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Slow rider's manifesto

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Slow rider's manifesto

Post  Steak on Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:24 pm

So this is something that's been on my mind for a while. Let me preface the upcoming mini rant with these two facts: People are inherently well-intented and I am inherently slow.

Now that I've got that out of the way, let me say this: Don't freaking touch me.

As a sort-of old-timer on the lunch ride, I think it's very cool how the nature of the group has changed. Lots of faster people. Lot of non-Rodale people. Lots of people who have time for 35 milers on Tuesdays. All good. To go out on a chilly February day with 15 people and do Vera Cruz in an hour is a great thing. But in the last couple months, as I've been waging my annual existential battle to get fit, I've been pushed at least a half a dozen times. Pushed on Vera Cruz and Sauerkraut and Churchiew Flat on days that appeared to be mellow rides. I've been pushed a couple times by people who have not made formal introductions before placing a forearm on my back. What is up with this? And am I the only one slow enough or cranky enough to be annoyed by this?

I don't have a universal problem with the push. If you see me at the Derby in July, stuggling to maintain contact with the pack on the Topton hill, then please, feel free to give me a little push. Likewise, if the group is out to break the four-year-old Walker record or on some other *important* hard ride, lend me a literal hand if that'll keep me in the mix. Otherwise, don't freaking touch me.

I know I'm slow right now, but I also know I'm less slow than I've been the past few winters. Most of the rides I come out for seem like relatively civilized affairs--meaning I don't think most folks are out there trying to fine tune their AT on these particular rides. Anyway, if you see me slipping off the back, you can do a number of things. You can drop back and keep me company and/or help pull me back to the group. Thanks for that. You can continue to the next turn or the top of the hill or whatever so we can regroup. No problem. Or if you really want to go 17.9 mph rather than 16.2mph, just drop me. No hard feelings; I know how to get home. Just don't freaking touch me.

I'm curious how other "slow" people feel. But the struggle to ride into fitness is tough enough in the company of so many other strong riders. I already know what it's like to roll to the top of a big hill to a small crowd impatiently waiting for the last rider to arrive so they can push on, what it's like to get dropped on a ride that appears to be a conversational recovery ride for most everyone else, what it's like to need help from friends to stay with the group on flatish rides that aren't even that hard. On these kinds of rides, a push feels like an added level of condescension. I am sure that is now how it is intented, but that's how it feels.

There. Now I feel much better.

Steak

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Re: Slow rider's manifesto

Post  flahute on Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:39 am

Would mother nature rush the caterpillar's metamorphosis into a butterfly?
Would the Tuscans rush turning grapes into chianti?
Would the local artisans rush a fauschnaught?
Of course not.

So Steak, I won't touch you if you don't touch me.
You may encourage me to fight through my injuries & hangovers & general lack of interest of keeping my speed up the whole year.
But hands off my rebirth.

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An Instant Classic

Post  bill on Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:30 am

Everyone else might as well quit trying: "Don't freaking touch me" is already the catchphrase of the season.

bill

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I won't

Post  brdfrd on Tue Mar 11, 2008 4:55 pm

Steak,

I appreciate your position and I won't give you a push. I will however, offer my experience with the push...

As a young rider I often found myself at the back, or rather off the back. I watched as other folks got a shove into the group. I didn't want the push either, but at the same time I did. It didn't matter though, because no one pushed me. Years later I came to learn that you get it because you belong in the group, you earned your place in the group. Not because you may be slow or struggling at any particular time. Everyone has been there, gotten out of shape, gotten sick, ended up on the ride where everyone else is feeling their oats—regardles you belong in the group.

The push is a sign of respect, the result of being an integral part of a very close and unique community that values sweat, suffering and the occasional personal triumph.

I hope this hasn't swayed your conviction...

brdfrd

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Re: Slow rider's manifesto

Post  Let Steak Ride! on Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:15 pm


Let Steak Ride!

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Question?

