Today was a really good test: CZ and I braved the Grubb Road ride organised by Mike and his team at The Bicycle Place. The ride attracts 50-80 riders most weekends, providing much needed peleton experience, and covers some of the best hills in easy reach as well as some great pace line stretches along the Patomac. Today’s group was as large as I have seen it despite the heat and it was amazing to roll the course as part of such a large group. The pace is brisk but not fatal and it was great to test myself on some longer climbs and faster flats.
The ride was not without incident: I hit a big hole and lost both my water bottles – on such a long ride in this heat I knew I would not make it without them so I stopped and recovered them but lost the pack as a result; I managed to find a short cut and rejoin the group at about halfway; CZ went down in the pace line avoiding another rider who had already fallen but was back on and riding quickly; he is bruised but intact and was able to ride on.
Cycling en masse is a fantastic rush that requires very different physical and mental skills than riding alone. Since race day will be at least 1,500 riders I need to get as much group riding practice as I can on these weekend rides.