I have ridden on two group rides in Albany, GA since I started bike riding on April 12, 2011.
On the first ride last Saturday April 23, I rode from Albany to Dawson which is 54 miles round trip. I started the ride at 8 AM with five other riders and kept the 18-20 MPH pace with them for about 10 miles before I was dropped. I happily continued at my pace 17 miles to Dawson took a short break and stocked up with refreshments and rode the 27 miles back home.
My second group ride was this evening. I started out with 6 members of the Heritage Bank racing team. I kept pace with them for about 5 miles before I was dropped when I could not keep the 23 MPH pace. I happily rode a 23 mile loop back to my home riding in my aero bars into some mild head winds. I accidentally rode through the chemical spray from a tractor being applied to the pecan trees that I was riding through.
You may wonder why I am going through this sort of training. Most folks who cycle do not like getting dropped. For me it is a part of my training. I know that I will build up my strength eventually and I will gradually be able to ride faster and farther. It is hard training by yourself and I always find it difficult to find people my age who want to ride the way I do. During this phase of my cycling training I am using a method that I learned when I was training for the Nike 10K race. I had a RunTex running coach tell me to do a 2 mile sprint. He said to run full blast and when I finished I would have to have nothing left. He said do not worry about saving your energy during the first mile, but be aware that you will only be running two miles so let it all out.
I am using this method for my rides with these fast pace cyclist here in Albany. I know that I am 40 pounds too heavy and I do not have the strength to ride for hours like I use to at 20 MPH. I figure that I will sprint for as fast and as far as I can with the group then I will ride at my pace the remainder of the ride. My running coach told me that it is how you run when you are tired that makes you stronger and a better runner. I use to ride like this in Oregon but I did not have a real focus on why I did it. Now I ride hard until I am exhausted and then I keep riding. It is like I get my body to feel like mile 75 of a 100 mile ride in just 10 to 15 miles and then I keep pushing on.
So this is why I decided to nick name myself Mr. Drop. I do not mind seeing the pack fade way up the road as I crank my iron bike as fast as I can. I know that this is the image that I need in my training that will motivate me to keep riding so I can get faster and stronger and drop the weight. I use to catch folks on my bike 5 years ago that were 1/2 a mile in front of me, now I am the slug getting dropped.