The curse of competitiveness. Once switched on, it seems impossible to switch off.
You’re out on an easy recovery ride. You rode hard yesterday. Or you raced. Or maybe you have a race tomorrow. In any case, you don’t want to go too hard, so you’re just spinning around at 18mph.
Someone passes you. With hairy legs. You remind yourself you’re out on a recovery ride. If he were one of the local racers, you’d let him go, knowing he’s on his program and your on yours. You prove yourself in the race, not on a training ride.
There’s something about the way the guy passed you — with the body language that says “ha, I’m going faster than you”.
You just can’t resist. You have to chase him down and then drop him. It doesn’t matter if it messes up the ride you planned. This is the road racer’s curse.
How do I know it’s not just me? I got this report from Tris, my teammate:
So, I go riding last night (wow, was it gorgeous out!).
I’m riding down in the valley, content to just spin along at 20mph (+/-). Then, some dude passes me. At first, I don’t care – I’m just out to enjoy the ride, my legs are feeling a bit tired & sore from running this week, etc., etc.
He’s wearing a Dirt Rag (MTB-oriented mag) jersey. My competitive side takes over.
I raise my pace to keep up, but not enough to draft – about 15-20 meters behind. He’s going pretty well at about 23mph. On a little roller, his pace drops, but I stay the same distance behind. Then I ramp it up and pass him, digging in hard on a false-flat section. I go up over 30mph before getting to the railroad crossing. I slow to cross the tracks and glance back to check for cars. He’s there, drafting me. Grrr! Actually a little surprised he hung on.
I hold a steady hard pace of about 26 – 28mph all the way to the hill by the quarry. On the lower section, I stay in the big ring and slam it hard up the hill. He’s out of my draft, but he claws back on the short false flat before the longer part of the hill. My HR hits 174. I’m feeling knackered but jump again after the incline starts. Out of the saddle, I keep going hard all the way to the top. Believe me, I was hurting.
I had planned to go up Major Rd as part of my route, so I glance back again to check for cars so I can make a left turn. He’s about half-way up the hill.
I cracked him.
Satisfied, I clamber comfortably up Major Rd and finish out my route. Thinking about it later, I’m not sure if all I did was prove what jerks roadies can be. One thing is for sure, those 10 miles were much, MUCH, harder than I was planning to ride last night. It was a great workout and, hopefully, he enjoyed being pushed to his limits as much as I did.
My comment: I imagine he’s got a good story to tell now too, maybe how he was able to hang on to this guy’s wheel going 30+ mph. He must have been a pro. Maybe even that Paul Martin guy he’s read about in the newspaper.
Anyone else have a good ‘racing on a training ride’ story?