Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slower is Phaster

Finding the Right Group...

The key to having a good group ride is finding the right group. I've been falling into the trap of trying to stay with a group that is too fast for me, only to tire out and et stuck riding alone trying to catch up. This time I had a goal of trying to stay with a group. The problem is finding the right group. Tonight it was more difficult trying to pick the right group because the start was more spread out and less orderly. The normal lead bikers of the group were posing for pictured with their 2008 PMC Pedal Partner. The rest of us headed out for the ride as if we were a crowd dispersing from a bad magic show in Quincy Market.

Joe and "No Man's Land, then Relief

Without trying to I wound up with the "fast" group. As usual, I got dropped at around mile 6. This time I was with Joe. It was his second time on the ride. Right about when we hit the farms in North Attleboro, I turned around and saw a good size group approaching us. Instead of making them try and catch me, I turned to Joe and said "Here comes a group. Let's let them catch us and we'll jump on!"

And we did.

We hung with that group all the way to the mid point rest stop.


Before we got to the rest stop we were all pretty much still together on the descent into RI on route 121. Typically here I get in the drops and try to max out my speed in order to try and catch up. This time I was part of a group and I was chomping at the bit, riding my brakes, trying not to "Jump ahead". There was one rider who did jump ahead and I could tell he was doing all he could do to stay ahead all by himself. That person was typically me. Not this time.

I waited until the group hit the last rolling ascent on 121 and then I made my move and broke away. I figured it was better etiquette and safer to break away on an ascent rather than a descent. I had a good amount of energy saved up from descending with the group. I caught the guy who broke away and rode his wheel all the way to the Rest Stop.

It felt slower being patient, but I think I put in my fastest "first half" so far this year.

Hiroshi, originally uploaded by Martinator.

This is Hiroshi at the halfway point rest stop. He bike, runs, swims, kayaks, and skis. I asked him "When do you work?", he replied "I fit it in..." :-)

Mount St.

Mount Street is becoming less and less intimidating with each and every ride. I just have to focus on climbing at my own pace and conserving energy. I hear some other riders breathing pretty heavy as they approach the top. I deliberately take long, slow, deep breaths as I pedal methodically up that climb. I find that by doing this, I have plenty of gas at the to to accelerate as the grade levels off.

The Neighborhood

Riding through the "Neighborhood" is fun when you are in a group. It is about a mile long gradual descent until the end. With a small group of riders (2, 3, or more...) you can get some good speed. If you are alone, you can still go fast, but you will never catch anyone. I was lucky enough to ride through here tonight with a group.

It seemed slower overall being patient and making an effort to not ride alone. However, in the end, I came within a minute of my fastest time this year. A lot of that had to do with energy conservation and using that stored energy at the right moments.

Slower is Phaster :-)