Thursday, December 30

Winter Attacks!

Last night I was putting duct tape over the vents on my bike helmet in preparation for the coming storm and both Boone and Lily wanted to get their helmets and do the same. It was pretty cute. I finally had to tell Lily that we shouldn't put tape on hers because she doesn't ride in the rain and snow like dad. Sigh! May give in and let the kids do it.

I rode the "Special" bike in this morning. I rode it because the snow is supposed to be just over the horizon and barreling our way. I rode the mountain bike, not so much for the tires, but for the disc brakes.

The roads were even more post-apocalyptic this morning than previous mornings. I'm going to miss the quiet. Even Denver West was still and peaceful. I should have counted the number of cars I saw. I bet it was a dozen or less. Next month I am back in the fray. I'll be riding in between 7:30 and 8:30 as opposed to the past two months when I've been riding in between 6:00 and 7:00. I'll be deeper into the evening commute as well. The up side is that I'll have enough time to stick to less busy routes. I can utilize more of the Clear Creek Trail and stay off the busier roads.

I did prove to myself that I can do my middle-length commute as fast as I've been doing my short commute. I just need a rabbit. Last night I cut through Golden to the Clear Creek Trail and was heading down the long hill after the 58 bridge. I was pedaling pretty hard and making a good clip when a roadie blazed past me. He opened a gap but after he was a couple hundred feet ahead we hit flat ground and I hung on tight.

The trail goes straight for awhile and I was crankin' hard to keep up, but I wasn't dying. When we passed the giant pringle cans the trail got curvy and the roadie would slack off on each curve while I kept crankin' and hanging the curves like a roller coaster. Having fatter tires is a benefit sometimes.

I steadily closed the gap with each bend in the trail. After the second one I saw him look back. He knew I was catching up and I could see him jamming harder on the pedals. But then at each curve he would stop pedaling and coast through, slowing perceptibly. I, on the other hand, didn’t stop pedaling and didn't touch my brakes.

I caught him at the short steep hill just before the Youngfield trailhead. I was only a few yards behind him and I heard him gearing down at least three gears. I dropped one and stood up on the pedals, rocketing past him on the hill and gunning ahead, opening a huge gap as he slowly crested the hill.

As I passed I could hear him gasping for air. And I grinned under the short bill of my cycling cap and kept right on pedaling, heart ticking over just above idle and lungs slowly exchanging air...

Now, I'm not really a competitive person. The only sports I was ever involved in as a kid were running sports. I ran cross country and did a short stint in track (we mostly ran for the fence and then to town to get a burger before practice was over). And I don't usually attack while commuting home. But then again, I don’t usually get passed. And when I do I typically see it as an opportunity to motivate myself to ride faster. It just happened to work out yesterday that I had a good roadie challenge and I made good on it. I have a feeling Mr. Breakaway doesn't ride to work every day. I could tell he was commuting because of the backpack and rear blinker.

But he was more roadie than commuter. He had these weird pogie things on his handlebars. They looked like the neoprene things kayakers use in cold weather on their paddles. And of course he had the SPD shoes with the zip on covers. Man, I hate those things! Mine were useless.

Anyway, I don’t think I'll be attacking anyone on the way home today. It will be the first winter stage of the Tour de Home for sure.

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