July 22, 2010

Peloton?!? What Peloton?

Posted in Training at 3:07 pm by Lisa

Saturday morning – all bright eyed and bushy tailed (or cushion butted – thanks to the shorts I borrowed from Lior). Had to be at the meeting place by 06:15 (according to the emails and SMS texts I received from Doron, the group leader). Of course, I left late, despite the many lists I made for myself the night before (what to bring, what to wear, how many bottles of water, don’t forget money, drivers license, etc. etc.). And of course, the panic of loading the bike into the car (which just fits! I have to take the front wheel off which is easy enough but I’m always worried about dragging the gears across the seat and messing up the brakes, more etc.)

Anyway, I’m on the highway, and see small groups of people biking on the shoulder, and bike frames peeking out from back windows of other cars and I know that I’m not alone in this quest! Despite all my concerns, I got to the rest stop where we are meeting by Kibbutz Einat with 10 minutes to spare. And I should have known – not only would I be one of the first people there at that time from this group, we didn’t even get on the road before 06:45. So much for my worrying.

“We” was the group CTO – about 30 ppl in total, with one support vehicle. There were lots of other groups as well. It was really cool, although looking around it was quite clear who was the newbie in all this (that would be me – regular sneakers instead of clip-in shoes; regular sunglasses instead of the serious sport shades; borrowed jersey instead of the newest, up-to-date international cycling team jersey, etc.) Just the cost of the bikes alone had to average around 20,000 shekels.

So I was a little intimidated to be honest – really had no idea what to expect. Didn’t know anyone and everyone I spoke to was like “this is your first ride!?!?” Hmm, what do they know that I don’t?

In any event, this ride was supposed to be an exercise in riding with a Peloton – basically a group of riders working together. Two riders at the front for a minute or two lead the group – they then peel away on the sides, dropping to the back of the peloton and the people immediately behind them take over leading the peloton. I’ve read that you conserve up to 30% energy riding in the peloton because of the drafting effect.

I wouldn’t know.

As we pulled out of the rest stop where we parked all the cars, we hit a couple of traffic lights. Very law-abiding folks – everyone stopped. But I unfortunately got separated from the group already at the first light. Half the group was stopped at the second light – “no problem,” I thought, “I’ll catch them after this light. However, I ended up getting caught at the second light as well and then all of a sudden, this swarm of blue-jersey riders came up from behind me and as soon as the light turned they all left me behind in their dust. So now they were between me and my group. Even worse, I had no idea what anyone in my group really looked like (we were the green-jersey group but only about 6 people were actually wearing green.)

I just kept plugging along and luckily for me, up came the support wagon (I became very friendly with the support wagon!).

This is a pic of me just starting.

See how alone I am? But it was cool! I really enjoyed the ride and had a great time. Below is a point when I actually caught up with people (you could think it was because of my superior fitness that allowed me to catch up but it was only because one of the group got a punctured tire and was stopped on the side of the road waiting for a spare from the support wagon. I “raced” on ahead but then had to come to a complete halt at a junction in the road. I had no idea which direction to go in and based on previous experience, I always choose the wrong way! Then it was all downhill to here:

Cool shot, no? And despite how unflattering bike shorts are (believe me, they have this uncanny ability to widen your hips, exactly at the most unattractive part!), I think I actually look good here. I think it’s the shirt that’s too big!

Anyway, from this point on, we drove on to Latrun, where just a few kilometers away from the halfway point, I got a punctured tire as well. Now I really felt part of the group! I drove up in the support wagon the rest of the way and there they changed the front tire for me (there was a supply of tires in the van).

We then started on the way back but around 46km into my ride, they asked me to get into the van as the distance between me and the rest of the riders was too great – not to worry, I’ll be practicing and one day I’ll be able to stay with them the entire distance!

There were a few more punctured tires along the way and I watched how these guys were changing their inner tubes – it’s dirty work but I suppose I’ll have to deal with it at some point on my own. Towards the end of the ride, more people were tired and wanted to hitch a ride back with the van so I asked if I could finish the ride out on my own. I was psyched – the last 5km was a slight downhill so I ended it with an easy ride back to my car, with a great sense of accomplishment!

Total stats: 51.36km in 2:31hrs. According to Garmin I burned 1,035 calories – not completely sure about that but who am I to argure with Garmin. Also, Garmin had an elevation reading of 465meters – it doesn’t seem like a lot but those uphills were killers! I have a new-found respect for riders of the Tour de France (drugs or no drugs!)



  1. liat said,

    i had to read this one just to find out what a Peloton is…
    nice outfit – very cool!!

  2. Emily said,

    Lisa! I followed you here from your comment on my blog. Girl, where have you been all my life?? You are the coolest and you blog in English, yay!

    My much adored bike which we had shlepped here from the US got stolen a few months back, even though I always kept it locked. As soon as I recover from that trauma, I may hit you up for bike buying advice.

    Anyway, great to “meet” you.

  3. Wow! I am so impressed that you rode so far and achieved so much. I cannot imagine riding so far with a group. Congratulations!

  4. Derek said,

    Wow – thanks for stopping by by blog! I am amazed when people send me emails or leave comments like you did… thanks for that!

    …. And Dont argue wiith the Garmin stats! haha

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