So this club ride, which I’ve done many Thursdays since 2006, is a love/hate affair. It’s a standard Winters Loop, and for the first 4 years I did this ride, it was a total hammerfest. If you were new to group riding you learned as you rode; there was little emphasis on etiquette or safety. I learned much and generally enjoyed them.
After my crash and broken wrist in the Solvang Century of 2009, I spent weeks trying (and failing) to keep up with the group, as I’d lost fitness post-surgery, during the 8 weeks I spent angrily grinding out trainer rides. If I’d been able to get past my anger I could’ve made those trainer rides matter.
Eventually I rode myself back into fitness to hang onto those Thursday rides and back into racing. And the following couple of years I (and my husband) found ourselves displeased that a “social” ride demanded so much attention and fitness that we no longer enjoyed those rides, so we did our own rides, with people who also valued the social aspect of riding together. I went from miles per hour to smiles per mile. That was quite a revelation for me, and to this day I incorporate those kinds of rides into my schedule. (Sunday’s Bike the Bridges ride on the tandem was definitely a “smiles per mile” ride.)
I climbed hills on Tuesday, and two of my GFs were going on tonight’s ride, so I showed up…and was able to hang on, even taking a monster pull (I thrive on the front, it seems) at speeds that impressed those on my wheel. Many thanks for the encouragement, you guys, it was what I needed.
Husband and I definitely feel the effort and — I can’t speak for him — I’m very pleased with my effort and contribution to the faster riders — I’m reminded of how I rode myself back in shape 7 years ago, and I see it happening again, and I’m stoked.
Next up: Tuesday hills with the girls. Team E FTW!