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stapfam 01-15-06 08:57 AM

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.

Red Baron 01-15-06 10:09 AM

I Live for stories like these !!!!!! Wayto Go Sir!!!!

KeithA 01-15-06 10:18 AM

Just reading your post gave me a high, so I can't even imagine how great you two must have been feeling. Oh, we all know the "fit rider" will do everything in his power, if he's as competitive as you say, to come back with a vengence. I'd bet he was thinking about "next time" before the ride was over.

It really does sound like a great group of riders. Wish I could find a group, but I'm always too worried that I'd be the anchor and slow them down too much. I definitely ain't the faster rider!!!

GrannyGear 01-15-06 11:04 AM've every reason to be elated. One of those "Rocky" moments when hard work pays off. I'll bet most locales have those phantom riders who are always out there disappearing over the next hill, seemingly always uncatchable, flesh and blood on a higher plane. You caught yours....way to go!

berts 01-15-06 11:04 AM

That 1 mile 15% should be iconed. Your descriptive makes me feel like going out on a ride and drinking a mug of hot joe.

Digital Gee 01-15-06 11:24 AM

Stepfam, I've thought this before and I'll start saying it now: you should collect these stories of yours into a book. I love reading your adventures, I can't imagine actually living your adventures but I love reading them, and others would too. Ride on! And Write On! :)

FarHorizon 01-15-06 02:16 PM

Sounds like a perfect ride! Savor your victories and keep on sharing!

jppe 01-15-06 02:54 PM

Great story Stapfam and a lot of us can greatly appreciate the effort. it's activities like that that keep us riding and enjoying the ride. I really suspect that you guys unknowingly have "closed the gap" on your co-rider by simply continuing to put in some great quality base miles this winter. You and your stoker have really done a terrific of job of doing some nice rides lately.

This is a perfect example for a lot of us-especially those that are looking to continue to improve their conditioning. A lot of us just do solo rides and that's certainly a wonderful way to enjoy riding, improve fitness and learn the nuances of cycling. However, if you really want to ratchet your abilities up a notch there is not better way than to ride with others. Other riders can help push you to ride harder and longer than what you're able to do on your own.

Congratulations on King of the Mountain!! I know the food you ate at the cafe had to taste pretty good after that noteworthy climb!!

Thrifty1 01-15-06 03:42 PM

It seems as though every gathering/event has a "fit guy" to inspire/annoy us. Great adventure and story!

stapfam 01-15-06 03:46 PM


Originally Posted by jppe
I really suspect that you guys unknowingly have "closed the gap" on your co-rider by simply continuing to put in some great quality base miles this winter. You and your stoker have really done a terrific of job of doing some nice rides lately.

Let me inform most of you now- I am the Stoker !!! I may own the thing but with Stuart and Me, Stuart is the stronger person. When I first got with Stuart - I was the pilot, but if I ask for power to get through Mud or over an obstacle, that is what I got and a lot of it. I never knew which way the bike was going to go, except it was going to be a heavy landing. To let him know the problems he was causing me- I put him on as pilot. Either the bike was better balanced or I am a rotten pilot, But I now class myself as a top rate stoker. Still pilot other riders, but the the Doug and Stuart Team works- In the words of Ronnie Corbett- "I know my place" (May only be recognised by the UK members)

That little bit extra this year has worked- Last winter I was down the Gym and that worked. I was wondering whether I was mising out a bit on Upper body strength by only cycling, but Those legs and lungs have not been in better shape. Incidentally- Initiating a new Night rider on Wednesday. Never ridden off road at night before, so Will take it easy on him. Will see how he improves over the next 3 months as that extra ride per week has worked wonders for me.

As you can see from the attachment- Stuart is 180lbs of strength and muscle. The 150lbs on the back has stamina and power when required but this team works. Picture taken on my big ride of each year on the South downs way- 100miles of offroad agony, and this was taken at the 60 mile mark in 04

jppe 01-15-06 04:41 PM

Sounds like a great team! You guys have figured out what works!!

BlazingPedals 01-15-06 08:34 PM

I love reading stories of personal accomplishments! Way to go!

p8rider 01-16-06 07:02 PM

stapfam - That's a great story. I can only echo what others here have already said, you have some of the most interesting rides I hear of, and always a joy to read. It's nice to come in ahead of the "fit" guy.

TaosWoman 01-17-06 07:18 AM

Way to go!

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