My riding group is a bit on the older side, but within that group we have a fit 50 year old,And I do mean fit. He is always the first one up the hills, is the competitive one amongst us, and we rarely get him out of breath.
Today was different. Me and my Co-rider on the Tandem have been getting in some extra rides over the winter and it has paid off. Normally we see the fit rider at the bottom of the hills and that is all. In a 1 mile climb he will beat us to the top by a good 100 yards, if not more. That Tandem is heavy and does not go up hill with ease. On the flat it does nicely and the rest have learnt not to even attempt to stay with it downhills.
As I say, today was different. Tracks were a bit slippery and we started that 1 mile 15% climb at a steady pace. The fit one did not race ahead, and 200 yards from the top was still on our wheel. Then he started to over take. We had the strength to power on and kept him behind us, but he tried it a bit further on. Once again we powered on and this time we heard him cry enough. Good job we didn't believe him because just before the top he tried again. Kept him behind us, and just as we were about to stop at the top to let the group collect again, we had wheel spin and had to stop suddenly with him right behind us.
Then down for breakfast but no camera today so sorry. It was agreed that as some of the group were flagging, we would take the easy route home, but this involves a bit more road than I like but does have a good downhill road section. The fit rider normally has a good lead on us by the time we get to the downhill, but due to our success we would not let him get away on the climbs to the top. Tandem power took over on the downhill so he did not stand a chance.
There is always the chance that the fit rider is going to come down with a cold tommorrow, or that he has not ridden enough to get christmas and new year out of his system, or it could be that the extra rides are having their effect for us. Either way- it was fantastic to show the rest of the group that the Tandem can perform, and that the fit rider can have an "off" day.
Incidentally- That Cafe we go to in the forest was empty when we got there and the waiter remarked on how slow the morning was. Then they started to arrive- The roadies turned up in dribs and drabs. Eventually they filled the cafe, and the Garden tables, and were still queueing to get in when we left. That cafe is getting too good a reputation. One of the bikers remarked on the Tandem and asked who the nutters were that ride it. We must be nutters as road Tandems are hard enough to ride, and seeing the amount of mud on it, we must be complete idiots to attempt off road on one.