Slow down, relax and pace yourself until
2 Fast Miles To The End Of The Bike Ride . . . OR . . . Threat Of Rain
Pacing yourself is my wife’s motto on a bicycle ride.
Susan reached a point, mostly due to age and a horrific accident in a pace line, that she declared, from henceforth, there would be NO TRYING TO KEEP UP THE GUYS. There would be no pace lines at 22 mph, or even at 16 mph. Riding was to be social and relaxing. Last up the hill was fine if it meant staying away from the crazies jostling for position.
So we started to ride more towards the back of the group, with a little extra space on the down hills.
Neither do we try to catch up if the gap widens. Since the main group seems to dash out then slow down, or get caught at a fair amount of traffic lights, we know we catch up within a few minutes.
As a result of this refusal to dash out, catch up, power to the front and to otherwise expend unnecessary energy, by the end of the ride Susan is not always tired (the exception being long hilly rides).
The benefits of this type of riding is covered in my Speed vs Roses post.
2 Miles From The End
So, about two miles from the end, she gets the ‘horse smells the barn door’ effect. Knowing there is no longer a need to conserve strength, she feels free to ‘go for it’. Often, with the ride average was based on the last two miles it would be about four miles an hour faster than the rest of the ride. Ahh!
Threat of Rain
This particularly came to light, when we were on a road trip out west and took a day off to ride a section of the Mickelson Trail, in Hill City, SD. The trail is 109 miles long and packed dirt. We rented some mountain bikes at a shop outside of Custer and off we went.
I was riding what I thought was a stately pace of 12 mph, but leaving Susan behind. I stopped to wait. When she caught up she explained that this was to be a super relaxed ride, enjoying the scenery. Given those options (none) I agreed. We rode about 15 miles and stopped I do not remember where for a picnic lunch. The ride out was about 1/2 up followed by 1/2 down, so the return would be the same.
As we got to the top of rise on the way back, black ugly thunder clouds swept across the sky. Susan hates riding in the rain and refuses to ride if there is the potential of lightning.
So . . . my low key bicycling wife, for whom slow was the new norm, sees the weather rolling in and takes off, down the hard pack dirt road at a steady 22 mph (according to my garmin), for close to 7 miles. It was the only time riding with her, that I had a hard time keeping up. We did beat the rain, however :).
Comments welcome, below