Monday, July 8, 2013

A two thing weekend (First group ride + a book)

This weekend was long. It was a good kind of long in the sense that all four days were enjoyable, useful, fun, and functional. Tim had three of the days off, and though we didn't go see a movie as originally thought, we did go to breakfast, watch a movie at home, spend the fourth at a friend's hour, and have some time to just hang out. Otherwise, my two favorite things about the weekend were my long ride and the book I started (and finished).

After riding 41 miles with Beth on Thursday, we planned another long ride on Saturday morning, but this time it was going to be different. Beth, her boyfriend Nick, and his friend Cecil were planning to meet up with a big group ride in Dunedin, and they invited me along. It was my first group ride, and a lot of it was on the roads. I was nervous going into it, but I knew that the only way to gain confidence with things is to dive in head first without thinking about it.

Plus, I was promised that it would be a slow ride (which we later realized wasn't that true). I'll share first the route we took and the stats of the ride, because I didn't realize how far 34 miles was until I really saw it mapped out.
 
We met at a Publix, where I lathered up with sunscreen and got myself ready to go. The group was made up of about 20-25 people, and the first part of the ride would be on the Pinellas Trail. The paces were, as promised, slow. We were going 15-16 mph, and we had a tail wind so it wasn't hard to pedal at that speed at all. And then, they slowly started picking up as we were getting upwards of 8-10 miles. We were then riding in the 18-20 mph range from 10-20 miles of the ride. Because we had the tail wind and we were in a group, though, it wasn't as hard as it would have been riding alone. As we made our way to the first stop (the lower part of the red line jutting out into the water) we caught a major tail wind on the bridges out to the beach and were riding in the 21-23 mph range. I loved it! We were flying! I've never sustained that pace for the distance.

And then we got to the little picnic area where we took our first 5 or so minute break, I unclipped my right foot, and I started falling left. Oops! First fall! And it made me realize that as long as I go down like I'm supposed to, these falls aren't the end of the world. I stood right up and started walking over to the rest of the group to eat a snack. After bonking a little on Thursday I loaded myself up with more than I thought I'd need. In a bigger group I didn't want to be the one dragging people down.
 
We rode a few more miles up to the top of the map, stopped again, and I ate again. At the first stop I had the sandwich, and at the second I had the waffle.
 
After that, we started to take off. Someone noticed that something was off with my chain, so I stopped and someone helped me. I ended up separated from Beth, Nick, and Cecil because they didn't see me stop (which I wouldn't have expected them to and didn't want to tell them to stop and wait because I knew I'd catch up). I rode with another group of 5 or so with a guy pulling part of the way. As he was slowing a little I rode up to the front to help in the pulling a bit, which I still am not sure if it was the right thing to do. Later I mentioned to him that I was new and just knew that I take turns with my friends on the trail, and I didn't know if I was supposed to do that here. He said it had helped, so I guess I didn't make a newbie mistake.

There was a red light where I ended up having to unclip and then got confused with conflicting messages from behind and in front. People in front saying to go, and people in the back saying to stop. It's hard to judge what you're supposed to do when different people are saying different things, but in the end it seems you just have to do whatever seems right and safe to you.

We did catch up to Beth, Nick, and Cecil, and it seems a lot of the group had gotten split up at different speeds around that time, but in the end we ended up all back together to take a main road back to the starting point. We broke off from the bigger group at that point and there were 5 or 6 of us that kind of went together to the main road instead of the trail. There was one scar moment with a hill and a red light at the bottom, and I had my second fall. Again, because I was with other people I just brushed it off, ran across the intersection with my bike instead of riding, and shook it off as quickly as I could.

We were riding more hills, and we all were ready to be done by that point. When we finally turned back onto Curlew and had our last stretch, we were riding with a tail wind a little downhill, and our speeds really picked up! My Garmin says my maximum speed was 26.6, but we were definitely in the 25-26 range for that little stretch. I just tried not to think about it and rode! And when that Publix came that signified the end of the ride, it was about the most beautiful thing I had seen.

The ride was so much fun, but stepping out of your comfort zone is always a little nerve-wracking. That being said, I can't wait to do it again!

