Today I did something that I’ve been meaning to do since getting my new bike last year, I did a group ride with the folks whom I purchased my bike from (Ultimate Bicycle). My hope was that I’d get out with others who are definitely better riders and then get an idea of just how good or not good I am in terms of riding.
Suffice to say, I got my pedals handed to me.
The route was about 25 or 30 miles, and we had a pace of about 18 miles per hour. There were 8 riders total, but only four of us did the shorter ride – the others did a 50mi course. I need to get a better bike for those kinds of rides.
We started out from the shop and I pretty much intended to just stay with the front of the pack for as long as I could. Given that I have a hybrid (a Trek Valencia), I wanted to make sure that I was using drafting rules accordingly. And then my bike was also able to take on some of the broken up parts of the road a bit better, and so I stayed closer to the curb.
Things really did start out well. I stayed up front for the first 2/3s of the ride. The fun part for me was making sure that I stayed at the same pace when on the uphills as I was on the flats and downhills. Not an easy thing at a pace of 18mph, but I did well…
…until we stopped.
That killed all my momentum and the truth of the weight and gearing of my Valencia really started to play against me. In addition, I was just not in shape for it. The latter part of the ride I just flat out got left by the others and out pack leader had to pretty much pull me along – not literally, I had to pedal my own bike, but I was going quite slow.
The best part was that the last mile of the ride was uphill. Not a simple one, but one of those uphill rides where if you are dead before you get there, you are dead again after it. I was dead, but made it back to the shop.
This week I’ll be looking at Craigslist for a cheap roadie so that I can do this ride and have a good bit of fun on these rides. I think that I can build up my strength and eventaually make my goal this year of riding 50 miles.
Yea, those of you who bike often are probably smiling a bit – 50 miles is a good bit of a milestone. I’ll be a happy dude when I make that mark.
Until then, I know that me and my Valencia can do 30 miles at a crazy pace – and only end up with a cable repair at the end of things. At least, that’s what I hope remains as my only issues.