So with grumpy reluctance I went out Saturday with fresh legs to tackle my first big distance ride with a bunch. I have done 100kms ++ with BoaB, and close to that on my own, but never done it with a group. Ever.
First reaction on arriving at the rendezvous was total dismay. There must have been 50 riders. This is too many for a safe ride on a busy highway, so being the forthright person I am I loudly proclaimed that if the group was riding as a single bunch I was out of there. BoaB, the nice and diplomatic half of our couple, negotiated and we did indeed divide into two. Not everyone was happy and thanks to the sensible ones who voted to do it, you know who you are.
So off we took into the dawn 5 minutes apart, and I wasn't enjoying myself much, but I rode next to a guy I didn't know and he isn't a big bunch rider either, so we had a good whinge about the vagaries of bunches and just got on with it.
I played the classic hand of giving way to every rider that came back til I was at the end of the field, and there I remained until I had a chance to settle in a bit and size up the group, about half of whom I didn't know. As I grew more confident in them, and me, I moved up, and was ready to move into lead position when someone flatted and the group stopped and reformed. We were nearly at the turnaround, so we all rolled in pretty loosely, I ate a half a powerbar (gag reflexes prevented me from eating the other half) and we regrouped.
I lead out with a mate, and I trusted her to set a good pace and hold it steady, since I had flatted overnight and had a wheel 'not my own' with no magnet for my trippy on the front. We held up until she asked to drop back, a decent run I think, and my legs were still as fresh as.
By the time we got back I was thinking I didn't mind this type of riding, and I'll be looking to do more long group rides this year. It was fun and I met some nice folks. All good. I am coming along.