I have so much to learn

This whole riding in large groups thing is incredibly technical. There’s so much to be aware of – road conditions, the distance between you and people around you, the hand gestures of whoever is in front. It’s like learning a new language. But, oh my god, it was so totally awesome to be out there with everyone else and actually overtake people (read: guys decked out in full team kits on much more expensive bikes than me).

I’m feeling a little proud of myself this afternoon. I made it to Black Rock and back in one piece. Go team me!!

I feel like I’ve accomplished something but I’m not exactly sure what. This time last year, I couldn’t have imagined that I’d actually be able to do this. Black Rock always seemed so far away, something that my brother would do but I would never be able to. I was so proud of myself that I had to tell someone so I called my housemate just to say I was sitting at a cafe in Black Rock.

Took us about an hour from Canning St, which was quicker than I expected but we managed to latch onto a group of four guys who were heading out. As a unit, they rode beautifully – tight, controlled and in perfect sync. I’m sure they were just warming up but they didn’t seem to mind that we were hanging on. It was a pleasure to watch them ride and see how it’s done. In the end, the only reason we dropped off was because I stuffed up a start from a traffic light and got separated from the group. In the end, I think the pace would’ve been too much for me and I would’ve killed myself getting to Black Rock and then not been able to get home.

Still, as we got closer to Black Rock, we got quicker and quicker until my riding partner decided it was time to drag me along at about 45kms – uphill!! Okay, so they were more rises then hills but I’m a terrible hill climber, even on the small ones so I have no idea how I managed it. I suppose I just didn’t want to get left behind. Heh. I’m so competitive when I want to be. It must be acknowledged the that only way I’m going to get better at hills is by banging up and down them.

I feel like I am achieving something with the riding. I have dead legs a lot of the time but when I’m on the bike, I do feel stronger. I seem to be able to sustain higher speeds for longer periods. It’s only been five weeks since we started riding so any progress is good. Today’s ride was 55.44kms and it still surprises me that I’m actually capable of riding those distances. On Thursday, we had a third join us and he dragged me around the Albert Park circuit four time about 10kms quicker than I’m used to. A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have been able to sustain that sort of effort. It also surprises me that I’m actually willing to get up early on a Sunday to go out. But it’s so worth it. The dead legs, the sore butt, the aching body – it’s all worth it for the peace of mind I feel.

(Although today’s peace of mind was shattered by nearly getting hit by a lunatic taxi driver when we were turning onto Russell St from La Trobe. And then being so freaked out that I had to be pushed up the rise to the next intersection. Yup, that’s so dignified.)

Anyhoo… I’ve set myself a short term goal: to do Amy’s Ride in January. My riding partner and I debated which length to do, the 60km or 120km and we finally settled on the 60. It’ll be my first ride and I want to do a distance I can achieve. It’d kill me to sign up for the 120 and then end up in the sag wagon because I couldn’t complete it. Check me out. I have goals and things I want to achieve.

Psst… happy 100th blog post to me.

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