Thursday, May 19, 2011

Watch Out for the Cops - Wakefield Thursday Group Ride

I knew about a Wakefield Park Tuesday/Thursday group ride that met at 6pm but hadn't made it out there until I met Nicholas Taylor (Team North Tek-Aria) this weekend at the Leonardtown race and he said that it was worth giving it a shot. First saw this ride listed on the NCVC site, I can't thank the NCVC ride section of their site enough for listing some/most of the rides in the DC area. I was a little worried when I took my new job with Mav6 in Alexandria regarding where I could find some group rides, I now know there are plenty.

Nicholas did mention the Wakefield ride had about 30 turns and he wasn't kidding. I talked to some of the guys on the ride and they said it took them about a year of doing the ride before they had all the turns down. Well my one year clock has started.

Again we had the threat of rain but at 5pm the skies were nearly clear and I headed on over. Nicholas had said the ride has some heavy hitters showing up but I figured most of them would be resting today because Wilmington GP prologue is tomorrow. Even with these two conditions we had about 20 guys head out of the parking lot.

One other thing of note was that the cops were starting to stake out some areas on the ride to try to catch riders blowing through stop signs because some of the neighbor's had filed complaints. Sure enough one the guys (huge diesel engine looking guy that stood about 6'4 and must have been 200+ lbs with very little fat) who had been out riding and met up with us in the parking lot had been ticketed because he blew through a stop sign at 25+ mph. He was accepting of his punishment and he gave us the low down on what the cop told him he needed to do in order to not get cited again. Basically we needed to show that we make an effort to slow down. This means all of us need to yell out slowing/stopping, wave our hands feverishly in the air and bring our speed down to around 5 mph. I told everyone that it would be good for our sprinting when we had to jump back up to speed. I got a few head nods.

As we rolled out the guy (let's just call him Diesel Engine, his real name is Brian (and not me)) who had been ticketed started off a little quick, so I followed and looked back and saw no one else wanting to meet his tempo. This guy probably had some steam to blow off. So I shrugged the shoulders and figured I could roll with this for a while.

We were up to speed in no time and when I made may first pull that was apparently the signal to the Diesel Engine that he could start ramping it up as well. Believe me this guy could motor, thankfully he had a nice drafting section behind his rear wheel that I could benefit from. As he rolled along on the flats and my heart rate started to creep up, I looked ahead and saw a hill coming up and I told myself this guy is going to have a harder time then me getting 200+ lbs up inclines. Well that just wasn't the case, his speed while pulling up the hill didn't change much and as he crested the hill I knew what was coming. The good ole standard flick of the elbow, signaling to the rider benefiting from all the draft that it was his/her time to slice through the wind for a while. I obliged and managed to give a decent pull.

We went like this for a while and I was pulling my weight until my legs and lungs reminded me that I haven't been doing this kind of stuff until just recently and they weren't ready for it. So I said bye to the diesel and waited until the group caught up with me. Once they caught I had a much easier time because at least 4-5 guys were taking some decent pulls and I could rest between my pulls a little more.

All in all it was a great ride and it was a nice break from the Hains Point tour bus dodging sessions that I have been going to on Thursday. In the future I will be meeting up with Nicholas and his buddy Andrew Shelby to ride out to the ride and ride back. Should turn out to be a nice 2.5 hour ride to get in once a week.

One other thing that I pieced together later was that in the parking lot while Diesel Engine was talking about his ticketing by the cops, another guy made a comment about his new cranks. Diesel said that he really likes them and hopes they will last because he had already broken three other cranks. Note to self, don't get into a pulling duke out session with somebody who regularly breaks cranks unless you are glutton for punishment.

One final note: I am feeling a bit inadequate in the wheel department. Just about everyone on the ride had $1k+ wheelsets on their bikes. I will have some soon but I will only break those out for races.

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