Flying Wheels is nearly here, then the Stp, RSVP,High Pass,and the Kitsap Color.
Love 'em all.
But, I've seen people riding the short version of those rides. That's when you start on a bike, but finish in a aid car.
So to avoid that, here's some thoughts.
Remember that I'm not an expert, my first Cascade ride was the Chilly Hilly in 1988, and I've only rode Stp 21 times, most of which was a Ride Ref or Medical Team.
Situational awareness is paramount. You have a legal responsibility for duty of care, which is to look where you're going and not endanger anyone else.
Keep your head on a swivel, don't fixate your vision. You want to scan the road ahead, near and far, side to side, and keep a mirror check. With so many people around you, things happen fast, so you want to be able to see and plan for that 'what if'. You would be surprised how many people I've seen ride into bollards on the trail sections, into chuck holes, and other people.
Look into turns. Watch and you'll see that most people don't. Their line of focused vision seems to stay aligned with their top tubes. When you look into the direction you are going to turn before you turn you have more time to react to that nail, broken glass, or the person who just passed you without warning.
Which leads us to making others aware of where you are, and what you intend to do. CALL OUT!
If you are going to pass someone, here's the progression, coming up from behind you want to let them know you are behind them, call out ON YER WHEEL! Followed by ON YER LEFT! before you ride past them.
If you are stopping or a light or sign it's STOPPPING!
If you need to stop to adjust something or dig out that energy bar- don't just stop in the middle of the road. Guess what, there are 9,999 other people on this ride, and they might not like you very much if you stop in front of them. If you need to stop, signal, pull over off the road and stop.
Which brings us to signaling. DO signal IF it is safe to do so. What I have found is the most easily seen is to simply point in the direction you are turning. Left arm for left turns, right arm for right turns. That right arm signal is legal, and it's easier seen than the bent left arm signal, and too many people don't even know what the bent left arm means. People can see the right arm for right turn signal behind you on your right side better than the bent left arm, and the folks on your right are the one you really want to know you're turning. I like to wave my hand a bit when signaling and add a voiced LEFT TURN, RIGHT TURN as well.
When you are passing someone, remember to look behind you BEFORE you move over to pass. You do have a legal obligation to yield to people if you are changing lanes, cutting people off leads to chain reaction crashes.
And speaking of chain reactions......pacelines.
Be careful of who you paceline with. Lot's of ad hoc groups form up, and not everyone in them are experinced riding in them. If the group seems the least bit dodgy, back out of that group. Keep your distance from the person in front of you, you don't need or want to be two inches off their wheel, you will not have time to react.
Don't overlap wheels, or ride to the side with half your front wheel next to their rear wheel. If they move over and hit your front wheel, you are going to crash.
If you are riding in a paceline and passing others, EVERYBODY in that paceline should call out ON YER LEFT. I've seen some amazing crashes because the passer didin't hear anyone behind, didn't look behind, and moved over.
Anyway, just some thoughts. I'll be seeing you......and I hope you see me.
gears to you....leo