Well, this is a long story, but I'll try to keep it short. And no pics, so possibly even worse.
I decided to go for a road ride, hosted by a local riding organization and staging out of our local shop. I rode over to the shop at about 8 in the morning (trying to cut down my carbon footprint...), and there were over 100 riders by the time it all got started. After meeting some of the other gals and listening to their advice, I decided to start with the development riders, on the mid-pack level.
Supposedly, the pace was about 15-16 mph. But, lacking a working computer (my battery died), it was hard to gauge if that was actually accurate. Comparing back to my East coast riding days, when 15-16 average meant there were a ton of hills involved, I now realize this was a very slow pace. Irregardless, we rode out to the Del Mar area and then practiced pace lining (during which I got chided to "Slow down! You took off too fast off the front."...to which I was thinking "I can't go much slower!") Anyhow, we made it to the school (not sure which one) somewhere in the swanky affluent neighborhoods around RSF.
There was a Tour de Cure going on at the same time, with a pit stop at the same school. So, there were a lot of riders hanging around getting ready to take off again after using facilities/getting a snack. We were about to shove off and were being addressed by our ride leader, when a huffy bleached blonde "soccer mom" who no doubt rolled into town in her Land Rover walked by us with her poor child in tow. She looked at the group of cyclists and exclaimed, "You know, there are little league pictures going on today and lots of moms are trying to get into the parking lot!!" Hmph!! Wow, what a piece of work.
Anyway, I stepped up a level, and was informed that we'd be starting on the "hills" next. I pretty much passed all but a few riders on the "climbs". Their definition of climbing is just different from mine. Now, could I ride it at a 22 mph pace? Heck no! But just the same, my pace was higher than my group's.
We toured around RSF and stopped a couple more times. The neighborhoods were actually pretty nice (duh), and the ride was pleasant in terms of scenery. We made it to yet another dreaded hill (which turned out to be 0.3 miles long), then into Solana Beach. From there, it was a quick jaunt over to the local coffee joint, during which everyone stopped to sip and gab. I stayed behind with the only two people I knew, and got hopelessly cooled down.
From there, we had the long slog back up Torrey Pines ahead of us, which I made with no problems. Then, it was pretty much a coast down back to town and home from there. I ended up with about 41 miles total. Not bad for my come-back road ride (6 months since Rosarito).
The verdict: I learned a nice road route but riding with the group (in all it's disobedience of traffic rules, taking up 1 1/2 lanes of the road, and multiple unnecessary stoppage) was not so much for me. Don't get me wrong...I'm not trying to sound like some elite road rider (not even close!), but the group was hyping itself up to be something it could not deliver.
I think I have found a suitable road ride from the house, and I'd like to try it out soon. Will report back.