I have a nervous excitement today. That kind of jitter you get before the first race of the season.
I finally got outside for a "real" ride last Sunday. 3 hours on the rolling hills of Barry-Roubaix. I thought I may have build some form, but the hills tell otherwise. I guess no amount of magnetic resistance can simulate the steep incline and loose gravel of a real hill. Jesse was kind enough to guide me along during the middle 35 miles of his 85+ mile day. I was shocked and astounded he could ride as slow as I.
So, back to the topic for the first sentence. Beyond the realization that riding outside this years feels as hard as last year, tonight is the first "Tuesday Night Ride" of the season. I have heard it referred to as the "Tuesday Hammerfest". It will also be my first ride with the group, and my first group ride on the road. I have thought about attending in the past, but now I have a legitimate road bike to utilize. Last year I only had a CX bike, and I knew I didn't stand a chance.
So this will be a nice 40 mile jaunt through the Mason countryside. I have no idea when to show up, do I warm-up first, or is that part of the ride? Oh yeah, and there are 5 sprint points. Points meaning places of sprinting, and not actual points towards the green jersey. Although, maybe there are points, but I think bragging rights awarded instead. Either way, I don't plan on contending for any points, because I don't know where they are, and also these guys are fast. I am just hoping to be able to regroup after the sprints, before they take off again.
I think even more worrisome than my cycling condition is my newbness, noobitude, or cat.5 skills. Call it what you will. I hope I can follow a straight enough line to not wreck anybody else. And what about if I am the second wheel and I miss the flick of the elbow. Phil Liggett points it out during every race, yet I never see it. Even if I rewind and watch, I still miss it. Or what if *gulp* I am at the front. How fast should I go, for how long? Too little time and I am not doing my share, too long and I am just wearing my little legs out. Is it OK for me to hang off the back the entire time?
Lastly, what do I do about the incessant mocking? The fact I am arriving with a perfect Barry-Roubaix beard (although it would probably be more fitting of a lumberjack), my hairy legs, full-fingered gloves and helmet with a visor should provide plenty of ammo. Perhaps I should just get used to being called Fred. Fred Dub-Nine, that doesn't sound too bad actually.
5 hours left. 300 minutes of searching the interwebs for topics like "How not to wipe out every one at first group ride" and "What to do after getting dropped"!
Wish me luck!