cycling · fitness

Sometimes you’re the slowest and that is just fine

It’s July 21st and I’m back from a bike ride, a fast bike ride.

I’m tired and hungry, so tired and so hungry that on the ride home, after the real ride, I slowed down going by a friend’s house and wondered if she would feed me and drive me home.

Just 3 km. I made it.

Even Strava agreed it was a “tough” ride.

What made it tough? I was the slowest rider on a group ride with intervals and race simulations. This means I clung on the back for dear life, heart rate racing, and watched time and time again as they zoomed off ahead of me. Ouch.

The cycling coach I work with has two week night group rides, a fast ride and an intermediate ride. This is the fast ride.

(An aside: Bike speeds are like condom sizing. No slow, no small. Just intermediate and fast bike rides; medium, large, and extra large condoms.)

Our average speed was 30 km/hr. More telling was my average heart rate, 150 bpm with spikes in the 170s.

When you are with people riding faster than you, you get good at drafting. See Susan’s post on drafting me during the bike rally. You also get good at catching up quickly should a gap open up between you and them.

For their part, they kept smiling at me and offering words of encouragement.

Yes, I was the slowest. But I’m not always the slowest. And I’m getting faster.

Dear fast people, I’ll be back.

See this post on why cyclists are generally happy to ride, some of the time, with people who are slower. And this post offers advice for what to do when you’re the slowest.

Here’s a fun video of the Vikings fast bunch in Canberra, Australia.

11 thoughts on “Sometimes you’re the slowest and that is just fine

  1. Sam! It’s funny because I felt like I was chasing you, especially on those hills. 😀 We could have slowed up, and of course made Emile do a little more chasing. I am glad you still had fun and that you found food! I love the group rides when I’m feeling unmotivated, and yesterday reminded me of that. Thanks for the company.

    1. Ah, this was about the Tuesday ride the week before. Also fast and fun. I enjoyed myself last night aside from remembering to eat!

      1. I did miss A though. It’s okay to be the slowest Tuesday…But not Tuesday and Thursday! And you’re right. I’m getting better with hills.

  2. Great post, and I was mesmerized by the video. Will be posting about this soon (and can ask you for more details later), but here’s a question: how hard was it for you to adjust to solo and group cycling on the left side of the road? I’m headed to Australia soon with road bike, and I have limited experience with this; I did a little road riding in Bali, but there were other traffic worries there that trumped the left-side-of-road issue (in particular, thuggish monkeys blocking the breakdown lane).

    One of the Sydney bike clubs has a beginners orientation ride,but it’s once a month and the Oct. ride is in fact the morning I arrive, so I’ll have to get myself oriented on my own. Just curious about your experience.

    1. Not at difficult! Except when I was alone on the path and another bike approached. Then I tended at first to want to veer right..but it got better. There is a beautiful park in Sydney for biking in and a great velodrome.

    1. I’m slow at everything!! nothing to be ashamed of. I’m the slowest runner, but I’m still running. I’m the slowest biker too but I’m still biking. seriously my motto is “slow and steady wins the race”
      a slogan I repeated in my mind while I finished my first half.

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