Yesterday when we were getting ready to leave the swim clinic Marisa mentioned that her and some other people were going for a bike ride today. I asked if I could come along and she said "sure!". She said they were going to do around 3 hours. I was thinking...3 hours, that's doable.
When I showed up this morning she said we were going to do around 40 to 50 miles. I'm thinking in my head, oh so we must be planning on being out for longer than 3 hours. Uhhh, NO. Clearly based on the way we sped off they were not planning on being out for longer than 3 hours. I knew after the first hill that this probably wasn't going to work for me. I'm used to coasting along and picking up the pace every now and again. Riding with them my pace was picked up the entire time.
This is what happens when you've been cycling for six months and you try to ride with people that have competed multiple ironman competitions and one who has been riding for over 15 years. I tried to turn back after we had gone about 8 miles because I knew there was no way in hell I was going to make it 30 - 40 more miles at this pace. Marisa talked me into continuing but about 6 miles later when I'm sure she saw I was struggling to keep up. Well actually I wasn't struggling to keep up, I just plain wasn't keeping up. She was nice enough to direct me to a short cut back. I know she was worried about me riding alone but riding alone for less than 10 miles was a lot better than having me fall out on the side of the road which is what would have happened if I tried to keep going at the pace I was trying to maintain.
The ride back wasn't that bad. It gave me some time to reflect and to focus on my shifting and pedaling. I'm still getting the hang of actually pulling up on the pedals instead of only pushing down. The only bad part of the ride back was when I was coming up a hill and these two large, vicious dogs came running out at me. I thought I was going to have a heart attack because I could feel the dogs breath on my ankle. I couldn't get my foot unclipped to kick at it, which is probably a good thing because I'm pretty sure that would have resulted in me falling. I just screamed at the dogs until they left me alone. I am SO getting some pepper spray and the next dog that messes with me is going to get a face full!
Even though I couldn't keep up with Marisa and her friends I feel really good about today's ride because I pushed myself. At least I know I can go faster that I have been going. Maybe not for 40 or 60 miles (which is what they actually ended up doing today) but at least probably for 12 which is the distance next weekend so that's great!