The group was the Cape Fear Cycling club, and it was by far the largest group of people I've ever ridden with (not counting events like the Pineywoods Purgatory, which hosts thousands of cyclists every year). Counting us, 48 people showed up for the ride. We didn't know any of them, but that didn't stop us from joining in the fun.
And fun it was! I have to admit - I was sort of dragged to this event. Even though I love being active and enjoying the beautiful weather we've been having (and let me tell you, the weather in North Carolina right now is PERFECT) I often resist doing things I know I will end up loving. I get lazy. I get stuck in a routine and I don't want to upset it. I like sitting on the couch at night and cuddling with the dogs and drinking a glass of wine, and sometimes the thought of going out at 6pm to ride bicycles with 48 people I've never met breeds resistance.
I'm glad I gave in. The group met at Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn (which, let's be serious, is the real reason I finally decided to go - I could eat at Flaming Amy's every day) and then took off down winding neighborhood roads in the direction of the beautiful Greenfield Lake. Once we got to the there, cyclists could either do one or two loops lake (one loop is four miles long). The faster people did two loops, the slower people did one. As soon as we hit the loop the bikes around me started speeding and I couldn't help but try and keep up. I'm not the fastest cyclist and I'm woefully out of practice, but I was proud of the progress I made around that lake. For the first five miles, I kept up with the pack pretty well. And then - I slowed down. My legs became heavy and even the slightest incline in the road felt like a mountain. I managed to finish the eight miles around the lake and wasn't even the last person to catch up with the group. More like the fifth to last person. But who's counting.
After we had regrouped and caught our breaths, we started the very leisurely ride back to Flaming Amy's, where burritos and beer awaited us. While Nathan and I didn't talk to anyone on the actual ride, we got to know a few people over beers and they were very nice and friendly. The Cape Fear Cycling Club has an extensive calendar with group rides for all levels multiple times a week, so I'm sure we'll ride with them again. And not just for the burritos at the end of the road.