After yesterday's ride, I decided I hadn't had enough. The itch to ride has bit me hard once again now that a) I can ride trails again and b) I know that I have a lot of work to do to get back to my previous fitness level. Since the forecast was calling for some heavy rain, I figured they'd likely close the trails so I wanted to get my miles in while I could before it came. So when a couple fellow riders announced they were planning to do their own endurance ride, I happily agreed that I would join them for it, or at least a part of it. My plan was to ride until my legs were toast and then go home and enjoy the impending rain storms headed my way knowing that the best time for muscle recovery is when you have no desire to ride anyway because you feel like you already "got your fill" of pedaling.
I met up with one of the guys and we headed off to the trail. Not long into the ride, he had a spectacular "superman" crash over a drop off where his pedal clipped a root and sent him flying over the handlebars. As I crested the hill, I saw him flying through the air and then out of my periphery, I saw his bike rolling down the peninsula and headed straight for the lake. Luckily it stopped about halfway down and he was able to retrieve it before it hit the water which was good because it was way too cold for a swim today.
Moments later, another fellow rider who was supposed to ride with us finally caught up only to be regaled with the crash details he just missed by being late for the ride. Fortunately, it was just a bit of arm road rash with no serious injuries, other than him being a little shaken up with likely some battered pride. We carried on our ride to finish this trail. Now these are some of the same guys who I used to ride endurance with over the summer almost every week. The same guys who I used to lead and who would complain that they couldn't keep up with me. Oh, how things have changed. I am not sure if my legs were tired from yesterday's ride, or if it was that I am sadly out of shape from not enough trail riding, but while I could keep up for the most part, I was working my tail off to do so. To put it bluntly, I was suffering with the pace they were pushing and there was a lot more heavy breathing coming from me than I remembered. I am not used to suffering. I am not normally the suffer-er, I am the suffer-ee. Correction, I used to be the suffer-ee.
At the end of the trail, I bid them goodbye so they could finish their own endurance ride which still required a few more dirt miles to get them back to their own cars. What an eye opener. I am going to keep riding with them and hopefully, it won't be long before I can keep up again without so much effort. Because, quite frankly, I really hate being at the back. ;-) It's not at all as exciting being in that spot on a group ride as say it is on the last car of a scary roller coaster. Not nearly.