I have to admit yesterday’s training ride didn’t go as expected.  I knew I’d be cold, I’d be tired, and I’d be gasping for air.  The separated shoulder was a surprise, but life has a way of making sure we don’t get bored.  Two ambulances and a fire truck made for quite a scene.

 

There seems to be a pattern forming. When I doubt I can do something, a reminder is shoved under my nose that I have to work for it and the goal is pulled further out of reach, motivating to me work harder.  And perhaps my focus needed adjusting too…

 

Who’s tough? Al Jenkins and Sunny Grewal for starters.  They were out on the ride yesterday.  Coming back from serious injuries last year and you would never know it to see them ride.  I’ll follow their examples and not let a little owie hold me back.

 

Thanks to all the angels who circled above me, Siobhan, Al, Brian, Vickie at the hospital, and several others – you were all amazing and totally took care of me.  Air hugs for now, but I’ll have real ones when the sling comes off.  And one for Denise too. 

 

Crashes in a peloton happen, and because it is a group effort, no one gets to take the blame.  It’s not always the first bike to go down that causes it.  When riding tight into the wind speeds can change more suddenly with just a little ease off the pedals.  We can never stop learning and building skill, and we can never stop being careful.

 

Who’s tough?  We all are for taking on cancer.

 

See you at the next ride.

 

 

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We'll be blogging some of the training rides to share how much work goes into that one day in June.

 

This is from Sunday morning, in a light Vancouver rain — about 55 riders came out for the training ride. Today's plan is to work on group riding skills. 

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8:55 AM — Kerry begins the pre-ride briefing.  It's just above freezing, but the lazy wind blows (it's too lazy to go around the riders, so it goes right through them).  Today's ride has about 40 riders and will focus on pacelines and riding in the draft of the rider in front. With this windchill, "think of sheltering from the wind as you hide behind the rider in front" is the coaching.
 
 
 
9:05 AM, the group rolls out.  Today's ride will head out to Richmond — working on pacelines in the wind and cold. It's time to check out the gear which might get used at the Pennask Summit on June 23rd. (If you were reading this last June, you'll remember that there was snow at the side of the highway.)
 
The peloton rolls into the parking lot at 8 Rinks near the bottom of Nordel. The freewheeling descent down from Scott Road has been a cold one and the group looks forward to the climb up the Alex Fraser Bridge — the climb offers a welcome chance to warm up and get the blood flowing.
 
The riders' main questions: How cold will it be on the exposed bridge, with the wind blowing across them? Would it be cold enough to freeze the water in their bottles?
One rider had a flat tire just before the summit of the bridge. The ride captains and others stayed and helped get the tire fixed and they rolled down the bridge. The SAG (Support & Gear) vehicle (it's the black SUV in the photo above) was at the foot of the bridge to get the tire fully inflated the way cold hands on the bridge couldn't.
Reunited, the group continued on.
 
The group arrives at No 7 Road and River Road in Richmond for a quick water stop. They've been working on keeping the group (peloton) together, and preventing gaps from forming between riders. At the rest stop, there's a bathroom, water to refill bottles, bananas (warmish from being in the SAG) to fuel cold legs, and a chance to add or remove (yeah right — remove — that's a good one) clothing.
 
Unbeknownst to the riders, a snow squall was coming — the flakes started flying as they rolled out from this rest stop. 
The Ride Captains separated the group into 4 packs of about 8–12 riders each and each of these smaller groups worked on riding in rotating pacelines.
A quick explanation of pacelines: A rider drafting (that is, following close enough to use the rider in front as a windbreak) another rider travels at the same speed, but uses about 20% less energy. To conserve energy on ride day, riders always try to ride together, taking turns at the front and drafting behind. 
A paceline is two columns of riders forming a human "chain" of drafting riders. After a short turn at the front of the peloton, a rider will move from the left line of riders to the right line, which moves more slowly. The rider at the back of the right line then joins the back of the left line and speeds up to stay in the draft. The left line constantly passes the right, with riders taking turns leading briefly and following/recovering for the rest of the time. 
 
Sounds complicated? It is. That's why they practise this skill on almost every training ride. 
 

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