Written by: Jack Cutler
Today I rode the entire way with my new friend JW on a century (100 miles) journey from Beach ND to Hebron ND. Normally on a Fuller ride, we all ride at our own pace, and although we will often ride with fellow Fuller riders who travel at the same pace, we may not ride the entire day with the same people. In fact, sometimes we ride alone for some or all of the ride. So what was so special about the way I rode during today’s ride? Today JW and I rode together the entire way because we were the “sweeps” for the day.
Sweeps are two designated cyclists who ride together, and who deliberately ride behind all the other riders until the end, making sure everyone arrives safely. This can include helping fellow riders with problems such as a flat tire. When the sweeps arrive at the rest stops, the support crew knows it is time to pack up, because everyone has come through. And when the sweeps arrive at the end location, then everyone knows the ride has finished for the day. (Continued below)
Often a person who volunteers to be a sweep might be used to riding at a faster pace than the slowest riders. Bicycling efficiency is a funny thing. For a fast rider, it is actually more tiring to ride at a slower pace than his normal pace.
But today, JW and I did not feel that way. We rode at or near our normal pace for most of the day. How did we accomplish that and not overrun the slower riders? The secret is to stop often and take photos, or even better to take a slight detour. For JW and I, that detour was an enjoyable side trip to view the painted canyons in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Below are some photos I took on that detour, and also some photos we stopped to take along the way.