(When I got back into cycling 4 months ago I didn't have this in mind. I didn't even have a road bike on my mind.)
I just got back from a 4-night 5-day vacation Cruise with my wife and it was very relaxing. But we ate too much. I have been looking for the Monday club ride all weekend. I showed up this morning and it was a large group with two new riders I have only met once before. I felt good and had even managed three hours on the lifecycle during the cruise.
The group decided on a longer ride on a route I hadnít been on before. I honestly did my best to keep up with the lead group but at about the 15-mile point we hit our first long shallow climb and shortly I started to fade. I managed to down about half a bottle of Power aid and got to the top of the grade. Not bad I thought because we started with ten riders and only five were in front of me by about ľ mile. At the one-hour mark one of the riders I normally follow pulled up in my back wheel and I ended up having to drop two gears to keep my spin at about 85-90 RPM. I figured there was another pack behind us with three more riders and if I could recover a bit I could grab a wheel and hold on till the coffee shop at the 30-mile mark. Didnít happen. I figured we had been dropped and missed a turn because I didnít see the group that was supposed to pass.
We hit another long grade and I was sure my fade would continue, I am still 35 pounds too heavy for where I want to be, but to my surprise the drink and the spinning was helping and I was feeling a bit stronger after we crested the last grade.
Just about then I realized where I was and how far I had to go to get to the coffee shop so I put my head down and managed to spin at about 95 RPM for the rest of the way pulling in a respectable 21 MPH for the last mile and a half.
I admit I was a bit disappointed that I finished the first half of the ride close to last but the conversation was good. Then I discovered three riders dropped out. The ride from the coffee shop home was pretty uneventful. I didnít get dropped because there were no grades or hills.
Lessons for today:
1. The saddle feels better but it will still take time to get used to.
2. There is a direct link between how you train and how you ride.
3. Sometimes your second wind comes just before your first stop.
4. I ride faster than a golf cart.
5. I have a long way to go before I will be finishing with the faster club riders.
I wonít be going for a part four till I can keep up with the group and still have enough breath left to take pictures.