And then, I came home, showered, and picked up Gone Girl from the library:
 
And since then, I've also finished it! What a book! I won't share anything that's at all a spoiler. I really enjoyed it a lot. That author definitely knows how to design a plot line that hooks the reader. There were so many plot twists and turns, and most of the turns were completely unexpected. I had heard from a lot of people that it was crazy, so I spent a lot of time trying to anticipate what was going to happen next. What I thought was going to be the resolution was only the halfway point in the book. It was absolutely a page turner.

In the end, I was somewhat let down by the ending, but I'm not sure how else Gillian Flynn could have ended it that would have left me more satisfied. The book would have had to have gone on for another 100 pages. 

There were definitely parts that made the book a little more drawn out than it needed to be, but some of that ended up being mentioned during important points in the plot. I think it still could have been reduced, but I guess no one needed my editorial review before sending it to be published. 

Next up I'm going to go for something lighter, and I've been enjoying requesting books from the library again after a long hiatus.

Two questions for the two topics:
Any tips for a group ride I should take into consideration?
Any recent reads you'd recommend, whether lighthearted or a page turner?

16 comments:

Run DMT said...

I'm still learning the way of group rides, so I have no advice for you. You did great, though! Loved your speed. I wish I could ride that fast! I am so stinking slow. Turtles riding snails pass me on a bike.

Shauna said...

Congrats on your great ride! I love following your blog because we're right around the same experience level. It's so nice to see another enthusiastic, fit girl having parallel newbie workouts!

I did my longest ride to date yesterday with my training partner who is a super experienced cyclist. 26 miles! By the end I was really ready to get off the bike and I had a few stressful moments (including banging into a short fence. LOL). I'm so impressed that you just brushed off those little topples and moved on. In the moment, they're frustrating but at the end of the ride, they're eclipsed by the overall accomplishment!

Mindy Bobe said...

Congrats on the great ride! Sounds awesome! I can't give you any advice since I don't ride. I will say that I read Gone Girl and loved it! Definitely a page turner and then ending was not what I thought it would be. But it was good!

Heather @ From Here to There said...

Congrats on a successful group ride!! I haven't ridden in a large group yet, it definitely scares the mess out of me and is intimidating, but I love your brush it off attitude! I haven't read that book yet, but I've heard great things about it, I may have to check it out!

Megan Fiterature said...

I'm newish to group riding, too. I've always just ridden with a few friends - I'd love a post on how to pull and draft. I'm still not sure of the proper way!

(Came over from FF!)

Amber said...

Good for you on getting out there and going for a group ride! Now that you've done it, I bet it'll be even easier next time.

I keep meaning to get Gone Girl, but I have so many other books I need to read first. I have only heard good things.

Do you watch PLL? I love it, and am now reading the books.

Amy @ A Glimpse of the Gouglers said...

Awesome job on all of your rides! You are getting in so many miles and I'm impressed!

I ready Gone Girl in January and really liked it! I agree about the ending though,,,I'm not exactly sure how I would have done it otherwise so I'll take it since the book is just so good!

B.o.B. said...

I was SO happy to see that Publix. I was done at that point for sure. I'm really proud of you for coming out. I know how intimidating it can be b/c I was so so so scared before my first big group ride. We'll keep doing group rides and they'll get better. For both of us!

Nikki_Crites said...

I loved Gone Girl. For easy and poignant, Mitch Albom's The Time Keeper. I laughed out loud all through Kelly Oxford's book. Life of Pi was amazing.

Allie said...

You are awesome! What a huge week! I'm going to add that book to my list. I just finished up Kristen Hannah's newest book Fly Away which is the follow up to Firefly Lane. They are quick reads.

Kat @ Sneakers and Fingerpaints said...

(taking a study break) Great catching up with you today - besides the minor falls, you did awesome on your ride and those are expected! You're much braver than I!

Kacey said...

Gone girl is being made into a movie! Glad you liked it :)

Krysten said...

SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT RIDE!!!

Katie said...

I completely agree with you about the book! I couldn't put it down but wasn't 100% satisfied with the end. But then again, I couldn't figure out a better way for it to end either. I just finished Revenge Wears Prada-- it was (obviously) much lighter and a quick read. I really enjoyed it.

Kristen :) said...

I need to make more time to read; I'll have to check out this book!!

Lane said...

I have similar feelings about Gone Girl. I enjoyed reading it, but wasn't satisfied with the ending.