Utah Velo Club Training and Rules
High Speed Shimmy Information
When going down hill at high speed if your bike starts to shimmy do three things immediately. 1- Clamp your knees onto the top tube of the bike. 2- Relax your grip on the bars. 3- Apply the brakes gently and slow down. To reduce the chances of Shimmy Lower your center of gravity by putting most of your weight on the pedals instead of the bars and saddle and on turns put your weight on the outside pedal (right pedal if turning left and vice-versa).
This shimmy can start from several sources related to speed. Cross wind, rough road, rider is cold and shivering, arms are stiff and shaking, and rider becomes frightened and grips the bars and the body becomes rigid.
Control your decent by staying below the speed that frightens you, stay relaxed, absorb rough spots with your legs and arms, be aware of places where cross winds are common and slow down before entering them. Don't risk an accident by trying to stay with someone who is going faster than you are comfortable going. Everyone has a threshold of control and comfort... stay within your own level.
Does Snowshoeing Help Cycling?
Question: Snowshoeing has become the hot crosstraining sport among the local cyclists in my area, but I don't see the connection to riding a bike. What's the carryover to cycling? -- Tammi W.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I love snowshoeing! Unlike cross-country skiing, it has a shallow learning curve. You don't need much technique to get an effective workout. Snow conditions can be marginal, and you can do it in all types of terrain -- even through the woods. Don't try that on skis unless you're skilled.
I snowshoe a lot where I live in western Colorado. I think it has at least five direct benefits for cyclists.
---Endurance. Treks of three or four hours train the body to burn fat for energy while sparing its muscle fuel, glycogen.
---Weight control. When you snowshoe with poles, long hikes burn calories at an even greater rate than long rides. You're using upper-body muscle mass much more than when riding.
---Upper-body conditioning. Use poles and you'll get a great workout for your arms, shoulders and back.
---Leg strength. Pulling a snowshoe out of the snow and pushing it forward for the next stride is similar to the motion of pulling the pedal up the back of the stroke and pushing it over the top. When you're snowshoeing uphill, you'll feel how well it works the quads.
---Variety. If you ride all winter, you may not be as enthusiastic about cycling as you should be once spring arrives. Snowshoeing keeps you fit while making you eager to get back on the bike.
Using the Echelon Paceline.
The regular paceline is just a straight single file line behind a lead rider and the lead changes as the one in front gets tired and pulls to the left and drops back behind.... The Echelon is a double file paceline with constant rotation. The direction of rotation depends on the wind direction. If the wind is coming from your LEFT the rotation is COUNTER-CLOCKWISE. If from your RIGHT the rotation is CLOCKWISE. Say the wind is from your right... the line of riders on the right side are shielding those on the left from the wind so the left side is moving up as the right side is slower. As the lead person on the left side gets in front of the person on the right the rider moves to the right side paceline. As the last rider on the right side falls behind the last rider on the left side that person moves to the left paceline. So it is a constant rotation of the two pacelines as the left side moves faster than the right because of the shielding from the wind. Everyone exerts about the same amount of energy because of their position and no one should pickup the pace when out front unless all riders can keep pace. The tighter the group the more efficient the ride. This technique can be used with only three riders. It can be practiced with two just to get the feel of it. It is also a lot of fun and makes the time and the miles go by faster.
This weeks tips are geared toward racing. Little details make a huge difference between you and your opponents. I believe that the more informed, mentalty and physically we are, the more accomplished we will be.
Talk! Riders/teammates need to talk during races to let each other know how you feel and what you need. By using both your voice and physical gestures, you can coordinate with your teammates better. Some teams actually use a little code language.
What talk do you use? Here are a few:
1. "UP!" means speed-UP
a. This is best used when doing a lead-out, the front riders do not need to look back and see if you are still on their wheel, because the rear riders will say "UP."
b. Or, "UP" is used in team pace setting tempo.
c. If you are at the front and cannot increase speed pull to the left and let the pace pickup with those who want it to increase.
