This very belated post shows a glimpse of the MC3 women’s road-riding clinics held in August. Sponsored by the Birmingham Bicycle Company (BBC) Women’s Race Team, the clinics were held at the Marriott Ross Bridge Resort in Hoover, Ala. (which “sponsored” us with a great deal on conference room rental and food & bev).
The Beginner clinic, on Saturday, drew 25 participants and 10 instructors on a beautiful summer day. The learning started in a conference room with a Road Biking 101 discussion on bike checks, what to watch out for, rules of the road, group riding etiquette, and intro to pacelining. We then broke up into groups of six or seven students per instructor and put the skills into practice on a small loop through the Ross Bridge neighborhood and on low-traffic country roads. We returned to the resort for boxed lunches and a Q&A that covered types of pedals, women’s specific saddles, techniques (cornering, descending, climbing), how to find a group ride right for you, and how to change a flat tire.
Participants were invited to stick around for drinks by the community pool, spa appointments, and other post-ride fun.
Sunday’s Intermediate/Advanced clinic drew a slightly smaller group of experienced road riders who wanted to improve their technique and comfort in a paceline. We started with a refresher talk on Paceline Dos and Don’ts, how to “read” other riders to assess their skill level (and danger to you), how to “hide” in a group of riders faster than you, and what to do if you get dropped. Then we broke into two groups for a 25-mile ride on low-traffic roads where we could practice some paceline drills.
With coaches at times riding alongside the paceline to observe and offer individual feedback, we practiced a single paceline, double paceline, and rotating paceline. We also learned a chase drill: one rider sprinted off the front, and then the group worked together to catch her. In one case, we “caught” a lone dude riding on a long, flat stretch. He wasn’t too happy when we zoomed by yelling, “On your left!” and did his best to catch us and hang for a while.
Both days finished with a visit from the Swag Fairy — drawings for Pactimo jerseys, road tires, Hincapie arm/leg warmers, and a free bike wash from BBC.
Special thanks to Tim Heard of BBC Racing, who brought a level of expertise and coaching that raised the bar for instruction. And a big thanks to our volunteer instructors: Maaike, Angela, Lora, April, Kay, Laural, Melissa, and Amy.
Please share your feedback! If you attended, please tell us what you liked, as well as what we can improve. If you didn’t attend, but have suggestions for what would have inspired you to join us, we’d like to know that, too. We’d like to serve our community, and you can help us do that by telling us what you want/need. Thanks!