26 miles, flat and fast (slower in November and December)
This ride begins with a short warm-up around the Brentwood Country Club. After a left turn back onto San Vicente, there is a build up of speed on a slight downhill and a high-speed sprint before 7th Street. After a brief recovery, the hammer goes down as the group heads south through Venice and Marina del Rey. The pace varies for the rest of the ride (from 18 to 30 mph) as it winds through the Marina and back up to Santa Monica by the reverse route. When the ride returns to San Vicente, there is a build up of speed for two miles leading up to 26th street which splits up much of the group. Then a brief regrouping at the 26th street before a final 200-400 meter sprint down San Vicente. Beverages at Peet's in Brentwood (San Vicente and Gorham) afterward. Danger! This ride travels through several high-traffic areas, most notably on the return up Ocean Avenue, which a has a thin shoulder and lots of motorists fueled on caffeine, yammering on cell phones and many times late for work. Keep your eyes open for open car doors and head up for fast red lights! The pace line Rotation is most commonly counterclockwise. Double pace line with the right side slightly faster than the left. Front rider on right passes left, then GENTLY glides over to the left. Soft pedal for a moment then keep your pace. The key to a good pace line is good, smooth flow.
- The two pace lines should be tight to each other. A typical rider should have trouble coming up the middle. If someone can there is too much room between the pace lines.
- When you get to the front to pull do NOT accelerate. Keep it smooth. You'll have to work a bit harder being in the wind but keep your pace the same. Do NOT get out of the saddle to accelerate.
- When you pull over to the left do so in a diagonal line, not a swerve. Again be smooth. A swerve makes the people behind you nervous and disrupts the flow of the rotation.
- Do NOT wait till you are fully and well clear of the bike on the left before starting to come over. That is too late and creates a gap. My rule of thumb is to start to move diagonally when your back wheel axle is passing the front axle of the rider to the left. If done smoothly you will not hit their tire by a large margin.
- Your pull doesn't end when you come over to the left. It ends when the rider that was behind you pulls through and ends up in front of you. Your effort while on the left, in front, should be nearly the same as before. There should only be +/- 1mph difference, maybe 2mph, between the pace lines. Slowing down too much when you move to the left disrupts the flow also.
- If, when on the right side, you find yourself gapped one or two bike lengths from the rider in front of you do NOT jump to bridge the small gap. Keep it smooth. This disrupts the riders behind you and creates a gap behind you. Close the gap slowly and smoothly. This keeps all the riders behind you together with you.
- When on the left, BE PATIENT. If you see a gap on the right side don't jump into it. First look back to see if someone is coming up closing the gap. If they are not closing signal to them you are coming over. Give yourself time to determine if they are languishing or just closing the gap slowly. Just because there is a gap doesn't mean you should fill it immediately.
- If you are not going to pull through, either because you're tired or "saving yourself for the sprint", after the rider behind you pulls around to the right tell the rider in front of you that you are not coming around and they should take their turn. Or you can be clever and ride slightly to their left so when they turn to check for riders they don't see you.
Tips for New Riders Marina is a difficult ride on two levels. First, the ride is just plain fast. If you are new to group riding, you may find that you have never pedaled this fast for this long. While the ability to draft will aid your efforts to stay with group, gaps will open which will require superior fitness to close. Second, this ride often entails elbow-to-elbow riding at high speeds. If you are uncomforatable with this aspect of group riding, we strongly suggest you try our Friday ride, Marina Lite, which follows roughly the same route but is much less difficult or the Tuesday Marina JV ride (see below).