2. "DOWN" means slow-DOWN
a. Same uses as above, but to tell your teammates to slow down.
b. You do not need to be dropped by your teammates when pace setting or leading out, just say "DOWN" to keep the line together. If you can't take your turn in the lead of a pace line, tell the people who are dropping back from the lead to pull in front of you. Stay in the draft and hang on to the pack.
3. Tell your teammates that "I'm fried" or "I'm dead" or something so that your teammates know you do not have the juice/strength to continue at that moment.
4. Make sure you know who is feeling good. Which of your teammates are ready for the crunch time.
5. When you are relinquishing the lead of a pace line, indicate by voice or hand signal that you are coming out of the lead and (generally) pull out to the left permitting the line to continue without serving around you. It is the lead rider's obligation to ensure that others are not put in a position of reading your mind as to your intentions.
6. A pace line runs smoother and faster when everyone takes relatively short (no longer than one minute) pulls. Try it: you'll like it!
7. When you jump on the back end of a passing pace line and you are tucked in, announcing "On your wheel" lets the rider in front of you know that he is no longer the last man in line.
8. In a long pace line, if you are the last man in line, inform a rider dropping to the rear that you are the "last man." Since the line is moving faster than the rider coming off of the front, the warning enables the rider to start picking up their speed to match that of the line.
9. When riders have to stop on the road, raise an arm high as an alert to other cyclists and motorists.
10. Basic hand signals help other riders and motorists (especially in conjunction with verbal warnings). Left, Right and Slow should be known and used by all of us.
11. Pointing to objects such as glass, rocks, bottles, potholes, etc. as you announce them assists close riders.
12. Pointing to your intended change, as you shift position left or right in a group, can help riders back to make room or to increase effort to catch a wheel you may be leaving.
This Week's Tip: I'm not an expert on training matters but I try to keep my ear to the ground when others are talking or writing about it. Here are some that I got from a coach last summer.
1. Stay away from soda totally, 24/7. The carbonation saturates into your muscles causing additional fatigue. Water and sports drinks are good (Gatorade is my favorite). Some say that the acids in fruit juices are unhealthy, this is generally true, but the nutrients and vitamins gained are natural and quickly absorbed. Stay away from juices before competition, the acids will upset your stomach.
2. Does your back hurt on longer rides or up hills? Try doing sit-ups. Sit-ups build the abdominal muscles, which will strengthen your back. You will find that you have better posture and more strength on the hills and sprints.
3. Make training goals. Each ride should have an objective. Make the ride an endurance ride, interval ride, sprint or time trialing session. Easy pedaling days are required too. With these goals pin-point a target heart rate. Quality training is much better than quantity training.
With tip #3 may I add that the spinning classes are intended to be pretty intense with the idea of keeping your heart rate above 75% of Max with spikes up to 100% of Max. Our Saturday rides are generally for social interaction and endurance with a few sprint intervals just for fun. We also practice group riding techniques.
This week's tip is one that has helped me a lot even though it seems so simple, logical, and instinctive. When I paid attention to how I was turning a corner it made a big difference to my control.
Here's the tip:
Want to take those turns faster? Then ALWAYS apply pressure on the outside pedal. The faster and tighter the turns are the more outside pedal pressure is needed to stay in control. By doing this, you are lowering the center of gravity. Have your outside pedal at the bottom of its stroke and lift off the saddle slightly for a smooth controlled turn. The closer to the ground that you have your weight touching the bike the better. If you keep your weight on the saddle and handle bars then your center of gravity is near the top of the bike and makes it more difficult to control and react to other riders in the turn. You want the center of gravity to be below the hub of your wheels and not on the top of the bike. If you can take turns and corners fast and smooth, you will leave your competitors struggling to catch up to you after each turn.
