Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Caught In The Act.......

No matter how well we feel we’re going on the bike, it’s almost certain that at some point we’ll all meet our match. It is perhaps, one of the more inevitable consequences of riding a bike.  It’s our reaction when this happens though which is more important than the act itself, and goes a long way in defining us as riders. Let me (try and) explain using a recent experience.

It was just a normal Saturday morning SCS ride; as we cruised along enjoying the fine late November weather, suddenly, and from seemingly nowhere, we had company. We’d been going fairly well though, and as our captor nonchalantly cruised past us, my initial response was one of surprise.  With little time to think it was an instinctive reaction to accelerate a little, not too much, but just enough to hold his wheel.
Surprise was quickly followed by reflection, and I was impressed by the confidence of a rider who seeing a group ahead, not only completes ‘the catch’, but then rides straight by and goes for the knockout blow of ‘the drop’. However confidence can be a dangerous thing, especially when misplaced.

We quickly settled into a fast pace, and I was more than happy to sit in and to take some time to assess our next steps. There was a drag of a km or so ahead, and I was sure that this would prove decisive.  Our pace was still fairly high, but as we hit the incline a gear was grabbed and our leader’s cadence rose. Not a great deal, but enough to indicate that his efforts to catch us were taking their toll.
Our pace dropped, but still I sat patiently in the wheel. A fast downhill section followed, and it was then time for another long and steady drag. Once again, gears were shed, and the speed dropped as the incline steepened.  We’d made our man suffer long enough, and as I think we’d ensured that any chance of completing ‘the drop’ had gone, it seemed high time that I introduced myself. Pleasantries were exchanged, and it became clear that at the approaching junction we were to go our separate ways.

Our time on the road together had been brief, but nonetheless was one of those encounters which make the act of cycling such an enriching experience. We said our goodbyes and parted company, our rides all the better for meeting one another…
Caught in the act perhaps, but pride in tact at thwarting ‘the drop’.

Vive la Velo