Passed a big milestone today with my first ever group ride training with other cyclists taking part in AIDS/LifeCycle 11. While I’ve ridden the majority of today’s route before, the ride was a great opportunity to learn the dynamics of a large-scale group ride and meet some of the folks with whom I’ll be pedaling to Los Angeles. So, I woke up early to get myself across the City to the Presidio Sports Basement. I skipped the warm up exercises, but listened intently to the all-important safety speech which contained at least one important revelation. The ALC folks don’t believe in rolling, Idaho stops, and when you’re participating in one of their events at all red stop lights and signs you’re to stop forward momentum and place one foot on the ground. I ride like that for the most part anyway with a lapse here and there, but I still wish there was a little flexibility.
After leaving the parking lot we headed out to climb up to the western sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of trying to speed across, I fell in behind a rider and let her pace pull me along while I got a chance to look out over the calm, grey Pacific streaching out to the far horizon. Across the bridge we blazed downhill for the drop into Sausalito. We rolled through town, along Richardson Bay, and before I knew it we reached the turnaround point at the Depot Cafe at the end of Miller Avenue in Mill Valley. As other cyclists arrived groups of riders would gather and fall into conversation, grab a bite to eat, and most importantly for some, fuel up with coffee.
Returning to Sports Basement was a little more DIY; there was no ride out, and instead cyclists would trickle out singly or in small groups. I had a nice ride back on my own mostly which included a strong ride up the Sausalito Lateral, and only one “biker moment” when a couple of time-trialers passed me while going around one of the bridge towers. Nice job fellers; enjoy the yellow jersey.