Group Rides and More!

The thing about cycling

I’ve encountered two types of cyclists so far. The first group is an awkward group. They tend to keep to themselves, ride by themselves and have no real drive to get out and do cycling things (mainly sit at the local bike shop and chat bikes) with other cyclists. This group is probably either really into the solo endurance rides or are really socially awkward.

The second group is the the group group. Just the opposite of the first group, they are drawn toward the group rides and interacting with every person who might even just vaguely mention they’d like to get into cycling.

Yes, these are extremes and most people don’t fall right into these groups. We pretty much have some of the traits of either group on different aspects of our cycling lives. I can claim that I am socially awkward at times. I’ve been so anti-social for the last 5 years, I forgot how to act in crowds. But, I’m getting there. I also have a tendency to only want to talk about my rides and my bike with other people, regardless of their interest in the subject. But, let’s face it, cycling is greater than any other sport out there – something for everyone.

Meet the Santos Group

I bring this up to explain the group I’ve been riding with lately and the 4 main players I’ve been trying to attach my bike to in order to improve my own riding as well as contribute more to the group.

First, there’s the enthusiast with a patience level beyond most people in this world. He’s excited all the time, so long as he’s on his steed, which he loves more than most things in his life (bar his wife and kids, I’m sure). He’s willing to talk about cycling on any level to pretty much anyone. He’ll make sure people show up to the rides and be the first to joke about wussing out if you’re not there. I’ve spent some time with this guy on the bigger rides as well as the smaller rides, and I’m beginning to see his skill level at its true potential. For the most part, he makes sure people are included and that no one drops. But get him in a smaller group and his power and speed are evident. I saw this for the first time the other day and was really impressed. Not that there’s many hills to climb around here, but he can hit those hills pretty hard. He races as well, and that’s something that I may or may not be interested in. Rest assured, he’ll be the first person I go to in order to make the first step.

Second, there’s the encyclopedia with a skill in the saddle that makes you feel like a kid with training wheels. This guy pulls at a steady pace of 25 mph and doesn’t sweat until mile 10. He’s quiet, but if you engage him, he’ll tell you everything he knows, which is a LOT. This guy’s life is all about the bike. He rides centuries every week and still has time to get in another 100+ miles in 3 or 4 more rides. I try every once in a while to sit behind him in the group, just to see how he handles erratic and steady paces. He’s also a crazy sprinter, so if he goes, I try to go after him. Even after all those miles in the week, he can still lay down the hammer pretty hard.

Third, we meet the numbers guy who also happens to be an amazing multi-tasker. He rides in our groups on his tri-bike and can also pull like a monster. He can pretty much tell you everything you need to know about optimal cadence, power, position, pace and nutrition. He’s part of the reason I felt my century ride was easier than expected (along with the first guy). He’s a multi-tasker in that he knows what’s happening on his Garmin, as well as everyone’s else’s, even if you don’t have one. He’s taught me the most about riding in a group and I enjoy riding with him the most due to the fact that if he feels you losing juice, he’ll go ahead and pull without even being asked. Then, he’ll tell you (in a very cool way) where you went wrong and how to get better. He’s that guy on your shoulder telling you “you can do it!”

Last, there’s the other guys. Not to belittle them in any way – these guys are just as important to the group as the three above (as well as me). Right now, I’m a part of the other guys. We don’t necessarily contribute anything spectacular to the group, be we contribute in our own ways, whatever that might be. As of late, since I’m riding less due to my work schedule, my energy levels are pretty high and I try to help people who’ve dropped catch back up without the main group losing pace. I’m also trying to increase my pull potential, since I find that really one hell of a blast. I actually only recently got to experience this (at least on a good level) and can’t get enough of it.

And there it is – we had 14 people in our group the week before Christmas. It was a blast! The more I ride with them, the more I love it! Every chance I get, I’ll make the time to drive 30 minutes to meet them for a spin.

Steed #2

I’m still coming up with a name for her, but it’s going to be something fancy. She’s light, she’s got a sexy geometry and an even sexier profile. She’s….my Giant Propel!

Let me just say this – carbon is ridiculous. My aluminum frame Schwinn was a great bike, don’t ever think otherwise. But this frame is responsive like nobody’s business – and light to boot! For the first ride, I felt like I was kicking her all over the road. Second was a little better but still out of sorts. It’s been about 4 rides now and she’s feeling more normal with each pedal.

I would also like to say just this, she’s fast! My acceleration is quite ridiculous compared to what it was on the Schwinn and I’m fairly certain my speed is increasing quite substantially with each ride (I’ll talk more about this in a minute).

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with this gal. She’s a right fine steed, indeed.

There’s also a thing about phone apps

I use my iPhone 5 for tracking my miles and used to for speed as well. I gave up on that a while ago as some of you might recall. But, with my introduction into group rides, I’ve had the fortune of comparing numbers with people using Garmin’s. The differences are quite amazing.

Ride #1  -17 miles

  • Garmin speed – 21.1 mph
  • iPhone speed – 18.9 mph

Ride #2 – 18 miles

  • Garmin speed – 21.3 mph
  • iPhone speed – 19.1 mph

I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the iPhone’s GPS calculating the distances. My phone’s distance were always out of whack, but the time is the same (I sure hope Apple has mastered time measurement). But I’m inclined to believe the Garmin based purely on the fact that it uses a speedometer (duh).

In short – use a Garmin. As soon as I am able, one’s getting installed on my stem.

4 responses to “Group Rides and More!

  1. You notice how that carbon composite frame smooths the pavement out too? That was my favorite part of jumping from aluminum to carbon fiber.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely. My carbon TT bike is noticeably more comfortable and more responsive than my alloy framed road bike, even though there’s not that much price difference between them both. The Propel is a cracking machine and I’m sure you’ll love it! I love the hidden front and aero rear brake. Nice touches.

    Liked by 1 person

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