Saturday morning I slept in (yea!) gobbled a bowl of Cheerios and hopped on Helen for my first group ride. I only live about 3 miles from the bike shop that hosts group rides so I rode up there. I've run this route dozens, if not a hundred, times.
Full of nerves, I actually wrote on my To Do list for the weekend, "Group Ride with RBM. Don't chicken out!" I'm not good at meeting new people in large groups. My charm is best absorbed one on one. Ahem. But I kept telling myself that since I don't actually know any beginner cyclists, this would be a good chance to meet some. Annnd, I did meet sweet Sare Bear all those years ago at my first night with Run On. So, that worked out well now, didn't it? Indeed.
I must say, my experience with cyclists in this town is that they are, um, not super inclusive or friendly. I get it. Everyone hates cyclists. Runners get mad at them for rushing up on them on trails, cars get mad because they are so slow on the road. They can't please anyone. So here I am, on my ongoing quest to improve runner/cyclist relationships. I'm a one woman UN of local athletes.
Who wouldn't talk to this girl with the wonky helmet?
Arriving with plenty of time to get my bearings and act social, I rolled up to the shade of the store and introduced myself to the first person who would make eye contact with me. It took a few minutes. I found the other riders planning to take off on the 13 mile Beginner Ride. And Roland. Ah, Roland, so friendly! Found out Roland is a runner too, guess that explains that. Ha!
Once we started moving I introduced myself to a few others. Look at me being all approachable AND friendly; who is this girl? Ugh, let me just say, getting out of my comfort zone by trying a new sport AND being social...it wore me out. Sadly, cycling did not wear me out. This was a true beginner group, and I am in fact a beginner, but the fastest we ever went as a group, about 15 of us, was 9mph. S-l-o-w. I tried really hard to stay with the group and be all team playery, but it was hard! I wanted to take off and actually ride that sucker. Another day, another day, today was about learning how to ride with a group and I have a lot to learn.
I tried to talk to as many people as I could, which meant finding the girls who I assumed to be about my age-ish. Which was one. Talked to a sweet girl who is in high school. Problem is, most women "my ageish" have husbands, babies and lives. They aren't traipsing around town learning to ride a bike. Having none of those things, I guess I'm kind of in the minority with beginners.
I think I found out how to make friends though, at least with the guys, keep wearing my running tops to bike. So, yeah, I wondered why all the cycling jerseys (see, I'm getting the lingo!) zip up so high. Now I know. Leaning over like that, well, if you are wearing a low cut running top, you're pretty much putting the girls on display the entire ride. Oops! Gotta do some shopping before next week...
I really do have Popeye arms. Perhaps I should get an anchor tattoo. Side note, do you know how difficult it is to get out your phone, snap a photo and not crash? Well, for me, it was a challenge! Perhaps I should have stopped first? Maybe? I have a lot to learn.
All in all, it was a success. I didn't knock anyone over which was a real concern. No one pointed and laughed at me in my running gear. And I talked to people. Mission accomplished. I plan to go back next week and join Runner Roland and his group for the 20 mile ride.
Okay, now I have some fashion/gear questions.
Why are the shorts all so stinkin' long? Is there a purpose? It is compression? Because if so, I bought the wrong size. Just a little over an hour out there and I've got some brand new crazy tan lines. Not having a pool at my disposal, I cannot spend every Saturday afternoon evening out the damage done from those long shorts!
Why do the really tan cute guys with shaved legs wear ankle socks? They certainly weren't in my group but believe me, I didn't miss them. You would think "no show" socks would make for less awkward tans lines. Am I the only one obsessed with tan lines? Is there a reason for higher socks?
Why do all the jerseys have some sort of product/restaurant/whatever on them? What's that about? Surely not all of those people are sponsored. Where is the selection of just plain cute pink (high neck!) tops?
HELP! I don't want to be the dorky girl flashing everyone at every ride!
What have you done lately to get out of your comfort zone?