July Networking ride report

Absolutely perfect weather greeted 30 riders as we toed the line at Attitude for the July networking ride.  Actually 31, as Jim Mitchell missed the launch but followed behind solo.

A great time was had by all – once again we held the speed to a comfortable chat pace.  Billy O. and Bill King led the group out and we followed the route to a T, with not one single wrong turn (could be a first…).

Afterward we crammed into and outside of Seester’s for dozens of Dos XX, generously purchased by Brad Babcock.  Brad works with surety bonds and has a ton of customers in the construction trades.  He appears to be extremely well-connected too, so I’m anxious to talk to him more on the next ride.

We had quite a few new riders to the group as well, (Brad Kussow shot me a quick note to say he had a great time on his first networking ride) which is always great to see.  This is first and foremost a networking opportunity for like-minded business-people.  I am currently working on a stand-alone website for the group which will list ride info, as well as info companies and individuals that participate.  I am hoping to have the website be a great “go-to” for connecting people outside of the 3 hours we spend together once a month.  Please feel free to email any suggestions to me of content you’d like to see on the site.

Next ride is Wednesday, August 10th.  Mark your calendars now!

June 2011 Networking Ride report

Welcome back cycling enthusiasts!

This ride was started a few years ago as an alternative to golf networking, with the goal being getting like-minded business people together for a “chat” ride once a month.  Over the last 2 years, the ride has attracted stronger and stronger riders, and the pace has slowly crept up to the point of excluding many of the potential riders.  This was never the goal, so I have decided to be more proactive in controlling the pace of the ride and make sure we keep it reasonable for everyone.  I’ve talked to a number of people who are on the email list (now 350-ish strong) who’ve said they’d love to ride but “we’re too fast” for them.

Yesterday’s route  averaged 18.9 mph – a very respectable pace for the weekend warrior, and a nice recovery pace for the more experienced cyclist.  Our average pace had been creeping up to 20 mph and sometimes more, and I found that we had really begun to alienate the core of “enthusiast” riders that this ride is for. I’ll do my best, and ask those faster riders, to try to keep the pace closer to 18 – 19 (max) from now on.

Flats suck.  The only thing this picture is missing is Russell Jobs giving the finger.

(We did learn while trying to find a tube to fit these deep dish wheels that Gary Johnson’s stem is the longest among all men – even if it’s only by millimeters…)

  I brought my single speed yesterday, and anytime I found myself spinning out of gear, I went to the front to draw the pace down.  All in all, I think we had a great ride – despite the (now mandatory?) missed turn or 2.   Not sure how many riders we had, but a decent sized group for sure.  Always good to see familiar faces mixed with new ones too.  All of the crappy weather blew over, so anyone who missed the ride for fear of getting wet missed out on a dry ride.

We also gave people the option to climb or circumvent Glacier Hill (.65 mile long hill with a 3.8 % average grade) at the end of the ride .  Nice to have this option, depending on how you’re feeling.

As advertised, Denny Yunk and the TOTAL Mechanical crew bought beers at Seester’s afterward.  The idea of a post-ride beer sponsorship is a big hit with everyone.  If you are interested in sponsoring, let me know.  I have a stand-alone website in the works for our group as well that will help with the networking piece.

TOTAL Mechanical is southeast Wisconsin’s largest locally-owned, single-source mechanical contractor, offering services in heating, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and building automation systems. TOTAL Mechanical specializes in the design, engineering, manufacturing, installation, maintenance and repair of commercial, industrial and residential environmental systems. We’re online at www.total-mechanical.com. You can also follow us attwitter.com/totalmechanical and facebook.com/totalmechanical. For more information, contact Denny Yunk, TOTAL Mechanical’s Marketing Manager, at dyunk@total-mechanical.com

See you all July 13th – and tell your friends to come back, we’ll keep the pace fun!

January 2011 Networking Ride recap

I’ve been riding a lot in the dark, snowy mornings lately, so I figured why not show up to the Networking Ride on my single-speed mountain bike?  The roads looked a little sketchy, and I wasn’t sure who’d be showing up (if anyone) for the 20-something degree ride yesterday.

Thankfully, someone DID show up – Bill King; Centurion Data Systems VP and IS Corp road racer.  He did NOT show up on a SS though.  His bike was having some work done, so the shop gave him a brand new, full Dura Ace BMC race rig to use for the afternoon.  Obviously a very even match in rigs – not.

Thankfully, Bill humored me with a nice easy roll around Oconomowoc Lake, then we hit Seester’s for some XX Ambers and a great conversation about strategies for growing business with social media (did I mention that this is a Business Networking event?).  Bill’s got some great ideas, I’d encourage anyone who’s not comfortable with social media to look him up.

Next month’s ride is February 9th, and Spring will be here before you know it.  Bundle up and jump on the train!

7 things I learned today about Florida group rides

  1. It gets cold here sometimes. I left at 6:45 this morning and it was in the low 50s.  Not cold for November by Wisconsin standards, but pretty chilly when you have shorts and a short-sleeved jersey on.  So glad I left my arm warmers back inside the locked house.  When I showed up for the ride, some guys had toe warmers and beanies on, no one had bare arms, few had bare legs… except me.  I wore them like a Sconnie badge of courage.
  2. An 85 mile “group ride” in San Antonio, Florida is actually a training ride.  I lined up with about 30 Spanish-speaking South American Cat 1s to take off.  They weighed about a buck-thirty and their thighs were the size of pumpkins.  I was starting to feel like the minnow in a shark tank.  We took off and I was in the “A” group which meant once we got rolling, an average speed in the high 20’s.  I’m pretty sure I spit out my heart and at least 1 lung by mile 30.  Thankfully, we stopped to refill bottles at 43 miles, and the South American freaks of nature kept going.  Even though I was able to hang on up to that point, I was pretty sure I would have been left behind shortly afterward if I had stayed with them.  We re-formed an “A-” group, took the pace down a couple notches for 5 or 6 miles, then ramped it back up.
  3. Central Florida is hilly.  Not Colorado hilly, but Minnesota hilly.  We had over 2,500 feet of climbing in 60 miles.  I had no idea. I just assumed the whole state was flat.
  4. There’s a giant douche-bag in every big, open group ride, and Florida is no exception.  Mr. Steroid McSprintalot was not there to make friends today, he was there to slowly zig-zag his way up hills and then crush the sprints.  Nothing like a guy who can’t hold a line dropping F-bombs on me as I pass him because I didn’t call out “on your right!”.  Whatever.  Douche-bag.  Everyone else was pretty cool, except the South Americans might have been calling me the douche-bag and I just didn’t understand them…
  5. Pacelines have not made their way to Florida yet.  70+ people, and the whole group rides 1,2,3 & 4 up with the strong guys just staying in front, sometimes way over the centerline.  It was bizarre.  I would tuck in behind someone, waiting to take a pull, and then 3 or 4 guys would eventually just pull around and spread out.  No organization, no working together.
  6. Sitting up and blocking HAVE made their way here.  This was a group ride, but anytime a teammate went off the front, the other guys on the team would block.  WTF?  This is a group ride, not Superweek.
  7. All in all, it’s pretty cool to show up to a parking lot at dawn a thousand miles from home and have more than 70 other people there ready to get after it.  Cycling is cycling, and almost everyone I talked to today (when I could talk) was really cool and there for the same reason as me.