Sunday, September 14, 2014

Last in the Group Ride


I remember my first group ride. I got dropped. Everyone got dropped. The ride blew up. I finished last. Sometimes that happens.

This was a Potomac Pedalers group ride, rated BB (which is B+, better than B, not quite A). Sometimes, especially when the BB ride is the fastest ride available, some A riders slip in and the speed creeps up. And the ride blows up.

There were 15 of us at start but someone mentioned a second group was following at a CC pace. So eight of us rolled out at a BB pace. It was a beautiful early Fall day although it is still summer.

This was the three of us

As we rode there were three of us who stayed together on the climbs while the other five dropped back. Still, we tried to soft pedal on the flats to keep everyone together.

We stopped in Warrenton at the Great Harvest Bread Co. I had been talking to a rider, John, who was an XTERRA rider and knew Scott Scudamore. It was good to reminisce about Scott. As we rolled out of town three riders moved to the front and I was on the back. A 100 yard gap opened up so I left my position as 8th wheel and bridged up to the lead group.

Three of us, and I don't know their names, rode ahead of the others but stayed, and worked together. As we approached Marshall we sat up, no, we stopped, and waited for the other five.

One guy I really like was from Great Britain. I will call him Mick because it sounds British. He had brought a friend, who was on just his fourth ride. Mick's friend was a spin instructor but this ride, with its rolling hills, was too much for him. Mick asked me if he should double back and ride with him. I told him that, yes, WE should.

And it was then I had the realization. Even though I had been in the front group of three, this was a ride, not a race - why be in a hurry to be first in a group ride (I know, I have before. Sigh). We doubled back.

As the group went ahead we came back to Rte 55 near The Plains. Mick asked which way and I told him right. Then I pointed to the rider up the road about 1/2 mile. Mick said "let's catch him."

Mick started out and I was tight on his wheel. Then I passed him to take my turn. We closed the gap in no time. That was fun.

We headed on the back roads to Antioch Road. Here it trends downhill and Mick left his friend behind for good. I doubled back. I rode with Mick's friend to the end for which he expressed many thanks.

I could have had a higher averaged speed (17 mph). But it was fun being on a group ride and actually being part of a group. Even if I finished last.

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