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Does your group ride have people like this?(13 posts)

Does your group ride have people like this?TNSquared
Aug 11, 2003 11:03 AM
After yet another sultry, sweaty Saturday ride that required one of my fellow riders to rescue my carcasss from the roadside, it occurred to me how forunate I am to have fallen in with such a good group to ride with.

The success of our group starts with J and J2, both of whom post here on RBR. These guys simply pour heart and sole into their cycling and the local scene, and it rubs off on the rest of us.

For starters, J is the president elect, the newsletter editor and the website manager for our local club. J2 is the VP of racing for the club. Both lead several regular weekly group rides, as well as special event rides throughout the year. You will see both of them working at the registration table or doing other volunteer work before and after special event rides as well. And J and J2 both will dispense invaluable advice about training, equipment, etc, to anyone who asks. I ask often.

On our 60-100+ mile SaDist (Saturday Distance) rides, these two ride pace at the front *and* sweep back to pick up anyone falling off the pace for the entire ride to make sure the group stays togehter. On shorter rides during the week, everyone understands that it is every man for himself, but we try to make sure everyone finishes the long ride comfortably, and J and J2 see to it.

This past Saturday, J was fulfilling parental obligations and could not make the long ride, yet he met us on the route with a full water cooler loaded in the Element. The prior week someone's freehub failed about 30 miles into the ride, and J paged his mechanic (wife lol) who delivered a replacement rear wheel quicker than the Mavic support vehicle.

J2 has towed me in from so many bad rides lately that I can't even count 'em, and he even led some of the group home from the first turnaround Saturday despite experiencing an asthma attack during the ride.

So this past Saturday, while attempting my first century, I was without either of these guys for the last 50 miles. Sure enough, though, when I exploded at 92 miles, another rider in the group, C, came back to check on me. I have met C only once and we had no appreciable conversation. Yet J and J2's philosophy is understood by the whole group, so it works even when they are not there, which is seldom. After I assured him I would survive, C rode on ahead to the finish and sent yet another of the group, R, to pick me up in his truck.

Maybe this type of stuff happens in group rides all over the place, but as one who just started riding in February of this year, I'm awfully glad to have these gents and ladies to lean on.

This post doesn't really do justice to the loyalty of our group. Were I more eloquent, I would compose a haiku about the exploits of J and J2. Instead, I'll just say a big "THANK YOU" to the whole J crew. :)

re: Does your group ride have people like this?VaughnA
Aug 11, 2003 11:22 AM
Yes Our group is like that! See my post below for a good group in action..

"RR: Tarwheels Bikefest Century (and Lesson). (LONG)

VaughnA "RR: Tarwheels Bikefest Century (and Lesson). (LONG)" 8/11/03 6:09am'

The guys I ride with are happier when we have a diverse group to ride with and make sure EVERYBODY is welcome! We're trying to get more wives and girlfriends out with the group. It seems that embarresment of not being able to keep up keeps many slower riders away. Our group doesn't like that to happen.

And a couple of weeks ago one of the leaders of the group couldn't quite make a ride. But when he got home he noticed large storms headed our way. He came out to check on us and made sure we got back safely, escorting us most of the way. I hope a few others ride with folks like this. It makes it a great experience for EVERYONE.

Yup!Mike Prince
Aug 11, 2003 11:26 AM
But I occasionally ride in the same group as you with J and J2. J2 was my savior yesterday as I broke my first spoke in years. I am handy with the wrench, but J2 had my front wheel in rideable condition in about 1/2 the time it would have taken me to get it close. On a century ride a few weeks ago, I missed a turn and J2 chased me down and helped me bridge back to the main group. Halfway back, guess who was waiting for us? J. Both are quite strong riders to boot too - riding with either is usually quite fun as well (competetive).

I am honored to be able to ride with this group and grateful that J and J2 do so much to make it so enjoyable. I will miss the group rides when I go home to NC at the end of the month.

