I almost got dropped from a no-drop ride today.
(The truth is they would have never have actually dropped me, but man did it feel like they were going to.)
I re-joined the Saturday Morning Ladies’ Ride at Outspokin Bicycles this morning. After such a great experience a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t wait to return. They have a 20-mile ride every Saturday morning at 7:30. Last time I went with my friend Megan who averages the same I do on the bike (15-16 mph). The group pretty much stuck with that speed the entire 20 miles and we had a great ride.
This week there was a new group of girls for the ride. My friend Megan is currently riding 100 miles for MS (so proud of her!) so I was attending solo. Again, everyone was really nice, but there was no real discussion of what pace everyone was comfortable riding before we took off.
I ended up at the back of the pack and knew from the get-go that’s where I would be staying. These ladies were going a lot faster than we were a couple of weeks ago. I knew I was in trouble when I looked at my Garmin on Bayshore and saw a flash of 19.1 mph on it. We were three miles in, my legs were already hurting, and I knew I wasn’t going to keep this pace for all 20 miles. Yep. Trouble.
The gap between the rest of the ladies and I kept stretching further and further apart with each mile. I was happy they were pushing me out of my comfort zone (the only way to get faster is to, well, go faster), but my mind was playing tricks on me. I have this fear of being dropped (which is why it took me so long to join a group ride in the first place and why I found one that was no drop) and all I kept thinking was that I was being dropped and they were leaving me behind. I cycled my little heart out, but I just couldn’t keep up.
Thankfully Outspokin’s other owner, JP, had stayed back with me. He pulled up next to me about 6 miles in and asked if everything was okay. I told him that of course everything was okay – I’m just not a fast cyclist. For some reason my eyes teared up when I said this. I’m a big baby sometimes. I looked at my watch and saw 17.0. I told him THIS is fast for me and I just couldn’t keep up.
JP was great. He told me not to worry about keeping up with them and to just keep my own pace. We were hitting a really windy stretch, so he pulled in front of me so I could catch his draft. He also slowed down to 15 mph and I finally started to feel comfortable riding again. All that built up self pity of not being able to keep up washed away and I began to calm down.
We came to a fork and JP asked if I wanted to go 15 or 20 miles today. I was not giving up that easily. I was going to do all 20.
We made a right and hit a side road where our group had done a mini roundabout to rejoin us. I was so thankful to see them again. They may have dropped me for 5 miles, but at least they came back and I really appreciated that.
The group slowed their pace when I rejoined them, but I was definitely still pushing myself to keep up with them. The wind wasn’t helping either.
One of the girls got a flat that required a mini pit stop.
Not going to lie, I was thankful for the break.
Five minutes later we were on the road again and on our way back to the shop. I fell behind again, but at least the girls stayed in my view this time.
It was definitely a very humbling ride. I’m thankful the ladies pushed me to go faster, but I would be lying if I wasn’t full of self pity for not being able to keep up the whole ride. I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t a little hurt that I was dropped for part of the ride. Thank goodness for JP staying with me. Without him I might have just turned around and gone home. I have a very tough outer shell, but deep inside I’m really sensitive with this stuff.
So will I return to ride with the group again? Yes. But I think I’ll bring a friend.
Have you ever been dropped before?