Yesterday (in the Northeast heat and humidity) I did a ride with 3 friends who are faster riders than I. The first 10 miles were flat and we pace lined it cruising at around 20-24 mph, each taking our turns to pull. You need to know that I usually cruise solo at about 17 mph. We stopped in a town center to decide where to head next and the consensus was to head out for rolling terrain. As I predicted, I was dropped quickly. Luckily, they waited for a me a few miles up the road at the next turn. The next road was flat and the pace went quick again, and I kept up. At a certain point, I needed to turn back as I had to get to work. The route back for the next 7 miles was hilly. I had to stop once to let my heart rate drop a little, but made it back to our starting point. Average speed was much faster than I would have expected on this route.
Today, I did a ride with a very good friend and something similar happened. While on the flats, I was able to keep the speed up, but we did much more climbing. I ended the ride (38 miles) with the fastest average speed I've ever done on this particular route.
Reading what I just wrote, it all looks pretty good. However, it's so frustrating to be dropped as soon as we head up any kind of hill! So much so that despite the numbers showing that I should be proud of myself, I end up feeling that I'm out of my element. I think what I should do is some group riding with a group that is slightly faster than I'm comfortable with and keep at it for a several weeks until I can avoid being dropped. Has anyone else had a similar experience?