Powerful Rides

Matt Tanner on April 5, 2021

Saturday I held a Time Trial Simulation for an RFCC member I coach. We spent two hours working on specific techniques and skills to make him a faster racer. After our session, we met up with 5 other RFCC members for a group ride.

I don’t know if you got to ride a bike on Saturday morning, or if you are near Indiana, but the quick weather report was it was REALLY windy. We did an abbreviated version of our summer Saturday loop and headed straight west for 18 miles. With the wind out of the south, we were echeloned across the road trying to shield riders from the wind.

Our group (the Rollfast Cycling Club) is an all-inclusive group. We have riders that have raced for decades, others that just started riding in the last year. We have men, women, young and old (some really old!) in the RFCC. Some of our riders are the fastest riders in the country, others are trying to rediscover fitness they had in years past and others are riding for the social experience of cycling. We not only accept them all, we embrace the diversity of our group.

Back to Saturday.

On the group ride we had a new member to the RFCC, this was his first ride with our club. I didn’t have plans on “showing off” how awesome our club was. My only priority was to make sure that the guys I was riding with were having a good ride and protected from the wind as much as possible. I knew it was going to be a difficult ride for some.

We battled cross-headwind for the first hour. Strong guys in the front. I taught one rider I coach how to use the shadows of riders behind you to see if there are gaps. We looked back often making sure everybody was attached. And if they lost the wheel, we eased up to regroup.

The entire first hour I was thinking about the tailwind. We had a couple of guys that could really rip up the road and a couple of guys that would likely be dropped and have a bad experience. 

With everyone’s approval, I suggested a little activity where our TT rider would start first and practice techniques we worked on earlier in the morning. Then, we gave the slower 4 guys a 4min head start and the remaining 2 guys would try to chase them down. This would enable everybody to get their best ride in.

At the regroup point, the breakaway succeeded by almost a minute. The two monsters that were chasing came to the group and you could tell from the burning lungs, spit, snot, and inability to talk, they gave it a real go. (Post-ride, we discovered they both took my KOM knocking me to 3rd!)

We all talked about how each of our individual efforts went and high-fived before heading back south into a stiff headwind for 5 miles. Just as we did at the beginning of the ride, we protected the riders that needed some shelter.

On the return ride, with a bit of a cross-tailwind, we put the strong guys on the back of the pack and let the others choose the pace.

Back at the parking lot we all shared some smiles, stories and wished each other a Happy Easter.

Powerful Rides Explained

I was driving home thinking about the guys on my ride. Each of these guys is unique and has different cycling abilities. But, on the ride we shared Saturday we all worked together making sure each rider was having a good experience.

I’ve been on so many group rides where you see guys just getting smashed and they end up riding in a headwind home alone demoralized. Is that why I want to be involved in cycling?

I looked back at a recent picture from one of our World Tour stops in Greenville and every single guy at the dinner table would do anything within their power for any one of the other guys. This club is a tight-knit group and I believe it is because we all believe in the importance of helping each other with mental and physical health.


Do you want to start having powerful rides?

How are your group rides going? Do you ride with a supportive group of people that are selfless and caring about your experience? Maybe you should join us for a ride and see what a powerful ride feels like.

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