I guess this is one of those good news, bad news posts.
First the good news. I thought my hillclimbing abilities had progressed to the point where I could go on a scheduled group ride. 24 miles on a variety of hills and flats, about 1500 ft climbing total. This was a ride I had taken many times back when I used to ride a lot, maybe 25 yrs ago, before I stopped riding for 20 yrs. There was a large group that was split into 3 groups fast, intermediate, and slow. So the fast group (about 20) took off, then the intermediate (about 20) leaving the slow (4 of us!). But I did it, and did it with reasonable comfort. I remain grateful that when I was specing out my new bike I went with the triple, I ground about 3 miles of the route in the lowest gear.
Then the bad news. I've been riding for about 3 weeks now with my new shoes and clipless pedals. When I mentioned this to other cyclists, first question is: 'have you fallen yet" and I smiled and said no, as I knew I was far too capable a cyclist to fall. But the response always was: "everyone falls".
So on the first uphill of the route I try to drop down to the granny ring and the chain slips off to the inside. I've got no momenum, no power, and I tumble off to the right, land in brambles and thorns with the bike still attached to me, I'm like a big beetle flipped on its back with legs waving in the air. Cyclists come by, help me clip out and get up.
I go maybe 1/4 mile more and we're on a one way section of the road due to construction. Staying very close to the edge because of oncoming traffic. One car seems like it's heading straight at me, I veer even closer to the edge, and I'm down again!
But I take this all in stride, realize now I've gotten my initiation, that's that. 10 more miles, I'm on an uphill again, shift down to the granny again, chain off again, I'm down again. This time I'm hurt a little, I think I must have put my hand out to stop the fall as my wrist is hurting. Also, my confidence is now shaken, I think I've had more than my quota of falls.
Net result: I'm proud I did the ride, I'm banged up and hurting and wearing a wristband today, I've scheduled to bring my bike into my lbs to check the derailleur settings, chain and cable tensions, etc., I'm chagrinned that I fell yet I have a strange pride that I've now had my formal initiation into the band of clipless pedal wearers, and most of all I'm very greatful that the damage to my body, bike, and ego wasn't any worse.