This sounds like a memorial service for themSpecialTater
Aug 11, 2003 11:44 AM
but I have to add my two cents. I can honestly say I'm riding a road bike because of J. His motivation and guidance has been essential to my developing love for cycling.

His and J2's wrenching has kept me on the road (especially after my crash). I can't ask for a better group with which to ride. If anyone is ever in Memphis, please make it a point ride with us on Thurs, Sat or Sun (or just post here and someone will try to make time to ride). If you are a newbie, it's the most accepting group I can imagine. I was where you are 6 months ago and they still put up with me.

BTW, sorry you suffered Sat, todd. It was hotttt. I did an early 40 so I could continue to get ready for our move Wednesday. Hoping to make it Thurs, but more likely Saturday.
memorial limericksJS Haiku Shop
Aug 11, 2003 12:40 PM
J2's fateful run in with a truck
signaled the end of his luck
all they found was a shoe
and some slimy pink goo
they said his last words were "oh darn"

T2's great penchant for pain
took him out on his bike in the rain
he was doing just fine, 'til
he forgot to duck the clothes line
and separated his neck from his brain

Mike Prince rode like a jock
his Steelman was far from plain stock
up the hills, hard he rode(d)
until then one day, exploded
and croaked on the spot of pure shock

Tater learned lots from the board
bought the bike that would let him afford
a trip overseas
where he'd weaken his knees
and ride off the side of the 'Izoard

ok, so i should probably stick with haiku.
aw, shucks (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Aug 11, 2003 12:01 PM
wow. i am speechless. thanks guys!!J2
Aug 11, 2003 12:53 PM
"heart and sole"...ooops!TNSquared
Aug 11, 2003 1:57 PM
I guess because these two must not have a soul if they can trick the rest of us into riding 151 miles this next weekend. lol
Some points to ponder.Uncle Tim
Aug 11, 2003 6:41 PM
It is clear that you guys have a great club and it seems that you have an understanding. But I'm not sure I'd like to participate in an organized ride where you have to stay in the same group together - especially for 100 miles.

I think that the stronger riders should always have the freedom to go off the front. I'd hate to think that strong riders were being held up to wait for me.

Having LOTS of club riding experience, I do have some questions. Why would a rider come to ride a century that he is not prepared for? Isn't that what the shorter rides are for? If you have some kind of agreement with the ride organizer where he says he'll stick with you no matter what, that's one thing. But holding up an entire group just seems inconsiderate to me.

Emergencies and mechanicals are serious things and can't be prevented, but I would feel awful if my lack of conditioning prevented others from enjoying their rides. I wouldn't expect anyone to stay back and babysit me. I'd tell them to go on at their own pace aand enjoy their ride.
ride how you like (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Aug 12, 2003 5:48 AM
I think your're missing the point......TNSquared
Aug 12, 2003 6:34 AM
First of all - you missed the big picture. Pacing our weekly group rides to keep folks together is just one of many things the main leaders of the ride (J and J2) do to promote cycling and in particular help new cyclists in our area. I wanted to acknowledge their efforts, as I have benefitted tremendously.

As far as the ride - this isn't a large "organized" century. It's an unsupported, weekly training ride designed to help newer riders improve and increase their distance up to and exceeding 100 miles, while giving the more experience riders some good base miles.

J and J2 do publish certain pace expectations and make sure any newcomers are notified before the ride so that they don't get in over their heads, because it would be unfair for the whole group to have to stop frequently. Cue sheets are also provided in case someone does get dropped.

However, the group generally consists of the same several regulars - we are basically a small group of friends that enjoy training together. And nobody *expects* the strongest riders (i.e. J and J2 for the most part) to wait -they just do. In fact, I've insisted that they go on when I've had trouble in the past and they won't do it. I assume they do this because helping newer riders is as much what they enjoy about this ride as showing how fast they can ride off and leave me.

Believe me, when J and J2 have a goal for a particular ride, such as averaging 20 mph for one of our upcoming century rides, then everyone is notified and there will be no waiting - that is understood. I can't manage that pace, so I won't try.

