Since I signed up for the triathlon last week, I’ve been thinking about the fact that I haven’t ridden a bike outdoors in over two years. While I’ve been spinning about three days a week, I was a little bit nervous about how that would translate to road mileage. When one of my friends from the gym invited me to ride the St. Marks Trail at 7am this morning, I jumped at the chance to get my on my bike.
I wasn’t sure what experience level all of the other riders were, but I’ve ridden the St. Marks trail (32 miles) for years, so I wasn’t too worried about it. Plus, I would rather fall over and die than get left behind on a group ride, so my will if nothing else would allow me to keep up. So, I had the Irishman inflate my bike tires and hook up the bike carrier to the truck and I was off at 6:40am to meet the group at the trail head.
When I got there, the only thing that gave me pause was the fact that the other 4 riders had high-end road bikes and I was riding on my Trek hybrid, which while competent, is sorely lacking in speed. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you have $5K to spend), cycling is one sport where your equipment is absolutely tied to your performance. In other words, you can peddle your heart out on a tricycle, but you’re not going to get very far very fast.
Anyway, I suited up with my helmet and gloves (safety first) and we set off. I have to say that this was a pretty fast group. When I used to ride the trail with my friend Nicole, we would average probably 15-17 mph. We weren’t out to kill ourselves, but we were slacking either. Well, on the ride this morning, we averaged 21-24 mph. Yeah, that’s pretty dang fast for my heavy hybrid. I have to say that I was working pretty hard to keep up with the monster wheels on the road bikes, but fortunately, I like the chase, so it was a lot of fun staying with the group.
All in all, it was a really enjoyable ride. The sun was just coming up and the wind was blowing nicely. There’s definitely a rush associated with going over 20 mph on a bike. When our ride was over, one of the cyclists said, “damn Cyn, I’d like to see what you could do on a road bike.” I laughed because the only thought running through my head was for the better part of the ride was, “I have GOT to get a better bike!”
It was pretty brutal on my quads, but I’m glad that I made a good impression because all of the riders are triathletes, so they’ll make good training partners for all three sports. In fact, I’m meeting them tomorrow morning for a 6am run. While I think I can hold my own there as well, I’m really looking forward to Wednesday morning when I’m meeting them at the pool.