Saturday, August 3, 2013

Quack, Quack, Quack (Learning the Paceline Thing)

 When we decided to do group rides with the Everglades Bicycle Club, learning to do paceline riding was the thing I most wanted out of the rides. Paceline riding is a big thing here. I used to make fun of it, but I like learning new things. It keeps life interesting.

The hardest thing for me about riding in a paceline is trusting the other guys. Trust isn't something I find easy. In this paceline thing, if my wheel touches the wheel of the guy in front of me, I'm roadkill. I have to trust that the guy in front of me will ride sanely and consistently. After a couple of months of group rides, I'm finally able to ride closer than a bike length behind another bike.

We arrived at the EBC ride start a little early. I rode around City Hall to the marina. Looking at the boats is how I calm myself before the rides.

Today Arpad and his trusty companion Juan were leading our EBC group ride. Arpad and Juan are good. They give good riding advice. They demand a lot. Arpad is upbeat and pleasant, but he is on you like a drill instructor if you aren't doing what you should. Our usually motley group wheeled down the roads of Coconut Grove and Pinecrest in a disciplined paceline today. It was, to use an overused word, awesome.

I find that doing the paceline thing puts me into a not unpleasant state of hyper awareness of my surroundings, of the riders around me, and of the tiniest details of my own riding. It's exhilarating and exhausting. Today I was working on maintaining a consistent cadence. Feathering my front brake while soft pedaling to make small adjustments in speed. Keeping a constant distance from the guy in front of me.

The group calls out road hazards. "Hole!" "Water!" "Runner up right!" "Car right!" "Debris!" "Dog!" But today we had a new one. "Peacock!" A stately peacock flitted across the road, very disgruntled by our passing.

At ride's end, we waved goodbye to the group and wheeled north to Brickell and home.