Upcoming rides I'm leading:
Nothing on the schedule.

Show blog entries about: Upcoming rides | Ride reports | My own training

Ride report: South Bay/Peninsula early-bird ride #2

Go, riders!

Chilly fog giving way to beautiful sunshine and near-perfect cycling temperatues ... who could ask for a better preview of life in June, and who could ask for a better day of riding today? On today's ride to Menlo Park and back, our group of 18 riders tackled a few hills (some might say MORE than a few hills), and everybody made it back to Mountain View in great form.

The type of terrain you saw today is a good approximation of much of what you'll see during the ride in June. Sure, we have a few bigger hills during the big ride, but much of the week consists of gently rolling terrain, with an occasional gear-shifter thrown in just to keep you on your toes. If you can handle today's ride -- and you did! -- then you're in great shape for building strength and endurance in plenty of time for ride-out on May 31.

These early rides serve two important purposes. First, of course, is building your cycling skills. Second, and just as important, is learning the rules of AIDS/LifeCycle riding. Especially for those of us who already have some cycling experience, adjusting to the rules of ALC can be difficult at first, and perhaps even a little bit frustrating at times. But it's important -- and, of course, mandatory -- that we ride according to ALC rules. This isn't just for your own safety, either. A key part of our training program is learning how to ride safely as a group, so that all of us get to Los Angeles safely. That means a common set of easily-understood rules, so that riders of all abilities know what to expect of one another.

Here are a couple of safety-related things that your marvelous ride leaders saw today. (And, by the way, remember that all of the ride leaders you saw today are volunteers who freely give hours and hours and hours of their time to help ALC be as safe as possible.)

-- What happens when you reach a signal-controlled intersection where the signal is red and there is a right-turn lane but no bike lane? You should stop in the rightmost through-traffic lane, not the turn lane, and you should stop behind -- not alongside -- the vehicles already waiting in that lane. Why? If you stop in the turn lane or even next to it, then vehicles won't be able to turn. And if you try to pass stopped vehicles closely on the right, you risk all sorts of bad things -- and those same vehicles will just have to pass you again as soon as the signal turns green.

-- What happens when you're in a bike lane and there's a group of slower riders in front of you? (Believe me, this happens often in June.) Well, if the other riders are ALC riders, they should be riding single-file, thus giving you an opportunity to pass when it's safe to do so. But what if they're not, and what if they're holding you up? Only pass them when it's absolutely safe to do so. Look behind you to make sure there's no approaching traffic. Look ahead to make sure there's no traffic about to turn in front of you. Then call and signal your intentions, pass, and get back into the bike lane as quickly as possible. If there's no safe place to pass, then chill out for a while and wait for a good spot to happen -- or until the other riders go some other direction. We had a nasty crash on the first day of ALC7 this year when a cyclist veered into traffic on Highway 1 while trying to pass another rider. Don't let that happen to you! As Zack said during the safety speech, it's a ride, not a race.

Another key part of a training ride is making sure that you're prepared for things that might happen during the ride. This means that you should carry a rather extensive (yet compact) set of items with you on every training ride. Some of these items are mandatory for ALC training rides: bike pump, spare tube and/or patch kit, tire irons, at least one full water bottle, photo ID, and emergency contact info. There are many other useful items you should consider bringing; for a full list and explanation, check the first page of the ALC training calendar.

Many of you asked about what's ahead in training rides this season. The schedules are still being assembled, but here's some general info that you might find useful. These South Bay/Peninsula early-bird rides will continue every other Sunday through November, and then every Sunday until December 21, when we'll end with a 45-mile mostly flat loop around the South Bay. Then, beginning in January, you'll have many options:
-- A series of weekly Cat-2 (10-12 mph) rides will run on Sundays. Similar rides will be offered from starting points in Sunnyvale, San Francisco, and the East Bay. These rides will build in distance and terrain until mid-May up to about 100 miles.
-- Several Cat-1 (8-10 mph) rides will run as well, but I don't have much information on cities or dates yet. There will definitely be some Cat-1 rides in San Francisco, and they're likely in other locations as well.
-- I'll be leading a set of 10 Cat-3 (12-15 mph) rides every other Saturday until mid-May from our same starting point in Mountain View. These rides will start at 40 miles and end with a 125-mile ride. (These rides are meant to be done in conjunction with other training rides and/or your own training, since it's important that you train far more often than once every other week.)
-- Plus, ride leaders will be scheduling all sorts of other random rides, mostly on weekends but also on weekdays as well. All paces and terrains will be represented.
Watch the ALC training calendar for announcements of upcoming rides.

What's next? Next Saturday is the ALC kickoff ride in San Francisco. It's actually three rides in one -- a clinic for novices, a 22-mile intermediate ride, and a 38-mile advanced ride. Both the 22-mile and 38-mile rides go across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito and beyond ... which, of course, means that the return route involves climbing back up out of Sausalito! It's also a great way to meet other cyclists and learn more about the event. Check out all the details and RSVP here.

Our next Mountain View ride will be in two weeks, on November 2. We'll take one of the easiest routes to Saratoga on a 28-mile ride that's a little bit longer than today's ride but actually has a little bit less climbing. (Did I just hear applause?) The only tricky part is that most of the climbing is concentrated in about the first half of the ride -- but that means that the second half of the ride will be a breeze, with nearly all of it downhill or flat. For more info and to RSVP, go here.

Thanks to each and every one of you for helping make a difference. We're in for an amazing training season, and I look forward to sharing our experiences over the next few months, right up until we all ride out of the Cow Palace on May 31. I hope to see you on Saturday, November 2, at 9:30 a.m. in Mountain View.

No comments: