We had a plan for tonight's night ride. Our usual night ride leader, Brad, is off in Disneyland (no doubt riding Space Mountain--in the dark!). Debbie got lights for Christmas, so we thought we would initiate her into the "Night Ride Club" (okay, there's not really a club). We put out an all-call for any gals who wanted to try riding in the dark. Those who responded were busy with other things (like colonoscopy preps), so it was just Jean, Debbie, and I....and a bunch of guys. Yep, this was one of the better turnouts--even though it was raining and quite windy.
Debbie was nervous. We decided we would go with the guys (they were going the same direction anyway). Jean told the guys to take it easy because it was Debbie's first night ride. The pace heading back up the trail was quite reasonable. There was a lot of chatting going on. Debbie and I hung off the back just a bit just to ease into the darkness and get used to it. It went well.
We made the turn onto Chehalis Western. The speed picked up a little (as did the wind), but Debbie hung in there. We continued down the trail, did the Rainier Rd section, and returned to the trail without incident. We also made it through the unpaved section of the trail (wish they would get that section repaved). After crossing Waldrick, I dropped off the back. See, I thought we were doing a relatively easy ride tonight. So, I also did my strength workout as well as 25 minutes of running up and down the stairs today. That was not a good idea. The strength workout might have been okay, but my legs were a little tired from running the stairs. As the tail lights disappeared around the corner, I kept pushing the pedals. As I came around another corner, there was Debbie waiting for me. Her first night ride, and she was waiting for me! We trailed after Jean and the guys. Pretty soon we could see one blinky light ahead. It was Jean slowing up for us.
The three of us rode the rest of the way together. We turned around near the junction when we saw the guys heading our way. Debbie and I hung on to the guys for awhile, but then we dropped back again. I'd have to say, by this time, they were at the usual night ride pace (or maybe even a little faster). We weren't dropping off because the speed was too fast for the dark. We were dropping off because the speed was too fast...period! I'm sure our heart rates were up there! In fact, I hit a new max heart rate of 171!
When we got close to Stedman, Ron and Jean had slowed up for us. The four of us rode the rest of the way. I was going to go back to the trailhead with Debbie, but Ron assured me he would stay with Debbie all the way back to her car. He had to go back there too. I headed home at the bridge.
For Debbie's first ride in the dark--in the wind and the rain--going at a maximum speed of 24.1 mph--an average of 15.8--for 37.9 miles, SHE DID GREAT!!!