Post  BC on Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:02 am

Why is it only light people get pushes?

BC

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The skinny

Post  BikeBeth on Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:06 am

BC wrote:Why is it only light people get pushes?

Au contrare, BC!
About 4 years ago, I witnessed an amazing feat of strength and stamina. Saturday morning Shop Ride, Huff's Church, Ray with his hand at the back of a 200+ pound rider for 80% of the ascent. Beautiful.

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Re: Slow rider's manifesto

Post  Steak on Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:38 am

For fact-checking purposes, it's worth noting that Steak's winter weight is about 175.

Don't make me out to be a freaking cheerleader or something.


Last edited by Steak on Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Ray's Push

Post  bill on Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:47 am

I think that was the same climb when he actually changed bib shorts while riding.

That was when he was good.


Last edited by bill on Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Slow rider's manifesto

Post  kworth on Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:56 am

I am happy to offer up my 190lbs of weight as a service to those strong climbers who are looking for an 'extra' challenge any time they see me about to blow up.

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Re: Slow rider's manifesto

Post  Sugar Ray on Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:48 pm

kworth wrote:I am happy to offer up my 190lbs of weight as a service to those strong climbers who are looking for an 'extra' challenge any time they see me about to blow up.
Dan,
I like you...just not in that way and regardless of what you're about to blow.
Besides-Bill's right. That was then. This is now.

Ray

Ah, who am I kidding? I'll always be a 'pusher' (and sometimes get pushed). The train may not roll as quickly. But, we'll get there (together).


Last edited by Sugar Ray on Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Slow rider's manifesto

Post  madden on Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:37 am

I like to think that I know just a little bit more about slow riding than my friend steak. In fact, Bill keeps telling me that I need to embrace my slowness. The reality is that I've embraced it so fully that it now lies tucked into a fold of flesh on my belly.

I extend an invitation to anyone who doesn't like getting dropped by the fast people on the lunch ride to come out with me. I usually ride by myself because I don't like the feeling of holding people back, nor do I like the feeling of being the slowest rider in the group. So I ride by myself. Less socializing that way, but no hard feeling flowing either way, and I still get my exercise. I promise that nobody will get dropped. Or touched.

So slow riders unite, and rejoice. See you at noon on the loading dock.

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Seriously — for a second now

Post  bill on Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:28 am

This summer, I hope we can resurrect two of the lost institutions of the lunch ride, and revive one that is starting to fail.

The first is the cut-off. Almost all of our routes were originally chosen so that a group could break off the group and take a detour that would shorten the route or miss the biggest climbs, then hook back into the route at a natural regrouping spot so everyone could both start and finish the ride together. It's a great option for the people riding themselves into shape, for the stronger riders who want an easy day, for someone who wants to cruise and chat a bit, or whatever. I know Steak has been doing the Beverly Hills cut-off this winter. I'd be glad to do some cut-offs with people in early spring to help set it all up again.

The second is the gruppeto due -- group two. Our default mode is to regroup at key points on all the routes. That shouldn't change. It's one of the characteristics that makes the lunch ride the lunch ride. But there are inevitably select days that, for whatever mysterious reasons, the group decides to go hard the full route — a drop ride. On these days, it used to be understood that as people came off the lead group, they would organize themselves into a pack. The second rider off would sit up and wait for the first rider off, etc. A good-sized group would form that would get everyone back quicker, with less wind misery, and more time to be enraptured by me babbling on about Fausto. These days, I think too many people end up chasing solo.

Finally, the declining institution is the regroup points. Unless everyone knows that we're doing one of our rare drop rides, I think it's important to the character of the lunch ride that the leaders stop at the traditional regroup points and wait. If you don't know them, ask one of the old-timers . . . If you want to keep riding for some reason, of course that's okay — lunch ride is neither a prison nor an obligation — but let everyone know you're gonna ride off the front and leave the lunch ride (rather than inadvertently dragging some of the group with you). The regroup points are somewhat malleable. For instance, for Powder Valley, we used to regroup at the base of the climb up Emmaus Road after turning left off the fast run down Limeport Pike, but lately it seems to have evolved into a wait at the top of the climb. But I think if someone new is on the ride and in danger of being left behind alone, we should once again stop at the turn to make sure he or she doesn't miss it.

