The short ride though was another story. I believe 90 riders signed up. We were given paper maps but no one knew the route. Riders of all levels were there and I was worried. This is a recipe for disaster. I was able to give a "safety first" talk but it did little good. Before I knew it the riders were off and as they exited the campus it was a wide throb of riders that immediately proceeded to go the wrong way. I like the concept of these rides, as it reminds many non riders just how fun it is to get back on a bike. But the chaos makes it difficult to focus and stay safe and this jeopardizes the HAA ride.
What does work is having experienced riders help us along the route, particularly as we leave or enter big cities. This was immensely valuable as we rode from San Clemente to San Diego.
Adding ceremonial rides on rest and recovery days is also something we need to avoid moving forward. Today's ride was only 8 miles long but had a good bit of climbing. We did not need that, especially considering what lies ahead of us next week.
To add to the drama, as we crossed a bridge Sean's front tire went flat. To keep him moving I gave him my wheel and he rode off with a capable Qualcomm employee. I actually enjoyed the calm and quiet that goes with fixing a flat. It's a nice break.
Having said all this, I did look at a video of the ride and am surprised that I'm smiling throughout it. I guess that no matter what is happening around you, when you're pedaling it's hard to hide the smile! Here's a short recap...
Hoping for a good safe Saturday ride. Big climbs await us.