I hooked up with a group ride yesterday 24.5 miles in the towns surrounding Mt. Wachusett in Central Mass. When I initially contacted the ride leader I expressed my concern about whether or not I was ready to ride with them. He assured me that the group would likely split off into three groups and that it would contain a variety of skill and fitness levels. When I got there a pecking order was established and the first (faster group was sent out). I fell in with the middle group hoping I'd be able to hold on. To my surprise withing the first 4 miles or so I was at the tail end of the lead group. We were moving right along. The area was full of small/medium rollers and some shorter climbs. I was maintaining more speed uphills than I ever had before. It felt great. Eventually me and a couple of older guys started to get dropped by the lead group...but someone else's misfortune turned out to be our dumb luck. One of the lead riders got a flat and the group paused momentarily while they assessed that he had it handled. That gave the three of us a chance to catch up. This was at about the halfway point of the ride. I managed to hold on to the pack (just barely)...I'm a complete newbie to the group ride thing but I learned a few things. I'm not completely comfortable sucking onto someones wheel just yet but I was pretty good a pulling one of the guys that I was bringing up the rear with.
When all was said and done it turned out to be 24.53 miles and 18.4mph and man is my whole body sore today. These guys really had me pushing myself. I think I found my regular Wed ride. If I drop another 10-15# maybe I'll be able to take my turn pulling the group.
Sorry for the long winded post, but if I talk to my wife about this stuff she goes all glassy eyed. I figured you guys would understand.
They've got a 40 miler in a week or so, not sure if I'll be able to keep up over that distance but we'll see.