm up stage, usually the first 4-5 miles. After we get out of the neighborhoods and on to the rode, we line up and start the pace line, traveling at an easy 20-22 mph. The leaders pull for several miles, finally its my turn. My buddy, riding in front of me, wings out his elbow, and pulls to the left. I have just started my turn, when I hear yelling behind me, I turn around and everyone is 50 yards behind me! "Don't jump," they yell! I look down at my cyclometer and realize I was going 24 mph! Ooops. I slow down and we continue in good form. I do my share and pull several more times before we reach our turn around point 30 miles away. I am proud of myself. I was good. I kept up, and I did my share. We worked as a team and it was exhilarating! We rest for about 10 minutes, meet up with some other guys, load up and head back.this time up-wind. With so many riders we now use a double pace line, and I get paired with one of the leaders. Our turn comes as we turn into the wind, which seems to be blowing at gale force. As I try to keep up to the 17mph we are riding, I feel like me heart is going to pound out of my chest. Finally, I tell my partner I have to stop, so we peel to the side and take up our positions in the rear. When we get there, he critiques my riding, saying, "you have to keep the line, don't wobble or get out over your handle bars too much." I didn't have the heart or the breath to tell him I was pedaling as hard as I could just to keep up. Finally, fate hit, when I reached for my water bottle and dropped it. I slowed to pick it up, and my partner yelled back at me to just stay back and pick up another Group member who had bonked and was lagging behind. The two of us limped into the parking lot 20 minutes after the Group had finished. But as I got there, several members greeted me with high fives and slaps on the back. Although I had not finished with the group, they were ready to accept me as a bona fide member. "You can do it, man, just don't pull for so long until you have more experience." Good advice. They even invited me to ride the next day with them.but that was Mother's Day. I asked, "None of you guys are married, are you?" They just laughed and said something like, "Not anymore." Not wanting to tempt fate,
re: Cycling story Part II (Long)MrCelloBoy
May 13, 2002 10:16 AM
Great story. Congrat's.
May 13, 2002 11:08 AM
Sounds like you picked a good group of folks. My (former) club wouldn't give you the time of day. I am not outgoing by any stretch of the imagination but these guys would barely say hello. There was a lot of testosterone poisoning.
the meekDougSloan
May 13, 2002 1:29 PM
They had good advice for you. Be meek. Hang back, take short pulls, certainly don't up the speed, until you get to know the group and to know yourself.

It's a powerful urge to prove yourself in a new group. You'll prove much more by doing a little less than your share, versus doing more than your share and blowing up.

New guys, intentionally or not, get spit out the back of group rides fairly easily. You just want to prove you can pull, too, and pull hard. So, you go too fast, you stay up there too long, you pull right before a big hill, you contest every city limit sign sprint, and you blow up and flail in all alone. I've done it many times.

Think meek. If others are taking 60 second pulls, make yours 45 seconds. If you are stressed, do a pull for 5 seconds and pull off. There is no rule you have to pull for the same time. The next guy is free to pull off, too. The larger the group, the shorter the pull, too. Keep the speed even. The way I do it, instead of looking at the speedo as I move to the front, I note my cadence, then keep it the same. This is easier than processing feedback from the computer.

Also, what seems easy in the first half of a workout or race can turn to torture later on. It's amazing. You are riding along thinking "this is easy, why are we not going faster?", then you hit a hill or surge, and you're blown out the back. Those who conserved energy and have little lactic acid in their muscles at the time will fare much better when the pace hits redline.

Sounds like you got some good advice and experience.
the meekweiwentg
May 13, 2002 3:48 PM
I almost never took a pull the first 4 months of riding. and I had a distance running background, so I was actually in pretty good shape. don't feel ashamed to suck wheel.