Not counting yesterday's Meet the Team Ride, which was purposely slow and casual, my last three rides have, very much, been at the mercy of circumstances. Last Saturday, I broke a spoke (see previous post), which ended my ride for the day. Then, on Sunday, since I was unable to replace the broken spoke right away, I had to ride my rain bike. That's usually okay, if everyone else is also on rain bikes. Not only was everyone not on rain bikes, but a couple of the guys, when on the front, were quite speedy. For me, it became a bit of a drop-fest. I'd fall behind, they would wait at the next turn, I'd fall behind again (usually due to a hill), and they would be waiting, again. This happened several times until I finally told them not to wait for me anymore (they would have been fine continuing to do that, but I felt bad).
Today, it was almost as if the planets aligned to make for favorable circumstances on the ride. First of all, there was 0% chance of rain. It was foggy, but that would later burn off to a gloriously sunny October day. Secondly, I had fixed the spoke on Tessa, so I would be able to go somewhat faster--and, therefore, a better chance of keeping up. Thirdly, one of the speedy guys did not come, and the other speedster was kind enough to not go so blistering fast when he was on the front.
It doesn't mean the ride was easy. We still had about 2400 feet of elevation gain. During the bulk of that elevation gain, I was my usual slow-as-a-slug self but, they only had to wait for me at the top of the D-Line in Capitol Forest. This time, I was able to keep up after coming down Bordeaux. In fact, I was third to the stop sign at Mima Rd. Last time we did this route, I was completely dropped (as in, never saw them again--only Maria waited for me--but, there were many speedy guys that day).
I had a few more times of falling off the back, but I was able to catch back on. This ride was longer than last week's ride, with more elevation gain, yet I managed to finish with the group. It's all about the circumstances.
Total miles: 72.4
Average speed: 17.5 mph