|River Road, just outside of NYC|
On the way back down 9W, an older cyclist (white hair, probably around 60 or so) pulls onto the road from a driveway riding a beautiful steel bike. I was already at speed at this point so I pass him and just keep going. I wasn't going that fast... maybe around 19mph or so. Soon after the pass, I hear his rear cog freewheeling behind me so I know he's caught my back wheel.
Feeling good about myself and wanting to test my legs a little more, I thought "Okay, that's fine. Let's see if I can drop him." So I start pushing the pace a bit. We're on a flat section as I increase my cadence and the speed rises to 22mph. He's still there.
23mph. Still there.
24mph. Still there.
We hit a slight downhill and build up to 30mph but he's hanging tough. At this point, I'm getting the sense that he's stronger than I anticipated. But I'm enjoying the challenge... and admittedly my ego goads me on. We hit a few rollers and on every incline, I press the pace to see if I can dislodge him. But he's persistent. Finally, after about 8 miles of this, I'm starting to tire out and I slow down. At which point he pulls up, says with a friendly grin "I'm a little better than you thought I was, eh?" and goes on his way.
That's what I get for feeling good about my workout and a little cocky about my legs. Humility served with a smile by a friendly cyclist on 9W. At least he was nice about it. Lessons learned:
- It is highly likely that older cyclists who ride immaculately maintained vintage steel frames will kick my ass.
- I may be stronger than I was last year... but I'm not as strong as I'd like to be.
Now where's my lanterne rouge jersey?....