Those following my Thursday night shop ride thread will know that that group is split into 5 subgroups, and I'd been going out with the slowest of the 3 "Bs." But in addition to these Thursday rides, they also offer Tuesday evening rides that are only divided into 3 subgroups, and they're billed specifically as "training" rides, with higher paces and attacks once we get through about 6 or 7 miles of warmups and clear most of the high traffic roads in the area. I had no intention of joining in these rides until the leader of my Thursday group said I should, and that they'd formed a slower bunch that I should fit in well with.
Well, after last night, I'm not so sure. I went out with the last bunch, for 30 miles, this time with only a 10 mph headwind. It went just like the Thursday ride (about 19 mph) until we hit the open country, and then I could only hang on until about mile 11. Fortunately for my ego, several others got shelled before me, and fortunately for my legs, there was one club member who was going about the same speed as me, and we worked together for the rest of the ride, or at least until he peeled off to go directly home just short of the end, leaving me on my own for the last 2 miles or so. I finished the 30 with a moving average of 17.8.
I have to say, at the time I was wondering why I was putting myself through it, but now that it's behind me, I'm sure I'll be doing more. If nothing else it provides a handy metric for measuring improvement - how long I can hang with them before getting dropped. And I'll be back out with the Bumble Bs on Thursday, too.