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I had a similar experience. Was getting into riding again after 18 years off. met up and became friends with a group of guys, all of us pretty close in ability. Well, after a year or so of riding together, I somehow got side-tracked into Downhill Mountainbike riding/racing. For 9 months I was away from long road rides, long XC mtb rides. drinking beer, riding ski resorts, camping, gaining weight. When I started roadie again, I was dropped, smoked, rolled, dusted...

I had to work hard. to get back up to speed. and it took a long time.
The good news is. since I was starting at a lower fitness point than them, my improvements came faster than improvement they made. (i.e., it is easier to go from bad to decent than it is from decent to excellent).

Second good news, what I learned from working hard, training smarter (core traiing, fixed gear, going outside the bubble of just riding road) allowed me to catch up, and even surpass my riding buds.
 
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