Today was our first women's team training ride. It was orchestrated by Michelle with the assistance of the other veteran women racers--Jen, Maria, Jean, and Jo (hmmm...I think the rest of us are going to have to change our names to ones that start with either "J" or "M"). There were the 5 veterans and 5 of us newbies.
We met down at the Farmers' Market. Michelle went over some nutrition tips and we learned a handy trick of licking and sticking Shot Blocks on the top tube for easy access. Jean had some with her and, lo and behold, it worked! After the nutrition tips, we went over to the parking lot and practiced cornering, utilizing counter steering techniques. That seemed to go pretty well.
Next we headed out toward Boston Harbor. We watched the "J"s and "M"s demonstrate a rotating paceline (a constantly circling double line), then the rest of us joined in. First we went counterclockwise, then later, clockwise. To me, clockwise is more intuitive, but I was getting the hang of both.
We continued doing the rotating paceline onto Zangle (after we all made it up the hill). At the top of 81st we regrouped to pick up those that had dropped back a bit. Next up was observing Michelle and Jen carrying out an attack (if you are picturing them going at each other with swords or something, you'd be mistaken). I discovered Tessa is pretty responsive and easy to accelerate. I also discovered, at high rpms, pedaling out of the saddle was a little squirrelly. I sat back down.
Sarah had a mechanical (dérailleur cable broke--I think the front?) just at the beginning of the downhill on 81st. The rest of us circled back. They got it so that she was in the small ring on the front (so she could go up the hills), but she was also having problems shifting in the back. She seemed to be pretty much stuck in one gear.
We practiced some more attacks (namely, going like mad to catch up to either Jen or Michelle when they would initiate the attack) on the way back to Boston Harbor Rd. on Woodard Bay Rd.
Back at Boston Harbor, a few gals had to head back (Sarah, because of her cable). The rest of us did another "lap". This time we took turns attacking and bridging. I found myself in the front too much (just wears me out faster). Jen was telling me not to be at the front all the time, so I drifted back and let everyone go by (except Michelle). Then Michelle told me to bridge up to Jo who had attacked. I did and, voila, I was back at the front! I guess I'll have to work on that strategy a little more.
When we completed the second lap, we headed back into town, again practicing the rotating paceline. Back at the Market, we commented on how we were all just a little wheezy. Katie thought it was abnormal, but we told her we all felt the same.
Jean and I rode together as far as the bridge over Yelm Hwy. where she went right and I continued down to 67th, then home through Horizon Point.
Today I learned a lot and had fun doing it. Tessa played well with the other bikes. The biggest adjustment I have to get used to is not having a rear view mirror. Fortunately, in a race situation, you don't spend a lot of time looking behind you!
When I got home I wiped every bit of dirt off Tessa. White bikes do not look good with dirt on them!