Today was the first GTR of the season, and it started out terribly. Not in any "oh this is too hard sense", more of a "this sucks that we've been standing in 35 degree rain for an hour before starting to ride" sense. But, I digress. What started out with me freezing ended up with perfect rainbow weather (last night's dream == premonition?) and a glorious day all around. The only way the day could have been improved upon is if the glorious weather hadn't waited until mile 13 of 15 to make itself apparent.
Anyway, as I've said, it was freaking cold. I was doing the old shaky-hands to get my fingers to warm up beforehand, but to no avail. At about mile 4, though, I finally felt the pain of frostbite make and actually thought "hello, old friend". Then we hit the one hill (not much of one, but enough to spread the group out) and finally my blood started pumping and I warmed up and, despite the wetness, was sufficiently warm for the rest of the ride.
Which I spent with J. Let me tell you a little about her. She's in her late fifties and, in her own words "a Southern gal". When she was growing up, little girls weren't encouraged to run around and play, so the exercise bug never bit her. However, on a trip to the beach a few years ago, she and her husband rented bikes and she liked it and thought it would be an easy way to get exercise. After returning from that trip, she went out and bought a nice hybrid bike and, as far as I can tell, has only been on a few short trips here and there (except for an accidental 15-miler a few years ago).
Fast forward to today: she rode 15 miles easily on that bike (the first group ride she's ever done), the first time she'd been on major roads with cars, and made it. She is such an inspiration, and THAT is what TNT is about. It's not just for the fast folks for whom centuries, traffic, and group rides are all old hat: it's also for introducing new people to the sport and getting them hooked on something positive and giving them the skills to turn it into a lifetime activity. I, frankly, couldn't have been more proud of her. We rode the last 12 miles of the ride together (after the hill), and it was awesome. She is such a fun lady, very curious about the sport, and I can't wait to ride more with her in the next few months. Thank you, J!
Maximum speed: 24.5 mph
Average speed: 10.3 mph
Distance: 15.41 mi
I hope to ride another 15 tomorrow, for good measure.