Last Saturday I went out to do a local shop ride again. Just like the previous Saturday, I was planning on starting out with the fast group and stay with them as long as possible. Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well and it turned out to be a pretty crappy ride. And it was my own fault.

I arrived at the shop a little before 7 am so that I was ready for a 7:15 roll out. I’ve only been attending this ride for a couple of weeks but it looked like all the normal guys were there except for one or two. That made about ten total in the group. I actually only know the names of two guys in the group and they both work at the shop. The rest of the guys (no ladies in the group) pretty much keep to their own little group and talk amongst themselves. They’ve obviously been riding together for a long time. That may explain why none of them have ever say hi.

Anyway, we roll out and fall into a double paceline with myself and one of the shop guys I know riding at the back. The group gradually builds up speed until we’re cruising around 19 mph and the lead riders of the pacelines begin taking pulls of a few minutes in length. Eventually, I’m at the front and dutifully take my turn cutting the wind. And it was windy that day. We make a right turn and ease up on the pace as we get ready to merge onto a higher trafficked road to cross a bridge.

By this time I’ve drifted to the back and am suffering. Bad. We start going up the bridge (it’s not very tall) and I’m starting to fall behind. Another rider, whom I don’t know, pulls up beside me, places his hand on my back, gives me a little push, and says “Lets go big man.” He gives me a couple more pushes and I’m latched back onto the group. But I don’t have anymore and a couple minutes later the group starts to pull away. I know there’s no way I’ll catch up to them again so I ease up and settle in for another long solo ride.

Based on our location I know I didn’t stay with them as long as last week. When I check my computer it’s confirmed. Last week I stayed with them for 10 miles averaging a 20 mph pace. This time it was only 7 miles at about an 18 mph pace. And I turned myself inside out just to do that.

And then I get passed by another ride. It’s a girl and she’s flying. She was obviously in shape (she had some serious muscle definition) and riding a TT bike but it never feels good to get passed like that. Nothing against women, I love’em, but it’s always a kick to the proverbial groin to get passed by one. Before I know it she’s ridden off into distance and I’m alone again. She didn’t even say ‘Hi’.

I rode 20 more miles solo and it hurt. In fact, I never got out of the small ring that day. My numbers for the ride were decent (27 miles at a 16.1 mph pace) but they don’t tell the full story. I was tired, ran out of energy quickly, and felt like crap. And I only had myself to blame.

Throughout the week I don’t think I took the ride seriously enough. I got complacent and let my diet and hydration slip. My sleep was poor all week but that was mostly out of my control. Making sure that I eat correctly and drink enough water is my responsibility though and I failed. I had a lingering feeling on Friday and Saturday morning that I wouldn’t do well because I knew I hadn’t prepared. And I was right.

If anything, this group ride was a lesson to take my training seriously 7-days a week. That’s the only way I’m going to lose this weight, get more fit, and be able to hang with the shop ride.

And the guy giving me a push and calling me ‘Big Man’? That didn’t bother me in the least. He was trying to help and I’m glad he did. It tells me that the other riders know I’m there even though they don’t talk to me and I can’t stay with them the entire ride.

Back at the shop one of the shop guys asked me how my ride was and I said ‘crappy’ because it was. He said everybody has rides like that and then asked if I was going to stop coming. I said no.

PhotoC: ah_blake