Cycling in a group has all sorts of rules & laws – some are 'written', some you have to learn the hard way, and some are, well, just obvious.
And the most obvious one is that if you want to ride with a group, you have to go where the group goes.
This morning, my plan was to head into the Dandenongs and hopefully conquer (Ok, ride) Donna Buang. So I met group of guys for coffee at 6:45 (yes, cycling is an EARLY morning activity). I only knew one of the them, but, again, it's one of those things about cycling – if you can keep up, and ride in a bunch (more on that in a minute) - you're welcome. And my being there made a group of 6, so when we were riding 2 abreast no one was stuck talking to themselves.
I tried to steer the decision towards doing my ride, but majority ruled and instead of East we headed South along Beach Rd.
I guess it's a bit like sex – as long as you're enjoying it, does it really matter if you're not doing exactly what you want?
Bunch riding is great – the time & distance fly past as you chat about ... well it's usually about cycling. And group always moves faster than an individual, especially this individual. So we motored down to Frankston (40k) a few kilometres an hour faster than I would normally ride. Then some hills, coffee in Mornington, some more hills, some sprints (I won one of them!), and then a solid ride home.
It turned into one of those rides that it doesn't matter how far you go, the last 5K is a MAJOR EFFORT. I sort of hung on, and with the aid of a few very well timed traffic lights, managed to arrive back within a minute of the rest of our little peleton.
More coffee (three for the ride – it goes well with cycling and early mornings) and then home – 125K, at an average of about 30kph (fast for me), and maybe 600m of climb ... Which of course means 600m of fast descent.
And the rules? You have to learn to sit side by side, and just off the wheel ahead. Ride in a straight line. Maintain the pace. And when it's your turn on the front of the line – do the work or get out of the way. And have something interesting to say.