Saturday, March 21, 2009

CSH Saturday Groupride

Today I finally hooked up with the Cycling Spoken Here Saturday groupride. I attempted to do this ride a couple of months ago, but missed the start by about 2 minutes because I got incredibly lost in Cary/Apex (don't laugh - my navigation skills are pretty pathetic) on the way there. Today, I got there in plenty of time to enjoy my traditional pre-ride Bojangles chicken biscuit.

By the numbers:
  • Dist: 65.9 miles
  • Avg. Spd: 19.8 mph
  • Duration: 3 hrs 20 minutes.

  • NCSU bibs and jersey
  • base layer
  • leg warmers
  • NCSU arm warmers
  • short finger gloves

Food: Bojangles biscuit ~30 minutes before, one clif bar between hours 2 and 3. Minimal hunger after ride.

I was freezing my a$$ off for the first 20 minutes or so - it wasn't much above 40 degrees when we rolled out. However, the temps warmed up to around 50 pretty quickly.

The group starting out was around 30+ riders - freaking huge for an un-marshaled groupride. About half of these people split off to do a shorter and slower ride roughly 30 minutes in. Riding in a group this big gave me a better understanding of why motorists hate cyclists in large packs - it really does get un-manageable and we become a nearly insurmountable road block for them. While cyclists have every right to the road, traffic law requires that vehicles that obstruct traffic for an unreasonable amount of time pull off the road and let traffic clear. But without a clear and assertive ride leader, this won't happen.

The short version is I played a very active role in setting the pace and "doing work" in general. I spend a lot of time at the front, and some time off the front. I felt really strong for the whole ride. It's a little early to say, but I'm probably one of the 5 strongest riders in the group.

The pace was hard for the first 30 or so miles. Hard as in 25-28 mph hard. You know you're putting the hurt on guys when you come off the front of a rotating paceline and no one's there to pull through on your wheel. :-) This was the most fun part of the ride: a no-holds barred, all-out hammerfest of pain.

At mile 35 we pulled into a gas station for a pee break. After this, the pace became very civilized and mellow, almost sociable for a while. Then slowly, the pace started to come up again as we headed back into Cary. It never returned to its previous level of thrashing, but we were averaging in the low 20s, and by this point in the ride, on rolling hills, this was plenty painful.

All-in-all a very fun, fast ride right at the skill level I need. There are some sketch parts, like 5 miles on the shoulder of Rt. 64, and some slight nuances in group behavior that put me off a little bit, but overall a ride I will definitely be doing again soon.

No comments: