DifferentRideTUsOnce a year I do a totally different Saturday ride, the "church ride". That is what I did today. Some of you have heard me talk about it. I've been doing my church's annual summer bike ride for the past several years. Usually I use it as a change of pace and as an opportunity to bring one or more of my sons on a ride that doesn't move too fast, but has the feel of a small peloton. My older sons David and Danny have done the church ride with me a few times in the past, but for the last couple of years I have brought Bobby (the youngest) along on the tandem. Typically we start out with the Saturday CV ride and since the church is right along the route, we pull off when we get there to head over to the church ride.



In past years the church ride group has consisted of a real mixed bag, including people who would be best described as "non-cyclists" who dug out the old bike from the garage to go on a "bike hike" along with several guys who ride once a week, and a couple of regular cyclists.

This year was different. There was the normal small contingent of veteran cyclists, like me and Spencer G. and Greg C. (tall Ironman tri-athlete who often rides the CV Saturday ride on his way to the Food Park ride), but there were also some other guys who have become real cyclists, a few of whom are now regularly racing mountain bikes at the local Over the Hump series.

I think the change came when our church sponsored a RAAM team last year, "Team Life Changers", to raise funds for the Orange County Rescue Mission. This seemed to spark a real interest in cycling among participants and non-participants alike.

This was the first time that the annual "church ride" was a real ride. The pace was fast as we rode up Jamboree and through Santiago Canyon. Bobby and I on the tandem could not hold the front group on the climbs, so we settled in by ourselves off the back of the front group and ahead of the chase group. That is the way it stayed all the way though the canyon.

The front group then went left off of Santiago Canyon into Modjeska Canyon and then up and over Modjeska Grade, then back to Santiago Canyon to go down Cooks to El Toro to Trabuco. Bobby and I elected to by-pass Modjeska and just go over Cooks on Santiago, then down El Toro to Trabuco. Bobby and I got in about 50 miles. It was a good workout on the tandem, and a lot of fun.

There were three things that I thought were noteworthy:

1) Bobby worked hard and really seemed to enjoy the ride and the time we spent together. It was much more challenging than previous rides he has done and he seemed to be proud of his accomplishment.

2) One of the guys who has become a strong cyclist rides mostly mountain bikes. He told me of his racing experience at Over the Hump and that he is just behind the lead riders. So I let him in on the secret of success in mountain biking which I have heard from several of you dirt rider types, i.e., "train on the road bike, particularly in a fast group ride environment." I then encouraged him to join us on the CV club ride. I hope to see him soon.

3) One guy was just a lot of fun. He has been a casual rider who was on his brand new three week old carbon road bike. I mean he still had the reflectors on the wheels and the plastic "Fred" plate between the cluster and the spokes! It was fun to talk to him. Remember that new rider enthusiasm? He was very pleased with his efforts as he told us that he completed this route one hour faster than he ever did before. Now that is improvement!



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