There is a group of riders that do weekend rides from the Dunkin' Donuts in my town. They are called the DD Rides. I've known about them for a while and have been wanting to do one, but have lacked the time and the courage! It is mostly guys on road bikes and they ride hard. After thinking about it all summer and then talking with someone I know who rides them every now and then, I gathered up my courage and went out today.
Of course, I would pick the coldest day of the season to do it! It was 40 when I left my house this morning at 7:45 a.m., and I am NOT a cold-weather rider by nature. I layered up as much as I could. I didn't want to get too hot, but I also didn't want to freeze.
I rode the few miles to the Dunkin' Donuts and was a little nervous about what the day would bring. As I turned into the parking lot, I saw some guys with bikes and headed over. At the last minute I decided to put my bike into an easier gear, and then I just fell over.
Yep. Right in front of everyone.
Talk about a grand entrance. My bike is fine, but I have a few bumps and a bruised ego. Oh well, if you can't laugh at yourself what's left, right? (I found out later that there is a little email newsletter that goes out about each ride. Guess who will be featured in that? Thank God, there were no cameras.)
So with the embarrassment out of the way, we were off. I was one of two girls in a group of about 15 men, and the other girl was super strong. It took me a while to get the hang of the style of group riding. Basically, you go easy, and then without any warning at all, the entire group speeds up and if you aren't paying attention a huge gap forms right in front of you! Then, boom, everything slows down again. My heart rate was all over the place. I was gasping for air on the hills, and then I was trying to catch everyone with all my might to close the gap! I didn't even take a sip of my nutrition until 45 minutes in!
The ride was gorgeous! It was a route I have never ridden before, so I'm glad I've done it now and have the route info from my Garmin. I will definitely ride it again. We stopped in Skaneateles and stood around and froze for about 10 minutes. I guess that was the social time. I would have been fine with continuing on, but when in Rome...
I was feeling great on the way back. There was one part where a pace line formed and it is pretty much all out for a mile. I totally held my own there, which I was really happy about. I was right in the middle of a group, and then, BAM, a hill and I lost them. Fortunately, I wasn't the only one who got dropped and the rid leader graciously stayed with us until the end. We rolled in about 5 minutes behind the others, which is not too bad if you ask me. I was able to ride 53.5 miles at 17 mph average.
I had to bag my brick run after because the boys had soccer games, but really, soccer or no, I'm not sure I would have had much. I did not fuel well because I was so focused on staying with the group.
It was a great ride for me. It really took me out of my comfort zone, which is good to do every now and then. Those guys pushed hard, and I pushed hard right back. It is not ideal training for triathlon, so I'm not sure if I will head out with them again until after Rev3 South Carolina (have you signed up yet?), but I will most definitely join them again.
And maybe next time I won't fall in the parking lot.