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Tuesday Night Club Ride: Stung Edition. Should We Stay or Should We Go?

May 2016
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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.

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8 Comments

  1. Eric says:

    I did a ride the other night where it started right off with 28 mph with hills early on. I was suffering after about 5 minutes. At that point I still take my turn but only for about 30 seconds. This is what I consider more zone 4 and some zone 5 work. I feel like I get a great workout in a group ride that averages 21 or 22 mph and its still fun because i’m not worried about getting dropped off the back every time I take a nice pull up front.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I’m in the same boat Eric, as are several of my friends – we just have to figure out a way to make a clean break because that ride is getting ridiculous! I much prefer that 21-22 mph average too. 24-25 is just too much work. Thanks, man.

  2. Ian says:

    I can’t imagine maintaining 30mph.. how flat is the area? Here it’s all bloody hills. I’m with you on the taking a turn at the front. It’s often my downfall

  3. How about starting five minutes before the A group instead and seeing how long you can stay away for? 😉

    • bgddyjim says:

      That’s an idea too, a better one methinks… Though then we have to worry about losing half of our group to the racers as they go by. Only to pick them up later on after they’ve bonked.

  4. Sue Slaght says:

    Glad to hear no lasting effects from the sting. Yikes.
    I think you are wise to look at riding happy with the B group. Good for you recognize it.

  5. OmniRunner says:

    Most guys I run with are competitive and we always push the pace. On a 15 mile long run I don’t necessarily want to run my 5K pace.
    There’s more than one reason I enjoy running with the ladies.
    I’ve inhaled bugs, but never been stung. Glad to hear you are okay.

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