We met up with another John West guy, Dean, who i knew vaguely from around the traps. They talked together about an easy day, around 130km. I just shut the hell up and sucked wheels.
We made our way out to Humevale, not exactly what I'd call easy, but nothing too outrageous either. As i rode behind the two guys, i listened to snatches of their conversation. Remi is 27 and has raced some big races in Europe. Dean is 22 about to go to Belgium to race with a team. I have high socks.
So they were talking about the cobbles, and which wheels to run, how many miles they were doing. Occasionally Dean would turn around and ask me if i knew someone or other. I usually did, but not as well i let on.
The racing scene in Melbourne is pretty small, really, but the A grade guys are partiucalrily cliquey, and people like me don't register much on their social radars, making it difficult to shoot the shit.
But, then, after half an hour or so of me just listening, Remi decided to hide from the wind. So it was me and Dean. He asked me about my racing, what my goals were, my training. He talked about his time at the AIS (when he didn't have a day off in eight weeks) how excited he was about Belgium, and how he was destroying ks in preparation. The kilometres slipped by.
By the end, we'd done 120km with an average of 30km an hour. If we're following Phil Anderson's rule (If your training ride is under 30kmh average, you aren't training, you're practising) it was my first ever training ride. Here's to many more.
But the real realisation i had was at how stupid my intimidation was. Sure, these guys ride bikes faster than me. But their just young guys who ride bikes.