Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Join us, won't you?

Given how much fun the Hawks had riding with like-minded cyclists in Fond du Lac Saturday, we've decided we want to create a similar vibe in our hometown with weekly group rides in Ripon.

Beginning Tuesday, March 23 cycling enthusiasts from throughout the area are invited to join the Red Hawks cycling team for a fitness-minded bicycle ride on rural roads surrounding Ripon. The ride distance and pace may vary depending on the composition of the group.

Participants can be new to the sport or seasoned veterans. If you are preparing for a bike race, a triathlon, a charity ride or a long touring event, or if you simply enjoy riding a bicycle to stay in shape, this ride is designed for you to meet others with a similar interest and share the experience.

The first few rides will be a bit shorter (approx. 15-20 miles) but we hope to increase the distance to between 20 and 30 miles as available daylight begins to increase. Participants should be prepared to average at least 16 mph.

These won't be races. They will be moderate training rides. Of course the pace will be determined by the riders in the group and what their fitness levels and goals are. We'll begin the ride together, ut bit may be necessary to divide the group based on abilities. If that happens, each group will be led by a member of the Red Hawks cycling team who is familiar with the route. We want to ensure that each rider has a good time. So it may be necessary to experiment with the pace and the distance based on the group of riders on any given Tuesday.

Some things to keep in mind about the ride:

  • It is not a "no drop" ride, but it will be geared towards keeping the group together. It will focus on building riding skills and fitness.
  • It is not a casual ride, but it won't be a race either.
  • This ride will be a chance to experience the beautiful roads in the greater Ripon area.
  • If the group gets too large to manage, it will split into multiple groups with a group leader for each group. The group leader role is to make sure the group rides at a smooth pace, keeps weaker riders protected, monitors who is getting left behind and makes sure everyone knows where they are going.
  • The ride will average 16 to 22 mph. If done correctly, someone who typically rides a little slower can easily manage the pace. The pace will be dictated by who shows up and what route is taken.
  • We will ride as a GROUP -- typically in a 2x2 formation that is tight. This helps form a better draft pocket for the riders behind you.
  • It is NOT a "go out and hammer to show everyone how fast you can go up the hill" ride. If you chose to attack the group, you will be on your own. You can do that at any of the other race pace group rides in the area.
  • There will not be any sprints from the stop signs and we will regroup after intersections or hills if anyone gets separated.
  • Before the ride leaves, a leader is established that suggests the route and keeps the ride in order. There can be a different leader each night as there will hopefully be some "regulars" that show each week.

If you want to join us, please make sure your bicycle is in good working condition and be prepared with necessary tools (including a patch kit or a spare tube and a pump or CO2 cartridge) to fix flats and minor mechanical issues.

We'll meet at 5:30 p.m. each Tuesday at the main entrance to Ripon College at the intersection of Woodside Avenue and Seward Street. We hope to see you there!

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