Thursday, June 1, 2017

pace pusher

A comment on Facebook in the link to one of my blog posts has me thinking about speed, competitiveness, and pace-pushing. Laura OLPH wrote, "The annual pace-creep is starting already."

Pace-creep is a thing; I remember several years when an email goes out from bike-club admins to the membership about watching out for both pace and unsafe riding. After a winter of gettin' lazy & fat, by late spring a number of us are getting back in shape, and ride paces begin to rise, to the top end of the posted rates, and beyond.

I've come a ways, myself, from bein' barely able to get the bike to move in early February to the higher-than-the-B-range pace I posted for Sunday's ride. The LAST thing I want is for people to be turned off to a ride because I was pushing it so much. The two leaders with whom I ride most frequently, Laura (with her Hill Slugs) and Tom H (who has dubbed his regulars the Insane Bike Posse), both have an unspoken rule about keeping the pace; we're warned not to be off the front (although both are most forgiving about waiting for riders off the front who miss turns); we wait for riders at turns and intersections; and the ride paces are such that, if a rider can keep to a B pace on the comparatively-flat Cranbury rides, they can probably keep up with us in the hills, even allowing for the mile-an-hour-or-more lower speed most of us turn in on hilly rides.

The last thing I want is to be pushing people away from rides that they can actually do. The club has a warning about "Don't bike off more than you can chew" (since the club website is supposed to be updated any minute, I'm not gonna try to link to that). There's a good reason for this: tired or desperate riders are not safe riders. But I hope riders will go on rides that they CAN do, even if they will be a bit challenged. I'm going to try to be sure that my behavior doesn't turn people away. I hope you will, too.

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