Jeff Bauer loves to tell a story about what a closet competitive I am. We were riding the Dog Meat permanent one day, and we're at about mile 120 -- coming up Clovercroft Road heading towards Nolensville -- with only five miles left of the 200K, when I see a rider up ahead. He's obviously out for a short training ride on his light racing bike, and probably has done 10 miles or so.
But now I have a rabbit, so I put my head down and take the pace up, and we pass him going up the last long climb on that road. I turn and smile and tell him "Good afternoon," trying to look cool as if I'm not working hard. Then ZIP and we're gone, and all he can do is wonder how he got passed by two old guys on bikes loaded down with lights and bags and junk.
It reminds me of something that Bob Roll once said during a Tour de France broadcast. He and Phil or Paul were talking about some of the riders going out for a little training ride the day before, and how it was a laid-bike easy ride. Bob said, "Any time you get more than one guy out on the road on a bicycle, it's a race. They may not admit it, but it's a race."
So, my point is this: When I turned onto Edmonson Pike, I saw the Nashville Cyclist.com guy coming. I can see he's out training, riding very hard on a very light bike. And when he gets closer I can tell he is obviously fast, since he's climbing the hill going at least 15 mph and he looks thin, and his calves are huge. And, even though I'm on a steel singlespeed with 10 extra pounds of laptop and clothes and lunch in my pannier, and this is definitely not a training ride for me, I push it going up the hill.
And when he passes me I try to be really cool. "Hey, how's it going?"
Of course, he passes me going so fast that he only has time for, "Great. Nice day, eh?"
But it doesn't sound like he's breathing all that hard. And I don't have time to respond, because he is gone by then.
But at least I saw another cyclist on my way in to work today.