Skinny tire suffering

As usual, the colder months are providing time to work on my bike. It's still a huge weakness when it comes to my Xterras, so the more work I can put in, the better. With a borrowed power tap on my road bike, it was time to join the group road ride. I'd heard stories about the chaos and carnage, but also that it would a good way to build some speed and punch on the bike. My goal for today was to just stay in the group, follow some wheels and hold on the best I could. The group was really big today, lured by the crisp temperatures, low wind and sunny skies.

As we rolled out from Starbucks, I hung close to the back of the pack. I've never ridden in a group that big and wasn't as comfortable as others in the middle. I also didn't want to cause someone else to crash! I was doing well, keeping up with the pace and following the mild accelerations. Then the group turned right to head south on Mark Sheffele road. There was a slight uphill, followed by a long rolling downhill. And at the top of the hill, the group hit the gas. I quickly drifted all the way to the back, then off the back! I completely missed the acceleration and was off wheels in a hurry. I put my head down and dug deep. But the gap wasn't coming down, no matter how hard I pushed. I was just about to resign myself to a lonely ride by myself when a guy drifted back from the group. He waited for me and we started working together to rejoin the group. Okay - he was doing 95% of the work at that time and I was doing a lot of wheel sucking!

Then bad luck - the pack got a green light and we hit a red light. We were on our own, but still planning on chasing. Just after the light, there were two more riders on the side. One of them had a flat. We stopped to wait with them and now the group was four. Time for a team time trial to try and close that gap! I have never ridden a team time trial and wasn't entire sure how much I would be able to help. On my first pull through, I was able to hold the pace for a while - but much shorter then the guys!. I got the timing for hopping back in line down pretty quickly and didn't miss time it once. It was a good group - I was able to stay on the wheels and never missed a pull. Even though my pulls were shorter then the other three, they let me take  everyone I was supposed to.

We didn't catch the main group. We were about a mile and a half behind. So when the pack came by heading north, we turned around and rejoined them. Time trial mode over - but the experience of following some strange wheels made me a little more comfortable in the pack. I was able to stay with the large group, following the accelerations. We rolled through Ft Carson, then split into two groups - one heading towards the Broadmoor and the other continuing towards downtown. I decided to just head home and followed the group heading towards the Broadmoor. A good workout - hard and much faster then I had anticipated. Hopefully next week I won't miss that first acceleration and will be able to stay with the group the whole way!

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