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    Sun, 17 Jul 2005

    Riding in Rochester, MN

    Last weekend I was in Rochester, Minnesota and managed to go on two rides which was rather fun.

    I'd done a bit of googling and found the Recyclers, a mob associated with the Rochester Active Sports Club which looked promising. I visited a couple of bike stores and was able to get a bike through Rochester Cycling & Fitness - nothing flash just a hybrid/comfort bike. A few emails back and forth with the organisers of their Saturday morning ride and I was ready for the first outing.

    Saturday morning I met up with Jenniene and Rosemary who run the Hybrid Biking Group rides. We did a leisurely 15km ride around the bike trail network then had a coffee to finish up. Thus motivated I explored the trails for another 10km or so before returning to the hotel.

    I fancied doing a longer ride so did some more digging around the RASC website and found that there was a ride planned for the Sunday morning with options of 53, 68 and 87 mile routes. This alone gave me pause as I'd not done rides much over 70km (~40mi) before and these were all on the trike. I sent an email off to Dave who organises the rides and explained my background and riding experience to see if he thought I'd be up to it.

    Armed with the map of the route I decided to drive it and see what it was like. Looked promising, pretty flat and very little traffic. By the time I returned to the hotel there was a reply from Dave's which was most encouraging - he thought it would be fine and even offered to loan me a better bike. The latter being just one example of how welcoming the whole group were!

    On Sunday morning I rode my rented bike over to Daves to arrive at 7:30 and he got me set up with his "loaner" bike. Really nice bit of kit, carbon fibre frame, Shimano/Campagnolo components and even had a speed sensor installed that would work with my Polar HRM. Did a few laps around his street and confirmed all was well before we headed off to meet up with the rest of the bunch. Between Dave and I got some photos of proceedings.

    There were seven of us riding in total, very nice bunch of people and most helpful. This was both the first time I'd ridden a roadbike in earnest as well as in a bunch proper - much closer quarters than I'm used to from riding with the mob. The guys were very accomodating and patient, plenty of useful advice and a well planned route made for a highly enjoyable ride.

    We ended up doing the middle length route, some 100km or so. A number of snack/drink stops were most welcome, I think I went though something like 4.5l of water and about 1.5l of Gatorade. 30C+ temperatures will do that. Thankfully I'd bought some snack bars (nuts, sultanas etc.) which along with a banana purchased enroute helped keep the energy up. The roads were great, very little traffic, well maintained and fairly flat. Just enough hills to keep it interesting at the start of the day and provide for a few "are we there yet" moments in my mind toward the end.

    About six hours later I was back at the hotel, bit sore and dehydrated but elated, a great ride with a great bunch of people. Thanks guys. Figured a total of 130km for the day. Next time I'm gonna take the trike though, hence avoiding a sore butt as well as (perhaps) the ridicule of my recumbent mob mates for riding a wedgie :)

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