I ride with a fast club and we’re getting faster. I can’t keep up if I take a turn at the front anymore. On the other hand, I can’t avoid taking my turns either. I try to, it just doesn’t work out. I feel like I’m letting everyone else down for staying at the back.
Trick is, once we hit 28-30 mph and stay there, my miles are numbered. I have two friends who are better at hiding than I am who can make it a little farther with the group than I… Funny thing is, in a “B” group ride, I have no problem spending time up front and those two still hide a bit. This is not about my two friends though, it’s about me…. My problem is that I won’t hide.
I was dropped last night somewhere between 10 & 12 miles. We were at 28 mph dead into a 10-12 mph wind. Dude.
I’d worked my way up front again and I was hit a quarter mile after I hit second bike back. No way I was pulling through so I signaled for the guy behind me to move up and pulled out of the line, letting the group go. If I can’t handle taking my turn, I’d rather be off the back… The group had been reduced by half already anyway – and to put this into perspective, with that kind of headwind last year, 23 mph was fast.
I decided to chill out and enjoy the ride back rather than push it. With the Horsey Hundred coming up this weekend, trying to hold an average simply didn’t make any sense. Besides, I’ve been riding that route for something like four years now and I’ve never really bothered to enjoy the route. It wasn’t necessarily a slow ride but I wasn’t exactly tearing it up either – I kept it between 19 and 21 mph and took it easy up the hills.
I rode alone for the next fifteen miles or so before one of the normal Sunday crew caught up to me. We rode side-by-side at an easy 22 mph and talked about the group the way it is right now, and both of our lack of willingness to push hard enough to keep up with them… For both of us it comes down to “why”? Why push that hard to go that fast? Why not take it down a couple of miles an hour, have a good ride, eat some pizza and call it good? Instead, our ride has turned into the Tuesday night Cat 3 race…
This brought about the idea that maybe we “B” guys should simply start five minutes after the “A” guys so we don’t have to deal with being splintered up over 20 miles. I think I’m going to start lobbying hard for that.
UPDATE: Geez, I almost forgot! The “Stung” part of the title… I was stung in the face about halfway through the ride last night! Now, normally it’s just a little pain and you push through it, right? Well, I’m mildly allergic to bee stings (more so with horsefly bites). I’m riding down the road, a smile on my face and BAM! Right under my left eye. Interestingly, the sting only hurt for a minute but I started experiencing cramping in my feet and my back hurt like someone hit me with a 2×4 by the end of the ride. I ended up feeling fine a couple of hours later and was never in any real danger, but it was weird.