Joined a local bike club but haven't ridden with anyone yet. Rides are by class. A,B,C,D
D is 8 to 12 mph and C is 13 - 16. I am not sure what I am.
How do I determine the class? Do I base it on the avg mph for my rides or is it the rate I ride at on flat terrain? On a long ride, say 33 miles (long for me, at least) I may average 11.5 to 12.5 but clearly I am cruising at greater speeds, 13 to 16, some of the time but the overall average is less if I have a headwind or some bridges to climb.
I don't want to ride with a group thats way better than I am so any advice will be appreciated.
I would have to say you need to join a class that you will not repaetdley hold up,
you want theses people to enjoy your company , on the other hand it's good to ride with a group that will push you a little more then your point of self defeat once and ahwhile just my opinion i ,am only a year and ahalf into my own ,although i do read alot of cycling books with good tips & habits . check your local barnes & noble bookstore , or other book stores you could always ask the group leader for advice.
I agree with Danno and roadbuzz. Start with the slowest class to see how you do. You will quickly see if you need to advance to the next class. Lots of times I have noticed that the actual speeds aren't accurate. You will have some riders that are actually faster and some that are slower that are in certain classes. The faster riders in the groups will push the slower riders to improve simply by riding faster and the slower riders improve quickly. I think it's a win/win situation. Just go out and have fun!
Sounds like you are in the situation we all experienced prior to our first club rides. I averaged around 15mph on my own and was absolutely amazed to average 16.7 for 35miles on my first club ride. The drafting increased my speed that much - you will just have to get out there like others said and see what you feel comfortable at. If you have not expierenced the close riding conditions, there will be an adjustment period there also. Because I had ridden by myself a good bit before starting to club ride, I felt the adjustment to being in front and pulling was the easiest part for me.