AGR’s First Guest Post Explained

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In AGR’s First Guest Post, Marshall McLaughlin (pictured on the left) summed up his first Group Ride experience in a text message. Marsh is a good friend, living and riding in Laguna Beach, CA. He and his wife Emily even spent a year living in San Sebastian, Spain riding all over the Basque Country. I actually remember the ride he’s referring to if it was in fact his first (Food Park, 8:30am Saturdays in Irvine, CA).  He’s not alone in getting dropped from his first Group Ride.

There’s a lot that goes into learning the ropes of any Group Ride. The biggest consideration I can remember from my first Group Ride is simply knowing the route and where the pack surges and backs off. We came to an intersection about 15 minutes in and the pack surged out of the corner, unexpectedly to me. I later discovered that up until this point, the ride was still in “roll out” mode. Regulars just knew this. By the time I realized the pace had picked up, I was off the back sprinting to catch back on. I looked up, already gassed, at the fading bunch up ahead. I stomped on the pedals a few more times then sat back down and literally said out loud to myself, “See ya next week.”

Knowing the subtle ins-and-outs of the route make any Group Ride more reasonable, allowing you to focus on more than just hanging on for dear life. After years of doing any Group Ride, even on an off day you’ll find that you can stick in the middle of the pack, anticipating surges and avoiding burning too many matches. Riding your bike with a group is more than a physical game, it’s constantly engaging your mind and challenging your awareness and intuition (future post: The Art of Developing Your Sixth Sense).

Marshall, thanks for sharing what many of us experience on our first big Group Ride. And thanks for the first guest post!

Ride on…


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