Monday night I went on the longest ride I've ever been on and it was great!!
I went down to Cycle Sport and Tri where they have a group ride at 5:30. It was me, Rich (who works at the store) and Glen (who maybe also works at the store, but came from his house so I'm not sure).
We left around 5:30 and went right to the roads. I've never ridden with a group of roadies before, or on an organized ride. But I've read up enough about groups and what to expect. Rich lead most of the time, pointing at road hazards, where we were going, etc. The street quickly lead us to the bike trail and we headed north.
The pace was pretty easy here. We chatted a little bit. Glen brought up the rear. After one of the intersections I asked Glen if he wanted to go ahead. I felt bad since they knew each other...kind of felt like I was crashing their ride. So we switched it up: Glen lead, Rich was in the middle and I brought up the rear. Glen pushed the pace a little more, and Rich told me to get closer and draft. I've never done this, not for long anyway, and not without freaking out the person in front of me. I got closer and the three of us sliced through the air on the trail, or at least that is what it felt like. It was a lot easier to maintain 18 - 19 mph while drafting.
After we got up to Morrow, we turned onto the roads. Rich lead and Glen was behind me since he had the light on his bike. I need to get mine on for the next ride. We weaved our way through some neighborhoods and then turned onto a curvy, hilly country road. After a short climb that left me pretty breathless, we went down a huge hill. I hunkered down and saw I was going 31 mph. The road gently rolled up and down and our pace was quick. I had to work to catch back up to Rich after the hill. This road ran along the river, on the other side from the bike trail. It was very fun, and challenging.
We came to an intersection and decided to head back via the bike trail (which we were near the entire time) instead of adding some more miles. Those guys could have done it, but I was pretty good after the miles of hills we just covered! We were at 17 at this point. So we headed back on the trail. Rich and Glen lead the way, chatting, while I tucked in behind them. Now I didn't feel so bad; they were going their pace and I wasn't hindering them. We went back around 19 - 20 mph for most of it, when we weren't going uphill or through intersections.
On the way back I noticed my butt was kind of sore. My fingers were really really cold (my gloves don't have fingers) and my feet were numb. I was really glad I wore a thermal shirt and jacket over that. I probably should have thrown some running tights over my bike shorts, but I didn't and opted for the tall socks again. My legs weren't too bad. It was mostly the numb feet that became annoying.
For the last couple of miles, we took a road along the river back to the store. We arrived back and I said thanks, and let them know this is the farthest I've ever gone! I walked to my car and my legs felt like jelly. There was a lot of pain. It was similar to how they felt right after the marathon, but only in the entire leg aching sense. I loaded my bike and everything back into my car, sat down and thought how I should probably walk a little more. But I didn't. By the time I got home I was really in pain and hopped out of the car and walked to the end of the street and back! That helped a little, along with some Advil and a hot shower to warm myself back up.
The ride was awesome. I can't believe I went 34 miles. Good opening group ride for the season – I can't wait to do it again!