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.
Black Pearl says
I did that a while ago, only in reverse, I was feeling good and passed a couple that were struggling I just said, take a pull for a while and slowed down a little to let them get on. Then gradually increased my speed while they kept with me, we came to a light and I called slowing, stopping. They had the nerve to bitch and said “just run it, it is clear!” I said no way, I never run a light, they passed me and kept on going, the light changed and I blew past them about half a mile further on, as I passed them I said ” you are not good enough yet to ignore the rules of the road. In all the times I have passed them since I have never offered them a pull.
Looks like a nice ride and great story.
I was once visiting Dallas (back in 2000) and did a big group ride. It was my turn at the front and we were going along at an ok pace, then suddenly everyone behind me turned off.
I had never ridden there before so didn’t know where I was going and basically got dropped off the front of a group – quite unusual.
I then found myself stuck in the middle of nowhere in Texas with no idea how to get back. Thankfully some nice Texan came cycling along and let me jump on his wheel and took me back to the meeting point.
Without him I would have been in a bit of trouble.