Monday, August 8, 2011

Did Aquaman just pass me??

It was a wet nasty one at the 16th Annual Hodges Village Dam race on Sunday... but I'll tell you all about that when I finally get all the gritty sand/mud out of every crevasse (I'm talking bike and body).  The HiFi lived to make it through, though it sounded like it wanted to die - my brakes weren't so lucky....

So what will you hear about today??  How about the Thursday Night Social Ride over at Burlington Landlocked Forest!!!

Bottom line, it was sweet!

My first group ride and it looked to be well attended.  There were certainly the "elites" out there ready to get that race pace going.  I wasn't sure where I would fall in with the rest of the riders, and honestly - with a race coming - I wanted a mellower ride to stretch out the legs and get on some of those trails I had seen in Thom P's video.  I signed in and waited to get started.  We would be breaking into 4 groups... the FAST, the ladies, and the intermediates (slow and fast).  The intermediates (where I settled in) was a large group, so we headed out together and used the first bit of new singletrack to weed out the fast and slow and separated from there.  The pace was good and I could have gone with either group I think, but I chose to lay back and take the easier group.

It was strange riding in a group at first because I had to pace myself off of the rider in front of me - which both pulled and slowed me at times.  Off the bat I did have to pass a rider who was struggling on a hill and I wondered what the protocol was for group rides and passing... it wasn't a race so I did wait quite a while before feeling like I HAD to get in front of him, and took him in a wide open location... but still, I wasn't sure if that was kosher.  So from there whenever we stopped I tried to position myself in the top half/third to ensure I'd be able to keep pace but not be tripping over someone.

Not to say that I didn't trip others up myself, I'm sure I did as I did hit a snag here or there.  But it was a great ride overall.  Got my sweat on and hit some sweet trails I had never been on before.  It was strange to come across the other groups from time to time... just lines of riders passing each other going in every direction.  Overall I think the ride leaders did a great job in routes and spreading us out so there weren't traffic jams between the groups.

I am looking forward to this Thursday - hopefully I'll be able to make it back out again.  Group rides are definitely a necessity going forward though.  A great opportunity to keep the pace up and not worry about routes - just follow and ride.  And with the various groupings available, a great workout/training for racing.  I'll have to jump in on them early next season.

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