Pick me! Pick me!
OK, Genie, we can go out today. I've got a 60-mile steady pace ride. Yesterday was a hard effort ride on Callie (my tri bike) so it's your turn.
YAY, I'm ready to go. When are we going, huh, huh, huh?
Well, as soon as I load you up with some fluids and fuel. Gotta pump up your tires too.
Genie, my new road bike, patiently waits. It's her first day out in Orlando after having arrived last week from Tucson. The forecast is calling for a partly cloudy day, 70-80 degs, winds 7-13mph. A good day for riding!
The garage door opens and that rascal is nearly out the door before I can get on her. But we go only halfway down the block before I turn back.
Huh? What -- why are we turning around?
Your seat is a bit too high. (Genie whimpers)
Dave makes a quick adjustment back in the garage and we're off again. Genie is beaming. A new neighborhood to roll in, new sights to see and new bikes to meet!
The first one we see is a road bike around mile 6. The rider is a solo female. She's just cruising along and we pass with a courteous "Good morning. Have a great ride." Soon thereafter, though, I see a pace line of 4 guys coming up. I wonder how Genie will react and grip her handle bars a little tighter.
The leader passes on the left and compliments her, "Pretty bike!" "That one's nicer," I say, referring to Dave's new time trial bike, which has the same paint scheme as his road bike but cool HED tri-spoke wheels. Dave recognizes the leader is Joe from Bike Works, whom we spoke to the day before about our bike pump not working properly. He looks pretty much like every other roadie to me but then I notice the Giant road bike (one of the brands that store sells) and figure out who he is.
Crap, the warm-up is over ...
Instead of letting them pass by us, Dave starts picking up the pace to ride alongside Joe. Genie's gears and wheels began spinning faster. The guys that were behind the pace line leader are now behind me. My heart rate starts climbing.
Whoa, Genie! These other guys are not probably riding 60 miles. Slow down for goodness sake!
She ignores me. She knows she's made for group riding and instinctively tries to keep up with the others. A couple miles later I'm already feeling the burn in my legs and my HR was nearing 170 (the HR I tried to maintain during yesterday's hard ride!). I began to worry what was going to happen later in our ride. None of that seemed to bother Genie, however, who rolled on fresh as a daisy.
At the next intersection, mile 10, Joe and the other 3 guys regrouped while Dave and I continued on ourselves. Whew, we can ride our own pace now. Or so I thought ...
Within a mile, Joe and one other guy blow past us. We try to hold off the other two slower guys but Dave is having some difficulty sustaining the power he wants and tells me that he wants to stop after the next major intersection to drop his seat down a bit. Genie gets impatient, decides to see how close she can get to the two guys ahead and takes off past Dave. I'm down in the drops hanging on for dear life!
We make it through the intersection, pull over and stop to wait. The other two guys that were ahead of me are just circling around waiting too. Then Dave rolls by with the two slower guys in tow and motions for me to continue. That bastard is not stopping after all!!
I now have to hammer to catch up to everyone (Lesson learned: Better to keep spinning slowly while waiting rather than stop completely). Genie settles in back of the pace line moving at 22-23 mph. A mile or so later, the two slower guys get dropped but Dave decides to go around them and Genie follows.
Dave, we're going to regret this later! No, Genie. NOOOOO!!!
(No answer from either)
At mile 18, thankfully, we reached a T intersection where we turned left while the other guys went right. Finally, FINALLY, Dave and I settled into our normal long ride pace. And, luckily, the damage was not as bad as I thought it might be. We finished our 60-miler OK, though the second half of our ride was mostly into the wind and not as fun. Why is there seldom a pace line when you want one?
All in all, a good first day out with Genie but she's going to have to learn some discipline around other bikes!
(Note: Four years ago, I didn't know what a pace line was. I was struggling to just ride in a straight line and clip out of my pedals!)