The general concensus is that around here you gain 100feet in elevation for every mile you ride so if you intend on being a “serious” cyclist you might have to learn how to climb. Now personally, I am not a bad climber until measured next to the type of cyclist categorized as a real climber (those 130lbs people consisting solely of skin, lungs and bone) against those I climb with the king of grace displayed in Charles Barkley’s golf swing. My point you ask? Ah!…. My point: False Flats…
There are few things I hate worse than false flats, they seem to always be straight and exposed. Spinning at a steady clip, hands in the drops, beads of sweat migrating steadily into your eyes, you are putting a decent effort in all the while experiencing what seems to be a decrease in forward motion. Usually you look at the road ahead and it seems flat but in reality you are gaining elevation ever so slowly hence the moniker “False-flat” . Situations like these display the apotheosis of a Paceline, a formation where you rely on protection from a fellow rider shielding you from the wind and in time -you returning the favor. I see very strong similarities between this and the way we go through life.
Whenever we get on false flats which we all do (the way life event sneak up on you just when you though all was well), it is nice to find a wheel to sit on for a minute, solace behind which to catch your breath, a place to rally a second wind, to restore your energy. We were created for relationship and we do better when experiencing them to the fullest. Without fellowship most of us are apt to quit riding and sit on the couch an example being that gym membership which we pay for every month but only go 4 times a year and only to swim in the pool on a hot day. There comes a speed and grade where the advantages of pacing are no longer aerodynamic but psychological, slugging up a 10% grade just keeping a wheel insight gives the motivation not to stop pedaling likewise in life, some situations no one can shoulder for you, you must pass through and overcome but it does help when there is a hand to hold on to.
Pace lines are great but require a rotation, you can’t sit on the wheel and never take a turn in the wind, you can’t lean on me forever and never afford me the chance to do likewise.
I feel the world is migrating the way of solo attacks, with everyone taking the wind and almost feeling proud of it, we call it Independence. Some of this I believe stems from not truly experiencing the vacuum present when in the sweet spot of a paceline, being a big guy I never quite understood why so many people loved to sit on my wheel, I mean I know my chiseled calf muscles are world renowned and all but these people only seem to love my wheel on the flats and especially on the downhills. The day I way brave enough to let go the brakes and slot right close behind a leading rider and felt what seemed like a sucking vortex, a feeling of literally being pulled along. That is what it feels like to have momentary relief from the troubles of life, to feel comforted by a friend telling you “you are not alone” by another saying what can I do to help you. I love a paceline…. I love to pull and I love to be pulled… It’s the way God designed us.