Herding Cats

Our club president was out of town this weekend, mixing business and pleasure (he brought his bike on a business trip so he could sneak in some rides in the San Francisco area).

That left a big hole in our club organization. You see, he’s the guy who plans the routes for our club rides on Sundays. He urged someone — anyone — to come up with a plan for rides while he was gone.

So, the messages started flying on our club’s Yahoo group, which is where we do all our communicating.

Shane:  “Pepe hates Fitzhugh and I hate riding in the city so it looks like we might end up doing some different rides. That’s all good too though, options make life interesting right? Leaving at the usual time for a 57mile round trip and probably somewhere in the region of 3800-4000 ft of elevation.”

That drew almost immediate reaction. Jim was concerned about a potentially dangerous stretch of road:

“The Slaughter to Nutty Brown stretch of 1826 suggested is 5 miles and probably the most dangerous section in most people’s opinion (no shoulder, steep rollers, and heavier traffic than Fitzhugh).”

Clark suggested we depart from our normal routine and drive to a starting point some 10 miles west of our neighborhood. He pointed out a variety of scenic, low-traffic roads we could choose from.

But the afore-mentioned Pepe didn’t want to drive to a ride. To his credit, he came up with two options, one of 49 miles, and a shorter one of 34 miles.

Jerry said he had to be somewhere about an hour’s drive from town by 1 p.m., so couldn’t do the 50 milers that had been suggested. He came up with a plan of his own — one that we’ve done before and is about 32 miles. It has some potentially hazardous stretches, and some challenging rollers.

Frank, Yasmin, and Maggie — who all are B riders (Frank’s really an A, but it hasn’t sunk in yet) — declared themselves in for Jerry’s route.

But Shane, who was first to come up with a route plan, was getting frustrated by all the different options:

“I have now used every damn course creator I know of so if this doesn’t work, just assume we are doing Fitzhugh Road with an added loop on the way back. No 1826, no 290 – so NO WHINING!!!! Only whining allowed is my whining as I suffer up the little hills on the ride on Sunday.”

And Janice decided to add her two cents’ worth:

“I feel left out of the clusterfreak of the Sunday ride ‘planning,’ so I too will propose a ride.  My ride will start sometime between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.  The location of the start will be announced 2 seconds before the start, and the route will be depicted on an encrypted map which will be distributed after the ride.  I can tell you that the ride will travel on the left lane of Interstate 35 for several miles (only because it is probably the only road more dangerous than 1826).   A preride breakfast of baked potatoes will be available Easter egg style – you will have to find the potatoes hidden around the ride start.  This is not the worst ride posted, so I would anticipate a big turnout.”

In the end, we had three groups for the Sunday ride. One did Shane’s long route, another group started out with them, but shortened the distance considerably, and I joined Maggie and Brian for a B ride on another route that had never even come up for discussion on the online group.

As it turned out, we had three excellent rides.

And Joe, the club president, who was watching all of this online from his California base, was so pleased with the way things turned out, he has relinquished ride planning and is leaving it all up to us.



  1. Jeff A says

    In our club, I know that a lot of riders like to have the route early so they can pull it down into their GPS. A few weeks back we had the inevitable mid-route change, but it put us on a road that was rough enough to jar your molars. I guess I’m one to want to stick to the plan, once the plan is made.

    This year we have divvied up the ride leader duties, so when each member’s turn comes, they set the route for that week, get it posted, and field all the comments.

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