Balance yourself. Your balance on the bike is in your hips. When riding 10 mph or faster, your hips turn into the steering device of your bike, not your handlebars. Your hips are the center of gravity while riding, thus using your hips, subtly shift side to side to make movements on the road. When you ride in a large pack of 20 riders or more, you will need this smooth riding skill, or you WILL be labeled as a "squirrel" on the road.
Speaking of "SQUIRRELS": Another way to be labeled a "squirrel" besides not holding a straight line in a pack is to not have a constant energy flow to your pedals. If you have constant energy flow your speed will vary with the wind and the terrain just as it will affect all other riders. But if you pedal hard for a minute and then stop your pedal motion and coast, the poor rider sucking on your wheel will climb right up your back and will probably go down hard. The "squirrel" will probably survive without going down but the rider behind will be hurting. Don't be a "squirrel" because other riders will take you down on purpose just to teach you a lesson. The ethics of riding in a pack are enforced by other members of the pack. It is unethical to be a "squirrel". By the way, there are other names for riders who don't ride straight or don?t apply constant pressure to the pedals. "Jerk" is one that comes to mind but those are the only two words that can be stated in a family setting.
Some of the following is taken from an e-mail a member of our club sent me from another cycling group. I tend to agree with their thinking.
Group rides traditionally have been longer slow gatherings with a couple of general goals:
1. Long, low intensity base training;
2. Socialize... get to know other riders, make connections for smaller training rides, and make new riders feel welcome and promote the sport;
3. Never leave people behind. This means the stronger riders go back and pull people who have fallen off the back. The group slows or stops for slower riders, and helps people who flat or have mechanical problems.
If you don't get the workout you want then invite others that you meet in the group to go out after the ride and hammer away for an extra 60-80 miles. Heck, I might even go if invited.
During the winter, the more people we have, the warmer, safer, and better it will be to train on long rides at low intensity, as suggested by most cycling fitness experts. If you have not been out for fear of being dropped, please join us. If you are worried you will not get a good workout, please join us and add a hard ride before or after our ride. Large group rides are part of the joy of cycling. There will be short sprints for the hammer heads who want to participate but they will wait or come back to pick up the rest of us. We hope you will feel welcome to join us! Hope to see you Saturday.
Off season cycling recommendations vary from coach to coach but generally they all emphasize that longer rides during this time of the year be moderately low intensity. This means that your long rides range from 1.5 to 2.5 hours and occur at an intensity of ~60% VO2max or 65-70% max heart rate.
In speaking with masters racing cyclists, I have become aware that most have only so much time to dedicate to riding. While this applies to the racer, the same situation holds for the majority of non-racing cyclists. The classic training program has you building up your time on the bike by 10% per week to a maximally long week, then decreasing time and increasing the intensity. In a group familiar to me, master's age racers, most with families are capped at about 10 hours of riding/training/racing per week.
So, what do you do when you have the same size "time pie" all year long? I argue that you cut the pie into different pieces, depending on the phase of training. Around here, the racing season starts in March so the aerobic base building usually starts at the beginning of January. Assuming you have 10 hours per week and 4 or 5 days riding, I would start out at about 6 hours per week and add 1 hour/ week until you get to 10 hours total. All of this riding is at conversational pace and no ride should be more than 3 hours long. At this point, the time holds at 10 hours total, but the rides get longer so that you end up doing two 4-hour rides and two 1-hour rides during the week. You can transition in three weeks by increasing the long ride by 20 minutes per week.
Proper Treatment of Wounds by Chris Carmichael in VeloNews July 9, 2004
I wish I didn't know as much as I do about road rash. I wish I didn't still have scars on my hips, knees, arms, and back from the innumerable falls that came with being a professional cyclist. Unfortunately, I know all too well what it's like to leave a lot of skin on the roads of France, Italy, Belgium, the United States, etc. If you choose to be a cyclist, at any level of the sport, you have to be prepared to sacrifice some skin, and you have to know how to care for your wounds.
