Monday, July 21, 2008

Dropped again

On Saturday I went on the Wilderness Perk ride, some of the usual suspects were there, including Dan T., Dave R., Doug, Barry, Todd, Mike, and a couple of others. One lady showed up with a Trek 7100 hybrid, a big rack and trunk bag, and a lock that looked like it weighed about 8 pounds. She was expecting a no-drop social ride, and looked a little out of place. I wonder if one of the bike stores is advertising this ride - I don't think GPBC has it on their ride list.

We decided to go to Cortland, and I led the group out 14th street, feeling pretty good keeping the pace about 18-19 mph with just a very slight headwind. On 77 we eventually were reduced to a group of five - me, Dave, Doug, Barry, and Todd. The rest either didn't keep pace or had other plans for their route. I was able to stay with the group out to Cortland although the pace picked up to a pretty steady 20-21 mph. I did fall off the back once out by Princeton after taking too long of a pull (I'll never learn), but they slowed a little to wait for me - nice guys.

We rested at Cortland like usual, and then headed out to Hallam. This is where I got into trouble. Right about when I dropped back to take the picture above, we were going at a pretty steady 23 mph pace, which continued to hold steady all the way back to 77 (hills be damned).

At least, the other four held it steady. As soon as we turned east to head back to 77, I blew up. I just couldn't hold that pace for that long. Dave was nice and waited for me at the corner, and we rode back to town together (complete with two flats for Dave in the space of about 5 minutes). He had already ridden about 80 miles that day, and didn't want to paceline his way back to town (I think he kept going after I split to go home so he could get in a century).

It would be nice if I could get strong enough to stay with these guys comfortably for an entire ride, but I just don't know if that is in the cards for me. To get significantly better, I would have to:

1) Put in more miles (definitely possible)
2) Do more structured training, i.e. intervals w/a heart rate moniter (unlikely)
3) Lose weight (definitely possible, but would mean quitting eating stuff like this)

(gratuitous Giordano's pic just for Gravy)

Or I could just quit worrying about it, ride for fun, try to never take a pull, and make everybody else feel faster by getting dropped on every ride :).


gravy said...

I was reading that until the pie caught my eye...

yes to whatever your question was... mmmmmm deep dish.... mmmmm

nicol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nicol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob K said...

Yeah, Gravy, just downloading that pic made me hungry.

Nicol, you're right, I just need to be patient and just keep working. Like you, I like a balance of easier fun rides like we all did on the 4th, and occasionally trying to keep up with the fast folks (although it seems that most of the rides I've been on lately have been rather quick).

I just feel guilty sometimes when somebody feels the need to stay back from the group to ride with me - although I do enjoy the company, I don't want to mess up their ride.

BTW, that 23 mph speed was more going up an incline just south of Hallam than up a real hill. I did end up averaging about 19 mph for the entire ride, though.

kevinW said...

Bob, you forgot option no. 4) only go on group rides with KevinW so you will be gauranteed not to get dropped alone.

nicol said...

Bob, you don't mess up anyone's ride. You're fun to be with!

And, I deleted what I said because I thought I might have been too opinionated and I don't like to be that way. I thought I'd tell ya in person instead.

Here's pretty much what I said:

You have to start somewhere. These guys didn't get that fast yesterday. They've been working on it for a long time. But, if you're getting dropped a lot, that's frustrating. Sometimes I feel like I am working like a madwoman, only to look over and see someone like Gravy or Kim, or Janna barely breathing. So, I know what you're saying.

But, then I have to remind myself that they've been at it a lot longer than me and in Janna's case, she's 10 years younger too. Gravy's just a freak of nature on his bike.

nicol said...


kevinW said...

Let it all out Nicol!

Seriously, though, good post. My rule of thumb: If I have to kill myself just to keep up for the whole ride, it just isn't enjoyable. Yes, it's good to push yourself occasionally, but the bottom line is I enjoy being on the bike and getting exercise while hanging with some cool people -- that's what it's all about for me.

Chin up, Bob. They'll be better days, Grasshopper.

Bob K said...

Nicol, I saw your original posts before you deleted them - they certainly weren't too opinionated (and that's what all this is, anyway, is opinions).

I just need to be patient - easy for me to do with others, not so easy for me to be patient with myself.

Kevin, I agree with your comment 100% - it's all about having fun and hanging out for me as well.

Bob K said...

Gravy, pizza envy can be a destructive thing, you may want to seek counseling.

Continuing on the food subject (maybe I need to change this blog title to Food-n-Bikes), my wife and I went to Heidelbergs on Sunday night for a post concert meal, and they do have the Versus network. The bartender said it would be no problem to put the Tour de France on their TV's - and Wednesday night is the final big Alp stage of the Tour. What do you guys think of making that our ride destination Wednesday?

kevinW said...

Sounds like a great plan Bob.

gravy said...

Bobk, I've eyed Giodano's website many a times... You can order them through the internets... I just haven't pulled the trigger yet.

c_c_rider said...

gravy, it's not as hard as you think. it's just about learning to be efficient. most beginner/novice riders end up working more than they should because they don't know how to ride efficiently and just need to work on a few things. even some who have been riding for years still ride inefficiently.

1. make sure your position on the bike is good (with the proper saddle height so your pedal stroke is efficient. up top make sure your upper body is comfortable but at the same time stretched out, which allows you to breath better and it is more aero and hence faster). change out the stem size if you need to.
2. technique. always ALWAYS try to save energy. riding smoothly (not weaving all over the place), staying relaxed and breathing well, and always riding in the draft when you aren't taking your turn up front, that saves energy. you can't dilly dally in the wind because it wastes energy that you will need later when the pace picks up. and when you do take a pull, don't overdue it. just take a short pull and then pull right off and get right back in the draft as soon as possible. many get all gungho and surge ahead when they take the front. it speeds everyone else up and messes up the pace, then the slower people in back panic and start thinking 'uh oh...i'm going to get dropped.. oh well' and ease up rather than concentrating on sticking to the wheel in front of them. a gap opens up (which is harder to close the bigger it gets) and it only compounds the physical (and mental) effort needed to get back on and they drop off sooner than they would have had they rode smarter. on a group ride everyone has to work together, so the guys taking pulls need to work on keeping the pace steady, not surging, and keeping things smooth while those in back need to concentrate on saving energy by sticking close. that way the group will stay together longer and everyone benefits.

oh yeah, be sure to BREATHE! many riders tense up when they are about to blow. that's the worst time for that. you have to stay relaxed and try to control your breathing. when things get intense (like when someone ups the pace or on a hill) just tell yourself to relax your upper body and breathe (deep breaths... not short fast ones) and concentrate on staying in the draft and you'll be able to hang better.

just keep riding and you'll get better and better. as for weight loss, the more you ride and the better eating habits you have (try to cut down on the junk food, easier said than done that's for sure, i know that all too well!) you'll start dropping pounds, and that will increase your efficiency.

Bob K said...


Thanks for the advice - but be aware it wasn't Gravy who was getting dropped - I (BobK) was the droppee.

Gravy never gets dropped - unless he chooses to. He is superbiker.