Member-At-Large On The Road - May 2017

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Favorite Local Rides: Your Next Weekend Ride
by Mary Ann Breunig

We are now into the “riding season.” Other than the occasional rainy weekend, friends and family know that we will be on the road most Saturdays and Sundays through the end of October. This gives us lots of opportunities to repeat our favorite rides and catch-up with our cycling friends! However, we also love exploring new rides and meeting other cyclists. Joining one of the many Potomac Pedaler rides offers opportunities to do both!  So, how do we decide which ride to join?
Being an analytical type person, and a planner, what we needed was an approach to selecting weekend rides. Our ride group may include 4-16 friends. Depending on the events planned for the year, we are may be in training for century/metric or multi-day rides. The key to picking the perfect weekend ride turns out to be answering four questions:  Pace-Distance-Distance-Route.
It was with high expectations that we joined the April 15th Tax Day in New Baltimore ride (CC*36/52*VA*10:00AM). Why did we select this ride?  Pace-Distance-Distance-Route. The CC pace was right for most of the group. The distance to the ride start was under 30 miles. The ride offered 36/52 mile options—so our faster riders had an option for a longer route. The ride’s route was through an area that we knew had country roads, less traffic, and great scenery. Also, while it had some hills, it was mainly gently rolling terrain. 
There were five folks in our group that met up with the Potomac Pedalers. The ride’s route included part of the Great Pumpkin Ride’s route (out in Fauquier county Virginia). The Great Pumpkin ride is one of our favorite annual rides each October. The surprise was the first half of the route for this ride was on roads that were new to us! As described by the ride leader, “The first half is moderately hilly and very beautiful.”

Rita Zeidner on a rural exploration.When you join a Potomac Pedalers ride, you will find that we have some great ride leaders! Our rider leader, Rita Zeidner, clearly knew the route and was prepared to lead this ride. Her on-line ride description was detailed and she provided a cue sheet in advance. Rita welcomed all of us to the ride, started on time, covered the route information, and let us know she was riding the 52 mile route as a “no drop” ride.
As a participant joining a ride, be sure you introduce yourself to the ride leader and the group.  Be at the ride, ready to ride, on time. Plan to print your cue sheet and bring it with you.  Although not required, contacting a ride leader in advance is always appreciated.
After the ride, Rita and I exchanged emails about how much we enjoyed the ride.  Rita shared with us that this route was originally designed by PPTC member Steve McNeal. In fact since the cue sheet was from 2000, Rita sent Steve a note asking if it was still rideable! After making several recommended updates, the new cue sheet was ready!
Rita has been a member of the club since the early ‘80s and leading rides since the early ‘90s!  In addition to leading rides, she has been the CC ride coordinator, century road marker and rest-stop co-captain, Virginia bike box coordinator, and contributor to the Pedal Patter! She met her partner, Harold Datz, about 17 years ago on the Three Covered Bridges ride out of Frederick.  (Note: Wow! This was the other ride we considered on that April Saturday!!!) 
Thanks Rita for a great Saturday ride! Where will you ride next weekend? Remember Pace-Distance-Distance-Route!


Key Ride Selection Questions:



Consider the pace you want to ride; factor that into your ride selection. Since the slowest rider in our group is a CC pace, we considered rides with that pace.


How far are you willing to drive to get to the ride start? Driving 60 miles for a ride starting at 8 am, means getting on the road by 6:30 am. The rides we considered were 30-65 miles to the start. We opted for the 30 mile drive with a bonus 10 am start time!


What distance range are you looking to ride? Does your group need options for shorter or longer routes? Since we had faster riders in our group, we wanted a ride with at least two distances. This ride had both at 36 and 52 mile option.


What is the degree of difficulty (hills, mountains, flats) and type of roads (traffic, paths). The route was mainly country roads and moderate difficulty. A good fit for an early season training ride.


A Thank You to Our Sponsors!