Being the newest member to the Elite Triangle Triathlon Team has already been a very exciting experience for me! Not only did I get to join in on my first group ride (an experience in and of itself), I also had the wonderful opportunity to pick up trash by the side of the road. But, first thing's first...the group ride.
I pulled into an unmarked gas station/convenience store on a background out by Jordan Lake. When I say unmarked, what I really mean is that it wasn't a Hess or an Exxon or a BP. It was more like a mom and pop shop that had a couple of old-time gas pumps and convenience store that sold bait and tackle for fishing on the lake. Two of the girls from the team were already there setting up their bikes and more members of the team were showing up. They all seemed to know who I was since I was the only one they didn't know...or maybe it was because I was the only one there with one leg. Regardless, it was a warm introduction to everyone and I was looking forward to going out on a nice easy ride with them.
When I say nice easy ride, I really did think it would be nice and easy. We only had about 2 hours before the trash pick-up event so it couldn't be that long. I got into a comfortable pace behind one of the other riders and enjoyed the crisp wind at my face. After a while I pulled up alongside another girl and we chatted for a bit about triathlons, Ironmans and general tidbits about ourselves. We'd been riding for about 30 minutes. I felt pretty good. Then I found that it was harder and harder to chit chat with this girl. I dropped back behind her again to take advantage of the draft and to catch my breath. For the first time I looked down at my bike computer. We'd now been riding for about 45 min. We'd gone about 14 miles. And we'd been averaging about 18 mph. No wonder I was a bit winded. On my own, I normally average about 15.5 mph over a 40 mile bike. By the end of this group ride I kept up the avg of 18 mph, finishing almost 40 miles in just over 2 hours. I guess I'm just going to have to keep riding with a group!