Almost 60 days until the 150 mile ride from Houston to Austin! Team Wood Group requires everyone take the Group Riding Skills class. It took a little over 3 hours for the class. (They did feed you). It was about 2 hours in a classroom setting at the Wood Group campus and 1 hour in the parking garage on your bike.
About 20 people showed up and there are currently 47 on the team. It’s weird to me that the 3 women there including me at the class are the only on the team. Whenever you do an event like a triathlon or something like this, the more information the better! For instance on the triathlon you could not draft which is to be within 3 bike lengths from the person ahead of you, on this ride it’s ok. However, they advised not to align your front wheel side by side with the back wheel of the person in front. This is kind of the blind spot effect in that any sudden change with the person in front of you will cause you to crash. Most of the two hours were tips like this. So now I know the lingo and the etiquette.
The one thing that stood out on the garage portion of the class is how to use your front brakes in an emergency stop so that you don’t flip over the handle bars. I actually saw a guy flip over his handle bars in a group ride doing exactly that, going down a hill and using his front brakes only (@ Critical Mass Houston). I thought there is no way with clip in shoes will I be able to hang my butt off my seat and jump off the back after braking like the instructor suggested. If you do plan to use your front breaks only, you can at least transfer your weight back so that you don’t flip (probably more useful on a mountain bike without clip in shoes).
The instructor went over all of the things you need on your bike for a long ride. I have pretty much everything and just ordered a Camelbak Rogue hydration pack. I knew about these from spectating motorcycle enduros back in the day. These packs are fancy now! You can carry the rest of the stuff you need that doesn’t fit (like sunscreen) with you plus 2 liters of water.
I didn’t get the detailed information on what to pack for overnight camp I wanted but the puzzle is starting to come together. Hopefully the last purchase will be a pack-able cot. Mine is so old and bulky. I want sleek, easy to carry and setup. I have had bad experiences on air mattresses and besides you will be relying on generators which I am not bringing and don’t plan to use. There were no real details on leaving from the Wood Group instead of Rhodes stadium either. The instructor asked some people about how fast they ride. Thank goodness most ride 14-18 miles an hour. So I can keep up with them for the 9 miles it will take to join the rest of the 13,000 people !