Mike and I took our first group ride tonight at Rockport Park with Janet and other velo club members tonight. It was quite an experience. All I can say is there is nowhere to go but up from here.
We started off going through some wider grass trails with gentle slopes and gentle hills. I thought to myself, this is OK so far. it did not take long before Janet veered off onto a single track winding dirt path and burst my bubble. We went careening through a narrow path cutting back and forth across a steep hill, many many many trees rocks and debris on either side. i think I fell off my bike in less than 5 minutes. I whined and whimpered to myself through the death track after picking myself up off the ground several times.
Before long I was following Janet and the rest of the group though the woods, up and down hills, around and over trees, and through the mud. I think I spent more time off my bike than on it, I couldn't get my pedals to clip in right, and I was basically scared to death and nearly peeing my pants for 2 solid hours. I crashed into numerous trees, scraped my arms and legs across lots of tree bark, and knocked myself off my bike lots and lots and lots.
Bob had lots of good advice for me, I wish I could have taken it. "Try to relax a little" (yeah, right!). "Don't look at the tree, look at the path ahead" (um yeah, harder than it sounds, ask all the trees I hit). "just squeeze the brake lightly and keep pedaling" (do you suppose my brakes should smoke?? I think probably not..... hmmm).
We did finally leave the woods and go home. I hurt everywhere. My arm is all scraped up and bleeding. my shoulder hurts where I ran it into a tree. I have a hole in the palm of my hand that really hurts. My legs are all scraped up too. I have several holes in the back of my calf that looks like it was punctured by my sprocket at some point. I had blood running into my shoes and a fat lip.
Did I love it? Not so much today. Did I embarrass myself? Yeah, I pretty much sucked. Will I do it again? Absolutely, I will conquer this, I can do it.