Cycling in a group has all sorts of rules & laws – some are ‘written’, some you have to learn the hard way, and some are, well, just obvious.
And the most obvious one is that if you want to ride with a group, you have to go where the group goes.
This morning, my plan was to head into the Dandenongs and hopefully conquer (Ok, ride) Donna Buang. So I met group of guys for coffee at 6:45 (yes, cycling is an EARLY morning activity). I only knew one of the them, but, again, it’s one of those things about cycling – if you can keep up, and ride in a bunch (more on that in a minute) – you’re welcome. And my being there made a group of 6, so when we were riding 2 abreast no one was stuck talking to themselves.
I tried to steer the decision towards doing my ride, but majority ruled and instead of East we headed South along Beach Rd.
I guess it’s a bit like sex – as long as you’re enjoying it, does it really matter if you’re not doing exactly what you want?
Bunch riding is great – the time & distance fly past as you chat about … well it’s usually about cycling. And group always moves faster than an individual, especially this individual. So we motored down to Frankston (40k) a few kilometres an hour faster than I would normally ride. Then some hills, coffee in Mornington, some more hills, some sprints (I won one of them!), and then a solid ride home.
It turned into one of those rides that it doesn’t matter how far you go, the last 5K is a MAJOR EFFORT. I sort of hung on, and with the aid of a few very well timed traffic lights, managed to arrive back within a minute of the rest of our little peleton.
More coffee (three for the ride – it goes well with cycling and early mornings) and then home – 125K, at an average of about 30kph (fast for me), and maybe 600m of climb … Which of course means 600m of fast descent.
And the rules? You have to learn to sit side by side, and just off the wheel ahead. Ride in a straight line. Maintain the pace. And when it’s your turn on the front of the line – do the work or get out of the way. And have something interesting to say.