It is important to know that this post is not at all meant to be arrogant, it was only written for a sense of perspective. When I moved to Boulder, I began to look forward to the opportunity to better myself as a person, and a cyclist. I knew that there were plenty of dudes here that are capable of stuffing me in the hurt locker and throwing away the key. Today was like a slap in the face as to exactly how many guys here are capable of doing just that.
I ventured out to the weekly Saturday group ride, called the Gateway ride. There are several sprints, which I was not aware of but other than that the pace is kept high by a rotating paceline. There were probably 80 guys (and girls ) on the ride. Not all of them made it all the way but several did and there were plenty of opportunities to regroup, especially after the "race" to the top of Carter Lake. I was not aware when I rolled up to the ride that it was so fast and aggressive, but I am glad it was as it offered the first glimpse into how much work I have to do to be competitive out here. It is not at all similar to Wednesday Worlds back home where I could ride however I wanted to and still be there for the sprint. There were moments when I was afraid that I would be dropped.
The most telling moment of the ride was the race to the top of Carter Lake. I had unwisely taken several hard pulls leading up the climb and thus found myself at the back of the group when the climb ramped up. Actually slightly off of the black. We hit the climb and the group detonated. I found myself with no help and watching the group I thought I could ride with, going away from me. There were a couple who were a lot better than everyone else who rode away, but there was a group of 3 I should have been in. I went as hard as I could to try to catch them, while at the same time, not blowing up as it was a long climb. I kept them close and caught several people. I went really hard and it hit me that to do well out here I have to pay more attention to positioning and energy conservation, I cannot simply rely on being better than everyone else and thus riding like an idiot. In the long run this will be good for me. It was; however, very eye opening. As I said at the beginning this was not meant to be arrogant to any Bloomington riders. I love, and miss, that place. I am going to try to keep this updated.
I have some news but I want to confirm everything before I post. Thanks for reading.