I saw a tweet from a random girl I'd never met about a ladies' ride she was organising, open to all, described as "easy paced". Despite being very aware that I'm woefully unfit at the moment, I decided to give it a try. I've been muchly lamenting of late a lack of fun, comparably-paced ride buddies, (the Boyf being too fast, the female friends mostly wanting to just cycle to the pub) and here was a great chance to change that. And if my legs protested too much at the unaccustomed effort I could always find the nearest station.
It was set to be a freezing (1-4 oC day) but crisp and clear and so I piled on the layers and set off, feeling keen and eager.
The turnout was surprisingly good for such a freezing December day - 14 ladies - with a wide range of riders with 8 different passports between us, with standards varying from the insanely good to the very good. Oh, and me. Ah.
No matter. The route was flat (phew) scenic (many sighs with happiness at the sight of sunshine on the Thames) and there was much interesting and varied chatter to distract me from the soreness of legs and the rasping lungs. A brief coffee stop to warm us on our way to the pub at an absolutely glorious spot complete with good bike storage. Genius.
By the time we got back to Richmond Park, 65 miles in (by far the longest distance I've ridden since the Marmotte in July) I was feeling the soreness and the tiredness and found myself dropped on the first hill. The girls waited, gently chivvied me back onto the group and then towed me all the way home. Who knew that I'd one day find myself getting a tow from a Dutch pro rider eh?