How slow is slow? Well, the past couple of weeks has been slower than I'd like (less than 20km/h), but the Breeze program exists for beginners and we just hadn't had many regular newbies until now. I'm not imaging it either - Strava supports how I've been feeling!
The added bonus of getting into the habit of leaving at 5:15am is that this would be the same departure time if I wanted to make the Rapha Women ride that regularly rides at about 25 km/h, but starts from North Melbourne at 6:00am. It ends up being a ~60km ride for me, so it's something to build towards. I can manage the distance easily enough when I do a long Sunday ride, it's just whether I can do the longer mid-week ride in addition to the Sunday ride. Yes, I overthink things and am probably fine. But I definitely need the 5:15am practice before committing to a ride that take more time to get to!
There is another local option, the Maling Room Ride (MRR), which I have joined on occasion - I'm just not sure if I can commit to riding that loop at 27km/h regularly! Especially since there is sometimes judgement thrown my way as I ride a flat-bar (my flat-bar gets me through most women's rides easily enough, including the monthly Peak Cycles ride which averages 25km/h and has a few short climbs). I'd also miss coffee chatter with women, as there's only a handful of ladies on the MRR, but spread across different pace groups (the 27km/h group is one of the slowest, occasionally there's a slower group but it's not always there).
As an example of the difference between groups and pace-groups, the Breeze and MRR have an 11km section that overlaps:
- my PB of 23:20 (29km/h) was with the MRR "Mice"
- my second best time was with the slower MRR "Cheese" (24:39, 27.5km/h)
- my third best time was my fastest solo ride (25:17, 26.8 km/h)
- the fastest Breeze ride was 26:43 (25.4 km/h, which isn't too bad at all)
- the slow April 17th Breeze ride was 34:08 (19.8km/h).