Last night I rode with a local bike club. I rode with them before two weeks ago and did fine in the slower class C group which averaged 14.3 MPH for the 20 mile ride. This time none of the four I rode with before seemed to be present. So I just started off at the back of the main group hoping a few would ride at a pace I could handle.
I rode hard to try and keep up with the tail of the group. After a few miles and a couple people dropping behind I ended up riding with one guy that I could manage to keep up with. The rest of the group pulled away from us and I just let him set the pace. Eight miles in I separated from him and took a short cut back because I wasn't confident of my ability to keep up with his pace the whole route and get back before sunset.
In the end I rode 18 miles at an average rate of 16.4 MPH. A personal best speed for any distance. I didn't even know I could manage to ride that hard for over an hour. My average heart rate was 89% maximum, so I don't think there was much more I could have managed. It still wasn't nearly enough to keep up with the B class riders I think comprised the main group. Afterwards I heard one of them commenting on riding at 18.5 MPH average.
How much slack do you suppose I should cut myself given that I was riding my commuter bike with 700x32C tires, upright posture and 8 speed internal gear hub? Furthermore I'm 235 lbs, 6'6" tall and 48 years old and have only been back on a bike for less than two months. Sure would be nice to get to the level where I could keep up with the main group without having to move to a road bike. I guess I've got a new goal to add to my list. However, next week I hope to ride with the C group again.