Bring three and four pence we're going to a dance...
This morning was my first ride with the cycle team in preparation for the Lake Tahoe Century in June, which is called "America's Most Beautiful Ride". The training ride was a 50 mile loop from Los Gatos to Alpine Road, with a couple of good hills a long the way, which provided 3,847 feet of elevation gain.
I meet up with my group which comprised of 8 riders including the coach. The goal of the cycle team is to actually ride as a team pulling each other along in a pace line. There is a lot of skill involved in riding as a pack (peloton) and the margin for error is small, if a rider makes a mistake an accident taking out several riders can occur, safety is of the up most importance.
Due to safety reason Aero bars are not used while pace lining as they do not allow immediate access to brakes. I have to admit there were a couple of times where instinct told me "use Aero bars", it's kind of like when Obi-Wan Kenobi says "use the force, Luke!", yet I am strong willed and did not give in to the temptation :-) Thus not endangering my fellow riders.
The joys of pace lining, the biggest obstacle in the way of the cyclist is air resistance in of him/her, remove that and cycling becomes a whole easier in terms of effort needed. I should note pace lining is illegal in Triathlons, hence it is something I have avoided over the past year.
I quickly learned that keeping in formation can be very tough, it is all about staying at an even pace and not constantly accelerating and decelerating, doing this causes a concertina effect in the pace line.
The second thing to remember is not to drop the rest of the group when leading the pack. Speed increases must be done gradually so that the stays to together.
It took a while to get use to these concepts, I did unfortunately drop the group a couple times, as in any aspect of life people just don't like to be dropped.
Finally communication is key, a couple times during ride I heard a couple people shout from behind and I had no clue what they were saying, turns out it was something about a gap? :-)
Ride Details (click here to view on Google Earth):