30 Rides – Day 9 (Too Much Individual Talent)

I’m now at a point writing these dispatches where I think about what I might be writing about after the ride before the ride even happens. That can’t be good for objective reporting on my 30 day mission.  Like today I figured I’d be talking about how cold and windy it was on the ride.  (It was cold and it was windy.) But after the ride today I found myself on some other shit. 

Have you ever organized a mini-group ride of three guys but the other two guys you invited  are from different parts of your life, don’t know each other at all and once you see them next to each other you immediately realize they’re very different people and in an oil and water kind of way? 

That was the ride today.  One guy was formerly-fat-Ken who I’ve written about. The other guy is more of a professional colleague that I know from my work world only. I like both these guys.  However, the mere fact that I like both of these guys was not enough to ensure a tension-free ride today. 

It became very evident, very quickly that the work guy had a different mindset for today’s ride.  Rolling through the first traffic formerly-fat-Ken was up front and looked back to make sure we got through before the red came up. He slightly veered off a little left as he looked back.  Work guy was second, and had been riding Ken’s wheel with about an inch of space.  It resulted in a “whoa, whoa, whoa” moment from my mouth, sitting third. There was passive-aggressive shaking of heads.

Shortly after, I pulled us all over and did a little safety check in the spirit of “hey guys, this is the first time we’re riding together so let’s make sure we’re calling out stuff, keeping the line, rotating through with wide berths and keeping steady pace.”  Work guy advised he’s been racing for thirty years so it’s all good.

Congenially, we pressed on into a blaring north wind, with some little hills. Formerly-fat-Ken pulled much of the way. There was a bit of accordion style riding from Ken when the wind picked up or we hit a little hill. Just seemed par for today’s course. Pace slightly slowed, then slightly picked up here and there depending on the wind or elevation change. Nothing crazy though.  My heart rate seemed to remain steady through this section.

Then, work guy said “I’m gonna turn off guys. I can’t ride this herky-jerky ride. I’m trying to keep my watts even for my endurance training.” I suggested he hang in there and lead the way, and we’ll just sit in at whatever pace/watts he wants. Not to be. He turned off and rode his own ride.  Ken AND I rode our ride. All good, truly.

Everyone can do their own thing. Cycling is for everybody on their own time and in their own way. There is no “but” here. It was simply interesting to observe today that, even on a mellow Friday happy hour ride, a ride can get weird when the wrong combination of people come together. 

All three people on this ride are individually good dudes, but the combination lacked the chemistry needed for an explosion of fun on the ride. 

I guess it’s like this with everything. There’s been basketball teams with more individual talent than should be on one team. Yet, the team sucks because their group ride has the wrong chemistry and they lose way more games than they should. Today, my mini-group ride lost the game.   

Oh, but despite all this my legs keep getting better. I’m excited to see how I’m feeling in a few more weeks.