So I’m headed home after my after-work ride. I’m pedaling slowly but easily up a hill toward a stoplight, when a biker glides past me. I catch him at the light, and we chat briefly. When the light turns green, he jumps across the intersection ahead of me.
The next light is only a few hundred yards away, and that’s red, too. I catch up to him, and we chat briefly again. He’s tall and thin, with a craggy, tanned face and gray-white hair. I guess him to be about 65 years old. His jersey is from an event five years ago, judging by the date on the logo. The bike is in good condition, with shiny clean cogs and chain.
This time, I jump ahead when the light turns. I’ve been feeling good this evening anyway, and want to keep up my pace for the last two miles home. Getting ahead of the other guy — well, that’s something I can now do on the new bike that I couldn’t do on the old bike. But I’m not racing. If he wants to keep up with me, fine. I pedal alone for the next mile, when I turn at a stoplight. The road here goes downhill, and I can pick up some decent speed. Another half mile, and I hit a light at a busy intersection.
Once I cross this street, there’s a long, but not very steep, uphill. It goes past a large supermarket, whose parking lot is always busy at this time of day. I’m in one of my lower gear combinations, going slow, just starting to push a little harder against the grade, watching for cars turning into the lot — when suddenly I hear, “On your left.” I move slightly right, and HE goes by. I never even knew he was there. He must have stayed with me ever since I passed him. And now, he’s showing me who’s the King of the Mountains (or at least Baron of the Mild Suburban Incline). I boost my effort to stick with him, but it’s no good. He’s in a much higher gear than I am, and he’s pedaling at a faster cadence. I’m near the end of a 15-mile ride that I did at a faster pace than usual, and I have nothing left. I watch him with envy as he pulls away effortlessly, climbing the grade as though it were flat.
Dang! Smoked by an old guy again! I hate it when these geezers do that. Even though I’m a noobie compared to him, my youth and vigor ought to be enough to overcome his experience and cunning. But I have something to look forward to: By the time I’m his age, I’ll be that good, too. I’ve got time. I’m only 57.
Kent Peterson says
Terrific story. I just stumbled on to this blog so the punchline really worked for me. Keep rolling and writing.
Issaquah WA USA
Russell Roby says
Youth and ambition are no match for old age and treachery…I believe Red Sateen Baseballjacket said that.
John C says
“What I have lost in youth and vigor I make up for in cunning and deceit”. That’s what my good friend Norm always says to the young roadies he passes. And he rides a Recumbent and is in his late 60’s!
Ian Hopper says
I relish those moments when I get smoked by the old guys. I always smile ruefully and know that someday I’ll be that good: I’ve still got 30 years or so…
Hi, Just found your blog. This is so true I ride the knobbly tyres and constantly get whipped by old roadies even through I’m going like the clappers they glide by.
One day mate we’ll be old and fast!
It’s old guys like that who motivate me to get fit while I still can.
Anthony Davis says
… ah, too common.
But what I truly enjoy is being ‘smoked’ by younger women. It happen again last night … 2 young ladies blew by me … and, of course, I kicked it up a notch. Well, make that 2 notchs. ..
Your day will come. Or will it! I’m still waiting for mine. The main thing is enjoy the journey whether it’s eyeballs out up all the hills or coasting along enjoying the scenery. Keeping pedalling.