Today, Super Biker Woman took a class on how to ride a bike. Okay, it was a little more than that. It was the Intro to Racing class put on by Cycle U in Seattle. There were quite a few cyclists. OOA was well represented by both men and 5 of us women.
We started out by signing waivers (WHAT? There is danger???) and giving our USA Cycling License numbers (so we can receive 3 Mass Start upgrade points). Then we went to our trusty steeds and rode to the UW parking lot for the "lab" portion of the class.
First up was learning simple cornering. We split into two groups and did big ovals around two cones. First clock-wise, then counter-clockwise (or, as Jean would say, "anti-clockwise"). Then we paired up with a buddy (Jean and I were a pair, and Debbie and Fumiko were a pair). Now we had to continue going around the oval trying to stay close beside our buddy. It was a little tricky at first, but pretty soon Jean and I got the hang of it. We switched inside to outside and also direction.
Once most were comfortable with that, we moved on to one person putting their hand on the other person's shoulder. After a few wobbles (because the one person has only one hand on their bar), I got pretty comfortable with that. I would just let Jean pull me through the corner. Then we switched and I pulled her through the corners (Now, if we could just get a whole line of this one hand on another's shoulder, we could have a circus act!).
Then we moved on to bumping and riding along touching elbows, then shoulders. First we were supposed to just touch elbows, then progress to actually leaning on each other while rolling along. Jean and I could even lean on each other through the corners! Debbie and Fumiko were a little more nervous (I'm sure Debbie would use the term "TERRIFIED"). Jean and I were following them around the oval. Most of the time they were a good two to three feet apart. Jean would say, "Touch elbows!". We would see their elbows come out, but they were still about a foot apart from each other! In all fairness, it is tricky to do when you are going slow--and we were definitely going slow--maybe 5 miles an hour.
Through with the touching, we moved on to adding a third person (we added Katie) and riding around the oval as a trio. The goal was to stay close together and do the corners as a unit. We took turns on being the middle, outside, and inside person. We were moderately successful.
For the final skill (by this time we were all freezing cold and there was a light misting rain), we counted off 1 through 6. We enlarged the oval into more of a rectangle and rode as a peloton. First the ones, then the twos, and so on. As we were riding around with Kristie as the "lead car" (even though she was on a bike), Colin would holler out for the sixes to move up to the front. They were supposed to work there way to the front of the peleton. Then the fives, and so on, until the ones had their turn moving up to the front. Then it was fives and sixes moving up, then threes and fours, and, finally, ones and twos. On one of the corners, two of the UW riders got tangled and one gal went down. Since we were still going slow, she wasn't hurt. In fact, she did a nice little roll, almost like it was in slow-motion!
We warmed up a bit on the ride back to the Cycle U building. We put the bikes back on the bike rack on Fumiko's car and went inside for about an hour of classroom work. Colin went over the different types of races (road, circuit, crit, time trial, and stage race). He also covered some of the nuts and bolts, such as how to pin your race numbers on your jersey.
Then it was time for the final. I think I passed the test (no, I'm SURE I passed the test!).
I was hoping for a graduation ceremony, but no. We just handed in our tests and were free to go...not even a little Pomp and Circumstance! What kind of University is this???
Well, at least we had a post-graduation dinner at The Ram in U Village...