It was a dream come true.
I always wanted to be able to jump on with a fast group that I happened upon. Tonight I got my chance.
And not in the way you might think.
Now, nobody I know or ride with regularly disses me and the Portland. They know I’m a serious rider and the Portland is my main ride.
But I also know that, while it’s my dream bike, to most roadies, it screams FRED! I mean there’s the rack, fenders, 28mm tires, frame pump, relaxed front geometry, the disk brakes, oh, and all the lights and that big-@$$ reflector on the back.
But I’ve been working on the engine, you know? So it’s sort of a sleeper. Even when I’m in a jersey and bike shorts. Of course, my helmet sort of gives it away if you know what you’re looking at.
It was a beautiful night coming home from work tonight. A little more than an hour to sunset and I’m heading into it as I roll up to a Y intersection. I have the red, so I unclip and stop. Looked to the left, down the other branch of the Y, and here come a bunch of roadies.
I let the first three pass, and pulled out into a hundred yard gap before the next one. I spun it up to between 95 and 100 RPM and worked my way up through the gears. Next thing I knew, my speed was in the lower 20s and I was gaining on them.
Just as I was drawing up to them, I heard a car coming up behind me. I called out, “Car back!” The third guy in line did a shoulder-check, spotted me and hammered off to the front of the group. The light changed ahead and we all rolled to a stop.
“Hey,” I called out. “Where you guys coming from?”
“South wedge”, replied the chick who was now in third position. “We’re looping on back now.”
“Great night for it,” I said. “Just on the way home from work myself.”
And with that the three of them blew the red light. I rolled up to the crosswalk and engaged the rider behind me in small talk.
The light changed, I clipped-in, spun it up to 95 or so and snick, snick, snick, worked my way through the gears again. In the mid-20s now, I gained on the light jumpers pretty quickly. And I while I was working it, I wasn’t WORKING it, you know? (Average heart rate for the entire ride was 136 BPM, maximum heart rate was 159 BPM. I never went anaerobic.)
But they made it through the next light just as it turned yellow. I had to turn anyway, so I let them go. As I made my right on red, the guy behind me huffed up to a stop.
“Keep the rubber side down!” I called to him, waving.
Oh, I guess I forgot the best part.
My Tailrider trunk bag was bulging full of work clothes and library books, and my grocery panniers were bulging with 24¾ pounds of groceries. (Top round roasts were on sale! I bought two.) Yes, I added it up at home, although I didn't weigh the library books.
Oh the humiliation to be caught by a old Fred hauling home the groceries…