I wanted to get back into the swing of riding and exercising, so I hit the gym yesterday (30 minutes stationary bike, 15 minutes rowing machine) and planned a ride today. The Mules were going out from Zube, but I'm sure they are all in very good shape right now (training for the Hotter-than-Hell) and I didn't fancy the punishment of trailing after them for 40 miles in the summer heat. Looking around the web, I saw that my local bike shop, Bicycle World and Fitness, does an easy-paced, no-drop ride every Saturday morning - just the ticket for a rider trying to get it back together. Also, it's barely 10 minutes ride from the house, so no need to load up the car.
So at 7.00am today I pulled up outside the shop and joined a smallish group (maybe 20), mostly older people, nobody looking like a very serious rider. We headed out for Terry Hershey at a fairly sedate pace, and kept it there all the way through to Route 6. Just as I began to wonder if I had set my sights too low, one or two riders broke from the pack and took off at a better pace. I jumped on and pretty soon there were just two of us, going pretty quick.
The ride leader wanted us to regroup at the Constable's station, and my buddy and I got there well ahead of the pack. We chatted for a while - he's a lot younger than me and training for a couple of triathlons later in the year. We regrouped and headed out - once again, the two of us broke clear pretty quickly. I took the lead halfway down Barker-Clodine and tried to keep the pace up for the other guy - but I made it too hot, and dropped him (totally unintentionally!). I eased off and he got back on. It turned out that he didn't really know how to draft, so was having to work too hard when he should have been taking it easy.
On into George Bush Park, riding together this time. We reached Fry road and waited for the pack, chatting some more. The group gathered and our leader, Manny from the bike shop, gave us an impromptu lecture on nutrition. Turns out he's the official nutritionist for a Pro team, Team Type-1, who are riding the RAAM (Race Across America, Anaheim CA to Annapolis MD) this month, so he has chops for sure. He passed on some very interesting info, mostly in complete contradiction to my own limited ideas about cycling nutrition. I may have to change up a few things.
Back on the road and once again Kenzie and I take the lead. Another stop at the Constable's station, then a pretty hot sprint back to Route 6 where I drop my new buddy again. Once in Terry Hershey we regroup and take it easy - too much foot and bike traffic to race anyway. Then it's back to the bike store for a chat with the mechanics about converting my old 12-speed into a fixed-gear bike. It's a short but sweaty ride home from there.