1“On any given day at just about any of these rides you could find yourself sucking wheel behind a current or ex-professional cyclist just out to stretch their legs. Regardless of who shows up most of these rides have one thing in common – speed.” SoCalCycling.com on Training Rides
For those unable to travel to exotic locales for an exciting pre-season, similar cooperative efforts for speed can be achieved through training races and group rides. Some of these events are legendary: 2Shoot-Out, Derby, Goon Ride, and more too numerous to mention. Your community has one – the local group ride that becomes the “world championships” for eager riders keen on weekly bragging rights. Some of these rides attract local and visiting pros that allow an amateur an opportunity for comparison. The great thing about these rides is that they offer a return toward racing intensity nearly surreptitiously. Almost without realizing it, participation in these events makes you faster. The group dynamic and competitive juices get flowing again and before you know it, super hard efforts – unachievable solo – launch you beyond your current level. One of the best uses of these rides in February is for anaerobic repeatability. Surges outside your control provide an opportunity to dip into anaerobic energy again and again. Most of these rides have places where the pace goes ballistic then lets up again, much like the multiple changes in speed in races but often with far more recovery and grace. The motivated group helps you reach beyond yourself. If the pace is too easy, you can always make it harder by attacking, pulling, or sitting slightly off the back and chasing back into the group. While improving and eventually dominating on these rides helps your self-confidence, beware that the familiarity of the route and muscle memory do not always translate to real world racing, and perhaps the better riders may not be emphasizing this event like you are on the day. Yet enjoy it, for it signals the end of off-season! Godspeed.
Prayer for Group Rides/Training Races
“I’ll be on my way to you with a light and eager heart,
looking forward to being refreshed by your company.” 3Romans 15:32
We exalt at the times of refreshing found riding en masse! We ask for sound decision-making in choosing which rides and when, safety for a newly reformulated peloton, and blessing for fast rides!
Ponder Where are the challenging group rides in my area? Affirm I use these rides as a test, as well as for a focus in fitness. Watch for times and places to attack, bear down, recover, and go again!
1“Bicycle Training Rides” www.SoCalCycling.com
2The Shoot-Out ride is a gun fight that starts in Tucson with several difficult climbs and sprint lines. This ride can last up to 5-6 hours, if you can hang. Former professional and Canadian cyclist, Gord Fraser owns this ride. The Derby encircles the Pennsylvania countryside in Lehigh Valley near the velodrome at T-Town, and attracts many track speedsters. The Goon Ride is a stop-start session that winds through Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC and suburbs during rush hour commuter traffic. It’s included here because of its anaerobic nature, as well as its interesting moniker.
3The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson