Sunday, March 25, 2012

Welcome Spring & The Value of Group Riding

I had been slacking off of the group rides for a time to get my fitness back up before joining in and because my schedule has been a tad erratic. Today, I got out with the Sellwood shop ride and they had a nice group of 11. The group ride was a spirited affair as always. One of the great things they do is a sprint finish to the City limits signs as you pass from one town to the next. Today, we headed out on the Springwater Trail, so fairly familiar territory for everyone which made some of the strategy even more intriguing.

Our destination was Oxbow Park, located in the scenic Sandy River Gorge and southwest of Troutdale. We stopped for coffee at Celebrate Me Home which has a nice coffee shop in the store. We didn't linger long there because the weather beckoned us back out with some really nice sunshine. I'd wished I brought my sunglasses. With all the snow and wet weather we've been having it was a welcome surprise.

So, the ride was good, it was 50 miles all summed up. This is longer than I have gone this year, which is reason #1 that group rides are good. The second was that I clearly pushed harder than I had on my own. I recognized this at three separate periods in the ride. The first instance was when I dropped a glove (out of a jacket pocket) and then had to chase to get back into the pack. The second was when we tackled the hill out of Oxbow Park. The 22% grade was a good effort to push my comfort level. The last was when I dropped my chain and then again had to fight back into the pack after readjusting the chain.

I also picked up a trick from my buddy Joe about how to feather the chain back into service in a situation like that. There are a wide variety of nuggets of cycling genius that you can glean from a group ride.

Finally, the inspiration of future rides is always a good discussion topic. I think I convinced Joe to ride in the Ronde PDX. Joe was the guy who made us look silly last year passing us on his mountain bike during the ride. He was thinking about skipping it this year, but I hope to try to hang with him this year.

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