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 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.