Friday, March 5, 2010

Pre-ride SAFETY Points for Mar-06 Ride

At this time, the expected turnout for tomorrow's IR ride from PUE, wheels-away @ 8:30 am, is:

Snapper, BobH, Norris?, IvaHawk?, LT (big ?), Mallet, Smitty?, Tito, Ivan, Agnew, me.

The start of the course is Six Forks --> New Light --> Old Weaver Trail. With the size of the group, it makes sense to split ourselves into two sub-groups while on New Light from the lake up to Old Weaver so that it will be easier for cars to pass on that sinuous and rough section of road.

Clearly, I will be in the back sub-group because I start slowly and do not climb steep as fast as the rest of you; that said, I will swoop down the first downslope after the stop-light at NC-98 in order to "pop" that next 50-foot climb with little to no effort; if you are in front of me on that downslope, do NOT slow down.

As for the rest of the split -- we'll decide either on a volunteer basis prior to the ride start, or I'll request / assign volunteers.

The route is a "Shadow" route, meaning there is no cue sheet. And particularly in this case, I will be giving course directions in small chunks, at the many re-grouping points. The route has a lot of twists and turns (I might actually have to bring notes to remember the route ! ), a LOT of opportunity for hill-cadence practice on different types of slopes, and 10-CountyLines in the middle 38 miles.

And, in case you are curious, while I doubt one could design a route with more contestable CLs in the same distance, one could EASILY design a tougher hill-cadence fest by making just a few changes. ;-)

We all make mistakes, but if we think about, mention and visualize SAFE practices often enough, maybe we'll remember when the moment is critical, and reduce the number of mistakes and the consequences. Keeping in mind that I assert that this is NOT a "tight pace-line" group, but instead is a "loose line / follow the rotating leader / check out the scenery / social formation" group:

Let's be sure to practice SAFE cycling.
Ride a straight and consistent line.
Point and / or call out road hazards.
Signal and yell BEFORE suddenly stopping / slowing (such as for road hazards, flo-max break, dropped water bottle).
 _ _For pee breaks and dropped water bottles and such, one should NOT slow if one is in the middle of the "line".
 _ _ _ _Instead, SAFELY pull out of line, drift to the rear and stop SAFELY, or U-turn when SAFE.

Most of us have ridden with each other enough that each of us should know the strengths and weaknesses of most of the rest. For example:

 - I start slowly, ride shallow upslopes fairly well, but SUCK on steeper slopes, and build momentum on downslopes for the next steep upslope.
 - I won't mention any other idiosyncracies, but many of us have at least one -- hopefully each is particularly aware of his own, and others are, too.

Regarding the CLs: 

 - if there is traffic behind or ahead, please use common sense and don't do a "sprint" if there is potentially a traffic issue.
 - please be SAFE during CL "sprints". There is no potential reward sufficient for taking any "big risks", or even small ones.
 - please ride a straight line, except as needed to pass, when "sprinting". Use care and be SAFE when passing / changing lanes.

See you tomorrow,

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