Saturday, June 14, 2008

OH my gosh! What was I thinking!

Today I learned a valuable lesson. When you decide to go ride (bike) with a group, make sure, absolutely sure, that you are at the same level they are. Cannot express how important this is. Let me explain.
Got an email yesterday afternoon. In this email they were inviting folks who wanted to ride today (Saturday) at 7 in the AM! Well, wanting to do a ride with a group, I decided to tag along. In this email it said that there would be a ride for beginners; that would be me!
So I get there, and all's looking good. Some 15 folks are getting ready for said ride. Am looking around and I know no one! No big deal. I was there, I could do this with these folks. After all, being so new in the sport, I haven't met everyone yet.
One of the riders comes up to me an introduces himself. Asked if I had ever ridden with them. I said no. He said OK. Off we go.
Immediately out of the parking lot, we turn right. So far so good. We're all keeping pace with each other, "this is good" I remember thinking. Then I find myself in the back of the pack. "Being in this position has to have some sort of responsibility" I thought. "Do I need to warn the pack when there's a car coming?" Well, I thought I would catch up to the bunch and then ask. HA! catch up, famous last words.
Things were going okay, felt good about myself for the next 15 or so...feet. Then a hill. The first of what seemed a thousand hills. And I was dust. Didn't get much better after that.
I quickly realized that I was with the wrong group. I am sure at this point they were asking themselves: "who is that new guy, and what is he doing here?"
You see, as far as experience and ability levels I was here (image me pointing to the floor) and they are here (imagine me pointing my hand three feet over my head). Two of the riders, felt compelled to stay back and keep pushing me. For this I was thankful. Well, I was thankful mostly because if they hadn't I would have been lost. Really, really lost. I had no idea where we were, how we got there, or where we were going. Nothing looked familiar.
At around mile 15 we stopped for a break. Thank goodness. I remember thinking. We must be half way through our course. Wishful thinking. Off we go, I would try to keep up. Really I did, I tried to keep up, for about half a block, give or take half a block.
One of the riders keeping up with me, or rather staying back to keep track of me, mentioned that I should really practice my hills. Duh! what gave it up? But I didn't say that. I just agreed, because I now know I have to. He was nice to me and wanted to keep my spirits up. I didn't want to come off like a weenie, but I really wanted to ask how far this ride was. I did anyway. He said: "48 miles". Just about knocked me off my bike. I looked at my gps and we had only gone 29 miles at that point. He must have seen the shocked looked on my face because he reassured me that I would be alright. Define "alright".
We finally reached an area that I recognized and from here on out I knew how to get back to my car, or get Monica to come and get me. I told my two new found friends that if they wanted to go on ahead, they could, I was okay, I now knew my way. Now it was my turn to see his expression, relief would be a good way to put it. "you sure" he asked. "Yeap" I said. Off they went.
The last several miles of this ride were my most enjoyable. Mostly because up until now I felt like I had been a burden to these nice people. I don't like being a burden. I rode at my pace, I went up, yet another hill or two, at my own pace, not trying to keep up.
When it was all said and done, the ride was 43.2 miles and it took me 3 hours and 26 minutes. Would I do it again. Yes I would, but with one exception. I would it either do it alone, or with a group at my level. That would be hard to find. So I guess alone it is.
I've got my work cut out for me. I know what I lack, I know what I need to do.

1 comment:

  1. God Bless you!!!!!!!!!!!! We would have been calling for help or a ride after the first hill. Your such an inspiration to us all.
    Cathy and Bob