Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mountain Man

Temperature at departure = 64° F (18° C)

I'm glad I was pressed for time yesterday and was unable to write the post which I had intended. What I had in mind was a post about how the number of cyclists I encountered during my morning commute had increased dramatically when gas prices hit 4 dollars per gallon and, now that prices are back down to around 3.60 per gallon, they're still riding their bikes.

Yesterday morning I lost track of the number of other people on bikes on the trail during my 20 mile ride. I'd stopped counting around 20 cyclists. This morning I decided I would keep an exact count to support the post I had in mind. Today I only saw 6 other people on bikes on the same 20 route. There goes that theory.

Mountain Man

Now, let's talk about cyclist number 5. I was 12 miles into my ride when I noticed I was gaining on someone. As I got closer the other cyclist turned out to be a guy with a football player's build, probably around 30 years old, riding a mountain bike working

hard to get, probably, 13 MPH out of the thing. I was cruising along at 16 MPH. As I pulled up behind him I rang my bell and said good morning. No response. The guy is taking up the middle of the path so I rang the bell again and said "Coming up on your left." He looked back and then moved over to the left a bit to block me. So, I moved around to the right and off he goes, pedaling for all he's worth ... downhill.

Now, I take it this person has what you might call a bit of a competitive streak. Whatever, I really didn't want to race, I'm just trying to get to work, but I know what's coming up on this part of the trail so why not let him get his momentary lead. He seems to be a man on a mission, zipping around some elderly pedestrians with his only comment to them a brusk "MOVE RIGHT!" I did my normal ding, ding, "good morning" thing and as we rounded the corner I began lowering my gears. Yep, he's been pounding away and didn't bother to drop his gears to try to take on the nice hills. I pass him half way up and tried to be friendly again; "How're you doin'?" I guess that was the wrong thing to say. I coasted down the other side, paid attention to the pedestrians at the bottom of the hill and politely got around them. Hmmmm, I thought I heard some cursing back behind me.

Things kind of flatten out around the Deanna Ross Farmstead and as we approached the golf course I could hear some pretty heavy huffing and puffing coming up behind me. What the heck, I'll give it one more try, "I really hate this next part that's coming up." The only response was an icy stare.

I hope you won't think less of me when I admit that I derived a rather sinister sense of enjoyment knowing that the monster hill on the south side of St. Andrews Golf Club was moments away. I dropped down to the granny ring in front and made it up the hill without much effort. At the top of the hill I glanced back and the competitor was about a fourth of the way up the hill, off his bike, trying to walk up the hill. Never saw him again.

I really don't want to be a jerk about it but this morning's ride, along with that of August 8th, are probably the most fun I've had on a bike in the last three or four months. Sorry, but I guess when I'm provoked I can be a little bit of a jerk too. Yes, it bears repeating, "I ring my tiny bell in celebration!"


David Hogeboom said...

gotta get me one of those little bells.

Yokota Fritz said...

Nicely done :-)

You have nice cool temperatures -- it's in the 90s today and supposed to hit 100 in some parts of Silicon Valley tomorrow.