The second annual Ride For Kids was held Saturday August 11. People started when they wanted but at least 15 of the 54 riders were on hand for the ”official” 8 am start. The venue was changed to the Test Track road, but the start was at the Swift Trucking area, a little further east than the Great Divide spring event, and the turnaround was at the entrance to the test facility, thus eliminating the ride across the bridge.
It seemed to me a relatively cool day, considering the scorching afternoons we’ve had, with mild winds. For those who’ve never drafted and are baffled by the tactics of the Tour de France, let me repeat two things I was taught when I asked for bicycling advice for an Estes Park triathlon in 1979 or ’80. First, about half the work a rider does at 13 mph is overcoming wind resistance. Second, as speed doubles, air resistance cubes. That’s why all those riders in the Tour are so bunched up.
If you feel that riding with your front wheel a foot or so behind someone else’s back wheel is dangerous, you’re right. That’s one of the main reasons why there are multi-bike crashes in the Tour. But if you never learn to draft, you will never know the potential power of group riding.
Since I was riding my mountain bike, even though I had slick tires on it, I was reluctant to ask if I could ride along with a group, whom I assumed would take advantage of the drafting effect and ride pace line. On about the second hill I noticed I was gaining on a guy ahead on a road bike, and in fact, passed him, only to have him whiz past on the wheel of anther roadie on the ensuing downhill. He didn’t hold that position long and when I caught him again, I suggested that he ride close behind me, but no closer than he felt comfortable. He did, with the comment that the first time he had ever drafted was when I saw him going down the hill.
He caught on right away and we took turns, and talked all the way. In fact when I saw, on the way back, that we were going to catch a young woman, I suggested we offer to let her draft us. It worked wonderfully well, but she couldn’t, or didn’t want to, get a word in edgewise. On the next to last hill Patrick, my new friend, discovered that Jen was no longer with us. We turned back for a ways and speculated that she may have needed to make a pit stop and our company was not wanted. It turned out that her bottle cage came lose and jammed her crank. Troy Davenport in a roving van stopped to help and she came in a couple of minutes behind Patrick and me.
We got back in time to see part of the air show also going on Saturday. In fact I waited for skydivers to jump for quite awhile and it was only after I started talking to a cross country prospect from Rye High that she noticed the white blossoms falling out of the sky.
Incidentally, I saw only one group working together, and they were really flying. They probably got in more than half an hour ahead of Patrick and me.
Lunch, donated by Rosarios and served at Mineral Palace Park, was shady and very good. Unfortunately fewer than half the riders showed up for that and the generous raffle. Thanks to Samantha and Troy Davenport, it was a very good day. Look for it on a Sunday next year.