So I took off for a little ride last night, without any real desire or direction I headed out to Bluehole where I’ve been doing hill repeats of late. On my 3rd hill repeat I saw a rider near the top of the hill. On my 4th hill repeat I saw some more riders gathering at a nearby house for a ride. For a cyclist like me who loves to ride with other people, and lives in a place where so few other people ride seeing a group ride forming up is an exciting prospect.
The guys invited me to ride out to Glenn O Jones with them and even though I’d told Shauna I’d be home in an hour I thought, this only happens like, well never, so I’m in. Turns out the 3 guys are planning to do a half ironman in November. I knew all of them, but not well. They all rode tri bikes, and almost immediately dropped down into the super aggressive aerobar position. Using my finely tuned personal communication skills I immediately told them most road bikers don’t like triathletes. After I pulled my foot out of my mouth I explained how i didn’t feel that way, but some of the road bikers I had ridden with in the past have a chip on their shoulder about triathletes.
Riding with people on aerobars changes the dynamic of riding just a bit, one of the first things I noticed was how fast they were downhill, at the top of a hill I began to coast and they all coasted away from me. I usually tend to be the fastest rider downhill. On the 5 mile flat road out to Glenn O we hauled, the tri bikes are truly in the element o a road like that.
Now as I said, “I don’t have any problem with triathletes on road bike rides,” but I’m not real keen on the aerobar position in groups, I have personally seen and heard many stories about guys riding aerobars in a group coming to ruin. Unless you are the front rider you really need access to your brakes, that’s just a fact. These guys stayed on their aerobars almost the entire ride, which is impressive to me, and when we rode single file, they kept a healthy distance apart, in short they rode very well and left me with no reservations about riding with the tri-crowd.
I have the utmost respect for triathletes, the amount of work it takes to be competitive in 3 separate sports is staggering. I’m just barely able to ride enough to be a decent cyclist, I can barely jog, and I’d drown in the pool. Hope to ride with them again.