Monday, October 29, 2007

Out with the Group

Sunday Ride w/ Cyclepath Group - 40 mi.
Total Time: 2:22:23
Avg mph: 16.9

This weekend I did get out for a ride on Saturday but it was on the old bike since I accompanied Jen on her 20 mile run in the South Bay. It was a leisurely pace for me so I didn't really think of it as a "ride", but it was fun to go with her (and we went out for a great breakfast when we were done). That night we went out for a really good dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House with a couple of friends (one of them was celebrating his birthday).

Sunday morning I got up and headed over to meet up with the Cyclepath group for a ride. They were doing the same ride as the last time I was there so I knew I was in for some climbing and some nice descents. This time I rode with the A group and there was about 25 people to start. After about 7 miles there were 10 or 12 of us in the pace line, then it dropped to seven, then four, then there were three. We were keeping at around 19/21 mph but slowed a bit before beginning the climb. This time the pace on the climb was a bit faster and I think we averaged around 12/13 mph. When we were about 3/4 of the way up the climb one other person caught up to us and then I fell about 150/200 feet behind on the final ascent. We stopped at the top and waited for the rest of the group to catch up; I took off my arm warmers at this point too since the sun was out and I was warm from the climb. A few folks headed back but around 15 of us decided to go a bit further. At this point the road was rolling but consistently climbing; it gave me a good chance to practice cornering with some speed then standing up out of the saddle to carry the speed into the next climb. One thing I have really noticed when riding with the group is that I pick up a lot from just watching the more experienced guys riding with me. I've learned some riding techniques as well as some of the common hand signals such as obstacle in the road, slower rider or walker on the side of the road, and stopping - along with verbal signals such as gravel!, stopping! (when suddenly stopping), car up!, and car back!. (I'm sure I will learn a lot more as I join in on more group rides). At mile 20 I stopped to turn around since I wasn't sure how much further the group was planning on riding; turns out they were just going another 500 yards or so but I was fine with where I stopped since the views over the valley were spectacular. After getting a drink and eating a couple of clif blox the group came back by and I joined up with them for the ride back to Pleasanton. The descents were great and I got in some good cornering practice by riding in a line behind the more experienced guys and watching them take the same line into each corner. Once we hit the steeper hills the group spread out quite a bit and I was riding alone for a while so I took the opportunity to practice picking my own line into the corners. I'm not quite confident enough to get into my drops on the really tight corners but I did get down in them for some of the softer corners.

When I got back onto the rolling stretch at the bottom of the hill I was by myself and was trying to push it hard to catch up to the pace line. After a couple of minutes I noticed a helmet shadow on the ground under my bike and I knew someone had come up behind me. I continued to pull for another minute then pulled out to the side (after looking for cars) and moved back in to draft for a moment. This was the first time I really appreciated drafting. I had been going along at around 19/20 mph but now we were up to 23/24 and when he moved to the side and it was my turn to pull I was able to keep that pace. We rotated a few more times then he (I later found out his name was Tim) fell back and I was on my own for the final 8 miles back to the starting point.

Friday am swim at 24 hr. - 750m
Total Time: 14:12

Friday morning I was up at the gym to get some laps in since I have been slacking on the swimming lately. My speed didn't really suffer too much but I could definitely tell that I have not been in the pool much lately. I will try to get up there a couple times this week and maybe once on the weekend. After the swim I was looking forward to taking a nice steam but the steam room was out of commission so I settled for a few minutes in the sauna.


jen said...

Great description of the long ride. It sounds really fun and challenging. Seems like there is so much to be learned from the more experienced guys (and girls!) in the group setting. Very nice work! Thanks again for coming along with me Saturday. :)

Paul said...

that's totally cool that you ride along with Jen. My wife did that too when I was doing my Ironman training. Groups rides are fun when you're with a good group. Sometimes you have to watch out for the crazies...not worth an accident :) Keep it up!