It's a fact of life. Training cannot roll back the odometer.
Since moving to Miami, Al and I have gotten a lot faster and stronger. There's room for growth, but I'm not kidding myself about this process. Age and talent are big factors. So creativity demands that I just consider cheating. Back when we were waterskiing I learned that gear can make a huge difference. And it's the same in cycling. So I've been on a whisper campaign for an upgrade on the road bikes. I want new wheels to nudge my speed up a bit. (Santa needs to know these things after all.)
We rode both the Saturday Everglades Bicycle Club group ride and an informal EBC group ride Sunday on the rural roads of Redland (but still in Miami-Dade). The good news is our training hours are paying off. Saturday we stayed with the 18+ mph group for the whole ride. The Sunday ride went equally well.
But the best moment of the weekend came before the start of the Sunday ride. We were talking with riding friends about electronic shifting. One of the guys looked at our bikes and commented, "You should start with your wheels first. That will give you a little more speed." I looked at Al, carefully composing my face. "Yeah, that's sort of the plan," I said. I could have done a happy dance on the spot. Al was paying attention to the comment.
I bit my lip and pushed my sunglasses up a little higher.