Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chasing Tandems

I shouldn't ride bikes with rear-view mirrors.

Tuesday, I pulled the Quickie Blue Fixie out of the mix. Yeah, it's my 'winter' bike but it looked so lonely leaning up against the wall, well, I just thought it needed a bit of bike love.

While heading down the Lake Manawa trail commuting home from work, I met a tandem at the South Omaha bridge road trail. A fit woman and man stoker, experienced-looking cyclists. I passed them as they were merging onto the Lake Manawa trail.

I just had a feeling. Nice flat trail, zero headwind. I figured they'd be closing the gap quickly once they gained momentum. Sure enough, I saw them in the rear view, coming up on my left.

I felt that old Neanderthal eyebrow growing across my forehead. Me not let you pass caveman Grok! I jumped on the pedals and surged ahead. Of course, it was a short-lived victory. It took them a short time to gain speed and momentum, and soon they coasted past me on my left. Did he say 'on your left?' or 'you are left behind, loser?'. Nuh-uh!

I wasn't gonna be dropped. No way. I furiously pedaled away, and managed to maintain a steady gap between myself and the tandem. It was going to be hills where I might be able to gain an advantage. They had to slow to turn for a bridge and I managed to gain a bit there, but they sped away as they circled around the lake. I mashed the pedals and spun furiously, legs and lungs burning.

As I was going into the home stretch, I seemed to be gaining. I kept at it, and since there are a few sharp turns and rolling hills in that final part of the run they lost some of their momentum. I pulled closer, closer, until I was closing on their back tire...still pumping away furiously, sweating, panting, cursing (quietly, inside).

I never did pass them...I really didn't intend to. I really wasn't interested in being first, I just didn't want to be left in the dust. I imagine these people were thinking 'what the heck is up with that ding-dong?' I don't know. The thrill of the chase? Competition? Maybe I just don't like to be passed. Old man can still pedal a bike. -D

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