Our lunch ride is a rare species among group rides: fast but friendly, skilled and learned but welcoming. And it's daily. When Ian Dille was here visiting (and doing the 34-degree rainy lunch ride he termed over and over again as "core!"), he mentioned that our ride is talked about and coveted both throughout publishing in NYC and in other cycling hotspots. We're lucky that so many cool elements came together to let it form and evolve.

I love all of you. Except Cush.

bill

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Oy, look what I started

Post  Steak on Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:07 pm

Good post Bill, especially about regroups and cut-offs. So below I'll throw down a quick guide to some of more our most popular rides.

The only other thing I'll add to this conversation is a few thoughts about drop rides. I think it's great that the group periodically go out hard for whole loops without any regrouping--and that's true whether I'm fit enough to sit in or not. But I think we have a few characters who will go nameless (Swerve! Supe, may he live in peace! George V?) who often seem impatient and rachet up normal rides that are not quite hard--but plenty fast to shatter the group. Again, whether or not I'm fit enough to sit in with the lead group, I feel bad when we shell riders so the group can go 1 mph faster and blow through regroups.

Anyway, on with the rides....

Vera Cruz
Cut-off: Turn right on Limeport, reconnect at stop sign with Chestnut Hill.
Regroup: Top of Double Digit (increasingly ignored)

Powder Valley
Cut-off: Turn left on Churchiew, then up Acorn to reconnect atop Emmaus Road
Regroup: Stoplight at RT 100, around stop sign crossing RT 100 again, end of Powder Valley, top of Emmaus Road.

Beverly Hills
Cut-off: Turn on Hopewell, then take Limeport to bottom of Beverly Hills (oddly enough, if you're pokey here, the group may actually get there first!). A shorter cut-off: Turn right directly from Lanark to Limeport and regroup at bottom of Beverly Hills (not surprisingly, if you ride this hard you'll wind up waiting 5-10 minutes).
Regroup: Usually somewhere between top of Blue Church and bottom of Beverly Hills, at or just past the blinking light at the bottom of Beverly Hills, top of Acorn or stop sign at the bottom.

Walker
No real cut-off
Regroup: Stoplight at RT 100, stop sign at end of St Peters (remember when people used to regroup at Church?), usually stop sign at bottom of Walker and stop sign at end of Mountain in Macungie.

Huffs
Cut-off: You could turn right on State and reconnect at the bottom of Dogwood
Regroup: Stoplight at RT 100, stop sign at end of St. Peters, after right turn in Huffs, stop sign after descent of Dogwood.

Mill
Cut-off: Turn left off of St. Peter's on Weaver (It's right after Salem Bible Church Rd; I did this yesterday but I had no clue the group was doing Mill Backwards) to reconnect on Sigmund.
Regroup: Stoplight at RT 100, stop sign at end of St. Peter's (I'm noticing some themes here), usually at turn on Mill, stopsign at top of Shantz or stoplight at RT 100.

Churchview Flat
No good cut-off
Regroup: Stop sign at corner of Vera Cruz and Churchview, Top of Acorn or stop sign at the bottom (not clear which one people prefer)

Veratoux
Cut-off: You could turn right on Limeport and regroup at bottom of Beverly Hills, but you'd wind up sitting around a while waiting for the group.
Regroup: Top of Chestnut Hill (Beverly Hills Rd), Top of Acorn if you go that way

Steak

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Re: Slow rider's manifesto

Post  brdfrd on Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:48 pm

Hey, anyone know if cue sheets are available on Village Green?

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Re: Slow rider's manifesto

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