There were already a lot of riders sporting bandages at the start of Stage 6 this afternoon, and many more will be swathed with gauze and netting tomorrow. Following the normal small crashes during the course of a road stage of the Tour de France, the majority of the peloton was involved in a major pileup just inside the final kilometer. It remains to be seen if any riders suffered injuries that will keep them from starting tomorrow, but I can tell you that Lance Armstrong escaped with just some minor cuts and bumps.
Properly treating road rash (abrasions caused from sliding on pavement) plays a large role in a rider's ability to continue racing. Keeping wounds clean and bandaged prevents infection and accelerates healing. The Tour de France is hard on the immune system, and the added stress of open wounds can spell the beginning of the end by increasing a rider's susceptibility to a wide range of infections. Tonight, the soigneurs working at the Tour are going to be very busy, both bandaging wounds and working the soreness out of bruised and battered bodies.
Since road rash is a reality all cyclists have to face at some point, you too need to know how to deal with it. Before describing the steps for treating such abrasions, please be aware the recommendations adhere to Red Cross guidelines for treatment of skin abrasions, and I recommend consulting a health care professional for evaluation and treatment after crashes, even seemingly minor ones.
Steps for Treating Road Rash
1. After checking to make sure you aren't more seriously injured or at risk of being hit by a car or another cyclist, use a water bottle to rinse the affected area. This helps you determine how serious the wound is and reduces the amount of debris stuck to you.
2. When you get home from the ride, or back to your car after a race (you should always carry a first aid kit in your race bag), thoroughly wash the area with soap and water. As much as you don't want to do this, you are going to have to scrub the wound a bit to get the grit, sand, and debris out of it. If you can do this part within about 15 minutes of the crash, it won't hurt quite as much. Adrenalin and endorphins, your natural painkillers, are pumped into your bloodstream in response to the trauma of crashing. For a short period of time, you can clean your wounds without as much pain.
3. After you rinse the soap off, inspect the abrasion and look for larger pieces of debris, small stones, glass, etc. It is all right to remove small rocks and debris from the wound, but do not remove any object that has impaled you (sticks, nails, etc.). If you have been impaled, loosely bandage the wound and seek medical attention immediately.
4. It is best to keep abrasions moist throughout the healing process. Scabs are convenient but they lead to increased healing time and scarring. Keeping the wound moist with antibiotic ointments retains the elasticity of your skin as it heals, and thus reduces the stiffness and soreness associated with movement. This is especially true around joints. Apply a thin coat of ointment to a bandage and cover the abrasion.
There are some new products available that help accelerate healing, including Tegaderm® and Duaderm®. These "second skin" products are expensive, but they create a protective seal around the wound that assists your body in the healing process, and they can be a little less messy than dealing with gauze pads.
5. Change your bandages frequently, at least twice a day in the first few days following the crash (Note: "Second skin" products have slightly different directions). Wash the abrasion with soap and water each time you change the bandages and continue using antibiotic ointment. The netting you see holding bandages onto professional cyclists' legs is available through medical supply houses, and if you have trouble finding it, sections of women's stockings work well too (and come in more styles and colors).
You will probably notice how much dirt and debris is present the first time you change your bandages. Your body knows the difference between foreign objects and things that are part of you. By keeping the wound moist and bandaging it, you are helping your body push out small foreign objects that could otherwise lead to infections.
Only stop bandaging when there is no longer any seepage from the wound, when new skin has completely formed over the area. This new skin is very susceptible to sunburn, so take special care to generously apply sunscreen to it. If at any time during the healing process, the seepage from the wound is discolored, foul smelling, or chunky, the wound may be infected and you should seek medical attention. Fever and swelling and redness around the edges of the wound are also signs of infection.
If you take the time to properly care for your wounds, you significantly reduce the chances of infection and serious scarring. Contrary to what some people may think, scars aren't really badges of courage or indicators of character; these days they are more indicative of someone who doesn't know how to properly treat a wound.
