Great ride on Southwest Parkway today. I went 22.4 miles at an average speed of 15 mph. This is the hilliest route I do, and can be quite challenging for me. The thighs protested at the beginning, but by mid-ride, they were pumped into submission.
Did something today I’ve never done before. I asked for a pull from a stranger. As I was going up a gentle grade, a cyclist passed me with a pleasant, “Good morning!” He was moving a little faster than me, but wasn’t really pulling away. I caught him at the top of a long hill. He looked over his shoulder at me, and I asked, “OK if I take your wheel?” “Sure,” he said, and off we went.
After drafting on a couple of club rides, I now feel confident following someone closely. I stayed between six inches and two feet behind him, and I think he was a little surprised to look back at the top of yet another hill and find me still there. “Where you going?” he asked. “Barton Creek Road, a little past it, then I turn around and head back,” I replied.
He evidently thought I meant to turn at Barton Creek Road, which is another hilly route through a very swanky neighborhood. A long, fast downhill leads to that intersection. He waved back at me, and crossed against the red light. I stopped. I do not blow red lights. Period. He was a good quarter mile ahead when he looked back and saw that I was continuing after him. He seemed to slow down a bit, but after a mile or two, the road is divided by a large median. That’s where I make my turnaround. By then he was out of sight around a bend.
So, if you were that cyclist with the CSC team jersey and the salt-and-pepper ponytail and beard, thanks for the pull. I’m a whole lot better on the downhills than the uphills, and drafting you helped a bunch. Maybe someday I can return the favor. But please, don’t antagonize motorists by blowing red lights.