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Choosing which type of cyclist I want to be

September 2017

We rode 70 miles on Saturday, tailwind on the way out, headwind on the way in.  It was a great, fun ride, but it was tough.  Headwind on the way home always is.  My buddy, Mike was toasted, my wife was smoked.  I was ready to be done, but I was still technically “okay”.  I slept well Saturday night, I will say that.

Rare for a weekend ride, Big Joe came out to ride with us.  He was hurtin’ for certain too, but Joe is a diesel; terrible on the hills, but when he gets a head of steam and some flat, he’s strong.  He’s gold on downhills too because he’s a big guy (he rides a 62 cm Trek Domane).  They say being second bike behind someone is a 10-30% advantage…. Joe’s a 30% guy, no doubt about it.

Diesels all have the same kryptonite though:  up.  We will come back to that…

I was happily surprised when Joe pulled into the driveway for Sunday’s ride.  

Cycling is all about the friendships for me.  I love going fast, but I like laughing and talking with my friends as we are at it.   For yesterday’s ride, one of the A guys texted and asked what we were doing.  He knows how to play nice, so I let him know our plans.  That’s when he dropped that his BCB (best cycling bud) would be there too.

Greg alone, we can expect a little faster than normal, but like I said, he plays nice.  He’s very fast, and he’s one of those guys that makes fast look easy.  It’s a little unnerving, but cool at the same time.  Add in Dave, though, and something crazy that belongs on Outrageous Acts of Science happens…  The two of them together, and tongues will be dangling, sweat dripping, and snot slopping onto top tubes.  It’s like one feeds off the other and fast happens.

I was the only one of us B guys who knew both would be riding with us on Sunday, until we were a few miles into the ride.  I assured everyone that we were staying together, that nobody was getting dropped.

My wife and Mike still dropped off early, opting to forego the pain of hanging on.  Phill, Brad, Joe and I stuck with it and we got exactly what was expected.  

I stayed up front with Greg, Dave and his wife on their tandem (they have an awesome Co-motion Macchiato) so my friends would have a better draft.  I didn’t do any time up front, though….  

We got to our first tailwind stretch of any length and that’s when things got messy.  I was holding Greg’s wheel easily, between 24 and 27 mph.  Dave was behind me, and Phill, Brad and Joe behind them.  I counted shadows to make sure we were all there a few times, when I could, but I knew cohesion wasn’t going last.

I stayed with the group until a turn, and faded off.  I knew at least one of us was off the back.  It was too many many miles, too fast.  Sure enough, Phill and Brad were there but Joe was nowhere to be found.  I pulled off to the side of the road and waited.

A few minutes later, Joe shot the corner and I started rolling again, watched for him over my shoulder, and picked up the pace as he caught on.  He thanked me but said I didn’t have to wait, that he knew the way home.  I simply said that nobody was riding alone today and we pressed on.  

A few miles up the road we caught up to everyone at a convenience store and we took a minute to grab something to drink and fire down some grub (my favorite are bananas).  From there we pressed on.  Eventually, Greg headed north and Dave and his wife pulled away.  The four of us rolled on together.  Phill split off for home, then Brad, and it was just Joe and I.  Joe pulled three, I took the last three and we pulled into the driveway with a 19.97 mph average.  Considering how slow our first ten miles were, that was nothing short of impressive.

I’m not all that impressive a cyclist (and at my age, how much does that really matter?).

I know I can be a good friend though, and that’s the type of cyclist I want to be.  

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