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Despite missing my riding target for the past few years, I’ve still taken the decision to put it up again. This will be now be harder still to achieve as I’ve not really had a good start to the year. Colds and a bad back have seen me miss weeks of riding, so we’ve gotten well over half the way through March and I’ve so far only ridden 162 miles.

What I haven’t done yet this year, is do something that I did a few times last autumn, which really helped with mileage, because I keep finding myself asking; “Is riding with a club for me?”

In September I rode with a club for the first time and found myself really enjoying it, until we got about two thirds of the way round. As it was at this point that I crashed. It suddenly occurred to me that we had been riding around at an average of 2-3 miles than I usually rode, and at no point had we stopped to eat and refuel. So I now found myself at least 20 miles out, with no idea where I was, no energy, and riding with a group of riders who were showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down. They did, but only because of me, but it wasn’t so much slowing down as having to wait for me to catch up. One of the riders was great and hung back with me, making sure I was okay, and encouraging me. And this was great, but I felt bad that I was holding everyone else up. One of the others had ridden with me a little earlier, but there advice had appeared to be to ride quicker. This may not have been what they said, but it was how I’d taken it and there was simply nothing that I could do about it. I was exhausted. When we finished, the guy that had helped me get back told me in front of everyone else that he didn’t know how I’d done it. This made me feel better, but not right then and there as all I was interested in doing was trying to find a chair to sit on and some food to eat.

When I’d recovered I took a look at the ride on Strava and it had been ridiculously quick, for me, even with the slowing down towards the end. I couldn’t believe that I’d done it, which felt great, which is why then I went out with them a few more times. These were a little easier, mainly as I knew what to expect, but I wouldn’t really describe them as fun. Now I know this might not have been the point of the rides, but it has always been why I’ve ridden. Keeping fit and in shape has always just then been a happy accident, that keeps me from joining a gym. But going on these rides where we didn’t ever just stop and look around to see where we were, or for a chat and to refuel, were not what I was looking from on a ride.

Now maybe it was just this group of riders, and that this particular club just isn’t for me. But I don’t then know how to find a club that I do feel that I fit into, and does embrace why I ride?

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