Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Are you a solo or a group rider?

Watching the Men's and Women's Road Race in this year's Olympics got me to thinking about how hard it has to be to ride in the middle of a peloton.  I watched as the main peloton in both races lost to a small breakaway group.  It became very apparent that the larger group had issues with organization and working together, where the small group(s) at the front did not and that helped them to win the race.

I am not a gorup rider.  I have been on a grand total of 4 rides which have involved other people and I realize, now, that I was not a good member of the group on most of those occasions.  The reason for this, I believe is my lack of experience in riding with others.

Now that I think about it, when I rode with Robin and Cyn 2 years ago, I chose to follow Robin's lead, letting her "pull" me along.  I really wasn't being selfish about it, I just didn't want to go too fast and drop her, so I let her set the pace.  Since we really weren't riding that close together nor at any appreciable speed, there really was no benefit for me in the trailing position.

I did the same thing a couple of months later when I rode with Mary but for the opposite reason.  I was as slow as a slug and didn't want to hold her up as much as I was, so I told her to go on ahead.  She did, but without getting too far ahead and maintaining contact with me.

I've never really beenon a ride where we were going a significant distance, nor at a fast enough speed where it would benefit us working together, taking turns pulling each other along.  I've ridden over 1300 miles in the last 2 years and all but 25 or so of those miles have been as a solo rider.  I think I need to find otherriders of a comparable skill level and speed to work on my group riding skills.

So, are you a group or solo rider?  Which do you prefer and why?