So, yesterday was my first ride with the local randoneurring group. It was a beginner friendly populaire with a ride distance of 107km. I had done 61.5 miles last weekend at 14mph and finished feeling good so I thought it would be no problem. There were 6 riders in total...three ladies and three guys. Two guys and one lady were regular long distance club riders. The other two riders were experienced riders but just getting into long distances. One was a younger guy who was fast. The other lady was just a little older than me and while not a racer, she was an experienced rider of more moderate distances.
Well, there were some interesting 'failures' along the route! Within the first 5 miles, one rider went down. It was 'user error' and luckily he wasn't hurt but his tire popped off the rim. The guys went to work on the tire while we went on, figuring the guys would easily be able to catch up to us. Before we hit the 10 mile mark, one of the other ladies broke a spoke. We went to work with a temporary carbon fiber spoke. We couldn't get that to work but one of the women had recently built a wheel so she was able to balance the wheel well enough with a spoke wrench to keep it from rubbing the frame. By that time, the guys had caught up to us and we all went on our way. About 5 miles after the turn around point, one of the guys lost his pedal. Luckily, it was still attached to his shoe! Again, the ladies went on while the guys got it re-attached.
All of this kept things interesting and showed the group to be full of really good-natured fun people. I think my problem was that I didn't eat enough early on and that just got worse as my stomach got a little queasy. I was definitely slowing down during the last 25 miles, but at the time was kind of at a loss as to what to do. I knew the idea of eating more gu was gross, but I did...I just think by then it was too late. The last 2 miles were horrible. I was moving at probably an 8-9mph speed and was never so glad to make it back to my car!
I was pretty disappointed. That being said, I still had a really good time and in spite of the last few miles, my overall speed was around 13.6mph. They were a fun supportive crowd and I learned a lot.
For one thing, I'll be getting a camelbak. I don't think I was dehydrated but I did have trouble drinking the fluids on my bike because they got warm so quickly. (The temps were somewhere between 85-90 degrees.) The other thing I'm going to do is ditch my Carradice bag and go back to my handlebar bag. While riding, I'm much better at eating out of that bag than I am at eating 'out of my jersey pockets'. When I ride solo, it's not unusual for me to stop for a minute or so every ten miles or so to grab something to eat and chug some fluids. That doesn't work when you're with a group with control stops every 25 miles. I need to work on that.
I kept remembering my nephew when he was learning to skate. He was about 4yo and I had bought him skates, a helmet and all the padding. He was getting frustrated and started crying because he was falling so much. I told him if he wanted to be good at it he needed to be willing to be a beginner and fall down some. He went on to be a pretty darn good skater!
So, I got knocked down, but I'll be back up again!!