We've all been there - you're riding with a group and somehow your legs just feel like they're on fire, despite the fact you're dropping out the back. Not cool!
At this point, you could just admit that you're not on top form, or perhaps the group is actually just a wee bit stronger than you. Instead, most of us like to fish around for a good reason - here are some of the excuses we've heard (*ahem* used...).
Jokes aside, there's some advice on how to cope with this sort of situation in future on the last slide.
I've got a lot of miles in my legs from the weekend
Ah, yes - you raced over the weekend, this is your recovery ride, right? Sorted...
I think I've got a slow puncture
Just make sure that no one gets a chance to squish your tyres to realise they're still at 120psi.
I just didn't get a chance to eat lunch today...
If you're really hanging, add in that you barely had breakfast as you had to grab toast on the way out the door before work.
I'm so tired, I just couldn't sleep last night
Of course a good nights sleep before you get on the bike is a good idea, we've got a list of 10 foods that will help you sleep.
However, if it's already too late? Caffeine might be your best answer...
My brakes are rubbing
Ideally only reveal this fact at the END of the ride, when it's too late to adjust them.
The 'First Day of My Period'
Ok, we might just give you that one - you usually don't feel great. However, it's actually during the days before your period begins that your hormones will affect your riding the most (but it's still good to get gentle exercise).
I'm more of a climber (on a flat ride)
The ride is starting to feel like a team time trial, and you're just about hanging onto the back trying not to shout "guysss, guysss... slow down!" - but it's ok, because you'd be bossing it if there were hills.
I'm not really a climber (on hilly rides)
I'm just getting used to...
Ah, the possibilities are endless:
I'm coming down with a cold
The first signs of a cold - a scratchy throat, muscle ache and fatigue - don't go hand in hand with a good ride. Perfect excuse!
Avoid the dreaded bugs with these immune fighting foods...
It's easy to look for excuses when you're not having a great ride - and in many cases there is actually some validity to them. You won't ride well when you're tired, hungry, or ill.
However, piling on the negative excuses can actually make your ride tougher, since you'll start to focus on your tiredness, hunger or bad mechanics, rather than the ride itself.
If you're struggling to ride on the wheel in front, and the group is stronger than you, riding with them will only make you stronger in the long run.
Keeping a positive mental attitude when the going gets tough will make a huge difference to your ride. So next time it hurts, make your excuses if you need to, but don't let them play on your mind - just pedal it out, and do your best - pretty soon, your best will be faster!