I only started out a few weeks ago now, got an old Trek mountain bike to help keep me off the fags and get fit. Started really enjoying it (bet that sounds familiar!) and progressed to a Giant Defy road bike which I'm really, really happy with. Now, I've started trying to do the odd longish ride and have managed a few around 18 miles, a couple about 26 miles and one just over 31. My average speed did increase as time went by but I don't know if I should beat myself up about the speeds as it's a) making me tired quicker as I always starts off too fast when I try to beat a time and b) enjoying the rides less as it's almost like I'm only out to beat a previous target when I'd just wanted to keep fit and enjoy myself. I would like to join in on a longish (say 40-50 mile) ride one day and possibly do a charity run at some point. So, should I just ride at my own pace and carry on being overtaken by lots of people but still enjoy my riding, or should I try and step up the pace a bit?