Actually, this is more along the lines of what I consider a normal biking experience. This morning, I was pulling up to a stoplight in the left turn lane. Two young women on bikes were waiting to make the turn also. I wrestled with the wrapper of a Clif bar, and finally got to take a bite, when the light turned green.
We waited for the oncoming traffic to pass, then made our left turn onto a wide shoulder along a highway. I was still ripping the remainder of the wrapper off the Clif bar, so I didn’t pay much attention to them. But once I jammed the wrapper into one of my back pockets, I settled in for a charity ride pace on this eight-mile stretch of my route.
One of the ladies rode a red Motobecane. I didn’t get a look at which model it was, and didn’t really care. I couldn’t tell if she was an experienced biker, since she wore a gray racer-back top like women triathletes wear, and not a biking jersey, but didn’t have aero bars on the bike, like triathletes often do. The other young lady wore a pink helmet, which I thought clashed with the celeste color of her Bianchi road bike.
I had assumed they were riding together, but Ms. Bianchi quickly fell behind, and once my Clif bar distractions were settled, I called “On your left” and passed her. Ms. Moto was pedaling easily, in what appeared to be one gear harder than I was, and we maintained about a 25-yard gap between us.
But at the bottom of a gentle downhill, I was picking up speed, and went around her, too. Now, this was not a race. I had planned to ride farther than usual this morning, and I was determined to keep a steady, but not killer, pace. I concentrated on my cadence on a half-mile long uphill, and was pleased that I didn’t have to shift to the small chainring.
At the top of the hill is a cross street which is my cue to upshift and pedal harder. But before I could, I heard “On your left,” and Ms. Moto glided by. That hill must have been lots easier for her than for me. I upshifted, and watched her pull away. She must have been easing into her ride when I passed her, because she was increasing her distance from me with every pedal stroke now. I kept her in my sight for most of the remainder of the eight miles, but lost her with about a half mile to go.
I pulled into the Veloway, not to ride it, but to take a quick break, drink some water, and walk the numbness out of my little toe. Just as I was about to remount and head out for another 10 miles, I heard a bike finishing the Veloway loop. I always check out the other riders, to see if they’ve got cool bikes, or if they’re someone I might happen to know. I knew this one. It was Ms. Moto. She had turned into the Veloway too, but instead of stopping, she did a quick 3-mile loop.
‘Tis as it should be. She’s 35 years younger than me, and 80 pounds lighter. There’s no way I’m going to be able to keep up with her. I’m just content with the fact that I finished a 33-mile ride today at a 16.8 mph pace, and still had enough go power to clean the garage this afternoon. What more do I need?