Last night, seafoam and I went on our evening ride which usually goes from ten to twenty miles, depending on the remaining daylight and level of difficulty. The ride last night included a three mile hill that has some very steep sections to it. I decided at the begining to push a little harder than I normally do on this particular hill to see if I was making improvements. About mid-way up the climb my next door neighbor (a racer) passes on my left and says calmly, "hello, John!" and is soon off and away. About 15 seconds later, I see another bike shadow coming up on my left very close, and I feel a hand pat me on the back. This time it's Michael (who works for me part time) who is a cat 3 racer. He cheerfully says, "keep spinning!" and soon disappears from my view up ahead. Eventually the last of their group of five, including my lbs owner, passes on my left. At this point, I decided not to let the last guy out of my sight. I managed to stay with him with about 20-30 yards between us. At the other end of the hill, the others had stopped to get their entire group together before continuing on. This enabled me to roll up before they took off again. The oldest rider in their group is 43 and the others are mid to late 30's. All in all, I felt like I did pretty well considering the difficulty of the climb, my level of exerience, my age, and my fitness level after riding regularly for the past three months. Three months ago you couldn't have paid me to try and ride up that hill.