Last night's ride was totally awesome! For a couple of reasons.
We had a really good group; five of us in total, very similar fitness and technical skill levels. Melissa kept a quick pace in the front, but didn't leave us in the dust. Michelle was dragging a big after volunteering until 1:30 am with Extreme Makeover Home Edition and then working all day. Carrie was making a huge effort to not do anything stupit that would aggravate her already injured shoulder, so she was taking it a good bit easier than normal.
Mary came along with us, and showed us how to get around a couple of 'new' trails. I'd been on both before (Hansel & Gretel, and Bombs Away) but couldn't have managed to connect them up with the ride. It'll take me quite a long while to get familiar with the mass of available trails. Bombs was great! There were several bits I couldn't ride, which is a great learning opportunity for future rides.
And, my fitness has improved SO MUCH over the last couple of months. Finally I'm getting to the top of Dimple with energy to spare for real riding. My knees are still giving me grief. And my old shoulder injury. And I'm still running low on oxygen on the way up ... but it's remarkable how much better I'm feeling now than I was when I started riding again in late May/June.
So next week I start seeing the PT. Maybe she can help with the knee and shoulder issues. The heart and lung issues are all mine, but should continue to improve with consistent riding ... but it'll be great when the other stuff isn't slowing me down!