First impressions: (I'm going to be honest here.) These people are weird! Their clothes are WAY too tight, they have WAY too much crap on their bikes. Some of them are wearing backpacks. (Perhaps I am a *bit* of a minimalist) A lot of them don't look like they could walk a mile, let alone pedal 25-35 miles. The ride leader showed up in a pink cape and yellow feathers all over her helmet with flowers growing out of it! The group was celebrating her birthday, which was Monday. The schedule said the ride started at 9:00 at Don Edward's Refuge Park, so of course I showed up eight minutes early. Two people were there. Within 15 minutes, another 23 people showed up. A few of them I recognized as customers from my store.
Let me back up just a little bit. A few weeks ago, while I was at work, I met a girl that was a member of the Fremont Freewheelers and we chatted a little about the group rides. She recommended I go to either a Tuesday or Thursday morning ride. A couple of weeks ago I showed up for the Tuesday ride and nobody else was there. With my work schedule, this was the first Thursday I could join.
Okay. After everyone checked in and introductions were made, we were ready to roll at 9:30. Because I met Vanessa at REI, she introduced me as such. WELL, from that point forward, I was the REI girl. People were rolling up next to me all day with questions about REI. At least I didn't feel like an outsider. I felt very welcome with this group. I also felt like it was a total PR day for REI though.
We rode over the Dumbarton Bridge and regrouped. That was at mile FOUR. As we were climbing up and over the bridge, I easily passed the majority of the group, calling "on your left" as I did so. I wasn't trying to, it was just my comfortable speed. As soon as we regrouped on the other side of the bridge, suddenly I am known as the "fast REI girl". I'm okay with this. A couple of miles later, we regrouped again. Mile six, mile 10, mile 12, mile 15, etc. We regrouped A LOT! I get it. Let's make sure we are all together. But, c'mon! We are adults. I can SEE the rest of the group. Let's GO! We rode all the way over to Portola Valley and did a few great climbs along the way. We had a "coffee stop" at mile 17 in Palo Alto at The Prolific Oven which actually turned out to be the birthday celebration for the group leader. I was hoping for a protein smoothie of some kind but this place doesn't serve them during the "off season" so I *had* to settle for a brownie. This "coffee stop" lasted almost half an hour. At 1:00 p.m., (2:25 actual rolling time) we were back at the car. The ride was 26 miles total. 3.5 hours is a very long time to cover 26 miles. I started my morning off with a bowl of Lucky Charms, thinking it was going to be a 25-35 mile ride with a coffee stop - half of that would be 12-17 miles - that would take an hour, give or take - I could refuel then. WRONG! At least now I know. Eat a bigger breakfast AND carry fuel!
Will I ride with this group again?
By the end of the ride I had chatted with probably 15 of the group and they are nice people. Only one man I can see butting heads with - an older guy that is a 'Mr. Know-It-All' type. But, that's alright, I can ride away from him. LOL So, the answer is YES! I will pay the $20 annual fee to hook up with some of them for group rides during the week. What's great about the Fremont Freewheelers is they have a ride (two or three on weekends) every day of the week! So, that will take care of my riding by myself problem, right? And hopefully, after a few more rides, I can acquire some phone numbers of the faster riders and we can hook up outside of the group rides.
Wednesday I tried the running thing again. Much better than Monday! But, how could it have been worse? Boomer and I hit the Alameda Creek Trail for a 5.5 mile run. It felt great!
The trees are blooming and it smells SO nice. This trail does have pavement, if you go beyond the two miles, in the western direction. I just stay on the dirt portion, next to the pavement.