Putting together the Moser this late in the Fall, I planned to take it on a couple of test rides, then put it on the trainer. But the bike's dynamite handling snapped me out of my "waiting for winter" stupor and made me want to ride, ride, ride. Somehow I found the time despite the limited daylight, and still I wanted more.
I knew that the Ride Studio Cafe had recently started offering a weekly Women's Ride, which they planned to continue for as long as the weather permitted. Their mixed gender rides have a reputation for being tougher than described, so I never worked up the courage to join those over the summer. Would the women's rides be more accessible? I was nervous, but ultimately felt that I had no choice: my bike was demanding to go. Can't argue with a bike.
I arrived early to have some coffee and take a break from riding to the ride itself. A few minutes later another woman walked in. Gosh, she looked familiar. We said hello and she introduced herself as Pamela. I realised that she was Pamela Blalock - a rather famous New England cyclist, who has done Paris-Brest-Paris and cycled up Mt. Washington multiple times. Suddenly I had doubts that I belonged on this ride. But I tried to keep calm, curiosity overcoming my fear of riding with serious cyclists.
It helped that I already knew the ride leader, Patria (shown here as Wonderwoman on Halloween). A strong cyclist with a road racing background, she also has a talent for putting people at ease - handy when dealing with neurotics like me. Two other women arrived, making it five of us in total. Shrugging off the morning chill, we set off on a very similar route to the one I had gotten accustomed to on the NEBC paceline rides. The ride itself however, was entirely different.
For one thing, it was not a paceline ride but more of a social ride. We rode in pairs or clusters and talked the entire time, as opposed to cycling in a tight single-file procession while listening to the leader's instructions. I am unaccustomed to (and fearful of!) this more social kind of group ride, but got used to it fairly quickly. I noticed that I am a lot more comfortable riding side by side with another cyclist in close proximity than I used to be. Our abilities were all over the spectrum, which kept the pace of the ride manageable. Each of our bikes was different as well: steel, titanium, aluminum and carbon fiber were all represented, as were different type of shifter setups.
The funny thing is that I don't have much of a memory of the ride itself, since all of it was spent in conversation. The miles rolled by quickly and the weather was ridiculously gorgeous for the first day of December. In the end I wanted more, which is always a good note on which to end an activity. I am now debating whether to attempt the RSC mixed gender ride, or to leave well enough alone and stick to the women's rides.
I have an annoying tendency to get overexcited about things that I enjoy doing, and I know I am setting myself up for a terrific let-down if I get all roadcycling-crazy again and then bang, it starts snowing. But gosh, I can't help it - I want to ride!