I participated in a large group ride this morning as training for the Tour to Tanglewood. I don’t do too many group rides. I did one earlier this year that was listed as a category C, which means it was an easy pace. That had maybe 20-30 riders. And I used to occasionally do the group rides from Naples Cyclery when I lived down in Florida. Those would range from 10-50 riders. So I’m not completely inexperienced with riding in a group. But this was the largest group I’ve ever started with, and probably the most diverse as well. I guess there must have been a couple hundred riders, and they were riding everything from sport road bikes like mine, to mountain bikes and tandems, and there was one crazy group of roller bladers.
We started from Bicycle Toy and Hobby in High Point at about 8:30 AM. This is the first time I’ve ever been on a ride that had the police stopping traffic at the start and for the first several major intersections. Now that is nice.
The group very quickly stretched out and broke into different pockets. I kept fairly close to the front for about the first 20 miles. The weather was nice…cloudy, not too hot, although when we hit some of the more open portions there was a definite head-wind. At about the 20 mile mark I stopped at one of the break points they had established. There were porta-potty’s available, and a spread of snacks and drinks were laid out for all. I paused a moment to have some banana and gatorade.
When I started back I found myself in a large open stretch alone. There was a small group of 6 or 8 riders far up ahead and for a while I used them as a carrot to chase, but they were moving a little bit faster than me for the most part. Eventually the group ahead moved out of sight except for one other solo rider. I gradually pulled closer and closer and just as I was catching him I was caught be a pair on a tandem and one outrider who seemed to be sticking with them. We all rode for a bit together. The team on the tandem was really strong. They definitely couldn’t speed uphill, but on the down or the flat they were very fast. It was good to sit on their wheel for a time and rest a little.
At the end, per my bike computer, the total ride was 38.65 miles. I rode it in two hours and 13 minutes with an average speed of 17.4 mph. I’m pretty sure I was one of the earlier riders to make it back. I wasn’t at the very front, but probably in the first quarter of riders. It was a pleasant ride and I’m glad I got a little experience starting out with such a large mass of people. I understand the Tour to Tanglewood itself is going to be an even larger group, maybe as much as 1500-2000 riders. That should be a new experience.
A definite plus of riding this morning is that at the end of the ride I was able to do my pre check-in for the upcoming tour. So, I’ve already got my rider number and everything. All I have to do now is show up on the 6th and ride. No waiting in lines and collecting packets of documents. If you want to know, I am rider number 1354. Judging by that number it sounds like there will be at least 1300 of us.
If you want to support me at the Tour to Tanglewood and fight Multiple Sclerosis please make a donation by clicking this link and then click the button that says “Donate to Brian.” Any donation will be very much appreciated. So if you can afford $5 or $100, your money will be used by the National MS Society to research and fight MS.