Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's a Race - Always!

Have you ever experienced a training day, when you were racing instead of training?

I hardly train in groups. Most of the time, it's just easier that way. I am pretty much self motivated or motivated by my next race, so I really don't seek training buddies for accountability purposes. Without training partners, you can switch around your schedule five times a day, don't have to worry about matching speeds and paces and where to meet up... As I said, training alone is just easier most of the time. With that being said, I am sometimes just sick and tired to ride by myself (I am fine with running and swimming by myself) and therefore end up in group rides fairly often.

If the group consists of my team mates, chances are, that things are pretty civil and people just put down the hammer every now and then, to just shake out the legs... It's training, we all follow a plan, so we train and don't race.

And then there are group rides put on by bicycle shops, the Donaldson Center rides, some other group rides individuals set up.

Even with a projected pace and several different pace groups, you normally still end up with a pretty diverse group of people, that you don't know and they don't know you. There is always the dude with the fancy bike sporting the race wheels on, there is always somebody with a mirror mounted to their helmet (I get it's for safety, but boy it looks dorky), always somebody with a jersey of a really difficult ride (could be me, that's what I got my AOMM jersey for!) on and there is always the person on the tri bike and that's typically me or another lost triathlete soul.

As I mentioned... This was supposed to be a group ride and while we stand around waiting for it to get rolling, we size each other up. Who is the beginner, who knows their stuff, who looks fast/ slow/ like they can't hold a line... The usual... And then the race is on! What you didn't know that? It's always a race if more than one person is out on a bike... There is no such thing than a leisurely group ride!!

I kid, I kid. Partially.

I don't want to scare anybody away from group rides, but some rides are definitely more beginner friendly then other, no matter what speed was advertised.

The only reason, why I am writing about this, is a recent group ride I did. A ride which I really enjoy doing, despite the occasional knucklehead. I won't get into details, because I am already fired up enough about that one.

We had a pretty civil ride for the first 20-25 miles and then the guy at the front of the pace line put the pedal to the metal. I was second and line and you can be sure, that I won't be the one getting dropped as the only girl in the group. Around 3 miles from home, the guy rotated to the back and I was in the front and my ego wouldn't allow me to slow the group down, so I pushed it as hard as I could possible push it. The route then went down a hill and three of the guys (we dropped the rest of the group - HA!) that stayed in the pace line were able to pass me when the road turned back up. Darn you gravitiy, for me not having enough momentum going up the hill faster at the beginning. I caught one guy back on the hill, but the others I couldn't anymore....

Yes, it sure was racing instead of training, but I guess that kind of racing is good training after all.


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