Mind Your Paces

I don't know about you but I continue to be amazed each week at all of the new faces we see come out for the training rides.  It is so exciting for CARTI and the Arkansas bicyling community to see such growth and energy around our beloved sport, hobby, fav fitness activity...  This week, we had several questions pop up about the pace groups so we attempt to answer them specifically here:

“Which Pace Group Should I Ride in?”
To this we ask, what pace can you average consistently including stops? 16 mph? Definitely should ride in the B training group. (You should know they claim to be “the cool group that has the most fun!”)

Do you run about 19? That's a tough one. To meet the need of faster cyclists, the A group’s goal is to average 20 mph on the way out and possibly faster on the way back in. You could start in A and then merge later with the faster B riders for a bit. Please understand if the group maintains their faster pace.

“Why do I need to set my pace?”
The training rides are geared (yes, pun intended again) for cyclists who have certain distance and completion time goals. Why? The Tour de Rock has a time limit for completion of the 100-miles. We have to train at certain paces to make sure we finish before the cut-off.

“What if I can’t keep up?”
No worries.  Typically, our groups break up into smaller cells as the roads get longer. Don’t get mad or feel bad, just merge in where you are most comfortable. Remember, # 6 of the 10 Commandments of Group Cycling (previous post):
Don’t become upset if you get dropped. Remember that group riding provides not only company, but also raises the awareness of cycling with motorists. Even if you aren’t with the group, knowing that other cyclists are on the road at the same time brings you safety. 
“But I want to go faster.”
Please feel free – catch the next fastest group. We want everyone to challenge themselves to ride a faster pace or go a longer distance - if that's what you want to do.  But keep in mind, the rest of the group may not be able to or want to go faster than the posted pace.

“No, I just want to learn to RIDE faster!”
Okay, here’s a Speed Work Tip - on a flat-to-rolling road, choose an object, like a mailbox, 50 meters out. Jump out of the saddle to sprint, then sit and hammer to the marker. Recover three minutes and repeat twice. Do the same sprint/recovery sequence with an object 100 meters out, and again with one 200 meters out. Use your small chain ring for the 50s; shift to the big ring for the 100s and 200s.

As a reminder - the TDR Training Rides have three pace groups:
“A Group”: averages 20-plus mph – seriously. (Last weekend, on the way in, one group broke away and I heard averaged 26 mph. Others, were more like 22 and 20.
“B Group”: averages 16-18 mph.
“C Group”: averages 14-16 mph.
Overall, there is a “no drop” policy. This means there will always be someone behind you to ensure you make it back in to the start. Always. (The A group has the B group. The B group has the C. And, the C group has the sweep.)

For whatever ride you are training for this season, we hope to help people meet their goals. If you’ve got a different pace or still unsure which group to ride with, let us know. If we can accommodate you, we certainly will do our best. Send an email to carti.tourderock@gmail.com.

Wow'd by YouTube

There I was with my little iPhone scrolling through my apps for something to do.  Ahhhh, YouTube.  I look at YouTube every once in a while to see the latest funny commercial (I love the E*Trade baby commercials!).  For some crazy reason, I searched for bicycle videos. 

There are literally hundreds of short videos for every cyclist - how to ride rollers to how to change a flat.  I've listed several here hosted by Kevin Livingston (Professional Cyclist/Pedal Hard Training), and a few from the League of American Bicyclists.  There is a TON of information out there - you'll have to decide which videos are worthy.  Here are several to keep you busy on your next sleepless night:

