For the past 3 weeks, I’ve been attending a Women’s Cycling Clinic (sorry, guys!). They had different categories: Recreational, Advanced Recreational and Racing. So, I signed up for the racing group in hopes of learning a bit more about the world of cycling.
I was impressed by the number of women that showed up. From what I heard, though, this is a program that has been growing year to year. It didn’t just start up with the 40 or so women that attended. In the first week, our group practiced a lot of pacelining. Single, double, clockwise and counterclockwise rotations. Nothing special, but I did learn that I typically ride with some really good, smooth cyclists. Most of these women were relatively new on the bike and I found that following their wheels was challenging and very unpredictable. They would break erratically and couldn’t really hold their lines well. Just makes me appreciate the people I regularly ride with more. The most beneficial thing I learned in the first week was how to turn around a cone. You know, when you have an out and back on a course and they just put a cone in the middle of the road? Yeah, I’m one of those people that always slowed down too much and even unclipped thinking I was going to fall over. Well – that won’t be happening to me anymore! Very valuable information!
In the second week, we did more pacelining. This group really needed it. There was a tendency for the woman in front to surge ahead causing all kinds of breaks in the line. Then, on the return line, the braking and surging was crazy and the line rarely stayed at a nice steady pace. While I didn’t think I really needed work on this, of course, I overlapped wheels with a girl in front of me when I was just coasting, she somehow slowed down…A LOT, and I found myself trapped from the other side with the second line of the pace group. I bit the dust, but the damage was minimal. I think the thing that was bruised most was my ego. We did a bid of bridging in this class, too, but it didn’t work as planned due to some traffic getting in the way (damn cars).
For our last week, we learned a bit about shifting and cornering. This was good…I’m not very confident in my cornering. Most roadies (cyclists) can dust triathletes on the corners. It is definitely easier to take a corner on a road bike than a tri bike, but there are still some things that are good to know regardless of what bike you’re riding. We all rode around this parking lot with 4 corners, just practicing taking the turns quickly. Unfortunately, with such a large group, I couldn’t really get into the turns as quickly as I wanted because I was always getting to close to the girl in front of me….and since I screwed up last week, I think I was a bit overly conscious in trying to keep away from the “squirrley” women in the group.
This was a great clinic for women to learn and get more comfortable on their bikes. While I can’t say I didn’t learn anything, most of the information I did gain was more of a refresher than new. It makes me realize I know more than I thought I did. Now I hope to be able to take some of the information I’ve learned and pass that along to some less experienced riders, particularly in the Luna Chix weekly rides.