Some of my favourite summer cycling is on my road bike with the Waterloo Cycling Club. I’ve been a member of the club for over a decade, and although I joined as a mountain biker, the club rides have turned me into a multi-disciplinary cyclist.
I have friends who only ride on the road, and others who only ride mountain bikes. I know mountain bikers who frown upon road riding, and I know road riders who do the same about mountain biking. And some don’t like cross riding or gravel grinding and others can’t stand the thought of fat biking. I stay silent when I hear these comments. I am a cyclist. I own different bikes for different purposes, and would never frown upon anyone who’s out there riding any kind of bike: mountain, road, CX, fat, touring, cruiser, hybrid, commuter, fixie, single speed. The more people that ride bikes, the better!
In the years that I’ve been road riding in the club, I’ve ridden with a lot of great cyclists – some have competed in national and provincial championships and won at various levels. Others are more like me who ride for the enjoyment. I’ve learned to accept the level that I’m at, while still challenging myself. And I’ve learned who in the club I can ride with.
This past week, I was on two club road rides – one on Thursday evening and one on Saturday morning on a hot, humid morning. On both rides, I rode with people that I’ve ridden with many times before. And on both rides, I was promptly dropped very early in the ride. I don’t usually have a problem with getting dropped. Sometimes, I’m not feeling great, or sometimes I just pick a group that is too fast for me. This week, I just didn’t have the power on either ride to keep up with people that I can usually ride with. There could be many reasons for this, but rather than write about that, I wanted to write about the rides after I got dropped.
Keeping up with a fast group is hard work. I’m often close to or at my limit. However, it’s rewarding to be a part of a tight group of cyclists moving and rotating efficiently. Once I lose the group, however, the mentality of my ride changes. I watch them slowly pull away from me as I relax and ride comfortably. I begin to pay more attention to my surroundings, marveling at the beauty of the scenery that I’m passing. I don’t worry about average speed or distance or heart rate. I become a cycling tourist, even stopping to take photos (like the castle I saw today!).
Getting dropped is humbling at first, but once I get over it, I actually enjoy riding at my own pace. It also motivates me, and next time, maybe I’ll be able to hold onto that group just a little longer!
And please sponsor me for the Ride for Heart (next Sunday June 5!). If you sponsor me $50 or more by May 31, you’ll be entered in a draw for a prize from Cat5Gear. Details here: https://ridecyclespin.com/2016/05/15/cat5gear-giveaway-ride-for-heart/
Sponsor link is here: http://support.heartandstroke.ca/goto/shikaze
For bonus points, name this road (in comments below).