I'm getting to be a pro at this.
I got to the park about 6 and there were a few riders. By 6:30. probably 20. A few of them did not seem to race off with us but I may just have missed them. I always ride at the back. When we were standing around, me off to myself, them speaking spanish, a 27 year old woman came up to me and starting talking. We switched over to English. She is not a regular rider, thus why she approached the safe old man. She is in art design. Her position is to design stores in the hotels. She is really into triathlon instead of just bike bike bike, She is disappointed that many of our riders love the bike too much and not the swim/run. She usually has to turn around early on this morning ride, as she has to be at work and it is not helpful that instead of leaving at 6 or 6:15, they finally get on the road at 6:30.
I stayed with the pack until 24K when I finally was huffing and puffing too much and dropped back. No sign of the "ride circles", this group seemed to be on its way out to airport, 27K. I road alone for a K or two, saw a rider in front and caught him. Then his friends, who were coming back on the other side of the divided Hotel Road called to him. He and I jumped the median and headed for home at about 27K. This group of 7 showed lots of concern for my partner and another rider who had a mechanical. We stopped and waited for him to catch up. Finally about 15K my partner and I dropped back and came in together. He does not speak English. This was the first time I have ever finished this hotel zone ride with anyone. It always takes more self discipline to speed up and slow down at another person's pattern. My legs are starting to object to this daily torture. I at least spent a moment stretching after this ride.
Here are a couple pictures of the actual bike. It is leaning against the wall of my Airbnb appartment.
What in the world is the black bag? I use a normal plastic water bottle as a bike bottle. It is too lose in the bike bottle cage, so it lives in the felt bag meant to protect the binoculars, which to not get to go on 6am bike rides.
Gracias, hasta mañana
That is my goodby phrase. I usually get to say it at least twice. Once when I am getting ready to "drop off the back" of the group and once in the parking lot after I roll in 10? minutes after they got there. The group is still hanging around practicing their Spanish. They want to shake hands with me. At the parking lot, not while on the bike. Yesterday the man that pulled me home taught me the secret hand shake. It is a slap, knuckle bump and thumbs up sign. When they put out their hand, I of course am too slow and start extending my hand for the normal hand shake and they realize they are in trouble and just do the US shake.
I arrived at 6am. No one there but 4 individual men showed by 6:15 and took off right away. I held them out to 27K, at that point there was some talking and the slower man, who I had been following, said that the other 3 were going down to the bridge and come back so he would wait for them here. He had signaled that I should go with them but my general rule, as long as I am huffing and puffing, is to stay with the slowest guy. This guy had had trouble all along, sometimes trouble shifting gears, getting in and out of his peddle clips. It always helps me to have someone slowing down the group closer to my comfort speed. This is the man and the situation that you see on the overview page, the only picture of me on a ride!
While we waited, he got my story and said we had been averaging about 32-33K which is 20mph. About the best I do with my Wednesday Portsmouth group is 18mph so that is good news. With the rental bike, it is hard for me to judge speed.
The 3 fast riders returned from their "run to the bridge" and we took off for home. I managed to hold on to them until about 13k left, at which point I came up along side, said Gracias, hasta mañana and slowly dropped off the back. I almost always have the ability to "kick". As in the case above, I can move from last position to first and speak. My problem is that after a "kick" like that, it takes me a while to recover and get comfortable moving at just the normal pace again. I often have to "kick" hard to stay with the group going up the little hills over canals. Overall a good day. 41K at tempo and 54k total, though I did get a 4min rest 1/2 way out while I was having my picture taken.