I usually spend my Saturday mornings at the Lafayette Reservoir with the Lululemon Walnut Creek Run Club, but recently, running has been hurting my right foot. I’m starting to suspect that a metatarsal stress fracture is to blame, so I’m taking a break from pounding the pavement until I have my foot examined on Wednesday. Fortunately, I swim and bike without any pain, so I’m seizing the opportunity gain experience in these disciplines.
I joined the Forward Motion Race Club for their weekly Saturday group ride. This was my first time riding with a group. I usually ride a casual 20 miles on a flat multi-use trail. I figured the ride would last about 2 hours and would be mostly rolling hills. Accordingly, I just packed a bottle of water and spare tube.
I arrived at the meet-up spot shortly before 8am and found a sea riders in FRMC kits on expensive TT bikes and started to worry that I was in over my head. Then I spotted some people I recognized from the Wednesday night runs that I thought would be more compatible. After a pre-ride safety briefing and introductions, we were on the road.
As we were heading out of town, one of the seasoned riders gave me a primer on road safety, group riding etiquette, and basic technique. He also gave me a crash-course (not literally!) in drafting. I still feel a bit wobbly on my bike, so I’m not yet comfortable with riding so close to another bike.
We ride along on gentle, rolling hills with light traffic for the first 20 miles or so and then stop to regroup at the general store in Sunol. I figured the rest of the ride was going to be 30 miles of the same type of terrain, but I was wrong. We headed west of CA-84, a winding road with plenty of fast-moving traffic and little shoulder to ride on. My kept telling myself not to fall, because if I did, it would be very bad. After a few miles of that, we turned to head north and immediately started a 4 mile-climb. We slowly made our way up the hill, wondering if we would ever reach the summit. Finally, the end was in sight but I was struggling to maintain stability at such a slow pace, so I was wobbling a lot. I fell over onto the rock face beside the road and then my bike and I slid down onto the dusty shoulder. The fall didn’t hurt at all, I thought it was pretty funny. I got back in the saddle to begin the first long and fast descent. I was squeezing the brakes so hard that my hands started to cramp and I fell way behind the rest of my group, but they were nice enough to wait for me at the bottom. While I was fearing for my life, I rolled by several farms and vineyards that provided lovely scenery.
At this point, fatigue started to set in. Surprisingly, my legs weren’t sore but was getting thirsty and hungry, my bum didn’t want to be in the saddle anymore, and my nerves were rattled from the descent. But we still had another 20 miles to go! We climbed and descended the Dublin Grade and headed back to Danville. When I returned home, I drank a ton of coconut water to replenish some of the electrolytes I lost and ate a bunch of random food. Next time, I’ll be better prepared by bringing several water bottles, electrolyte capsules, and food.