The Ten Commandments of Group Riding

I received this in an email today and thought it VERY appropriate to our training and unlike the original 10 Commandments, these are subject to change.
  1. Please ride with the appropriate group. This keeps cohesion within a group. If you are a beginner don’t leave with the fast group. If you would like to ride fast, leave with the fast group, please do not ride with the slower group. This is very important in maintaining a good group dynamic.
  2. Be considerate of others. Communicate. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Signal your intentions. Signal road debris. Don’t blow snot rockets in a pace line. Don’t ride aero bars in a pace line, etc.
  3. Stop and help riders who have mechanical issues or have been dropped. If you see that someone is having trouble and no one has stopped to help, then you stop and help.
  4. Don’t hog the front. A good pull is 2-4 minutes. Any longer and you are depriving others of the chance to pull.
  5. Keep your place in line. If you do not wish to pull, then stay in line and roll off the front when your turn comes.
  6. Don’t become upset if you get dropped. Remember that group riding provides not only company, but also raises the awareness of cycling with motorists. Even if you aren’t with the group, knowing that other cyclists are on the road at the same time brings you safety.
  7. Know the route. You are responsible for knowing where to turn. The route we will be taking will be announced each week. Be sure to know what route we are taking before you leave on the ride.
  8. Obey all traffic laws. If we expect motorists to respect our right to the road, we must also respect their rights to the road and the rules.
  9. Use lights, front and rear, if you will be out before light/after dark. You must insure that you will be seen. This is the law in AR.
  10. Give back. If you see a need in group riding or cycling in AR, look for solutions and fill the need.

What's All The Fuss About?

CARTI patients and their families. That’s why the fuss. The CARTI Tour de Rock is a fundraiser to help create awareness and bring in funds to support CARTI.

FIRST, what is CARTI? CARTI (Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute) provides radiation therapy for cancer patients across the state of Arkansas. CARTI is a non-profit that treats more than 3,000 cancer patients each year. Each patient receives the highest quality of radiation therapy and compassionate patient care across the state, and regardless of their ability to pay. And, it has been this way for over 34 years.

SECOND--and what really sets CARTI apart--they offer education, retreats, lodging and transportation to their courageous patients and their families. If you’ve ever had a loved one go through treatment, you know what a difference this added support and genuine concern could mean.  It's a little sad to say, actually it's a lot sad to say, that cancer seems to run in our families.  My mother, our fathers, aunts, grandmothers have gone through it...when you find a place that digs down into the trenches and fights the fight with you, you want to keep them around.

So, we do it for them - the patients and their families, to help raise money and create awareness in the community. Join with us – please support CARTI. Join the fundraising efforts and earn a way-cool, limited-edition Tour de Rock jersey! (Besides, you get to ride while you help your neighbors …. what could be better?!)

Why do you Tour de Rock? 
Do you ride for someone special? Tell us about it!

Always Follow the Rules of the Road

Recently, many of the Training Ride volunteers attended a bike safety course taught by local LCI, Tom Ezell. This was an excellent course that we hope every cyclist will get a chance to attend. In this class, we had a few semi-new cyclists and some semi-professionals. All of us learned something new about safety and riding in groups. Thus, one of our goals for this year's training rides:

100 Days Accident Free!

To that end, I wanted to share a few tips from the League of American Bicylist course on Group Riding.

Be Predictable
Other riders expect you to continue straight ahead at constant speed unless you indicate differently.
Look Before You Make a Move
A good cyclist always looks or scans behind before moving laterally to a different position on the roadway or in the group. You are looking for cars as well as other cyclists.
Use Signals
Cyclists use hand and verbal signals to communicate with members of the group and with other traffic. Within a close group, it makes sense to use verbal signals such as "Right turn!" "Slowing!" or "Stopping!" rather than hand signals, but riders at the front and rear of the group should use hand signals as well for the benefit of other road users.
Give Warnings
When riding in close formation, each rider must feel a responsibility toward the riders behind. You must warn of road hazards and of changes in your direction or speed. The lead rider should announce turns and hazards well in advance so that members of the group have time toposition themselves properly and safely.
Ride One or Two Across
Ride single or double file as appropriate to the roadway and traffic conditions. Double is always more fun. Nevertheless, as a courtesy, we are quick to single up when this will permit faster traffic to move by us more efficiently. "Car back!" is the signal to get into single file.
Change Positions Correctly
Remember, when passing, always pass on the left saying "On your left!" Now don't scream this - startling a cyclist is never a good idea.
Stop for Stop Signs and Signals
It is important to obey traffic rules such as stop signs and traffic signals. Cyclists sometimes get into trouble by developing bad habits and stopping only at stop signs and/or signals where they perceive cross traffic. Remember, these traffic devices are placed there for your safety - observe. If you are in the back of the group, do not follow the leader through intersections. Be responsible for yourself when changing lanes and at intersections. Eacy cyclist must look for, and yield to, any other traffic that has the right of way.
These are just a few of the excellent suggestions from the course for keeping safe and avoiding accidents.  Any other suggestions?