RECAP: Atlanta WBL Ride #4

Ouch.  Last Saturday it was 75 degrees and today it was 34 degrees.  Why can’t we get that warmer weather on our WBL weekend rides?  Oh well, it IS a ‘winter’ bike league.  Even though the temperature was warmer than Ride #3, we had cloud cover and much more wind, making it feel a lot colder than our 30 degree start on the 19th.  That didn’t stop 65 brave riders from storming the U-Haul area this morning.  We pulled up at 9am and there were about a dozen vehicles already there.  That was pretty darn cool (no pun intended) to see driving up.  Believe me when I say it is INCREDIBLY humbling to put a ride together and then folks actually show up.  It’s the same for my annual Jackson County Brevet charity ride.  Oh, mark your calendars for June 4th, our 7th annual ride date.

For the first ride of 2016 for our Series, it came with plenty of activity.  In the A group, we all heard the loud spewing sound about 5 miles from the start and that can only mean one thing; a puncture.  To everyone’s surprise, that rider checked and there was no flat.  Oh well.  We get about a mile down the road and there he was, pulled over.  It ended up that part of his tire came off the rim, so letting loose some air got the tire back on quickly.   A co2 cartridge later, and we were all off again.  It was great to have Carlton and Scott working the A group today.  Carlton has been with me from day one and he does such a fantastic job.  Having Scott join the Ride Leader team and riding with the A’s, has been a great addition.

I stayed with the A group for another 5-6 miles and then fell back to get eaten up by the B group.  Just like the A group, the double pace line was poetry in motion; I love seeing that.   Jim, Brian and Cricket had this big group running like a smooth-oiled engine.  I have ridden with Jim for literally thousands of miles and Cricket has been here from the very start, too.  Not long after joining the group, we hit the 2nd of two bad spots on the route and that same spewing sound was on all sides.  One guy flatted on his rear and I look up and see one lady with both tires flatted.  Who are the ones who seemed to have everything under control with all these punctures?  Brian and Cricket.  That’s good leadership right there.  All the punctures split the B group but because we have 2 Ride Leaders for each group, that was no problem.  Back on the road, we filed back into the same swan-like pace line and the normal chatter began.

After getting to hang out with the B group for a while, I really wanted to fall back and ride with the C’s.  The previous three rides, I didn’t get that chance so it was a high priority for me today.  I did a u-turn and away I pedaled.  Up over the rise, here they came and I got super excited, not because I was out of breath or energy and needed a wheel to draft, but as they got closer and closer, they too were riding a super straight double pace line.  I get more excited about seeing the group ride like that than the other two, as typical C group rides, this almost never happens.  Oh, not only were they riding a fantastic double pace line, but they also were riding as a group; no stranglers off the back….they were one group.  That’s great leadership from my two Ride Leaders Becky and Angela.  You two rocked it today.  Hey, if you can influence C riders early enough, they learn really good riding habits and gain confidence early on.  Not just for this group, but for every group, that is what the Atlanta WBL is all about.

I bolted off the front of the C group on the inward bound to find a nature stop.  I think I heard a few shout-outs of ‘No Sprinting Allowed’ when I did that.  BAM, I was busted on my own ride.  All in jest, as they knew I went to find a stop so I could catch back up again, and so I did.  I had a blast finishing off the ride with the C group.  I am super proud of each of them for their progress in riding as a group!!!

Literally minutes before arriving back to the start, the 2nd B group had just crossed the finish line.  About two minutes later, here comes the A group.  Several minutes later, the 1st B group came over the rise and everyone was back home safe and sound.  It is much more fun seeing the entire group finish relatively at the same time.  This way, you get to see everyone and not JUST the ones who were in your group.  Whoever is there first, always cheers each group as they roll back in.   Who doesn’t love some high five’in and cheering at the end of a ride???

We always complain on the first 5 miles of every ride of the cold, as it’s hard to warm up with all the traffic lights.  Once those are in our rear view mirror, all that chatter goes away and everyone settles into the ride.  Today was no different.  This really is a great ride.  Great folks to ride with.  Great environment to ride and socialize.  This series is NOT about speed, or trying to show off how strong you are; it’s all about a ride where you know what to expect and that NEVER changes.  Hey, I LOVE speed and going as fast as I possibly can but it cannot replace rides where the agenda is clear, everyone follows the rules and great camaraderie is formed on every ride.  It just doesn’t get any better than that!!!

One aspect of riding in the winter temps that cyclists tend to forget about is making sure they stay hydrated.  Even though you may not sweat like you do in the summer, your body actually works harder to keep your core temperature steady and that’s the main reason why you need to drink as often as you do when its warmer.  I’m preaching to the choir because I went through one bottle for 2 hrs 40min on the bike.  Yikes!!!  That was NOT good and I felt it the rest of the day.  Don’t pull ‘a Robert’; make sure you drink as normal.  Guess I was talking way too much.  Me???

Almost forgot, I don’t think everyone checked in today, so you know what to do if you didn’t.  Remember, check in before the Ride Mtg to enter all the drawings and FREE prizes that awaits you.  Just look for my laptop; it will be the one completely covered in yellow.  Did you think anything otherwise????

You may not realize it but each Ride Leader has spent about 3 hours riding with me; sort of a riding interview, if you will.  Because my goal is for each group to function exactly the same, its imperative to make sure every Ride Leader is leading the same way.  These guys and gals received about $300 worth of coaching (what I would charge a client), so I have made a big investment in them but they are giving up their time to help.  I really hope you take time each ride to thank them for volunteering to help.  Without them, this Series would have never existed.

See ya Jan 16th for Ride #5.  The ride time will be 3 hours.  Once completed, our Series will be half way done.  I miss it already…

Coach Robert….


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