I decided to try the local LBS Sunday morning ride this morning. I knew I was in trouble as folks began showing up at which point I remembered that Sunday is the faster pace line ride, Saturday being more of a mixed group. Was going to bail out, but a few guys introduced themselves so I said "what the heck", I could always turn around.
Three miles into the ride got a flat (yep, it's hard to see ahead when you're at the back of a pace line). The LBS owner stopped and helped me fix it and we pressed on without the group in sight. 3 miles later flat no. 2 with now no hope of finding the group. We rode the rest of the 40 mile ride (out and back) without every encountering the group. Learned two things:
1. The LBS owner is a great guy. I knew this from having dealt with him of course, but no question when I buy N+1 it will be form him.
2. I can work a lot harder than I've been working on my solo rides. We averaged 17.5 mph including a pretty hard 2.5 mile climb to the turnaround point. My HR averaged 130. There is a huge mental component to exercising and working with a group can really bring out the best in us.
Time to take a nap!