I know I am going to need all the help I can get this season. I want to not only have someone to ride with on a regular basis but also maybe actually get better this year. In terms of the events I am training for, I figure I should improve at any event I do this year, but I can't help but feel a little unsure of myself from time to time.
So I have been looking into tri clubs in my area. One can be found at http://blinkmultisport.com/ and the other is at http://www.vbstriteam.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&Itemid=36 (if you can access these links). Two different groups and focuses. Both have membership fees and both have benefits of joining. But which one??
Whenever I have attempted to join in with a training group before, the results have been less than desirable. For example, you meet at 6 am for a training ride, only to get dropped in the first 15 minutes of the ride. Not only do you bust your butt to get there on time, to be "ride ready" as they say, but the ride is not necessarily on a course known by you, so when you get dropped, you are lost, and there isn't much point in continuing on. Or you lose your incentive to go as far as you planned. Or you start out on a training run, only to have most of the people run away from you almost immediately, leaving you to plod along by yourself. Another example: several people are going to meet for an "after-work" swim. Only their after work time is not 5:30 or 6 pm, but 4:30 or 5 pm. By the time you get to the other side of town, they are already gone or are pretty much done. Once again, you wonder why you bothered. And the worst example was when I went to the "tri class" at the Y a couple of years ago. The promise was we would have our own lanes to swim in or share with another participant, our own spin class for the bike portion, and then we would all run "together." Let me tell you, it didn't happen that way. Not only were there NO lanes available for the participant swimmers, the spin class filled up before a couple of people got to their bike, and once we started running, the majority of the people were done and gone home before the slower ones even finished. One time of that was enough for me.
So naturally, I am hesitant to pay money for this type of abuse. I know I am slow, but I am not really a turtle. I'm slowest on transitions, which puts me behind everyone regardless of ability. I need more practice and training. But do they wait like they say they will? No. Never. And its not necessarily that I want or expect them to wait. And its not that the triathletes I mention aren't nice people, they are just over and above me in their fitness and training, and while they constantly are recruiting new people to the group, the ones who succeed with them are of the same caliber.
That is why I got to the point where I trained alone most of the time. That is why more than likely I got hit by a car. That is something I never want to go through again. That is why I don't think I really progressed to where I could have last season.
But this leaves me torn as to which group to hook up with. The one I'm leaning more toward has the more expensive joining fee ($175) because I feel I would have access to more than just training buddies. They also provide access to people with experience in injury prevention, and maybe in my case injury advice.
What do you all think? What would you do for yourself? What expectations would you have of working out with a group?