Today we're starting with the 18-22+ mph group. We're riding in this speed range on our weekday rides. My comfort range is 18-19 mph. Riding with the faster group is the best way to improve. Since the 16-18 mph group rides the same route, we'll just ride with the faster group for as long as I can hang with them. If I can't keep up, we'll join the slower group when they go by.
I was as nervous as a total newbie on the 5 mile ride to Miami City Hall and the ride's start. Saturdays for the next few months are going to be frustrating but interesting.
The group milled about at the start. Travel problems had stranded our scheduled ride leaders out of town, so at first it seemed like we were on our own. Things got sorted out in short order, ad hoc ride leaders took control, and the group headed out in a nice double pace line. The pace was faster than our brief sampling ride two weeks ago. But we were hanging in there. We arrived at the break in Deering feeling pretty good.
We'd heard that the pace got faster in the next stretch (from Deering to Black Point Marina) so we weren't surprised when the pace notched up. In the last mile to Black Point Marina, I started dropping behind, and Al suggested we wait and ride back from Black Point with the 16-18 mph group. Sounded good to me. Our first 18-22+ ride failure was on the books. I thought about Truman Capote's take on it: Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
We rode back with the 16-18 mph group. Chatting with some friends. Admiring the spunky 10 year-old boy that rides with his father in this group. Hearing about the Sunday ride to Hollywood, some friends decided they'd do the ride, too. I like this group. Just riding with them calmed me down again and smoothed out my frustrations.
After all, I bike because it is fun. The goals just keep it interesting.