IT WAS A GREAT DAY…….
….for our annual Spring Ride; the weather could not have been more perfect. An event like this is quite an undertaking and needs the combined efforts of many people, so a lot of “Thank You’s” are in order.
Thanks to Stan Huie and John Summer for spending about 6 hours marking routes. Thanks again to Stan for helping with the shopping, obtaining the chafing dishes, filling the coolers with ice and water, preparing food and supplies for distribution, and helping with clean up. Also thanks again to John for running SAG during the event.
Thank you to Treasurer Dennis Krepp & family for running one of our 2 rest stops, thank you to Morgan Jenkins and Karen Bohn for running things at the church, and Steve Jakubowski for handling membership duties. I understand that we signed up 8 new members! Also thank you to Secretary Robert Morris for helping me set up the canopy at my rest stop and hanging around to help with clean-up.
Thanks to everyone who brought a dessert or side dish. Congratulations to Erika Shaughnessy for winning the dessert contest – she gets a free renewal to her membership.
I also want to express my appreciation to Sean Galligan, from Revolution Cycles, who was on hand to perform bike inspections and adjustments. I saw a number of bikes in line for service so it seemed that a number of people took advantage of the opportunity. Thanks to Ben Stanfield, manager of Revolution Cycles (Stafford), for making Sean available to us.
Lastly, thank you to my wife, Marla, for contributing enormously to our rest stop while I “supervised,” for making 5 varieties of muffins that I think were a pretty big hit, for helping with shopping, preparing containers of supplies for both rest stops and the church, and clean-up.
I hope I haven’t forgotten anybody.
The contributions of all these people helped ensure the success of this event!
By Bob Broeking
I am not known for being particularly fast…and I am not known for being particularly slow. But what I am known for by those who ride behind me, besides serving as a great wind break is that I maintain a leader’s pace that rarely causes the dreaded accordion effect to the riders at the same fitness and speed level behind me.
The accordion effect happens when the leader changes their pace often, first speeding up and then slowing down causing EVERYONE behind them to do the same thing. Besides frustrating the riders behind them, it becomes dangerous with over lapped wheels, and sudden braking and accelerations. Before long the only result can be someone in the pace line will go down and possibly take others with them.
Here are some tips on what I do when I am leading from the front on a typical club ride:
If I know the group can maintain an 18-20 mph pace and stay together I simply set my body speedometer on 19mph, 1 mph faster than the 18 MPH average we want to maintain. This way the leader is always pulling away and the riders behind must pedal to stay at the same pace while still having room to coast as they benefit from the draft.
I resist the urge to speed up going up hills, preferring to keep the same constant speed and gradually slow down as the grade and effort increases. When going down hills I continue pedaling (also using the soft pedal technique at times) as the leader must descend quickly enough to allow riders behind to also accelerate for safety. Descending at 24-25 mph is quite reasonable and safe if the group is capable of 18 mph on the flat.
That’s the physical part of how to do it, now the mental part. The leadership of the pace line rotates often with different riders pulling through. Each may have different ideas on how fast to pull through or how fast to lead. Sometimes you will find riders who think the faster they can take off when the leader pulls off, the better…
I let these riders go…literally.
When I am third in line following a good leader at an 18-19mph average and the second rider in line becomes the new leader and speeds the pace to 22 or 24 mph, I let the rider gap the entire pace line and I keep the pace line at a steady 19mph.
Sooner or later the rider who sprinted out will turn around and see no one is following them and usually slow down and tuck to the pace line again or lead at a more reasonable speed. I also never increase my speed when taking over from a good leader up front; I stay on plan and come through at 19mph so no one behind me has to increase their speed. That’s why I call it the mental piece; you have to be mentally tough enough NOT to follow a faster rider, or speed up if that is not the plan!
Lastly a leader must know when to pull off… if the avg pace is 18 mph the leader must pull off the front when they can no longer maintain that magic 19 mph number. If a leader’s pace drops because of being on the front too long and fatigue has set in, guess what starts? The accordion effect! Communication in a pace line is key; knowing what pace everyone is comfortable with and working together to maintain it is will make for an enjoyable ride.
Try it next time you are leading from the front, the riders behind you will appreciate it!
Author’s Caveat: This article does not apply to racing, training for racing, or spirited individual competitive riding. What this article addresses is a typical club ride with riders in your group at the same fitness and speed level, whether that average speed level is 20 mph or 10 mph.
Why should you be a member of Fredericksburg Cyclists:
- to support safe cycling and to help make our area a more cycling friendly community.
- to participate in area rides with club insurance (non-members only covered for first ride).
- to be a part of classes, talks and workshops on cycling, maintenance, fitness, nutrition and other bike-related topics.
- to stay informed on cycling-related activities in our area and be in contact with other riders.
- to receive discounts at area bike shops and other sporting goods retailers. (For many, this one item will pay for your membership)
- to participate in social activities with other cyclists.
- to receive discounted or free registration for some rides such as The Cannonball Century and The Spring Outreach Ride.
Membership is only $15 for an individual, $20 for a family and $10 for full time students. You can join through either of the two options below:
Mail-In Membership Application