ok, next laps are through and off

I’ve been off the weekly chaingang rides unfortunately due to a mixture of laziness, early starts with work and also going to the gym with Emma during the week – which means more early starts. This makes another early start even less tempting.

This morning I was determined to go and get back in the habit as I used to enjoy it so much. Rather than wimp out and go in the second group, Will grabbed me and got me into the main group. I knew the characters, I knew the pace it was likely to end up at and felt nervous setting off.

It’s amazing how self doubt ruins your riding. It started off ok and warmed up a bit. There was a group of eight at first and it felt good to be back riding in a group again. Sure enough the pace picked up which was fine. And then it went again. And then “ok next laps are through and off“.

Through and off is great if it works well and people are disciplined when moving to the outside position. The temptation is to smash it up the inside then keep that pace as you move over. Occasionally this happens and the group just completely disintegrates pretty quickly as everyone blows up. The tip I was given was to raise your chest slightly as you move into the outside position so you catch a bit more air creating drag and naturally slow but don’t disrupt your rhythm too much. It seems to work for me and fortunately the group stayed together.

Sure enough the speed picked up again and we got down to five riders. I kept thinking, one more turn, only one more turn and then I’m out, glancing longingly at the more gentle pace being held by the other group. Occasionally I looked down at the Garmin… 45kph. Oh. I loved giving it some up the inside and getting to the outside to recover, make sure you were on the wheel coming over right and getting ready for the next turn. With only five riders this came around pretty quickly, although those rests were certainly needed. “I’ll let these guys hare off and I’ll just do some warm down laps” I kept thinking. I held on for one more, and another and then one more… and then sure enough it was a sprint to the last corner and we were done.

So good. The feeling of adrenaline running through your veins followed by that dopamine fix of completing an hour at a decent pace and high intensity (for me) and then out for coffee.

The only thing that let it down was at around 7am the park started to get very busy. Riders kept trying to join the group on the inside. You got lost as to whether you were the last man and whether to pull in and go again. Also people would misjudge the pace of the group, grab a wheel, take it up the inside and then blow up on the front, again completely ruining the pace of the group. As we started through and off one guy sat on the back of the group and kindly prevented other riders interrupting it all. He could see what we were trying to do and was smart enough to sit far enough back to allow people to pull in and take their turn but also close enough to stop others jumping in and get dragged along at the same time. Whoever you are, thank you sir.

This week I only recorded the park laps rather than the bit there, warm down and to work etc. I wanted to see what the average speed of the group was and was pleased to see 38.7kph which is pretty good I reckon. Not many ‘stupid little cups’ this week so we’ve clearly been faster round it but it was amazing to keep that pace and work as a team with the through and off session.

Back again next week.