How to Ride in a Paceline
By Fred Matheny of www.RoadBikeRider.com
Solo rides are a great part of the cycling experience. Nothing beats cruising along and looking at the scenery, or attacking a climb at your own pace and intensity.
But riding with a small group can be even more fun. You cover ground faster, meet people, and experience the thrill of shared effort.
Paceline riding isn’t difficult to learn. Here are the basic skills:
1. Riding a Straight Line
Start by learning to ride like you’re on a rail. Practice by holding your line during solo rides. Put your wheel on the road’s white edge line and keep it there. Relax your upper body, keep a light grip on the handlebar, and fix your peripheral vision on the line. Keep your actual focus 20 or 30 feet in front of the bike. Remember, the bike will go where your eyes go.
2. Following a Wheel
Drafting another rider saves you at least 15 percent in energy output. It’s foolish to be bucking the wind all the time when you’re with other riders. Share the work by drafting them and letting them draft you.
Position your front wheel 1 to 3 feet behind the rear wheel you’re following. The closer the better, in terms of the draft, but closer also requires a lot more attention. When necessary, turn the cranks without putting pressure on the pedals (“soft pedal”) to maintain correct spacing.
Use the brakes sparingly. Jerky braking creates chain reaction problems for riders behind you. If you need to brake, feather the levers lightly instead of clutching at them.
If a gap opens, don’t make things worse by accelerating too hard, overrunning the wheel in front, then grabbing the brakes. Instead, ease back up to the rider in front. If you don’t become proficient at following a wheel, you can waste more energy than you save by constant yo-yoing.
Look past the rider directly in front. Don’t stare down at his rear wheel or you won’t see things that may cause him to brake or swerve.
3. Paceline Pointers
First rule: Be predictable. Close riding demands that everyone be on the same wavelength. There must be a basic understanding of what is and is not expected behavior in a given circumstance. Experience helps.
Don’t accelerate when it’s your turn at the front. Note your cyclecomputer’s mph and maintain the group’s speed when the lead rider pulls off.
After your own bout against the wind, pull off to the side agreed upon and stay close to the others as you soft pedal and slide back to the rear of the paceline. This enhances the drafting effect for the whole group. It also keeps everyone as far out of the traffic flow as possible, making paceline riding possible even on busier roads.
As you come abreast of the last rider in the line, pick up speed and then slide over behind his wheel as he comes past. When done correctly you won’t need an energy-wasting acceleration in order to latch back on. Once in the caboose position you can take a drink or stand to stretch without disrupting the paceline’s smoothness.
Protect your front wheel. If your rear wheel is struck a fall is unlikely because it has nothing to do with steering the bike. However, if your front wheel is contacted it will often be twisted off line faster than you can react. You’ll almost certainly go down. Help prevent this by never overlapping someone’s rear wheel.
Off the Front
Don’t accelerate when taking the lead...unless you really did mean to drop the guy who just finished pulling! Gradually increase speed if appropriate.
Swing wide of pot holes and debris. (A near miss is too close!) Point them out.
Short pulls of 30 seconds to 2 minutes benefit the group better than long, time-trial like efforts. The overall speed of the group increases thereby improving everyone’s spin practice. The weaker riders can "pull through" spending very little time at the front.
In the Pack
Don’t focus on the rear tire of the bike in front of you. Instead look forward several riders to see what the paceline is reacting to.
Don’t make sudden movements. The riders behind you are counting on you to maintain a predictable line.
Use brakes cautiously, if you brake hard in a paceline you’ll cause everyone behind you to pile up.
If you have to slow a little bit, move to the side or sit up and catch some air.
Communicate. Call out actions and conditions i.e. TURNING, SLOWING, STOPPING, DOG!!!
Don’t overlap the wheel of the bike in front of you. If you do overlap, move away until slow down gradually. Protect your front wheel.
Wait until you’re in the back of the paceline to eat that energy bar or peel the banana.
