My First Ride

I'm practically a professional cyclist.

Who am I kidding? But I did go for my ride with the BU cycling team.

I wasn't sure what to expect going in to it. I wasn't sure how fast the ride was going to be. I was just hoping and praying that I wasn't the one that the team would have to keep waiting for (it was a no drop ride). I also wasn't sure if I was going to be the only newbie or if there would be others. There were others. In fact, there were about 10 to 15 newbies (its hard to tell for sure when I myself am a newbie).

In all, there were about 25 total riders. There were the returners, the girl with the single speed, the girl who just bought a bike yesterday, the group of BFF's who thought it would be cool to join a team social group, the girl with a hybrid, two other triathletes and me.

Because 25 riders was far too big of a group, we decided to split into two groups, one that would go about 18mph and one that would go slightly slower. I decided to latch on to the slightly slower group as I haven't really ridden in three weeks and they were planning on going 40 miles. As it turned out, the two groups turned into a boys group and a girls group.

We started off pretty slow, averaging about 12mph. We were hardly a mile from home when we had our first crash of the season. Just bought a bike yesterday girl had issues with her gears, had the chain come off and wiped out. She tried shifting a few more times, but her chain would come off each time she would shift. After a while, shortly before the three big hills, we just told her not to shift anymore. Needless to say, we had to wait at the top of each hill for the stragglers.

As we went along, we started to pick up the pace on the flats to about 16 to 17mph and it actually felt like a fairly comfortable pace for me, even after three weeks off. Also, as we went along, I was able to talk to some of the girls. One of the triathletes said she started doing triathlons four years ago, but has only done sprint triathlons. I asked her how many. She chuckled and said, "Three". She admitted that she has a hard time staying motivated to train. I told her I do too, but when I signed up for the half Ironman, wanting to train turned into having to train. I didn't get a chance to talk to the other traithlete, but sprint triathlete said she thinks that the other girl did Timberman as well.

I talked to hybrid girl for a while too. She is originally from Toronto, lived in Montreal for a while, and is now getting a master's degree at BU. Her boyfriend is applying to medical schools in the US and she plans on doing the same once she gets her master's. I can't imagine what that kind of debt is like, but they are going to have some spoiled rotten kids (if it gets that far).

I think I spent most of the time talking to the single speed girl. Even on a single speed, she was one of the faster cyclists. She said she actually considered riding fixie today, but didn't know how hard we were going to go.

As we went, we had to turn around early as the only girl who knew where we were going had other obligations this afternoon and we weren't going as fast as was originally planned. On the way back, the group of 11 girls became 11 girls and 1 guy who had been dropped by the other guys. The group started to break up into two groups as well. I was comfortably keeping up with the fast group (four of us) which was riding at about 16mph on the flats. We had to stop or slow down every so often so we didn't lose the slower group, again because only one person really knew where we were going. She kept apologizing to us and reassured us that the rides get faster and longer as the season goes on. I said, "No worries. I haven't rode in three weeks anyways, so I wanted more a turn my legs over ride anyways."

In the end, we rode about 23 miles. Not too shabby start to my off season training.

One of the returners lives across the street from me so we rode back together. She said that this is the biggest turn out of girls she has seen for a Saturday ride, although they tend to whittle themselves down quickly. Those who feel like they can't or won't hang, or feel like its just not for them, quit. She said usually there are only 2 to 3 girls at each ride and they just ride with the guys. They also work up to 70 mile rides on Saturdays. I mentioned to her my predicament about being a full time student. She said that the league doesn't really care, but the university might, but she wonders how much the university really checks. She said I am still welcome to ride with them regardless, and that if I really want to race, that we'll try to figure something out if it becomes a problem. They have a lack of female racers, so they want anyone that they can get.

The more I hear about this cycling racing business, the more I want to do it. *Keeping my fingers crossed*


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