...On a Bike, There is Racing ... There is Racing."
Okay, maybe that's not exactly how the song goes — but it's a pretty simple truth. Where more than one cyclist appears at any given time, a race usually breaks out (note: this wasn't the case on my longish ride yesterday, but that's not important).
I rode to Kroger today — by which I mean I went a few miles out of my way so I could ride through Cherokee Park, then hit the Kroger pharmacy to pick up my Advair refill, then rode another few miles out of my way so I could climb Dog Hill on the way back.
During my climb, I encountered not one, but two other cyclists ... and, predictably, a race broke out. A slow, mediocre race, but a race nonetheless.
It started with a guy on a Gary Fisher and me. At first, I wasn't really trying to drop the Gary Fisher guy. I was content just to tool along in a middling gear, not even really putting out an effort (turns out Swift is one heck of a climber — I can sit back and relax riding up Dog Hill in 2-4, if I don't sprint up the first half of the climb). I knew I would pass him eventually, whenever we made our way out of the forest of pedestrians, dog-walkers, and stroller-joggers, but I wasn't actually trying.
That is, until he heard me creeping up on his tail, stood up on his pedals, and started mashing away. Then I was obligated, you see. He threw down the gauntlet. It was all his fault ;)
So I decided to turn out a little effort.
Just as I was pulling up beside him, however, a guy on a tall, pretty road bike came spinning up the hill. He may as well have been whistlin' Dixie (though he wasn't), for all the effort he was making. He dropped both of us like we were hot, and made yesterday's 'serious cyclist' from Dog Hill look like a chump. He was gone and rollin' down the other side before I hit the ridgeline.
I did succeed in dropping the Gary Fisher guy, which was a nice way to end a nice 10-mile ride.
I am going to charitably assume that A) his bike was heavier than mine (unless it was carbon, that's pretty much guaranteed) and B) he'd already done several climbs, and was already tired. I had also already done a few climbs, but not many, and I'd had plenty of time to shout, "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" while descending at a bazillion miles an hour. He was thinner and fitter than I am, and there is no other real explanation for the fact that I left him behind.
Just proves a point I've seen a couple other guys make, though: whenever there are two or more guys on bikes in the immediate vicinity, racing will happen.
It's a Rule.