I went on my first group ride today. They had a 20 mile route and a 32 mile route, and I figured the 20 might be pushing it but I'd go give it a shot anyways! I just ran 26.2 miles a couple months ago, I can bike 20, right? Right.
That is, until we get to the part where the two routes split and everybody decides to go 32. Internal dialog: "Oh, sh*t!" I didn't say anything, I just trucked along.
The group was really, really great. I talked to most of the people a little bit, to introduce myself at the very least. Since I'm new to the group, most conversations went something like this after introductions:
Biker: So how long have you been riding?
Me: This is my first group ride. (Halfway dodging the question)
B: Oh. So you've been riding on your own a lot?
M: I started yesterday.
And then they'd be appropriately surprised, because most the conversing was going on before I started getting my butt kicked.
At one point, me and Jay were up front and missed a turn. We had to backtrack a little bit and attempt to catch up. He said "stay on my wheel" and took off at, I'd guess, 25 MPH. Now, I don't know about you, but 25 MPH just wasn't happenin! Not even if I'm drafting! I managed to hold about 20 MPH for 3 miles just to keep him in sight so I didn't get lost, but then he was gone.
Eventually, a few people were stopped up ahead waiting for me. We took off, and I got dropped again. I was bonking. Hard. No energy, quads were shot, etc, etc. It wasn't pretty. But thankfully Keith stopped with me so I could scarf down my clif bar, drink quite a bit and stretch out. He pumped my glycogen deprived brain full of information I'm hoping I retain.
All in all, it was a good experience. Everybody was nice, despite me being the one that was holding them back. I'll be back for more. Whenever my legs work again. Needless to say, that was the best workout I've gotten since Chicago.
Here's a link to the Garmin data, and a picture of the brutal elevation chart.