Riding for a Reason

Changing the world, one mile at a time

First Team Ride

Last week through a friend of Katie’s, I met a guy who rides for the Beans and Barley team.  We started talking about Crit races and how I wanted to start competing in them.  Never having actually watched a crit race in person, I really had no idea what to expect.  After about 15 minutes of him telling me about the sprinting, drafting, and inexperience of a cat 5 race, I decided two things… #1 I need to start practicing if I’m going to persue this.  #2 I’m holding off road racing until next season.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get in a road race this year, but I want to be prepared for it so I don’t get hurt or dump my bike.

Monday evening I met up with the Beans and Barley team for a ride.  There were three of us that met at Crank Daddy’s and 3 more people that we added as we started to ride.  We did 26.5 miles from downtown Milwaukee up to Mequon and back.  It was probably the fastest pace that I’ve held for that long of a period of time, but it felt good.  I was using my heart rate monitor for the first time and I was ranging from the 75% to 95% range as we road.  The upper end of that range was very minimal though.

It was quite a learning experience for me.  I riding in a pack at high speeds really requires a lot of communication.  From turn signals, pointing out pot holes and rough road, as traffic, both pedestrian and auto, there’s a lot of talking and signaling going on.  What I enjoyed most was learning to draft.  It’s amazing how much less energy you need to exert when you’re within a foot of the bike in front of you.  Some part of the ride, all 6 of us were in a single line and we were just cruising.  It was a pretty cool feeling.  I’m not completely comfortable with being that close yet, but with more experience it will get easier.  The other thing that I need to work on is my corners.  It’s a natural reaction, much like driving a car, to slow into the corner and accelerate out of it.  In cycling, you want to keep pedaling through unless if it’s a sharp turn you lean into the turn.  I’m amazed at the fact that you’re not supose to brake at all through the turns.  Apparently this is one of the biggest problems with doing a cat 5 race.  A lot of novice riders still brake into the turns and accelerate out.  Which means those at the front of the pack that know what they’re doing gain a HUGE advantage.

It looks like this is going to become a weekly ride for me.  Should be some terrific experience.  We did 26.5 miles in about 1:25 for an average pace of 18.72 mph.  Not bad!

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August 11, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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