On Tuesday nights there's a group ride out at Poor Farm Park, a really nice systems of trails about 30 minutes up the road. This is usually an easy drive unless you leave right at 5pm when everyone else in the rest of the world is also leaving work and pushing their way up 95. Oof.
Because of this I don't often make it out for this ride, but the weather on Tuesday was so freaking globally WARMED, that I couldn't resist. I paid for that lack of restraint, people.
Now, when I arrived, two groups formed for this ride - a beginner women's group and a "fast" mixed group. My friend Paula was riding fast and I didn't want to be left out. I'm also not a beginner, so it would've been a little unfair of me to tag along with the slower-paced ride. But lo, I was spanked anyway.
The woman who led the fast ride is as nice as she can be but she is a devil on the bike. A DEVIL. She took off like a bat out of hell through the flats and I held on mid-pack like a champ. I really did fine for quite a while, but after the third steep climb my legs were screaming at me and in my pain-fogged state I picked a bad line and stalled out mid-hill. Dang. This means going to the back of the line which is so, so much harder. It seems like it would be less pressure, but you don't have that group-pull anymore and it's easier to get dropped. (Also, when you're in the back and the group stops to rest, they only stop until you catch up, so YOU never get to rest. It stinks, but that's the way it is.)
And oh, how I did get dropped. We hit a deeply muddy hill and I finally had to get off and push. When I got to the top of the hill, they were gone. Gone, and three possible choices for which direction. This is bad group ettiquette, but I picked the fast group, they didn't pick me. I did find and catch up with them only to get dropped again when the trail branched and I picked the wrong direction.
This was pretty much the theme for the rest of the night. Ride fast on the flats and catch them, only to be dropped on the climbs. Gotta work on those climbs, I guess. It was really frustating but I'm sort of used to it by now. Most of these folks have years and years of cycling experience on me, a fact that I have to keep reminding myself when I'm feeling sucky about my lack of skillz.
Last night was also beautiful weather-wise and though I'd really intended on going to the gym, I just couldn't face being inside after being at a desk all day. Kenny and I decided on an easy-parts version of the Big Loop and in the middle of the pedestrian staircase on the fireroad we ran into a couple of friends (hi, Lisa!) who were heading back the way we'd just come. Perfect! This was our ticket out of riding Forest Hill, so we followed them back, did a loop around the top of Belle Isle and rode the North Trail the other way back home. All in all we were only out an hour and a half, but it was a relaxing ride and sure beat the hell out of going to the gym.