Sunday, August 17, 2008

Two Weekend Group Rides

I did not feel like riding by myself this weekend so on Friday evening I decided that I was going to get up in time to make the Saturday and Sunday group rides. On Saturday I rode the pickup ride out of Dorbrook Park in Colts Neck. On Sunday I rode the Allenwood School ride that is organized by the Atlantic Bicycle Club.

Both rides cover a lot of the same roads. The Dorbrook ride heads south and the Allenwood ride heads north so there was a lot of overlapping scenery between the two rides. I am not that familiar with the roads but I do occasionally recognise an road that I have drove my car along.

We had some nasty storms roll through on Thursday and Friday. It was worse in North Jersey but the end result was it made for some good riding weather over the weekend. I rode from my house to the start of the Dorbrook Park ride. The fog was heavy and the roads were damp. My brakes were kind of soggy for the start of the group ride. The fog stayed with us for the first hour of the ride but you could tell we were in for a treat once it burned off.

The pictures above contrast how the day went weatherwise.

The Dorbrook ride is usually about 50 to 60 miles. Since I ride to the start I usually end up with 7o plus miles. At the finish my computer said that I had completed 72 miles. It was a good ride and I am getting the sense of how to ride with a group. I think the real skill is in dealing with the multiple personalities that show up for the rides. I generally try to let the comments roll off me. I find it is better just to keep my mouth shut rather than respond negatively.

I have never rode with the Allenwood group although many of the riders also ride the Holmdel and Dorbrook Park rides. In fact I heard one of the other riders describe me as one of the Dorbrook folks. It is always nice to belong.

Before the start of the ride two of the riders who know me took me aside and give me the lay of the land. They told me not to go out too hard and to stay at the back of the pack so that I did not risk the rath of the other regulars. I kind of took it as a compliment since I do have the tendency to go out hard. However, I am learning my lesson and I have embraced the concept of conserving energy.

Both the Dorbrook and Allenwood rides stopped at the same store to fill water bottles. A couple of guys on Honda Sports Motorcyles pulled in and it turned out that everyone was all friends. The picture above shows the all the different bikers coming together.

At first I had a hard time with the concept of stopping in the middle of the ride. However, I am embracing this concept as well. I stayed with the A group (the A- riders turned off and got to the store quicker) and got involved with a group of riders that moved along at a good clip. I ended up dropping off during a series of technical turns that were a little too slipper for me to negotiate at 30 MPH. Another rider was back with me. We were going to make an attempt to catch up but then we ended up riding groupetto.

The Allenwood ride requires me to drive to the start. A concept that I am not that thrilled with but I definitely see the advantage of riding with a group. If I can get out of bed early enough next weekend I am going to try and make both rides. I may even have to join the Atlantic Bicycle Club

Total miles for the weekend was 72 on Saturday and 57 on Sunday. I think this is my upper limit. Monday is going to be a rest (gym) day.


Michael said...

How did you know when you were good enough to ride with a group? I just got a Cannondale Capo Single Speed and love it to death. I feel I can ride miles and miles on it, but don't want to get involved in a group and discover i'm too slow for them. I'm a very experienced mountain biker and can certainly hold my own on the trail. The road, however, i'm not so confident with. In your experience, what is the pace they go at?

Flametop59 said...

Hi Michael,

I rode with a group on the Langster for a month or so. I then decided to get a full road bike and that is what I have rode most of the summer. Riding a single speed with full road bikes is not that much fun. It would be better to get a group of single speeders to go out instead. I busted a spoke on my road bike today so tomorrow I am back on the single speed.