I intended to do a short FB post, but this needs a longer explanation. Our Tuesday night ride yesterday gave us the best weather all year, a homogeneous and cohesive group of fifteen riders, and reasonable traffic (that is, very few antagonistic drivers); which has very little to do with the title of the post.
It is an intermediate group, meaning almost everyone is faster than me, but I can keep up. My Speedplay left pedal, my in-out pedal, gave me a little trouble at the start and I circled in the parking lot getting clipped in thus coming out last. I don't have a problem being last, and even when the opportunity arose to jump a few positions I didn't. We moved along at a good clip but after about a half hour and several traffic stops, I noticed a rider behind. I must have missed him somehow.
At our regrouping stop just before Spicewood Springs Road, I saw Todd counting heads and appearing to be missing a number. I rode up to advise I saw we dropped a guy back in Balcones, but didn't really know if he were in our group or not. Everyone else said no one was missing, so we prepared to depart. Now we get to the topic.
In going up to Todd, I now found myself leading out. As I pushed off I said to Todd "I don't like to lead" but kept going with the sure knowledge the fast guys would come around. The Spicewood Springs is a Strava stretch and those who do that sort of thing let it all go (I don't like the term "hang out"). No one passed in the approach. We made the right turn and I pushed hard to get up the first low-water crossing. Still no one passed. I felt good and pressed on. It wasn't until Todd called out to "rotate" that it dawned on me that they weren't going to pass until I pulled off to the left. Duh!
I appreciated the "nice pull" comments as the stream of guys pulled through. The fact that it was almost everybody indicated the speed wasn't overpowering. But really guys, that wasn't my intention. I don't even lead when I ride with a slow group (well, maybe for short turns). Going up 360 we had to single-file past a few vehicles on the side of the road, including a car-hauler. For whatever reason, I usually spin up this hill in the first third of the group. Same this time.
It was a good ride, and a good lead-up to my race this Sunday. But for future rides, don't expect to see me in the front.