Hour of Power
Here is one of my favorite group rides. The Sunshine Cycle Shop Hour of Power is a great ride - especially if you are a customer of the shop. I've been buying bikes and equipment there since the early 90s. I've only been joining the Saturday morning ride since August 2006. You can come along as well - customer or not. In the summers the group leaves from the shop at 7:45 a.m. Check out the Sunshine Cycle Shop website for more information.
The blue line shows one of the primary routes used during the Hour of Power. Click here to expand the map. Once you have expanded the map, click on it to be able to view more detail.
The ride breaks up into two groups about a third of the way through. The faster riders will continue through the whole course and the second, slower, group takes a short cut that sometimes brings the group back together toward the end of the ride. So, whether you are a beginner or a hammerhead, you'll find a group for you.
The "Hour of Power" which is a bit more than an hour - it covers anywhere from 25 to 32 miles depending on which route is taken - concludes back at the shop where you'll find doughnuts, bananas, coffee, and sometimes some culinary surprises. Food or not, the participants often hang around the shop for up to an hour.
What is the ride like? It starts off through some residential streets, along an industrial road that includes some nasty railroad crossings (hang on to your water bottles!), and then you start making your way through the rolling countryside that you find below Paris Mountain. The hardest parts of the ride come toward the end. There is the infamous Nature Trail. This is a road that I hate. It isn't the steepest climb, but it just seems to go on forever! There is also the shorter but more steep Oakleaf Road.
Once you are through those sections, it is a pretty easy shot back to the shop. You'll come back in on some of the same residential streets that you went out on. All in all, you'll find the fast groups pace to be around 16 to 17 mph - of course, on the sprints you'll be looking at the upper 20s.
Hope to see you there!