A Bike Blow-by

You know, one thing that I really love is blowing by someone when I’m cycling.  I don’t care if it’s the old guy on his beach cruiser and walking his dog or another triathlete – passing someone is very cool and I get a ton of satisfaction from it.

Maybe the root of this lies in the fact that I am not an uber-cyclist.  I don’t normally hammer out rides averaging 23+ MPH.  I’m typically a little slower, generally riding in the 18-20 MPH range depending upon a number of factors (such as wind direction, my motivation, etc).

So last night I had a scheduled 20-mile ride.  Instead of a steady-pace ride, I decided to do what I’ll call a “bike fartlek.”  I’m sure that the phrase “bike fartlek” is not a technically-correct phrase, but I suspect you get the idea….alternating hard efforts with easier efforts. 

My normal route is an out & back loop.  On the way out, I completed three hard effort segments offset by three easier efforts.  When I reached my turn-around, another cyclist was heading my way.  After I turned around, he was only a couple hundred yards in front of me. 

Immediately, my “hunter” instincts kicked in.  I wanted to chase him down and destroy him.

I sort of hoped I looked like Lance did when I passed the random cyclist last night

I decided to do an extended, 5-mile hard effort segment.  I passed him pretty quickly – and in addition to my normal “On your left” comment, I dropped a “have a great ride” with a shit-eating grin on him.  Then I commenced to hammering.  I kicked my speed right up to 22-23mph, and literally left him in the dust.  I held that speed for all 5-miles (shocking, but true).  At the end of my hard effort, I sat up, took a drink of water, and looked back to see where he was.  I really expected him to be close – if it were me and some dude passed me, I would have tried to suck on his wheel and go with him.  This guy?  Nowhere to be found! 

Of course, he could have pulled off the road into a neighborhood – or flatted – or really anything.  But I like to think that I totally left the guy.  That I out-cycled him for those 5 miles. 

I felt shockingly good about it.  Greedy almost – like I wanted to find another poor cyclist on the road so I could do the same thing.  Alas, the only other person I saw on a bike after that was a woman riding a mountain bike (and no helmet) going about 2 mph.  Not much of a confidence booster to pass her.

Still, at the end of my ride last night I was really satisfied.  I had a good, hard ride and really felt – at least for those 5-miles – like I was a “real” cyclist.