Well I decided to ride again with faster group during our club ride today. I wasnít going to but next week I will be on vacation with my wife and I knew I wouldnít get to ride for a week. I will be on a ship so I canít take the bike. This second ride was another learning experience.
The group was a bit smaller than it had been on Wednesday when I took my first ride and one of the more powerful riders wasnít with us. When they were discussing the route we would take it sounded like somewhere I hadnít been before and it sounded like it would be longer than average for a weekly ride. But I was game and decided to give it a try.
The memory of being dropped at the 8 mile mark the first time was fresh in my mind so I decided to stay as close to the front of the pack as I could. I thought I was doing pretty well by holding on as well as I did and by mile 7 it looked like I would finish with the group if nothing changed. I should have known it was too good to be true. About mile 10 the four or five faster men all got in line and started pulling away from me a bit. When I fell back about two bike lengths behind I noticed we had hit the bottom of a hill. I was too late to pick up my spin so I had to drop a gear and then another. They pulled at least 100 yards ahead of me. At first I was disappointed but then I noticed I wasnít the last man over the top of that hill.
Once over the top I started pulling the group in on the down slope. The slope wasnít long enough but I managed to catch them anyway. At first I thought I was wasted but while drafting I found myself spinning a bit faster and my legs started to feel a little better. I downed some electrolytes and stayed with the pack for the next three miles or so. I decided I felt good enough to go up and catch the lead dogs rear wheel. He had been a consistent 10 to 20 yards in front for most of the ride. At one point he pulled out and I realized he expected me to pull. We were already three miles faster than my best cruising speed but I fell into the drops, lowered my head and pulled the best I could for the next mile.
About the time when I felt like I had no more to give and pulled off the front the 4 or 5 passed me and I could see we were coming to the second hill in our morning ride. It was twice a high and twice as long as the first one and once again I began to fall back. Then at the very top of the hill they pulled over to regroup, PTL. As I pulled up I realized once again I wasnít the last man up but I was feeling pretty tired.
Shortly after we were all reassembled we took off down the back side of the hill and rode around one or two small neighborhoods with one or two small grades before meeting up at our designated coffee shop. I was pooped.
On the ride home the one that pulled into the coffee shop last left first as the rest of us were still putting on our helmets. I thought the pace would be easier so I was in no hurry and I stayed back for a few blocks talking with the cruisers. Then I looked up the road and saw that big hill we had come down as we entered the town. It was much steeper on this side than it was on the other. The other group managed to catch the other rider by the top of the hill and I watched him crest the hill at least 700 yards in front of me. I didnít think I would see him again because he was twice that far when I crested the hill. But somehow I managed to catch him and we took turns pulling each other the rest of the way home. I learned a lot today.
1. I can ride 41 miles and not fall over.
2. To get respect you have to pull sometime.
3. The attacks will come on the hills.
4. Attitude is very important.
5. Hydration and electrolyte drinks taste better when you ride.
6. I still need to lose 30 pounds.