C introduced us into a riding group last year that we have enjoyed getting together with. In the beginning I wasn't experienced enough to go on many of their rides as they generally rode freeways. So C would ride with them on routes that interested him and I agreed to go to the "coffee and chats" across town at Starbucks.
Time has moved on and I am good with just about any ol' route they want to take, except severe twisties. I'm still working on those. So when the organizers finally created a day route C and I gave it some thought. This route was going to start in our neck of the woods and take us south, east to west. This was appealing because we hadn't been to this area of town. We felt the 245 miles was a bit ambitious as they enjoy stopping or long breaks every 40-60 miles. But we decided to join the ride knowing that we could break off when we wanted.
13 bikes in all showed up and I volunteered to ride tail during the pre-ride meeting. I volunteered knowing it wasn't going to be easy, but also knowing that I wouldn't have to worry about any bikes riding up behind me. If I can't keep up with the group at all times I am only hurting myself and not everyone behind me.
As much as C and I enjoy riding alone or with our own little group it is enlightening to ride with a larger group that typically rides faster. It just gives you a little more of a challenge that you might not push yourself into otherwise. At times I was forced to ride faster then the group to catch up from either my sightseeing or the "slinky effect" that occurs in group riding. This in turn made me take those curves faster then I normally would and didn't give me time to psych myself out of them. So I walked away with more comfort and experience, but didn't enjoy the ride overall since I didn't get to do much sightseeing!
We did stay with the group the entire day...but only when they changed and shortened the route after lunch. And even then the route was shortened halfway through once again. This change of plan brought us near the freeway allowing us all to hop right on and book north towards Atlanta.
In all, the route from our house and back was 247 miles. To date this is my longest distance in one day and I wasn't feeling too bad. I'm not posting any pictures of the ride because I didn't take any! We only stopped for fuel and lunch. And I just don't enjoy taking snaps of people standing around near bikes. I will try to do better next time. :-)