So I’m a pretty big deal around here. That’s what Maddy told me at the Bike Co-op last night when I finally introduced myself to her. I apologized for not making her acquaintance sooner, in light of her status, and we had a nice chat.

I’m a new kid in town and still trying to figure out who’s a big deal and who’s not in pretty much everything. I’d been holding up on the mountain biking end of things pretty well at least based on the pass:passed ratio observed on the trails. I’m looking for people to ride with and the group mountain bike rides are done for the season. So I was stoked when I found a year long group road ride that fires off every Tues and Thurs. The website said, this is a fast ride and we will drop your ass in a heartbeat so be prepared. At least that’s how I read it.

Was I a big enough deal to handle it? The short answer is no, I’m not that big a deal.

Here’s how my first one went. I was the first one there. Points for eagerness, please. After about 15 minutes they start flowing in until there were 25-30 riders. As I look around, all I see is carbon, I may be in trouble. My bike and my body are probably the oldest pieces of equipment present. At some signal, hidden from me, we roll out. I have no idea where we’re going or how long we’re riding. I pick a nice spot in the back of the pack and hang on. We’re on a route that has a 90 degree turn about every mile heading out of town. It’s a series of mini sprints then slow downs and I’m doing ok until we hit a long eastern stretch and the hammer goes down. I’m doing 27 in the middle of the pack which is cruising speed, evidently. Down on the drops, be efficient, hang on. Slip back one spot, hang on! Slip back two more sports, hang on!! Fall back to last place, hang on damn it!!! Gap opens, it’s over, are my brakes rubbing?

I rode with them for maybe 10 miles before I was spit out like two-day old Bazooka. I followed them for as long as I could but eventually they rode out of site. After a few more miles I turned around and retraced my path home. I decided I prefer a drop group ride to a no-drop one. Most of the other riders never saw me slip off the back and fade away. Alternatively, having them all sit up and wait for me to catch up would have been mildly humiliating. I also decided that this was a good thing because now I have a goal and an easy way to see if I’m improving or not. So, I will be back and you will hear about it.