Sunday, October 20, 2013

Paceline Riding 101: Rule1. Don't Stare At What Is Right In Front Of You

Swim Hole - Lake Pontchartrain

Everyone knows you can't believe what you read on the internet or in emails. That goes for things which sound erudite and completely believable as much as for things that are nonsensical, like this email I got yesterday while trying to decide where to ride today:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: giro
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2013 17:53:43 -0600
From: Luke Ponseti <>
To: David J. L'Hoste <>
CC: <>

Vega will at the giro

Ray is doing Tajik
I have a flat, hope to have a good ride

 I won't say I relied on this message to choose a Sunday ride, but I can say I believe what was trying to be communicated was that Vega would do the Giro and Ray wouldn't. It is also my firm belief  that Tajik is neither a town in Iran nor an Uzbekistani table dancer. I think, and don't ask me for any basis grounded in reason, Tajik translates into the Tour of Jefferson.

 I opted for the Giro for two principal reasons: 1. I turned 61 this week and one goal is to complete the Giro for as long as I can, so with yesterday's cyclocross race and today's Tour of Jeff, I thought the Giro would be sparsely attended and it would be a good day to complete the ride in my 62nd year (taking any pressure off for twelve months); 2. Vega will at the giro.

Actually there was a third no less important reason: I planned to park at my friend George's house near the Lake on Killdeer, offering a chance to tell him hello and maybe get the cold beer he usually leaves iced in his mailbox for ride's end.

I sat atop the rise that Rich will not cross and waited for the group. At 7:08 a guy older than I with a teenage girl, both in NOBC kits and both unknown to me, rode by and said hello. By 7:15, although the view of the sun rising over the swim hole was awesome, I was getting impatient and decided to head east. Near Elysian Fields I heard chatter behind me and it was six riders, four on tri-bikes: Chip Porter, a couple of guys I have never seen, and three very fit women. You know the ones. As Chip passed he said, "This is the Giro."

Well, it was a beautiful day  and a beautiful ride in spite of the 20 mph NE winds. I might, however, implore someone, Robin R. or Kenny B., someone, to teach triathletes about echelons. You would think that people so bent on overcoming wind friction they sit all squinched up on the front of their saddles would learn. And while Robin or Kenny are at it, perhaps I could benefit from a refresher on Rule #1 of paceline riding: Don't stare at what is directly in front of you. All day I was having trouble being mindful of that basic tenet.

The ride was plenty fast  with a max speed of 31 and change coming in on Chef and with sprints at the usual spots contested by Chip, a guy on a road bike from out of town (he didn't seem to know the route), and a guy named Henry who put me off slightly with his first comment to me, which was to ask whether my son rode the Giro. He wasn't being unkind, at least I don't think he was, and he was certainly young enough to be my son, but it's sort of like being asked, "Are you up for this ride, pops?"

Anyway, it was a good ride, although I kept thinking that if Vega wasn't there he must be at the Tour of Jeff, and I might be missing some great photo opportunity. But I trust there will be plenty of cell phones at the ready to capture any incident involving Vega on the Westbank.

(I found George's mailbox empty. Apparently he and Bud were on the road from Oxford and the disappointing loss by LSU.)

Source: Wikipedia


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