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.
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.