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Not a Road Ride (The Athletic)

March 21 at 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Starting Tuesday March 14th @ 5:30pm at the Athletic Community’s HQ on NW 19th, we’re going to host a weekly ride through the woods of Forest Park. You heard it here first folks. We’re not hosting a weekly road ride this spring. Instead, we’re hosting ‘Not a Road Ride’. Inevitably some roads will be ridden on, but those are a means to an end. A paved expressway to a place where no cars go.

While I love riding on the road, Echo Red2Red, Bear Springs Trap, Sisters Stampede, et al. are what I try and prepare for. As such, I want to lead a ride aimed at keeping folks like myself loose, comfortable, and fast on dirt, gravel, and mud. Most rides will be about 20 miles roundtrip starting and ending at the shop. I imagine we’ll lallygag up Thurman and then once wheels hit dirt, things will speed up, considerably. Usually we’ll return to the shop via Hwy 30 by way of a descent down Germantown. If you live up north, that’d be a good time to break formation and head home.

I’d love it if you’d come along and join me for a light-hearted, spirited ride to let off some steam and get a little fitter each week.

As this isn’t a road ride, there are a few points of order I’d like to highlight.

‘Rule’ 1 – Come prepared. We’re planning on riding Leif Erikson and some combination of Forest Park’s many Fire Lanes and bike-appropriate trails. If you know how to shred the woods on a road bike with 25s, cool, do it. Most of us are going to be on a fatter tire road bike, or a gravel bike, or a cross bike, or a 29er/650b hardtail, or maybe even a super-appropriate 29-minus rig (or even something the industry hasn’t cooked up yet but fits the bill). To that end, let me say that 26in plus bikes are not invited, but I thoroughly invite you to ride your vintage Stumpjumper with city slicks. I recommend choosing a bike that will allow you to go the fastest you’re capable of on a variety of surfaces. To me, this is a 700x32mm tire or larger. Regardless of your bike and tire choice, make sure you have a way to fix yourself if your bike breaks. In my mind, this is a pump, a spare tube, and allen key. Also, if like me you’re prone to bonking after 15 minutes on a bike, I highly recommend bringing a bar or gel and certainly some fluids. Be an adult and prepare accordingly. Sabes, si?

‘Rule’ 2 – This is not a drop ride, but it’s not a slow ride either. In pure roadie terms, we intend to make this ride tempo pace with a couple opportunities for you to kick it up a notch or three. Ride as fast as you want, but be advised we’re going to designate a few rally points. When you reach one you can either wait, or tack back to get the last-placed rider. I recommend the latter. Think of it as a recovery spin, or free miles, or maybe even a bragging rights lap: ‘I got there first’.

We’ll be sending out the week’s intended route via an email list the day before . If the weather is absolutely terrible, we’ll do an abbreviated version of the route, and preferably stop someplace for a beer.