When I picked up my new bike a few months ago I had lots of plans. I also had lots of things to buy. I persevered on most of them, but one big one seemed out of reach. I joined a bike club and planned to go out with them on a fairly regular basis.
Things got in the way. Some of them were legitimate, others less so.
The less so included sheer laziness, but I could overcome that if I really wanted to. The other one was intimidation. At a bike store where I was browsing for a bell, I mentioned that I joined a particular club. The first thing they told me was that I would be dropped at the first hill we came to. They used words like “hardcore” and “psycho” before I could even open my mouth.
I know that in every club situation there are going to be an assortment of characters. Life isn’t really that different from the high school cafeteria you see depicted on countless movies (only at my high school everyone got cooler as they got older and most of our differences stopped mattering). Even when I play darts, I can’t say that there isn’t at least one person who rubs me the wrong way, or that I rub the wrong way–whose kidding who, I might be that guy.
Finally, the schedule cleared, I was mostly rested, and the starting time was not some predawn hour. Although I had to dodge a huge number of people running a 10K race with variable start times, I made it to the meeting place and I was pretty much on time.
One small problem were my underinflated tires. Thankfully someone had a floor pump and they got me primed for the run. (I should note that I learned a valuable lesson in that I should check my own tires before I go, and I should know how to use my portable pump. I am grateful for their patience, but I hate being that guy.)
The Sunday ride, they explained, was a little less “hardcore” as well, the Saturday ride had people of all abilities so I shouldn’t worry so much. They explained that they weren’t going to leave anyone behind.
The group ride was a little under 50k with lots of hills. The weather was fantastic and the scenery was pretty. I did a good job on the out portion of the trip, but the return, owing to a not insignificant headwind, was much harder. I won’t lie to you, I am sore now and should have a hard time hobbling toward my bus tomorrow morning. I will probably have to leave a bit early.
The people in my group were great. They were encouraging and instructive, and I have no reason not to show up again–with fully pumped up tires and my cycling computer installed on my bike.
I didn’t have room for a camera (and no, I don’t have a cell phone) so I have no pictures to accompany this blog. Whatever image I slap on top of this will probably be a little old.