Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Peloton

I was riding my bike around Raleigh (Cary) early one Saturday morning, when I passed about six serious-looking bicyclists heading in the opposite direction. That's nothing new; I'm rarely the only guy on a bike when I go out, especially on a Saturday in the summer. Then a couple more passed by. Then a few more. Then...several hundred passed by, all in one huge group. I had never seen anything like it.

I figured it must have been some kind of organized ride; sure enough, it was the Cup n' Cone Tour, benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. I had stumbled upon the first mile of the ride, when most everyone was still in one big group. It was kind of neat. In fact, I wish I had known about it beforehand, because if I had, I might have taken part.

So, I've been doing this bicycling thing for a while now. I've put over 1,600 miles on my bike over the last 14 months. I think that's enough experience to qualify me for one of these huge benefit rides. I've never done an organized bike ride before, and I've never ridden in a large pack (a.k.a. "the peloton"), either.

(Side comment: I was watching the Tour de France one day, and saw a graphic saying something like "Peloton +1:35", meaning that the peloton was 1 minute, 35 seconds behind the leader. At first, I literally thought that "Peloton" was some guy's name. True story. I figured it out, though.)

I'm a little intimidated by the prospect of riding in a peloton. I sometimes have trouble keeping my bike straight, especially up hills; that won't work when there are a bunch of people all around you. And, I'd have to keep up, even though most of the time when I encounter your more serious cyclists on the road (whom I would assume make up the vast majority of the field in a charity bike ride), they always blow by me. So, I don't think I'm peloton material. But that doesn't mean I can't participate in a charity bike ride, right? There's no shame in bringing up the rear when it's for charity! There were a lot of stragglers behind the two main groups, so I would have company, at least. I don't think I would finish dead last. Maybe 10th or 20th percentile.

Alright! Now I'm excited. When's the next charity bike ride? Huh? Huh? Surely, there's an easily accessible calendar out there on some local cycling club's web site, right? ... Actually, I wasn't able to find one. But I do know that Habitat for Humanity of Durham has charity bike rides every once in a while, and their next one is October 30th. So, I'll shoot for that. Do I ride the 31 mile route, or do I go all out and attempt the 62 mile route? I've never ridden more than 42 miles at once, so if I did the 62 mile route, I most certainly would bring up the rear.

As for the Cup 'n Cone...from the looks of it, it's a very successful event, so there's always next year.

1 comment:

bubba said...

Be sure to familiarize yourself with some of the etiquette of competitive riding before this thing. While I'm sure they expect more amateurs for events like these, you still don't want to be "that guy" that pisses off the good riders.