Stay relaxed, loose and fluid, keep the pedals spinning soft-pedal if you have to.
Aero bars have no place in the paceline - ever.
Courtesies Don’t leave stragglers. If you get separated at intersections, as a matter of courtesy, the lead group should soft pedal until the rest have rejoined. No one should be left alone-remember, this is a group ride.
Know your limitations. If you are not strong enough or too tired to take a turn at the front, stay near the back and let the stronger cyclists pull in front of you instead of making them go to the back of the line. This will keep them from having to pass you when you create a gap.
Change positions correctly. A common beginner faux pas is to stop pedaling just before pulling off the front. This creates an accordion affect toward the rear. Keep a steady pressure on the pedals until you have cleared the front. After pulling off, soft pedal and let the group pull through. As the last couple riders are passing through, begin to apply more pressure to smoothly take your position at the rear.
In the hills
Climbing. If you stand abruptly while climbing, you will move backwards relative to the rider behind you when you hit the bottom of the pedal stroke. If you need to stand, shift up a gear to compensate for the slower cadence and stand up smoothly, keeping a steady pressure on the pedals.
Descending. The leader must overcome much greater wind resistance as speed increases. If you are leading, keep pedaling. If you are following, back off a couple of bike lengths to compensate for the greater effects of drafting. If you are closing on the rider in front, sit up and let the wind slow you or use light braking to maintain spacing..
Headphones are taboo. If you want to listen to the radio, stay at home.
Relax. This one is really important. If you have tense arms and get bumped from the side, the shock will go directly to the front wheel and you will swerve and possibly crash. Plus, if you are tense, you are using energy you need to pedal your bike and keep up with the group.
Hey, James Bastian here. I just joined the club this spring, and have only been on one Club ride. But don’t let that fool you. Even though my schedule’s been particularly tough this year, I still read every e-mail, daydream about every proposed ride, and find myself inspired and motivated by your enthusiasm, the information you so wisely share, and your passion for the Tour de Cure. I wish I could’ve been there this year, by the way. Next summer....
Now for a sort of response, or maybe echo, to your message on safety from a week or two ago.
About the time you and the many other wonderful, charitable souls were saddling up with Greg Lemond two Saturdays ago, my very best friend’s wife went down on her bike in Las Vegas and broke her neck. Any cyclist who’s ever been down that way probably knows the Red Rock loop. It’s a scenic byway that requires a fee to be traveled by motorists, and it’s a breath-taking ride. There’s a winding descent there that leads into a sudden steep pitch know fittingly as “The Wall.” The tactic is familiar: pack mucho momentum out of the descent to get a good kick up the incline. And that’s precisely what my buddy’s wife and large group of regulars were about as they made the final turn – a blind one – only to be surprised by an automobile stopped in the middle of the road.
There was some pretty hefty carnage. My friend’s wife was riding 4 back. Pushing it with the fellas that morning. The rider in front of her went down on his side and she went over him. Headfirst. They were clocking 50. To give you an idea of the mechanical forces at work, her carbon Scott CR1 snapped in half at the head tube. And after she was flown away, the survivors had to strip her wheels, etc., to salvage enough complete rigs to get everyone else back to camp.
Her neck broke at what they call “the hangman’s vertebrae”, right near her skull, which also took a beating. A drop-dead gorgeous woman, her jaw was pulverized and many of her teeth were later found embedded elsewhere in her mouth. That’s the ugliest part of the news. Now for the good. Though the road ahead will be very, very long, she is alive. And thanks in part to a massive outpouring of faith and prayer, the kind that many folks around here are familiar with, she escaped both brain damage and paralysis. Miracles still happen.
Which leads me to the real reason I’m writing. In the wake of this kind of an event, one tends to ask difficult questions. To try to make sense of it all. And where possible, to draw lessons from misfortune. As I work through this process, some things have come to mind I thought I might share with you, our fearless leader.
