Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I try to stay with Carolina Tri

This morning as part of my plans to participate in and report on all the shop rides in the area for The Greenville News, I headed over to the Woodruff Road Carolina Triathlon shop to do my first report.

You can read the report on the ride here. Below you will find a map of the ride and some of the personal input on the ride.

I didn't know what to expect on the ride. However, I determined that I wasn't going to get stuck tooling along at 16 mph for the morning. That is when I decided to join the A group. When only four of us broke from the group to form up, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. An A group of 10 or more is one thing... an A group of 4 with me not knowing the route is another!

Thankfully, I was saved the embarrassment of leaving the other riders to go to the B group - or getting dropped by these three other guys farther down the road. The reason was that none of the other three riders knew the route! So, the ride leader decided to go out as one group and allow it to split up later.

I ran into David McQuaid about this time. I didn't expect to see him out there, but there he was with his orange bike. It was nice to see someone I knew even though everyone else I had talked with was very friendly.

We all started out together and I was kind of surprised that we didn't do a little more warming up. We came out of the shoot pretty fast and the group did an initial split right away. This was about the time I heard someone yell "Chain!" behind me. I learned after the ride that it was David - I was wondering during the ride where he went!

From there I just tried to hang on. I tried to stay toward the back of the group so I could get a feel of the types of riders I had around me. The ones I watched closely and tried to stay near were the three guys who wanted to go A on us - along with the shop guys.

Finally, I felt comfortable enough to move toward the front and had a couple of good pulls for the group and did a big ring sprint up a hill past and away from the two leaders. I paid for it later!

One thing I need to learn is how to get back in the group after pulling. Perhaps I pull for to long, but when I am done I find myself sliding off the back of the pace line. Then I'm left to claw my way back up there and that takes a good amount of energy.

One of the more exciting events on the ride was the time we were going down a narrow road with trees on each side. We were going downhill and a guy got between me and the lead group. He was being very careful and on the narrow, winding road, I couldn't get around him. The group was putting distance on us.

Finally, I got around just as they began a slight climb. I tried to close the gap and about that time I saw two large German Shepherds and two very large Rottweilers come out of the woods to the right! They went for the rear of the group.

Of course, what I was thinking was, "Oh no! Those dogs are going to give up on those guys and then it will be just me against four dogs!" I would have to sprint uphill to get away. Thankfully, the riders up ahead slowed and gave the dogs what for. They gave up and I rode and joined the now slow group just as the dogs gave up.

From that point on, it was pretty uneventful. I was glad when we made it back. I was beginning to wear down. We passed quite a few people who were returning from the shattered B group and the slower C group. I rolled into the parking lot third in line.

In the shop I bought a Gatorade and asked if that was the normal route. I was told that it was basic area, but that the ride is mixed up each week. At that point, he said, "You were doing some strong riding out there." I told him thanks and that I had fun.

Another shop guy came up just as we were talking and he said, "Yeah, you are a strong rider. You did some big pulls out there." I replied that you have to pull if you want others to pull for you. He responded by saying, "Yeah, but you went beyond the call of duty."

Wow, that made my day! I never know what to think about my ability. I tend to think I am not that strong of a rider. I was just happy that I made it without getting dropped!



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