My first group ride (kinda, I rode alone mostly)

Last night I did my first group ride and it went a little something like this. I showed up at the LBS and all the other chicks and dudes were decked out in their finest team race kits. They all had such fabulous bikes and components. I could tell that I was probably a little out of my league. I introduced myself (newb) and said that I had never ridden on a group ride before. They were all really friendly and explained how things were gonna go.

First thing was the route that we were gonna ride: Flagstaff Road. Flagstaff is an up-hill road that winds up above Boulder (great views) to an Amphitheater. It’s about 9 miles up at an elevation gain of 1600 ft. I had ridden it several times about 10 years ago but was a little afraid of my abilities these days.

We start to head out and I realize that my rear tire had a flat. Now this makes a great first impression, I thought. I told the group to go ahead and I would just ride with them next week knowing how long it was gonna take me to change out this flat given that it was my very first flat tire on my road bike.

Some of them laughed and said that if I was gonna have a flat tire this was the place to do it. A couple of the guys change it out within 2 minutes (would’ve taken me 20 min). Didn’t even have to pay for the new tube!

Off we went. It’s a straight climb to even get to Flagstaff. On Baseline Road I could feel my quads tightening up. One of the bike shop dudes was staying back with me (poor guy) and was explaining some fundamentals of group riding. I started going slower and slower as we were climbing up the hill. I told him to go ahead without me, that I was okay, and that I would just join the group when they started back down. He caught back up with the main pack and I found my rhythm. I really wanted to push it to catch up to the group but knew that I would be blown within 10 minutes if I did that. My goal was to make it to the top and if I wanted that then I needed to go my own pace.

I was in total granny gear just spinning away and felt like I was going nowhere. I was huffing and puffing so much that I couldn’t take a sip of water. In fact, I was going so slow that I was afraid that if I took my hand off the handlebar I would just fall over to one side. I kept my head down and just thought of making it to the top.

One of the bike shop dudes circle back around to check on me. I told him I was fine and that I would see them at the top. He rode off and I was back to thinking about only one thing…getting done with this gosh darn tough ride! I started looking around at the nice views, the trees, and even saw a few deer. I was trying to embrace being out of my comfort zone.

A little while later I saw that same bike dude and he said that I was almost to the top where the others were waiting. I made it! Tired but happy. Everyone yelled “see ya back at the bike shop” and took off.

Now I needed to deal with the very fast descent! I’m not good at descending fast. I have not yet come to trust my skinny-ass tires when I’m going 30 MPH. The max speed that I have let my bike go is 32.5. Right around 30 MPH I start feathering the breaks out of fear of becoming one with the road. The tight switch-back turns were not making things any easier. I gripped tight and must have had the most serious face you’ve seen as I came screaming down the hillside. At the bottom were two of the bike dues. We rode back though town to the bike shop where I was just happy to be alive.

As I was leaving they said “next week we’ll be riding the flats.” I yelled back “Okay, I’ll be there.”

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~ by willtriforbeer on May 16, 2012.

One Response to “My first group ride (kinda, I rode alone mostly)”

  1. Wow, i love this, well done on the hill!

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