Group Ride in Waxhaw – And Embarrassments Galore!

Steve has decided to start doing a group ride in Waxhaw for another bike shop. He said it was really scenic and a good ride and for me to come check it out. Since Donna broke her toe at a Krav class I haven’t been doing as much riding out on the streets. I want to make sure the dogs or a renegade book don’t pounce on her toe and cause some massive damage. But she is on the mend so I need to get back out there.

So yesterday I went out to Waxhaw to see what the ride was like. I was first taken aback by the massive yard sale that was taking place as soon as I got there. There were booths and junk in every direction and each way I turned the road was closed. I couldn’t even find the bike shop amidst all the tents and awnings. And everywhere I turned some power thirsty goof in a Volunteer shirt was yelling at me that I couldn’t ride my bike there. I didn’t think walking a bike constituted riding it, but hey, what do I know.

It was mere moments before 8am and I couldn’t find anyone. Then out of the corner of my eye I spied a group of cyclists taking off down the road. I would never be able to bob and weave through everyone to catch them and thought that the ride had just taken off without me. And boy is that a crappy feeling.

Since I’d come all this way I figured I would at least look around and peek inside the shop. Much to my excitement, Steve and group who were off to the side of the shop because of all the junk and awnings were just about to take off. Steve grabbed my attention and I jumped on the tail end of the line and set off. I didn’t even have my gloves on yet, but we were riding! I figured I better keep up since I had no idea where we were going. My group rides have a tendency to start that way a lot.

And this group took off like a bat out of hell! No warmup, no easing into the morning, they shot off at 25mph and kept it going. I have to admit, I was struggling. These guys were riding it like they stole it! It wasn’t so bad while we were on the flat part going out of town (I’m good on flat roads), but once we hit those hills (you slow down when you go up hills, right guys?), I just couldn’t keep up that pace. I have a cool bike but apparently not the skills to match.

It should come as no surprise that I was still at the very end of the line and losing ground. Thank God Steve was there or I would have been in serious trouble. I would have been lost in the middle of farm country. And cows, despite their sweet looks are terrible at giving directions. Luckily there was another rider who shared a similar pace with me. After talking amongst ourselves we formed our own little B Group and decided to set our own pace for the rest of the ride.

As fate would have it, he blew out a tire not too long after that, and after Steve stopped to swap out tubes from his repair kit, the three of us tackled the rest of the journey. The rest of the group was probably in Alaska by now, but that’s fine, we felt guilty for holding them up. They’re better riders so there was no sense in slowing them down. Plus it just looks bad to be that far behind the main group.

But it was a damn fine ride none-the-less. Grueling, but fun. Waxhaw is lots of rolling hills. When I did the Go for Blood ride last year it was a lot of crappy, rocky roads and mile after mile of hills. But it’s very scenic too. You wander through farmland and the roads aren’t very busy. Our trip was basically the same thing. Plenty of farms to pedal past, people giving us plenty of room as they passed and since it was just the three of us, we talked and got tons of advice from Steve. Seriously, the things you have to learn just to ride a bike. You can’t just pedal, you have to pedal the right way.

I thought I was actually a lot better at riding than my performance showed that morning. I made it up the hills, but I struggled. I felt pretty winded most of the time and was concentrating on keeping my speed up so this little group didn’t leave me behind and relegate me to Group C status. But they were good sports about it.

I have to admit I’ve never been so happy to head back towards town. Thankfully its several miles of flat, well paved road that after all the previous riding was a breeze to go through. We actually hit some pretty impressive speeds there at the end.

It was a really good ride. Lots of challenges on some really quiet roads. Steve will be out next weekend and then we’re all off for Memorial Day so I won’t be tackling it again right away, but I figure if I’m going to get better I need to ride it again. I just hope more of a B Group forms so we don’t keep getting left behind. Either that or I need to ride more and stop being a baby.

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