I did something today I haven’t done in awhile — I joined up with the neighborhood club for its Sunday morning ride. The club is the Circle C Ranch Cycling Club, or CCRCC. It’s named for the neighborhood in southwest Austin where we live.
I was interested in doing the ride because it’s one I rode many months ago, and really enjoyed it. It gets out into the hill country west of Austin quickly, and features lots of rolling hills. I have also realized that I have to do more hill work if I want to complete that century in the fall.
We started off in a group of about 17 or 18, and stayed in a pack for about six miles. Once we crossed U.S. 290, though, the pack started to split up into two groups. I was on the back of the second group. Soon, I was watching the second group disappear out of sight around a bend.
We got to the main objective of the ride — Fitzhugh Road. Now, the last time I was on this route, the group stopped at the convenience store at the corner for a quick rest break. Today, no rest break. Well, it was only 10 miles out from the start. One club jersey was just reaching a bend about 500 yards ahead of me.
I followed, but couldn’t catch them. I am pretty much a 15 mph average rider, and these guys (and several women) are faster. Plus, the rollers. Oy!
One of the nice things about the Fitzhugh route is that you can pick your own distance. It’s an out-and-back route, so you can turn around wherever you like. Most people pick a cross road. The first major intersection is Ranch Road 12. I figured they would take a break there, and that’s how I would catch up. At the same time, the rolling hills were really taking it out of me. I planned to tell the ride organizer that I was turning around there.
When I approached the intersection, I could see a group of about seven of them stopped beyond it. Ah ha! I had caught them. But before I reached the corner, they shoved off. I pedaled hard, and latched onto the back of the group. It took awhile to get to the ride organizer at the front, to tell him I was turning back.
By now, the morning sun was out in full force, and the temperature was around 90°F (32°C). The breeze wasn’t bad though, and I was wearing a full zip jersey, so I could zip down and take advantage of the breeze. When I reached the convenience store back at the 290-Fitzhugh corner, I got a bottle of sports drink, stood in the shade of a tree, and finished it off. The rest of the ride was uneventful, and I got home in time to watch the end of the British Open.
I’m a little bummed that I’m not on a par with the club riders, but there are also rides for slower guys like me, so maybe there will be more club rides in my future.
Totals: 36 miles, 14.3 mph average (That’s .7 mph faster than the last time I did the ride, in January. I’m not in their league, but improvement continues).