Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Okay, so this is actually Olathaaaaaaaaa! But I did slink past 300 miles for May today. After grabbing some supper, I looked at the time and it was a little after 6:00. Since I missed Monday's usual ride, I decided to see what kind of offerings were on the table for Wednesday as far as group rides go. I found one that's supposed to be a "leisurely 10-17 mile Welcome Ride - (leader stays with the slowest rider)" That's their words, not mine. It starts not too far from the college, so I hit the road in the Explorer, with the bike strapped to it. It wasn't THAT close!

I pulled up just as everyone was starting to shove off. Yes, I was that guy. As I hopped out to unload my bike, I saw my familiar riding buddy, Tim. Well, at least I wasn't among total strangers. I had no idea he'd be there, so this was just by chance that I bumped into him here.

What followed was not a leisurely welcome ride. It was a 17-MPH average hillfest into headwind where the strong riders drop the wimps like me in the first 3 miles. I kept what I thought was a reasonable pace, although I turn into a spinmonkey on the climbs. We eventually got broken up into three groups. 8 or so riders in the lead peloton, myself and another newbie to this ride with nothing but a hand-drawn map to lead us, followed by some people that got hung up behind me at a stop light, who actually knew where they were going. My group was the blind leading the blind.

We eventually happened upon one of the fast riders who'd totally dropped her chain and had it tangled up every which way. I got the bike working again, just as the tail group was catching up to us. The lady was riding a bike with a double crank, and I have no idea how that bike got up the hills we were riding on. Oh, wait, yes I do - I'm a wimp that needs a granny ring on my triple crank! It was mere minutes before she told us how to get to the destination point, then darted off to catch the lead group.

At the destination, we re-grouped. People inquired about my road rash, we talked about oozing gooey bike injury drainage and treatment methods, then after that we pretty much stuck together. It helped that we had tailwinds on our way back.

All in all, a nice ride. Very hilly and faster than I'd probably choose to ride alone. It was marketed as a friendly welcome ride, but I think it would have killed my interest in group rides had it been my first ever group ride. That said, I'll go there again sometime soon. I like challenges, and the people were nice, even if they wait for no one.

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