failing like never before


Group Cycling

I went on my first group ride yesterday morning with the school cycling club. It was a bit depressing showing up at the meeting location with my toe clips, friction shifters, and 1989 Miyata, when everyone else present was sporting expensive carbon fiber and aluminum racing bikes with stiff racing shoes, but I ended up keeping up passably well, at least for the first half; I ended up falling behind the pack on the return trip since I wasn't really used to pumping out 20 MPH for three hours.

I had some trouble riding together in such a close pack. Its a little scary to ride a foot behind someone's wheel at 20 MPH, and my rather poor bike handling certainly didn't lend me any confidence. Towards the middle of the ride I started getting more comfortable with riding in a tight group, especially when I started to feel the burn in my thighs (drafting does make life a little easier).

My Miyata Alumicross was most definitely not made for racing, a fact which became very apparent on hills. On long descents when everyone ducked down into a tuck, the air resistance generated by my knobby cyclocross tires resulted in me slowly drifting more and more towards the back of the group, despite the fact that I practically had my nose on level with my headset. And on very small descents, when the group shifted into their smallest sprockets and started pedaling with speed, I was doing 120+ RPMs in my smallest sprocket, struggling to keep up.

Nevertheless, I found it to be a highly enjoyable ride, and I will definitely be going out for more group rides in the future.

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