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Daily Archives: November 21, 2021

Brought a Knife to a Bazooka Fight (In Terms of a Bike Ride, Folks)

We had an interesting mix yesterday for what looked like it was going to be an easy day on the dirt. I’ve been infatuated with my mountain bike a lot lately, so I decided to bring it. Then, what do I see coming down the road than exceptionally classy older fella in immaculate kit – a former age group National Champion sprint triathlete on his gravel bike.

Mike outclasses me, even at his age, when we’re on equal bikes – even at his age. He’s a machine. In fact, it’s almost a fair fight when I’m on my gravel bike with semi-slicks and he’s on his half-fat mountain bike. Almost.

Still, I thought, I’ve got cover from Mike, Diane and my wife… I should be fine.

The ride started out south, heading into a nasty headwind. It wasn’t too terrible, though. I just slid into line behind a few people and tried to get as low as I comfortably could. I was up with the front group when we started to split up and I was feeling fine. We dialed it back to close up the gap and rode along, talking the whole way. It was a lovely morning and not near as cold as I’d expected it would feel.

And before I knew it, Mike, Diane and my wife split off and went their own way. I was left with McMike, Chuck and Chuck. Every one on a gravel bike but me, on my 28 pound Rockhopper.

I did fine keeping up, but heading south, I got caught at second bike for a long stretch, then took a turn up front. The wind was whipping and my heart rate went from the mid-130’s to 175 in the space of 30-ish seconds. Once I’m over 172, forget about it. I’m pooched. I just had enough gas to latch on at the back after a silly minute-long pull up front (I was a little embarrassed). I knew what was going to happen next. At least, I thought I knew – and I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with it.

I quietly slipped off the back, turned my bike around and headed back home.

And that was that. The ride home was quite enjoyable with lots of tailwind and a cruising speed of 18-22-mph. Before I knew it, after a few add-on miles, I was on the home stretch and then in the driveway. My wife had just gotten home, hadn’t even gotten out of her gear yet, when I walked through the front door. I was quite pleased, really. I had almost a 14-mph average after the slow start.

The rest of the day was awesome. A light lunch, a long nap, some college football (‘Merican football), and my mother-in-law came down with her sister and we all went out to dinner, then to see my daughter’s university “Band-o-rama”. All three bands play a few songs. The symphonic band (was great), the wind symphony (was spectacular), and the marching band (blew the doors off). What a fantastic way to spend a late-fall Saturday!

Sadly, when I looked at Strava, I noticed the two Chucks and McMike had the same average I did when they got back. They had almost double my 22 miles, but they obviously didn’t hit the gas like I thought they would.