Oh! These hills!

I decided to jump right into the Charlotte culture with a group ride from a local bike shop.  So after being in town for only a couple of days, I’m out there trying to size up the group of riders to see how I’m going to do on this evening ride.  About 20 people showed up at Bicycles East .  This is a really cool shop.  It’s in the original brick and hardwood floors Post Office building in Historic Matthews, NC.

The Tuesday night rides usually break up after a few miles into “A” and “B” groups.  I figured that I would stay somewhere in the middle of the pack and break off with the “B” group.  This was my first ride in an unfamiliar area on lots of hills.

The information about averaging 17-18 mph was a wee-bit deceiving as I was now getting used to winding downhill going up to 35 mph in group formation.  I was feeling great until I looked over my shoulder and realized that the B group was gone!  They had already broken off and they were nowhere in sight.  My only hope of getting back to the shop before sundown was to keep up with the seasoned A group who was already proving to be way more used to these hills than I was.

This was slated as a 30-mile ride and we were only at mile 10.  I slowly felt my energy level going down as the group started to pull away.  I decided to maintain a little dignity and not plead for help from the other riders.

With no idea where I was… and with the sun was falling to the West,  I started navigating my way back.  Only stopping for directions a couple of times, it only took 12 miles to find  my way back.

Maybe I shouldn’t have told anyone that I just moved from South Florida.  Maybe this was a concerted effort to lose me out in the middle of nowhere because I looked too confident.

It was a blast getting to see how different biking was going to be in North Carolina.  It’s a whole different kind of ride.

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