Hey, just posted some hill climbing tips...! Must have read your mind as I hadn't seen your post beforehand...lol!
Just keep at it, cycle all you can, vary your ride, tackle different routes.
Also, check with your club, but if it's anything like MY club you will find them SO ACCEPTING of cyclists of ALL capabilities!
Speedsters like me race to the fore, but patiently wait for others at the significant turns or changes in the route. Or sometimes I'll see them double back to join slower cyclists in re-treading the same ground.
Also our ride leaders ALWAYS insure that either they or a designee remain behind the last cyclist so that there is always a safeguard to be sure we all reach our destination and have assistance should it be needed (flats, etc.).
Different cycling clubs may take a less patient approach, but if you consider this I would suggest being up front with questions to the members about the speed of the ride and how accepting they are of slower cyclists.
Additionally our club has a "grading" system for our rides:
RIDE CATEGORIES / SPEED & TERRAIN
Speed rating (pace on level ground):
AA: Over 22 mph
A: 19-22 mph Advanced pace with few stops.
B: 16-19 mph Vigorous pace with occasional stops.
C: 13-16 mph Steady pace, rest stops every hour.
D: 10-13 mph Sightseeing pace, semi-frequent stops at key
points to wait for riders.
E: Under 10 mph Relaxed pace, frequent stops to wait for everyone.
MBR: Mountain Bike Ride
1.Multiple long and/or steep climbs. 3. Rolling with some hills.
2.Multiple and/or large hills. 4. Generally flat or rolling.
Ride Rating Example:
“D/4/30” 10-13 mph over flat terrain, 30 miles.
So one is forewarned if a ride is going to challenging with either speed or hills and the # of miles is spelled out as well.
I mostly go for the "C" rides, but occasionally will push myself with a "B" ride and have found even though I may be the slowest of the riders they were very kind, patient and waited for me at each significant turn.
Hope you can think about joining a club...it's a great way to meet like-minded souls!
Here's a link to our latest club newsletter:www.southerntierbicycleclub.org/images/STB
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