New event, new team, new training ride schedule.

I’m nervous. Our team captain is on the board of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, so I know he rides. He’s expressed doubts about the ride-readiness of our team, and I’m not sure if that’s based on what he knows (i.e. a member who’s never ridden a bike) or what he doesn’t know (i.e. someone who’s not been forthcoming about his experience). Will I be struggling to hang on at the back?

I prepare. Lots of snacks: bonk breaker bar, Clif gel shot and gel blocks, Skratch Labs lemon-lime powder in the water bottle. My new CO2 cartridge, plus instructions. Phone, id, credit card, cash, metro TAP card. About a mile out, it feels chilly and the sky is ominous, so I circle back to the house for rain insurance: my new Castelli jacket.

At 9:17, I roll up late to the meetup. I’m the only girl. Okay.

A few blocks from Tang’s, traffic on Fountain slows to a standstill. Sunset is closed for the Hollywood Half-marathon. Closed to cars, that is. The race is over, and the cops let us through. We fly like the Marathon Crash race, only in daylight, and with 4, not 4000, fellow cyclists. It’s all familiar turf to the LA River trail, through Griffith Park, along Forest Lawn, past the studios. I can keep up. I suspect the leaders are holding back, but I can’t tell if it’s on my account.

After some uncharted (on the bike) territory in Burbank, it’s over to completely uncharted territory for me: Hansen Dam. Some of us are encouraged to go out ahead, and while I’m working to keep up, I’m keeping up. After the dam, we stop for tacos. I ordered a mystery drink off the menu that ended up being carrot juice. Accidental healthiness at the taco shop!

Back home via Laurel Canyon (up, traffic, eek) and Nichols Canyon (down, shut off Strava partway, whee).

Five days with these guys is going to be great fun!