Hey everyone... I just wanted to share with everyone my misfortune at having the worst day of riding since I began last year.
I guess I should first simply list all the dumb things that I did (or didn't do) that I knew better about, followed by my little tale of adventure.
1) I had a very pleasant (read: LITE) lunch/afternoon tea with my wife at 1pm... that was all I had to eat before my 6:30 pm ride.
2) I failed to bring ANY food or energy products with me.
3) Decided the second bottle of water would be unnecessary weight.
4) Ignored the weather predictions of 20-30 mph winds
5) Arrived late for an organized group ride of which, I'm new and nobody knows to expect me.
--- There's probably more if I think about it, but I feel foolish enough already---
Ok, here in Traverse City we have our pretty well known PM Peninsula Rides with our local bike club (http://www.cherry-capital.com)
. They usually split into about 4 groups based on distance and speed of which I would ride with the slowest until I gained confidence (route knowledge etc). Last night, the plan was to do a simple 25 mile ride out the peninsula and back.
First of all, I showed up late... just as the 3rd of 4 packs were leaving. I hauled out of the truck, pulled down my bike, yanked on my shoes, gloves and helmet and started to check my tire pressures. Of course at that point the last group was leaving... and my stupid pump wasn't getting air into my 2nd tire. The ride organizer (who wasn't riding that night for some reason) came over to help me out. As he helped, I met another new person (an athena) who was also late and she mentioned that she couldn't ride very fast. I decided to be all macho and told her to go ahead and get going, I'd catch up easily and ride together until we caught the group.
As I tore out of the parking lot, I was feeling pretty confident in my ability to catch the group as the previous week (my first) I had easily kept pace (16 mph). So I was speeding down the road avg about 21-22 mph and feeling very good, except that mile after mile sped by and no sight of the group up ahead, nor my riding companion I had sent off in between.
After about 4 miles I was passed by one of the thoroughbreds of the group who I exclaimed out that he had passed me easily despite me going my fastest. He turned to remark that I was actually really humming along and to keep the faith or something such as that.
Eventually after riding my hardest for 6 miles I caught the group and the athena (who I feared had taken a wrong turn) was with them on the tail. Between my huffing and puffing I asked her why she said that she couldn't ride fast. She then remarks that she hadn't said that she COULDN'T, only that she preferred not to ride very fast. Anyway, I was tired but I was able to eventually catch my breath thanks to that very nice and strong tailwind he had with us along the bay.
As we headed up a decent sized hill, I was feeling spirited again and I hammered to pass everyone to the top. I managed it and felt victorious only to look back and discover that everyone else had stopped mid hill to turn around. I came back and unclipped to rest with everyone and get a drink... but I'd lost a crucial few minutes of rest and everyone was ready to get going back... I on the other hand had hammered up a decent hill and wasn't really ready yet... In addition, as we began again, it took me a good 2.5-3 minutes to re-clip into my stupid pedals.
Now I'm tired, hungry, low on water and energy and behind the group again AND I'm facing INTO that strong wind off of the bay. About a mile down the road, my new friend is waiting on the side of the road to make sure I was still coming as she later tells me she firmly believes one shouldn't HAVE to ride alone. Some choose to do so, but if you wanted to ride with a group, it isn't fun to have to ride home alone because you were dropped.
As we ride along, I eventually give up hope that we're going to re-catch the main group. I'm just too tired and I'm fighting the wind more with my bigger than average sized sail and I was getting some pretty good aches in my back, neck and right knee as well as the typical dead fingers/arms. We ended up stopping to rest several times to insure that I didn't completely bonk after I failed to be able to process the information in time to avoid a large tree branch on the side of the road. I have some nice, long, red trophies of that little encounter along my forearm.
Back at the starting point I mentioned to those remaining from our group that I had in fact returned alive and well... and I believe a few were a little embarrassed to realize that they hadn't even recalled that I rode with the group at all and dropped me without a single thought. But the saving grace was that a local massage store had brought a travel massage table and was giving free massages to promote their shop in town. She evened out my back muscles for me as well as my hips and legs and I was VERY grateful when I was able to stand-up without the stooping and aching (except for my poor feet).
SO... please don't forget to fuel your machine and ALWAYS bring the extra water... and don't show up late to group rides... and if it's too windy... go mountain biking in the woods or something. Those are the lessons I've learned.