Thursday, August 21, 2008

That felt so good

Today, over lunch, I got back on the Ritchey and headed for my favorite lunch-time climb: Squaw Peak. I timed my ascent, though I didn't keep track during the ride at all. My goal was to do really, really well, but also to relax about it.

I was relaxed, but I didn't do really, really well. I didn't do bad, either, though. I was about 2 minutes off my standard pace. On the last bit of the climb, I really dug deep to keep my speed up. When I got back on level ground (at the bottom), my legs were a little stiff and kept feeling like they were going to lock up on me. It wasn't terrible, just a little uncomfortable at first.

As I wound my way through the neighborhoods back to work, another cyclist (decked out from head to toe in Saeco team kit) came from an adjacent street to the one I was on right behind me. It's a fairly natural reaction for me to jump just a little bit when another cyclist is near by. I might not be out to race everyone I meet, but I'll speed up ever so slightly and try and make an assessment of the other rider.

Immediately, I realized two things. First, he was trying to pass me. Second, his chain needed some serious lube (nice bike, though). This second observation was very much to my advantage since I could tell where I stood with him without glancing around and appearing like I wanted to race.

I didn't want him to pass me, though. Maybe it was the squeaky chain, but I just felt like I should be able to go faster than him. So, without changing my appearance, I stepped up the pace. A lot. I could tell he was struggling, because even around a corner--when he tried to pass me on the inside--he just couldn't hold it. He was right behind me for a few blocks, but at some point, the squeaking died away. Not wanting to concede that I was pushing hard, I kept up the pace and avoided looking behind me. Only when I turned a corner and could safely look back without careening my head around did I size up the situation.

He was still behind me, going the same way, but he was no longer trying to keep up. I broke him.

Even so, I felt too good to slow down so I kept the hammer down the rest of the way back to work.

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