The new 20+ ride was a winner. The ride leaders introduced the group to the rotating pace line. It's a two column formation where one column moves a couple miles per hour faster than the other. It let's the group move fast, minimizes the time any one rider is at the front pulling, and gives you time to recover while you are riding in the slower column. You could watch the learning curve of the group as we improved over the miles. A fun, fun ride. We are going to really enjoy the 20+ group!
Actually, our goal hasn't been the mileage. We're not even really interested in goals. We are process people. We develop weekly routines to get what we want. We make the routines a habit, and the rest falls into place. We ride a lot of miles because we want to continue riding together. I need to have the endurance and strength to keep up with Al. He needs to be strong enough to pull me on very long or windy rides. We ride four days a week (usually 2 days with groups and 2 days by ourselves) and take three days off the bikes. Al leads and sets the pace. I chase him down the road and try not to let him get away. (So far, so good.)
We are bicycle tourists at heart. Statistics are nice, but rides are really about the things we see and the people we meet and ride with. We talked about all the people we've met who ride bicycles. We mused about all the new places around Miami that we'd discovered on rides this year. Restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. Places for coffee and espresso. Places for smoothies and milkshakes. Interesting architecture. Public art. Murals, both well known and ones secreted away in underpasses and back alleys. Pocket parks. Tourist hangouts. Quiet bike paths. Interesting neighborhoods. Secret gardens. Strange yard art. Dunes covered in sea oats. Mansions. Dilapidated cottages.
Feeling content and pleased with ourselves, we pedaled home. We rode the elevator up to our floor and pushed our bikes down the hall and into our little studio unit. Our cat Lola was curled in her cat bed. She half opened her eyes as we rolled the bikes past. "Home so soon?" she seemed to ask.