I Got Dropped

One of the fun things that can happen on a solo ride is to spot a rider up the road that you can chase down.  It’s even better when they look back and see you; it’s a hollow victory when your “competition” is oblivious.

The best scenario is when the chase is long and I can also keep them in sight the whole time.  It’s a real buzzkill when they turn off of my route.  I don’t think I ever push myself harder than I do during those chases.  They look back a couple of times, I get closer and eventually they know the game is up!

They are invariably gracious about it, barely acknowledging the catch.  I let up enough before then so I can get out a few kind words.  “Nice day, huh?”  “Could do without this headwind.”  “Nice bike!”

The next challenge is to build a gap that they can’t close too easily.  I also stick to my route.  It’s a bush league move to pass them and then turn off so they can’t (try to) chase you down.

The last time I was on the receiving end of a so-called chase was a couple of years ago.  I had nowhere near the fitness I have now, and this guy just dusted me.  I was nearing one of my regular “bergs” (a short but very steep climb) and was mentally preparing for it when WHAM!  Some guy in his late 40s with a moustache went right past me.  I was startled and tried to play it off with a guy nod and low-key “hey”.

After the startled-ness wore off, I let it go.  He’d obviously been riding for a long time and I was quite the noob.  Since then, I’ve been the chaser instead of the chase-ee.

Until a couple weeks ago, that is.  I was at the tail end of a 2½ hour ride and turning off of a main road on to a secondary that takes me back to my neighborhood.

Scene of the crime

Scene of the crime

I’m westbound on 146A and he’s eastbound.  We’re both turning on to Main St.  He’s a tad closer, so he goes first.  There’s no traffic (luckily) so we both keep our momentum on to Main St.  Main Street starts with a slight downhill and then goes flat.  I get right up to about 10 feet behind his wheel and never any closer.  In a couple of minutes I can’t even see him anymore.

I don’t know if he was just 20 minutes in to his ride and was feeling fresh and fast, was a racer out for training, or whatever.  It was a little depressing; there are better ways to feel at the end of a ride, for sure.  I am determined, however, to not let this linger.  I have had the good end of this situation too many times perhaps and I’m a bit spoiled by always “winning” the chase.

All the more reason to think about dedicating a portion of my rides to actual training.  It’s one thing to get a lot of miles in and burn a ton of calories; it’s another to be able to go fast and hang with the more serious set.


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  1. #1 by Bryan on August 20, 2008 - 5:00 pm

    I’ve always ridden good when I had a rabbit to chase too but it’s only happened once or twice. I’m usually the rabbit. Once passed, though, I try to keep the gap as small as possible. That’s a good workout too.

  2. #2 by Roger Green on August 26, 2008 - 4:36 pm

    When I had my lighter bike, I used to do the chase. Now, I just hope they don’t pull away too quickly. In city traffic, sometimes, I can even catch ’em at the light before they peel off.

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