Yeah, you read it correctly! I wouldn't have believed it if i weren't there to see it myself.
Yesterday i joined the old guys group ride for a little rest and relaxation. This ride could always be counted on for 80-110 km of slow, flat spinning. But this time was different. After thirty minutes of predictable speed and terrain, all hell broke loose. The pace shot up AND we crossed the tracks to enter the "hilly" area!
At first, I figured they'd simply found a way to navigate through the various pitches in elevation. As we approached the first road heading in an upward direction, i scanned the area for our turnoff. None existed and up we went! I was in shock - and so was my heart rate. At one point, it even hit 150bpm!
To make things worse, as my body was trying to adjust to the change in dynamic (translation: as i was suffering, trying to make sense of it all) the guy with the HUGEST bier belly came flying by me up the hill. As he passed, he turned to me with a smug grin on his face. In that moment, I wanted to take my bike and throw it off the next overpass. That was...until i saw the most fit guy on the ride just behind beer belly guy sporting the same smug grin while riding one handed - his other hand was pushing beer belly guy! Yeah, they got me good! Very funny!
Still puzzled by the new face of the old guys ride, I turned to my riding partner (no, not Eye Candy - he was a no-show so I magically partnered with a baker...yum!) to inquire. Apparently, the previous ride leaders realized that they were no longer able to slow the ride down to cater to their aging bodies, so they let go of the reins and left the group.
About two hours into the ride, we stopped at an intersection to allow about forty cyclists to pass. As we watched the other group go by, I couldn't help but to compare the two groups. They were both roughly the same age range but completely opposite in their athletic ambitions. My group sported fancy team jerseys and matching race bikes (in fact there are even some former professional cyclists amongst us) while the other wore street clothes and rode town bikes. While my thoughts wandered even farther into the difference between the groups (ie. is it a 'singles' ride since half their group is women? are they riding to a cafe? are some of them looking at us in envy because their husbands dragged them to the 'slow' ride instead?), Mr. Baker turned to me and said, " I bet that's where our former ride leaders ended up." The way he said it nearly caused me to make a puddle in the middle of the street! Thank GOD for ample padding in the bib shorts!
By the way, there is a story behind the banana jersey. Apparently this guy used to carry a banana in his jersey pocket on every ride only to have it swiped by the other guys as a joke. Now he wears a banana ON his jersey so it can no longer be swiped!
I added photos to the entry below - fyi.