Monday, July 28

Annihilating Fun Rides

It's not as if I leave the house thinking to myself, "how can I make this group ride less fun for everyone?" I really don't. But sometimes it just works out that way.

The Daily Grind
A few weeks back, I went on the ride out of the Daily Grind in York Beach (Mondays, 5:30). There were a couple guys there with their nice bikes and their road kits, one triathlon guy, and a couple of nice old (like 40's) ladies that were visiting from Arizona or something. The guy that usually leads the ride is like the manager of the Daily Grind or something and was unable to attend that day, so we headed out pretty much without a leader, going south straight against the wind of York Beach's Route 1A.

Neil, the triathlon guy (who was training for September's Pumpkinman Triathlon in South Berwick) was setting a fairly hard pace. I imagine it's because triathletes don't know how to ride in a group, and prefer to be out front anyway. And the only way to stay out front is to go faster than everyone else.

Now, I like to be in front while on group rides and training rides, because I figure I'm getting a better workout; also I'm a masochist. But in order to stay in front of Neil, I had to set a screaming pace up Route 1 as we headed towards Mountain Road. Also there was the fact that I had to be at work in Portsmouth (30 minute bike ride from where we were) in like 45 minutes at that point. So Neil, myself, and this guy Tyler that I guess used to race tore our way across York, until we looked back and realized that we had dropped everyone else--big time. No one was even remotely close. Whatever pace we had been setting was totally unacceptable for everyone else involved. And since it was such a small group to start with, that meant it wasn't a group ride any more.

Gus Bike
And then there was Gus' Bike ride last week, on Tuesday. Rami and Ruffus, teammates from the Slouch Potato Ride (SPR) showed up. Other than that there was like, a couple guys, one woman, and Deb, the Gus' owner. She's got one of the sickest road bikes I've seen (as a bike shop owner, you can pretty much get whatever you want) with the deep profile rims and all that. She invariably gets dropped within the first six miles or so of every ride though; she's okay with that. So she gets dropped. Then the SPR ethos of "how bad can I make these other guys hurt?" took a hold of us, the NorEast guys, and we proceeded to drop everyone else.

There's something about biking Hampton Beach that compells me to go as fast as I possibly can. Maybe it's the stupid drivers and people not paying attention that makes it pleasantly dangerous, like a questionable roller coaster. Maybe it's that there's always a good tailwind from the south. Maybe I'm just showing off because there's a ton of people there. Either way, we killed it up 1A Hampton Beach and didn't stop once we got past it. We might have, for a split second thought "where's everyone else?" but.. not really. It was just three people left, and hopefully they knew the area.

Another nice group ride effectively annihilated by the NorEast category 5's, way to go!

But seriously though, it's not like we mean to. It just happens that way, almost every time. The moral here is that a group ride is not going to be a success if it lacks leadership. And that's something that I've noticed from the very start, from the first NorEast group ride that I went on back in April (which was largely well-organized by NorEast president Tom Luther).

Also, check out the Daily Grind ride today (Monday) at the Daily Grind in York Beach at 5:30. That's right by the back entrance to the Zoomusement Park.

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