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The Art of the Pack

School of fish.  Pack of wolves.  Flock of birds.  Surfer on a wave.  When you decide to race your bike, you are assigning yourself to this kind of obedience and lack of control.  Group think, primitive reflexive response to the flow and changes of the herd and conditions.  You know what I am talking about?  Then maybe you haven’t raced, cause when you decide to ride with a group of riders without the formality of pacelines or ride leaders, chaos ensues and the rules of how you thought you should ride your bike are out the window, and you need to become “subject to the herd”.  

The good news is that once you learn the subtle art of riding with the pack, you will enjoy it and find much satisfaction from being able to fly along at twice your normal speed for hours on end, rocketing over the hills and dales of the country until the next climb starts.  You will be able to take advantage of the turbo speeds, and launch yourself to the stratosphere of bike speed and performance, there is no other way to fly.  The bad news is that not everyone makes the jump to good pack riding, and some of you will give up long before you ever accumulate enough skills and experience to truly enjoy the experience.  There is always racing Time Trials,  Triathlon, Mountain bike and Cyclocross, so don’t worry.

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This weeks free clinics and rides at Cycle U

This Saturday May 2nd we do our Fix a Flat, lube your chain and basic maintenance clinic at West Seattle store 11-11:45am.  We then lead a free shop ride at noon of about 20 miles with Head Coach Craig Undem.  Learn to paceline and ride correctly along with finding a new route!

Sand Point shop there is a free ride at 11am, going to Seward Park and back from the shop.  This is a classic “bread and butter” route that everyone needs to know, from here you can launch to Mercer Island, South end of Lake Washington or anything on the East Side.  We don’t want to see anyone riding up through the Arboretum (down or North is OK if you are going fast) because there is no shoulder.  Learn the right way to navigate through the North end to South Lake Washington by bicycle.

Our 11th anniversary sale also continues with everything in both stores on sale 20-60% through this weekend. 

Ride with Cycle U

  

Other upcomming free events in May:

How to Fix a Flat and Lube your Chain, basic maintenance. 
-Saturday May 2nd 11-11:30am West Seattle shop. 

Try Road Racing!  Clinic at Pacific Raceways.  info at Budu Racing the race promoter website
-Tuesday May 5th 5:55pm AT Pacific Raceways 

How to Commute by Bicycle or use it as basic transportation.
-Wednesday May 6th 6:30-7:15pm West Seattle shop.

Get Ready to Ride! safety, mechanical and fitting check on your bicycle
-Saturday May 9th 11-11:30am West Seattle AND Sand Point shops, same times at each.

Winning Cyclocross, the secrets to a winning season by Head Coach Craig Undem
-Tuesday May 12th 7:30-8:30pm Sand Point shop.   Link to sign up, limited seating

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Reports from the front: Black Diamond Sprint Triathlon 2012

Cycle U Coach Colin Gibson, a category 1 road cyclist, did the Black Diamond sprint triathlon on a whim and won the whole race. (Full disclosure: he’s a former collegiate swimmer. But it still shouldn’t be that easy!)
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I am a weak-upper-bodied cyclist, so I decided to try out the Black Diamond sprint race to see if my arms still worked after several years of using them only to spread Nutella on toast. When Cycle U employees Mary and Dameon caught wind of this, they started giving me all the essential triathlon tips and accoutrements. My game plan was simple: 1) get a wet suit and some KY jelly for speedy transitions, 2) intimidate other racers by peeing in the water before the race, and 3) don’t completely suck at running.

Race day, I met up with Mary and a couple other Cycle U racers, who were in the transition zone (TZ, as the pros call it) for the ceremonial sizing up of the competition. Mary provided me with several spray bottles of a substance to apply to various parts of my body/pieces of equipment to make them slippery. I also covered my bike with this substance because I read on slowtwitch it gives you +5w.

It was clear and cold for the start of the 800m, clockwise, diamond-shaped swim, and I lined up on the far left of the beach, which was like 20 yards closer to the first buoy than where everyone else was lined up. We started, and I kicked and clawed my way toward the front, following the leaders. My arms felt like the arms of an inflatable flailing-arm tube man. At one point, some milfoil touched my toe and I screamed. I wound up fourth out of the water, 20 seconds behind the leader, by which time my arms were dead to me. I must not have used enough lube on my wet suit because my transition lost me another 20 seconds to the leader. I took off on the bike wet and angry with the pace car in sight.

I figured that the bike is where I would make or break my race, so I set to put my head down and giv’er. I took over the lead at about mile 4. By the start of the run, I had about 2 minutes on 2nd and 3rd. At this point, I almost decided to skip the run and just observe the procession of Olympic-distance racers making incredible pratfalls on the topographically complex and water-saturated grass of the transition area. Remembering the undoubtedly huge cash purse available to me, I thought better of it and took off running for the first of two laps on the dirt trail around the lake.

The run was only 2.8 miles, but I had no time checks to my pursuers, so I was running like Jerry Seinfeld after he stole a loaf of bread . Still, after a mile, I heard the pitter-patter of steps behind me, and saw a runner approaching. Figuring my goose was cooked, I slowed up to let him catch me, only to realize that he was on a relay team! We worked together to set pace for the second lap, and then I attacked him with a few hundred yards to go to cross the line clear.
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For my efforts, and beneath a banner advertising a gluten-free nutrition product, I was given a loaf of wheat bread and a trophy.

Thanks to Mary and Dameon for the support and advice, and finishshots.com for the picture!