Recently I came to realize that sometimes being just an “average” cyclist can be more fun than actually being a “good” cyclist. Okay, so I haven’t truly tested this hypothesis since I’ve never actually been a “good” cyclist but hear me out. Sunday I joined in a ride with a local bike shop, Jack and Adams. I’ve done this ride a couple times before. Their intermediate group rides 30 to 40 miles at 15-17mph. They will drop you if you can’t hang, but there’s always a big enough group that it is difficult to be left completely alone. I don’t ride at the front of the group, but I don’t really have trouble keeping up. At least I thought that was the case until this past weekend. A friend came along with me for her first cycling group ride. We were cruising along through west Austin with a small group of people and became separated from the larger pack of riders. That’s when things began to go awry. First of all, we found ourselves here:
If you don’t live in Austin, the map doesn’t really tell you much. But, the name of the road tells it all. Mt. Bonnell is one butt-busting hill. I’m pretty proud of myself for climbing it without stopping. After we all recovered at the top we realized we were completely separated from the other riders and no one knew the route. Our only options were to turn back down the mountain or group together to ride a pretty dangerous stretch of highway to yet another brutal hill that would hopefully take us back on track. Just after we crossed the highway and climbed the second gut-wrenching hill the rain began pouring. The nine of us huddled under a nearby carport and decided from there forth we would be the No-Drop Intermediate Ride.
After the rain let up we continued on. One rider got a flat a few miles later and we all waited in the rain until he could get back on the road again. About 2 and a half hours from the time that we started out, we ended our approximately 20 mile ride back at the bike shop. That’s when we learned the rest of the group didn’t ride up Mt. Bonnell. They actually turned off at the bottom of the mountain. So the nine of us gained some bragging rights that morning and some new riding buddies. Of course, if we were better riders we might have made it back to the shop in time to score some free post-ride Taco Deli breakfast tacos. Next ride, maybe. For now, I am enjoying being a part of the No Drop, No Taco Intermediate Riders.
And one other adventure in cycling to share: On Monday I picked up this bad boy on my way to work….
So now I have a shiny new Shimano rear wheel and a new tire!