I like passing people when I’m on my bike.
You might too. In fact, I think there’s probably some innate feeling of conquest that many of us feel when we blow by someone. There’s some hidden joy in overtaking and passing someone else. Nevermind that they might be going 8 mph on a beach cruiser. Or look like they’re as old as Methusela. It’s just…FUN!
Now let me preface this a little. Lance Armstrong I am not. I’ve never doped. Oh, wait…wrong analogy. I meant to say that I’m not some uber-fast quassi-pro cyclist who averages 25mph or better every time I’m on my bike. I’m like most other age group athletes. I have good days where I can hold and sustain close to 22mph. I have other days where it’s killing me to go 18.
This Saturday, the weather for a ride was exceptional. The temperature was relatively low. The humidity was lower than normal, and there was hardly any wind. Plus, and early morning start meant that there wouldn’t be much traffic out.
And yet….there was a lot of traffic. Lots and lots of folks were out on the bike. This shouldn’t surprise me too much – I mean, the part of town where I live and ride is superb for cycling. Wide open roads (most with bike lanes) and not too much traffic. The picture below shows what part of my ride looked like Saturday morning:
Well, I saw literally hundreds of cyclists out.
After about half my ride, it dawned on me that there was a charity ride going on. I actually figured this out by reading lots of the little signs that were stuck in the shoulder announcing sponsors, distance, rest stops, etc. This weekend was the Tour de Cure – a charity ride that raises money for the American Diabetes Association.
I was passing folks all morning. My ride was an out-and-back, so on the way out I was headed opposite of most of the Tour riders. On the way back, though, I was riding with them. I passed a couple of fairly slow groups along the way, but the biggest group was saved for last.
As I was approaching home – literally only 2 or 3 miles from home, I made a left-hand turn and was suddenly upon one of the Tour rest-stops. I cruised by, getting some “Thanks for riding” and applause (I’m thinking that folks were cheering for my cool Rev3Tri bike kit and not mistakenly thinking I was riding in their ride), and then suddenly came upon a group of close to 30 riders. I stayed behind them for a hundred yards or so, and then decided to go into full-on badass mode.
I plopped down into my aero bars, geared down two gears and started grinding – all the while shouting “on your left”. I took it up to 25mph and blew by the group, keeping my speed and momentum until I completely dropped them and gained a solid gap. By the time I reached the end of the road and had to turn off to head into my neighborhood, I could no longer see the group. Ahhhhh….satisfaction. Not only had I passed this group, but I had totally decimated them and dropped them!
Now, I’d like to think that as they saw my blue and white kit zoom by them that they were awed at the sheer speed in which I passed, and were blown sideways by my slipstream. I hoped that they wondered if I were some top AG athlete or something.
In reality, though, I suspect that most of them likely thought, “Oh what a tool.” “Poseur”. “Show-off”. In retrospect, that’s what I would have thought were I in some group ride and a yahoo on a tri bike sped past.
And so, even though I had a really fun ride, and it was amazingly epic to blow past this last group of cyclists – plus the fact that I did it really FAST – the reality is that I probably didn’t do much for the goodwill building part of triathlon. I likely looked like an ass in the process. Part of me feels bad about that.
The other part wants to do it again.