Today marks my return to the local Tuesday night “beat your head against the ground” lung burner we like to call a “group ride.” This one runs out of Penny Rd Pub in Barrington….because it can.
This is where I show up, get kitted up, shoot the crap with a few guys, make jokes about how much I suck, how poor shape I am in, etc. Then we go out along Penny Rd and play “Wack a’ Wheel” with the moon like cratered surface that is Penny Rd.
Usually a few aliens show up (see pictures from previous posts) and push the pace in an attempt for them to learn more about human phsiology. It’s like a big lab experiment. About 5 miles in there is a sprint point. It comes right after a downhill.
I don’t know what you know about riding/cycling let alone cycling at high speeds within groups, but there is one thing you pick up quick when you start….if you’re fat you descend faster than everyone else, when you’re skinny you climb faster than anyone else. Well I happen to be in the fat club (really…seriously….;) )so I tend to roll up quickly on the front of the pack everytime before the long slight uphill to the sprint.
I’m a sucker for sprints. I usually go if the person who goes first is within striking distance and I am feeling it. It’s always a mistake…because I seem to always win.
What I win is a first class, all-expense-paid trip into the red zone. I have hit new heart rate maximums here. The thing that really sucks is that then the ride turns a corner and rapidly heads uphill. Remember what I said about fat and skinny riders? Combine the first uphill with a fat rider who is already solidly in the red zone and what do you get? OTB.
For those of you who don’t know….OTB=Off The Back. It is that location that cyclists hate to ride in. Almost no one goes there willingly. It sucks. It’s demoralizing. You get to watch the aliens softly and slowly float away from you. Hanging just off in the distance. Far enough that you can’t draft, but close enough that you still feel like trying to get back on their wheel.
That pain goes on for a little bit and then I totally un-hitch. I then spend the next chunk of the ride riding all out in an attempt to stay reasonably close. I have learned to cut a few sections taking about 2-3 miles out of the ride so that I can meet back up with the group before the “big climb” and the hammer train back to the start.
The problem with riding all out in an attempt to latch back on is the police….rather the locals who don’t like us riding on their roads and call the police.
The article linked is the exact area we ride in. The picture, needless to say, is not us. There really are about 1000 riders out on thes roads (OK slight exageration, but it makes my point) every Tuesday and most weekend days. It really is probably the most populated area I have ever ridden in.
Last week, after the article came out, the group took it easy. Thankfully I had an excuse to not be there. I have a bad temper and knew better than to put myself in a situation that could bring it out. Even though they took it easy there was still a cop hanging out in the parking lot of the pub when the group returned…giving everyone the “stink eye”.
After seeing some of the comments posted on the article I am shocked that the officer didn’t take to time to see if anyone was harrased on the ride. This crap is nothing new. Communities have responded like this all over this country. In the end….nothing happens. Enforcement gets stepped up for a while, tickets are written, articles get everyone in a huff, then everything goes back to the way it was before. Why? Because it just so happens that bicycles are vehicle and are allowed to legally ride on the road. That won’t ever change.
On top of that cyclists are advocates by nature. It tends to happen when you face death every time you get on a bike. The two sides will never see the other’s side. The angry motorists just want bikes off the road….because….they just don’t like them and they feel like they get in the way and slow them down (all of the other excuses they use are total BS). Cyclists look at it as a bunch of fat lazy slobs who are in too much of a hurry to get to McDonalds or to the gas station to take an extra couple of seconds, slow down, and make sure they don’t kill anyone.
Motorists forget that they are wielding a weapon, and cyclists forget that motorists just don’t think rationally when beind the wheel. That’s it.
I hate when this crap comes up because NOTHING good EVER comes of it. It’s akin to a police mission in the middle east writing tickets to people who are not in the incorrect ethnic security zones….it only gets everyone on edge and invites conflict.
So…uh….anyway I plan on riding again tonight. It’s been another week. I am a good steward on the road for both camps. I just need a good road ride before going on vacation and I know I will get on by going….at least until I go OTB.
…but then I’ll have plenty of time to stop and smell the roses.