The first official ritual ride was last night. It's set up to be a no drop, relaxed pace, semi-social type of ride. I'm happy to say for the most part it was. With the exception of only a few of us knowing the entire route and a few sprints off the front that caused some chaos, it went pretty well.
For a first ride, the attendance was awesome to see. I'd say there were a good 20+ people that showed up to ride at 5:30. A brief hello and introduction from Jane at PRC and we were off. The route was to wind down to the bike path on MLK and through Waterworks to the Great Western Trail. We headed down the trail to Orilla (Bambino's Restaurant) and jumped back on the road. A quick left out towards Maffit reservoir and into some rollers. Here's where the sprint up the big hill led to confusion. We were supposed to hang a right on 42nd and Jane even made mention of it before we started.
The sprint group headed straight towards the reservoir. A number of us made the right turn and headed down towards Walnut Woods. I thought the rest of the group was close enough coming up the hill that they saw us turn. Unfortunately, they saw the sprint group and headed out towards the lake. This led to some back tracking back up the hill from Maffit and a little lost time.
The next separation came at the climb from the soccer fields just past Walnut Woods. At least this section of road had no turns so we held up at the stoplight crossing 63rd for what we thought was the main group. About 10 of us rolled as a group from there with no sign of anyone else coming up the stretch from the soccer hill. The group headed straight down McKinley to the bike trail in lieu of cutting over to Park. I'd say this was probably the safer choice as riding a group down Park for a mile around dusk is a sketchy choice considering the attention span of the typical driver on that stretch of road. We meandered our way back downtown and hit Ritual Cafe just as they were closing up.
Most of the group had peeled off and headed their own direction at this point. I was hoping that somehow we'd gotten to the back of the pack and everyone would be waiting at the cafe. Alas, we were the first group in and a few riders trickled slowly by until the last of the sweep showed up around 20 minutes later having gone back for a single rider and waiting for a flat tire to be fixed. All in all it was successful as nobody was dropped and all made it back alive!
I was trying my best to abide by this post from Lou's blog about going easy. I didn't look at my average heart rate when I was done, but I really tried hard to keep it under 150. A few hills definitely put me closing in on 180 due to switching to an 11-23 cassette and vowing to not use my triple up front, but in all it was pretty relaxed. A couple points along the ride I was pretty amazed at my perceived effort versus the speed we were cruising along. I'm hoping that bodes well for my base mileage getting me into summer riding shape as the miles start to ramp up.