...but I knew that would happen.
I met the team at 5:30pm for one of their regular Tuesday/Thursday rides. The route was announced. I knew all the roads (and I also knew what hills we would be going up *gulp*). There were about 14 or 15 of us--4 of us, women. Among us women, 2 of us were non-team members (yet).
As we headed out, I stayed near the front (at least give myself more time before being dropped). I chatted with Jeff, who remembered me from the first ride I did with the team.
As we approached the first hill (a short but steep sucker on Sapp Rd.), I geared down, but I didn't want to drop down to my small ring. Because of that, I was out of the saddle on the steeper part but, I stayed with the group (albeit at the back now). Fortunately, there was a downhill on the other side and I was able to stay with the group even though I was wheezing like a donkey!
I stayed up with the group until the second big hill. Then, it was all over (the fat lady wasn't singing though, in fact, she could barely catch her breath, let alone belt out a tune!). The other non-team gal and I had made it a mere 6 miles before getting dropped. Although our lungs were burning and our legs were shot, we were pretty happy with how long we managed to stay with these Cat 1&2 racer guys.
We continued on the route not even seeing the group in the distance. We knew the way to go, and we had a designated regroup spot with the other two gals (and any guys who wanted to hang with the ladies).
We caught up, took a tiny break, and continued on. The pace was a little more within my realm and I even recovered some lung capacity. We kept up just fine which is good because it would have really sucked to be dropped from the dropped group (yes, they had also been dropped, just not as quickly as Deb and I).
We worked our way along Evergreen Parkway to Cooper Point. From there we did a beautiful little road called French Loop. We got some nice views of the water with a pink tinge of the sunset. If we weren't flying along so fast, I might have stopped and taken a photo!
We came down to West Bay Drive, which took us to downtown. At Capital Lake, Deb and I turned to head back to the start by riding the paved then packed gravel path to Marathon Park and back to Tumwater Falls Park. I had already turned my rear flasher on and at Marathon Park I also turned on my headlight. It was definitely getting dark. At Deb's car, back at the park, I switched back to my long finger gloves for the remaining 6 miles home.
I got home at about 7:30 totally spent, but I had a blast...even though I only lasted 6 miles with the group!
Total miles for me was 32. Average was 16 mph (not bad for the number of hills).