The two conflicting ideas that I held in my head simultaneously:
1) I should get out and ride. I've been off the bike since the Sterling race in late November. And before that, most of my "training" for cyclocross consisted of swimming and baby-wrangling (not at the same time). Brad and I were emailing about the Rapha 500 (which he completed!) and I was feeling inspired. I even had a brand-new set of fenders all ready to install on the Redline.
2) I should begin my return to training by going on a ride that Chip invited me to, even though it was clear from the email that there would be guys there that I wouldn't be able to keep up with on a group ride at the zenith of my post-baby bike fitness, which is many months behind me. Oh, and I should ride to the ride because driving to Ride Studio Cafe (just one town away) would be totally lame.
I think you can probably tell where this is going.
I saw the invite in my email around 9 pm last night, then stayed up late to install my fenders. I stubbornly wanted to do the work myself, so Ed kindly supervised and helped me out when I got stuck. I had lent the bike out to a friend for the fall and so needed to change out the pedals and wheels as well (and the stem... but I forgot about the stem -- will fix it for next time).
Rode to RSC, feeling okay, though cold (it was mid-20s). Enjoyed a ham and cheese croissant and bought some Terroir Coffee beans for later. (Yum.) (BTW, I'm sure I would have been waaay faster if I hadn't been carrying that extra 12 oz during the ride.)
There was more coffee and croissants all around as the guys arrived. All rides should start this way. (Photo of Richard by Chip.)
As we were about to get started, I realized I was totally outclassed (and I realized that I knew before installing my fenders that I was going to be outclassed), so I told several people not to wait for me -- I know the roads, have a cell phone, etc. But everyone was so nice and waited several times. And they were not hammering, either -- I just got dropped like a rock on every tiny incline. Chip was sick this week (and also, he is one of the very nicest people I know), so he stayed back with me and we picked up a third guy once we were definitely dropped. And really, it was a great ride. It's been so long since I've ridden outside in the winter that I'd forgotten how it can be kind of awesome.
I'm not planning on doing any road racing this year, but Ed and I have been thinking about the Ronde de Rosey so... day one of training is in the bank.