However, becoming dehydrated in the Memphis heat and humidity toward the end of a 100 mile ride hardly qualifies as "unprepared" in my book. Everyone has to do their first cenurty at some point - how do you know if you are prepared until you try? Are you suggesting that every rider should complete a few solo centuries before trying it with a group? That's a pretty daunting prospect for most! I did 88mi the week before at a healthy pace and with pleny left in the tank, so I felt ready for my first century. I would not have been out there if I really felt I would ruin the ride for the rest of the group. On the other hand, it's good to know you're not alone in case something does go wrong - like dizziness, puking and muscle cramps.

So, to answer your questions, I've done plenty of shorter rides. I felt prepared and J felt I was prepared. Our ride "organizers" being ourselves, we do have some kind of agreement that we'll do everything reasonable to stick together, but nodoby expects a babysitter.

FWIW - when I realized I couldn't maintain even a 15 mph pace for the last several miles last Saturday, I told "C" I would not hold him up any longer. I stopped at the road side and insisted he go on. He reluctantly rejoined the group, and unfortunately, yes, someone had to go out of their way to come pick me up and drive me home. Of course, I guess I could have refused their help, sat out there until I completely quit sweating and died of heat stroke.

I don't know why J, J2, and the other members of our group choose to approach our weekly group long ride this way. I'm just grateful they do. I guess part of it is *anyone* can have a bad day, and as I said in my first post it's good to know you've got dependable friends when that bad day comes. Another part, at least for me, is it is always fulfilling to be part of a successful team, and that's exactly what this group feels like.
FWIW: 2 thingsJS Haiku Shop
Aug 12, 2003 6:54 AM
#1: saturday was moderately hot, yes. but, the humidity was unreal. sure, i stayed home for the first saturday AM in a long time, providing parental services. however, after 90 minutes of light yardwork (mowing & edging), i was toast from the oppressive humidity--such that i was acutally in bed for the majority of the next 20 hours, unable to walk to the porcelin convenience to technicolor yawn. it was a hot, brutal day. and, something's blooming around town that's wearing everyone's sinuses thin.

#2: Uncle Tim can ride with whom he chooses. you (TN2) did not solicit suggestions or a critical response. my polite response to Uncle was "ride how you like." my frank response to *anyone* would have been "f@#$ you and myob". i'm trying to be a little more chill lately, so i'll finally settle on, "if you have to ask, it's beyond your scope." having led 100+ rides last year, and increasing that by 1/3 this year, i s'pose i too have "LOTS of club riding experience." cycling, for me, is about more than going "off the front."

no offense intended to Uncle Tim.
Not really...Mike Prince
Aug 12, 2003 7:26 AM
True, the club is great. But I think you have misunderstood - there are no agreements to stay together in this group. Just about every ride I have done with these folks breaks up into several groups. There is definitely an 'off the front group' on about every ride, but also at least one other group behind. As organizers of said rides, J and J2 feel they have a responsibility to make sure everyone is OK and the rides go smoothly. Here's what they do -

1. The club maintains a website with all of the scheduled rides on it including the distance and degree of difficulty. Also, it is clearly stated that all riders need to be self-sufficient. Expectations are clearly defined.

2. Nearly every ride has a cue sheet in case a rider goes astray.

3. The sign in sheet at each ride has a box to check if you wish the ride leader to wait at the finish for you - and they do.

4. On the larger rides, at least one person familiar with the route seems to be in each group. Not required, but it usually works out like this. No one ever complains.

I think this is a case of club leaders looking out for their own. They feel an obligation to make the rides successful and grow the club, which can't happen if people feel unwelcome or alienated. On many rides with the club this year (as a guest), I have never felt like I can't ride at my own pace. I wish J2 would slow down so I can catch his wheel :), but outside of common courtesy and etiquette, there's no 'speed limit' or agreements in this crowd. And everyone seems to enjoy themselves whether they average 22 mph or 17 mph.