I am sorry if this is a little long but for some reason this is bothering me. I was out for a ride the other day and tried to be friendly to someone I passed but I was met with only stony silence and a glare.
I saw a cyclist ahead of me on a climb. Let's call him Mr. Yellow, for he was wearing a yellow jersey. When I got to the top he had stopped to talk on the phone and I passed him. A few minutes later he came up from behind and passed me in a flash. I could see he was far stronger than me and I assumed I would not see him again.
And yet, I few miles later I saw Mr. Yellow up ahead on another climb. In fact, with each climb I was getting a little closer until I finally caught up with him. Whenever this happens, which I admit is rare, I am not sure what to do. We were almost traveling at the same speed so I couldn't really just pass him and be done with it but I didn't want to come up behind him and have him think I was trying to draft him.
I stayed about 2 bike lengths behind for about 1/2 a mile or so. He kept looking behind to see where I was so I knew he knew I was there. We came to a section of road that, for me, is really fast. There is a gradual descent through a series of sharp turns that, for reasons not entirely known to me, feel like a slingshot. It is a part of the ride where I really try to push myself because it's just so much fun to fly through it.
So, as we come out of the first of these curves I came up fairly fast beside Mr. Yellow and said hello in what I thought was a friendly tone. He turns to me and says nothing, giving me only a snarl. Now I don't know if I came up too close, too suddenly. I admit that I was about two feet to his left. Maybe that made him uncomfortable, I don't know. Maybe he thought I was taunting him? I ended up losing him through the curves but on a straighter section he passed me, again without a word.
So, was I wrong to pass him as I did and say hello as I was doing it? I just wanted him to know I was there. I also wanted to be friendly. It seemed we were travleing at about the same pace so I thought that we could have ridden together for a little while. Was I too close?