Someone cut that out of a popcorn box and taped it to my computer monitor.
Well, if this afternoon is any indication, its going to be a fantastic weekend.
My ride today was supposed to be a just for fun ride to test out the new Garmin. I was all giddy and excited to ride. I turned on the Garmin and let it do its satellite lock in thingie. About a minute or so later I looked and it was still doing its searching for satellite thingie. A few minutes more, a few power ups and downs and it was still doing the search.
So I took it off and turned it over and sort of yelled at it a little. A Garmin spanking. That didn't work either.
My ride time was slipping away and there was nothing left to do but pedal off and hope it started working.
I stopped a few more times and tried...but nothing worked except for the hr function. What fun is that? No fun.
And now I had no reason for the ride. Today was a freebie day, which at first I was excited about, but without the Garmin as the reason to ride, and without a structured workout, I had no idea what to do. How sad is that? When did I lose the ability to just go ride just because?
I made way towards the reservoir roads. I was feeling kind of sluggish. And since my hr was all I had to fixate on, I fixated on it.
"is that it? 99?"
"Oh, okay, there's 120"
"crap, I'm back down to 105...come on...get spinning"
"Only 130, what the hell is wrong with me? Maybe I need a hill to knock the stuffing out"
"This hill is hard...oh...look at the baby cows! Ack, there's a couple of fresh ones with the roughed up fur and the knockkneed legs...get the camera phone"
"This hill is hard"
"Only 160? Come ON"
"160, 165....167...maybe I will stand....168, 168, 168"
"why can't I go hard? Maybe I am getting sick? I have been feeling a little stuffed up lately....and ack ack..is that a tickle in my throat?"
"I'm definitely getting sick"
"I should turn around and take it easy before I get myself even sicker"
Defeated and standing at the edge of some kind of heartrate reducing illness, I was ready to cut the ride short.
But then I saw them. Three riders in the distance coming towards me. Even from far away, even before i could make out the jerseys, I knew who they were.
You can tell seasoned riders from far away by the casual elegance with which they ride their bikes. These three, although riding relatively slowly, were riding very close together. And their knees popped up in a quick rhythm close to the top tube. They rode, like most people stroll.
And when they got closer, I saw the familiar white and red CSC jersey. All three of them smiled sweetly so I gave them a bella style "Ciao". (I have no idea which three they were, Flandria or Ippoc would have known) And the whole thing perked me up enough that I decided to at least finish off my ride and not cut it short.
I was still certain I was sick and pondering if that would impact my weekend...when suddenly a cyclist in a Fox jersey made a right onto the road about a half a block in front of me.
I recognized him as one of my coworkers. I don't really know him that well, and had never ridden with him. I see him leave for rides sometimes on his mtb, in his jeans and tshirt. And sometimes on his road bike in his Fox jersey. He almost always rides alone. He's a bit older (I have no idea how much, just that sense that he's older because he has gray hair) and a bit overweight. Not much, but enough to have the kind of belly that makes a rider sit a little more upright. And, frankly....enough for me to umm....underestimate him.
Still feeling sick, and looking for motivation to at least finish off the ride, I made the choice to speed up just a little so that I could catch up to him.
I sped up. But I wasn't getting any closer. In fact...he was pulling away. Hmmm.
I put it in the big ring...he was still pulling away.
"Oh no you don't. Not Mr older guy who who works at my work and rides in his jeans!"
I put the goddamn hammer down. Now I am looking at this like a bridging effort. Trying to judge how fast he's moving (effin fast), how fast I'm moving (effin fast +1) and how long it will take to touch up without blowing up.
I was down in the drops, hunkered against the wind, powering over the rough roads and making slow progress, and just happened to glance at my hr monitor.
185, 186, 184, 186....
And I finally touch up.
He knows I am there without a hint of looking back.
Thats when I notice.
The legs may be hairy, but this is a familiar routine for them. Very familiar. Cadence was swift, at least 110, without a whisper of movement on top. And then there was the telltale sign of cycling shoes, but no socks.
I recovered in his draft..or at least tried to (177), while he pedaled without missing a beat and while pointing out all of the potholes and cobbly things.
We made the turn to the little hill. This would be the second (and last) time I underestimated him.
I figured that since he was at least 220 pounds (gosh I hope he doesn't know about this blog) I would get a little reprieve on the hill.
He just kept the same damn cadence, same posture and what looked like the same effin fast speed right up the hill. No change. As if the road were still flat. Which it very much was not and if my stupid Garmin was working i could tell you exactly how flat it was not.
And I fell off.
He peeped a look back, without breaking pace of course, and continued on his way.
"Did he peep back and speed up just a little?"
"I think he did."
"Oh no you don't. Mr Older guy who is kicking my ass and then peeping back."
By the time I crested the hill, he was even further than the first bridge effort I made. But I was feeling feisty so decided to go for it again.
185, 184, 184, 185
I finally touched up just before the turn up, yes up, Willow. I knew my time with him would not be long, and I stammered out a silly but necessary "god damn you are strong".
Without looking back, he simply said "lots of practice".
And I held on as the road turned up
185, 186, 186, 187, 187, 188, 188.....
And then threw in the towel. Exhausted, I finished the climb as best I could and hammered a nice cool down back to work. And noticed how the tickle in my throat was gone.