Ride Review: Cycleworks(Duluth) Wednesday Fast Ride, May 26, 2010

Cycleworks-Duluth Wednesday Fast Ride, May 26, 2010                                                                                                                           6:30 start.

I don’t have any pictures or video from this ride; there was a 40% chance of rain and I didn’t want to ruin my camera.  Too bad because there were lots of great spots to capture.

The Start This 34-miler is 16 miles longer than their Monday recovery ride, travels many of the same roads as Monday but takes a diversion to get the extra miles in.  All groups (A, B & C) start out together in a calm fashion for about the first 5 miles.  From there, the mass sorts itself out into groups and then the pace kicks up quite a bit.  During the warm up, there is plenty of opportunity to chat amongst other riders, which happened quite a bit.

Before leaving the shop parking lot, a structured Ride Mtg was held, identifying any new riders, syncing them up with a respective group leader and then a great discussion of rider organization of a rolling pace line, how it works and where on the route it kicks in.  Mark (owner of Cycleworks) did a great job on this; removed any surprises and gave a clear heads up on this and other points.

The Terrain The biggest difference on this route vs. their Monday recovery route is that it incorporates more of Satellite Blvd’s major ups/downs.  You can experience screaming fast flats in a few spots, super descents and then some great climbs; it offers it all.  The overall road conditions are pretty good with just a few spots of cracks, etc.; great by standards if you rode ITP. Even though the ride starts at 6:30, you really don’t encounter much traffic, as this ride does a good job of routing.  You do get on short sections of Buford Hwy, Old Peachtree but no big deal there.  Satellite has 2 lanes so you’re good there, too.

The Ride If you ride in the A group, there is really no re-group points in this ride.  Well, when the whole group is still together there is one re-group point about 7-8 miles into the ride at McGinnis Ferry.  After the re-group, once everyone heads back out, this is the point where the groups form into their respective paces.  I believe there is a re-group point for the B & C groups once you turn off Satellite onto Old Peachtree, but not for the A group.  If you want to push yourself and may not quite be an A group rider 100% of the time, you can start out with them and ride as long as you can, then just hold off and wait for the B group to catch up.  Same goes for those who are almost to the B group pace and want to push, too.  I like this aspect because this gives any rider the opportunity to test themselves but still ride in a group without finding themselves in no-man’s land for the remainder of the ride…nobody likes that.

Ride Organization As I mentioned at the start, everyone leaves together and stays together for the first approximate 8 miles before splitting up.  There is, for the most part, pretty good effort to ride in a double pace line, so come prepared to fall in this formation.  Speaking for the A group perspective, there was a great show of strong riders and everyone worked quite well together.  There were a few that stayed up front more than others (thanks for the strong pulls) but what impressed the most was the very smooth rolling pace line several points throughout the ride.  Gotta go back to Mark’s opening ride comments that gave a great heads up on this.  I even commented to him towards the end of the ride that that was probably one of the smoothest rolling pace lines I had ridden in quite a while.  Actually, this ‘ballet on bikes’ movement is not as common on rides as it should be.  There are countless other rides where this should be happening but it doesn’t.  If you want to experience this aspect, just show up on Wednesday night.

Ride Workout With the A group, this ride gives you the chance to test and see how fast you can recover from strong pulls without any real recovery spots, except by falling back in line to catch your breath when drafting.  It’s good to see how strong your endurance is under continual pressure while keeping a 22+ overall average.  If you have problems recovering, you may find yourself being caught by the group behind you.

This ride also has a couple of sprint points so you can certainly jump on those if you like.  Not being a great sprinter, I love to lead out.  Got the chance on the final sprint to team up with another rider who initially led out the group.  His pull was superb and set me up to pull off at about 34mph.  I love this transition part of pull off and then set down a kicking pace to set up the sprinters at top speed.  Last night’s sprint was about as perfect of execution as you can expect.  Great way to end the ride before rolling in the rest of the way at an easy, cool-down pace.

Social Aspect Lots of interaction at the start and this continued during while we all were together.  Even when we had to stop for lights, etc. there was quite a bit of chat going on.  Very relaxed feeling even though we averaged 22 over some really good climbs.  Everyone seemed approachable at the start and easy to talk to throughout the ride; good quality.  Same goes for after the ride, however we didn’t stick around too long because there did seem to be potential rain in the area.

Recommendation Overall, I like this ride for several points; great organization for all paces, good start that keeps everyone together while getting a good warm up, incredible ride organization amongst other riders while offering a challenge no matter what pace you ride.  The terrain covers the gammet so you get a good taste of flats, rollers, descents and climbs.  Thought there were plenty of strong riders, you shouldn’t find anyone who is riding in your face or being unsafe at high speeds.  Fast but safe.

See ya on the road…

Robert

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