Friday, April 11

Team Ride

Giles Cooper, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, NorEast Cycling Thursday was my first significant team training ride with some of my NorEast crew. Another group of riders showed up coincidentally at the meeting place at Prescott Park at the same time, and they joined up with us. Michael Beaumont was also there. He is a bike-addicted roadie know-it-all Portsmouth townie, the kind of guy you love to hate. I consider him the Vader to my neophytic Luke--clearly I will have to strike him down at some point, but will it be for good, or for evil?

And we were off. Our group of about fifteen crossed over in to Kittery, and headed up 103. The other group of riders probably felt they had something to prove, since NorEast, my team, were in full battle regalia. A couple of their guys were at the head, along with myself and Beaumont. I'd never ridden with Beaumont before, and we had a bit of a pissing contest at the front, sprinting up each of 103's rolling hills, along with the guy in the Toyota United jersey whose name I didn't catch. At any rate, it was horrible pace setting on my part, and I don't think I gained much in the way of likability points from the team. It was fun though.

Beaumont and the other riders peeled off, and headed in another direction, while the NorEast train headed up 1A and the York beaches to Nubble light; photo op:

NorEast Cycling at Nubble Lighthouse, York, Maine
On the way home, we worked on group formations, forming an echelon, where half the riders are going hard, half are going less hard, and each person only has the wind in their face for about ten seconds or so. We held that for a while, until we came to the town sign for Kittery Point--sprint! I was third wheel--the perfect spot--but I wasn't ready for Shane's jump and couldn't catch him in time. My shifters are sticky and crappy, and I am not confident shifting and sprinting suddenly; they sort of shift on their own if I don't counter-shift/trim them . . . it's hard to explain. Suffice to say, they kind of suck.

After that, I couldn't really keep the pace in the echelon. A couple other riders and I got dropped off the back--once you fall in to the wind, there's no way you can catch back up solo, versus five guys working together. Also I was a little spent from all the malarkey at the beginning of the ride. I geared down a bit, spun a higher cadence, took a drink of water and sport drink, and eventually caught back up with the group. I think that's the best thing you can do when you get dropped--just take it easy for a bit, spin a lower gear so you're not killing your legs, and take a drink and some food if you've got it, then try and find your pace again.

I had a great time and my legs are kind of killing me. I'm sure my teammates found my riding style moderately obnoxious, and my impetuous nature not particularly helpful. I'm always open to advice though, of course. Generally what everyone said was that a more consistent rider is going to perform better; there is nothing to gain in expending more energy than you have to--club rides are a good opportunity to work on form and energy efficiency. It was a great ride though, and the first of many of course.

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