Yes that’s where I ended up last night on my first ride with the Oakville Cycling Club. The good news is I finished (thanks to the efforts of two OCC members) and aside from being really really sore last night and this morning (thanks medical science I have it under control) the night was a success.
We went 23.82 kms in one hour and 20 minutes starting from the public parking lot on Appleby Line. Going downhill we went so fast that my bike computer read 127 kph which I don’t think I hit (more like 40 kph) and uphill I never needed to unclip (which was a good thing as I doubt I could have unclipped going so slow. Falling over is very embarrassing.)
On the Oakville Cycling Club there’s a slogan “A Group For Every Skill Level” which presupposes you’ve got some skill level. Apparently I don’t 🙂
Last night I’d guess around 120 riders left the parking lot in six groups ranging from Recreational (which due to numbers was split into two groups) and five levels of more experienced and aggressive riders.
I was in the first Recreational group but I soon found myself riding alone until the second Recreational group caught up to me and I was now in the second group. After a few more kms and a few stop signs I looked back to discover I was now a third group of my own with two OCC members keeping me company.
Bless these two ladies for their encouragement and suggestions. I can’t say enough about how well I was looked after even though I was trailing.
Thanks to years of yoga I had almost instant recovery whenever we slowed or stopped but pulling myself up steep hills was torturous and I was never in the right gear on the flats. Seems I was overly spinning and should have unshifted to my largest chainwheel.
For the most part I kept the main group in sight. By the time we arrived back in the parking lot I was pretty done. Even had to ask a really pretty girl to help me snap my bike into my carrier… 🙂 And last night I was very sore and had some problems sleeping but I learned something really important.
This morning when I recorded in my riding journal my stats from last night I discovered my numbers for kms ridden, time taken, average and maximum speeds were virtually identical to my regular ride numbers.
So what does this mean?
Here’s what I think: I must have been riding much faster than normal on the flats and downhills to compensate for the many very slow uphill grinds I went through last night.
It also means that I need to improve technique (spinning in the right gear) and endurance (especially aerobic ability and leg muscles).
There’s Strava stats on all the weekly rides by OCC members on the club site and I need some time to go through the database but it appears that the super riders are averaging 30+ kph and the average riders are averaging 25+ kph and most are riding 40 to 50 km weekly.
I’m nowhere near those average speed numbers…yet but I am over the average weekly as I get out every sunny day I can.
I must take a day or so to recover (yoga tonight!) and then I must go out again to ride the course and see if I can’t improve the average speed number.
The war is not won in one single battle. It is not how many times the warrior falls down but how many times he gets up. When you’re going through hell – keep going.
And finally “finished dead fucking last” is not the same as “did not finish” or much worse “did not show up.”
He who conquers himself is the mightiest warrior. — Confucius