A helmet saved her life. Unequivocally. The blunt force of the blow still jammed her Bell hard enough into her forehead to leave a 3 inch, skull deep gash. All things considered though, we’ll take it. But here’s the thing that really gets me: it’s rare to go on a ride anymore and not see at least one yahoo making good time without a lid. Sometimes whole groups of them. It’d be comforting to think that these were novices that’d just shelled out 5 grand on a nice rig and fine duds but somehow, in the frenzy of spending exuberance, gotten out of the shop without a brain bucket. But we know better. And so do they. It’s a stupid fad, that has no grounding in anything except vanity and pride. When you have a friend go down hard, you realize just how far and how profoundly the ripples affect so many other lives. Guys (and they’re always guys) who think they can cheat accident, are really only cheating the people who love and care about them.
People with a knowledge of first aid also saved her life. The group was 40 strong. It included several EMTs and a Fireman. They knew that anyone who appears to have experienced a spinal injury should not be moved. If the victim is out cold, let them lie until the right equipment and technicians arrive. Apparently even if they’re in a pretzel. But if they’re conscious, and this is the hard one, try to convince them to stay still. As they awaited life flight, it took 6 men to keep my friend’s wife from thrashing about. Had she succeeded, well, this would be an even more somber message. I’m not an expert (I may well stand for correction here), and I wonder how many in the Club are. It could be interesting though, in addition to learning about fitting bikes and riding a paceline, to teach some on-the-road emergency response. It paid off big in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The day-in day-out rides are the ones we should respect the most. My buddy’s wife had, I’d wager, ridden Red Rock a thousand times. It’s been almost a daily ritual over the years. She knew the blind corner was there, and that motorists frequently stopped in the road overwhelmed by an urgent need to ogle the scenery. And yet, here we are. To bring it home, what is the probability that on any given afternoon a rider will encounter a game of chicken with a skateboarder on the Provo River Parkway? And can any of us really know what lies in wait on either side of that culvert tunnel on the same trail? Yet, I, and many other cyclists I see, ride that baby as if we were on rails (in part because we rationalize that “it’s safer than the road”). But how can we convince ourselves to slow down? To be “defensive” riders, that are cautious and considerate? I don’t know what the solution is, other than a swift dose of sobriety. I hope – and so does my wife – that I’ve finely swallowed mine.
How close is too close in a descent? Is it two white stripes like in a car, or is there some other rule of thumb? True, it’s exhilarating to feel the tug of the rider in front of you as scream down a mountain. But imagine the hurt when you slam into him because you’re too close to react if, say for example, he gets spooked by the kind of mountain vomit that litters the roads on so many of our favorite canyon rides. Honestly, can a mere mortal really maneuver out of a split-second bad situation at 20, 30, 40, 50? The afternoon of the wreck, as I was talking to my buddy, a spark of frustration escaped him: “Who the Hell does she think she is? How could she have the skills to handle that much speed?” This about his wife mind you, who rides 5 or 6 days out of 7, races with a local shop team, and if I may, is otherwise what I consider to be one badass cyclist. And yet he’s got a point. How many of us really can handle speed in a group descent (or alone for that matter)? How many of us really have those skills? Perhaps this is one more topic the club could occasionally address.
Cycling is a wonderful fraternity, made up of good people. Even many of the stupid ones that don’t wear helmets are okay. My buddy and his family have been overwhelmed by the cycling community’s support. Fundraiser rides are in the works, huge donations have already been made, and fellow cyclists have held an almost non-stop vigil at the hospital. To ask him about it, my friend really chokes up. And at the end of the ride, isn’t that kind .of what it’s about? Being better, stronger, truer, more responsive and aware. To that end, thanks Stan, for all your efforts in building such a community here.
“Do you think she’ll ride again?” Through it all this is the question my Buddy most often gets. He sighs with annoyance at how repetitive it’s become, then after a pause for drama, concedes, “Yeah.”