Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Evening Ride

Living in DC makes real trail mountain biking a little more difficult than being away from the city. There are some legit trails nearby and I hate to say it but I have not touched my tire to their soil. It's ok, I'm still getting some pedal time in but it seems the only trail time I get is the Delaware singletrack I hit up with brother when I visit family.

My latest bike "training" regimen (just something to get my butt used to the saddle again and get my legs prepped) is riding from my apartment in Old Town Alexandria to Mount Vernon. I think it's about 10 miles or somewhere around there, I forgot to check my bike computer but either way, its a nice paved "trail" through the woods and along the Potomac and it doesn't really seem to get too boring because theres always something to look at.

Something I really find great enjoyment in is hunting down roadies while I'm on my mountain bike. Sneaking up and blowing past always feel really good, especially if their in spandex too. Let me point out that I wear spandex as well though, but if they are all geared up and on a road bike, shouldn't they be fast?

Anyway, I just started my ride and I was still on the road, waiting to go under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge then up a steepish hill alongside of it and really get onto the Mount Vernon Trail. I saw this roadie ahead of me and I thought I would make it my goal to catch him.

I like to do that when I run or bike... making little games really helps to not feel tired or get bored. Most athletes have a little game they play or something they think about to not focus on pain or what not.

So, here I am tracking this guy down, he beats me to the underpass so I figure I'll try and catch him on the uphill. I just started my ride so I'm feeling fairly strong and he may not be. As I turn the corner to start the hill, I see him and another roadie. That other guy is struggling so I add him to my list. I get to the top just a few bike lenghts behind them and instead of sitting, I gear up and mash to take over the new roadie.

I flew by him as the first little downhill section started and now had my crosshairs right on my original target. Moving in for the kill, I have to wait because of a narrow bridge and some runners. But I store some adrenaline for times like this, don't give it all, just a teeny tiny bit. I get up on his rear wheel and then shoot around, slingshot style, careful to demotivate him enough to keep from trying to draft and re-slingshot. I look down, we're both going around 18 mph (mostly because of the downhill, on my MTB I can usually only sustain 16 in normal conditions but spurts higher aren't unusual).

After a few second, I look back, hes not close. I won! That's how I see it anyway, but I now he may want revenge. I get cocky and even though my goal was an easy trip to Mount Vernon, I'll race this guy till I run out gas. I'm not ready to give up the yellow jersey just yet.

I look back again, hes gotten real close, within a bike length, so I'm kinda spooked and push it again, trying to put some distance between us. Well, whatever I did, it worked, he was back where was before. But we did this cat and mouse for a while until all of a sudden he was drafting me and and starting to pass on my left.

Now, this is what I think happened. At the end of my run/ride I like to pick a person or an object ahead and just sprint to it as fast as I possibly can and treat it as the last seconds of a race. I think that's what he was doing because after he tried to pass I never saw him again and we came up on a parking lot so I bet he was finishing up.

Ok, hes starting to pass. How did I not even see him get closer?! Oh well, no time to think about it. I wasn't going to pull away sitting down and even though you lose efficiency standing, I had to. I was just about out of fuel from racing and my max was being pushed so that if he challenged me one more time I would probably have to concede but he doesn't know that! Poker face right?! So I stand up and gear up and just pump. Pulling on the handlebars feeling like I was ripping the bike apart I finally gained some real distance.

He's got nothing on me. And that was the last I saw of him. He got beat by a dude on an mountain bike with a full camelbak (3 liters of water, tube, patch kit, tire levers, 2 sets of tools, a gerber multi tool, my gerber lmf knife, wallet, and jacket).

The rest of the ride to Mount Vernon was very uneventful, just cruising, nodding to runners/walkers/cyclists and even a pair of windsurfers enjoying the relatively warm weather. It was downright oppressive the day before but the weather for this ride was great.

At the very end of the ride, there is a small hill and then a steep hill to the parking lot atop Mount Vernon. I was just going to keep a steady pace and stay in my saddle until I head a clickety clack behind me. Another roadie was passing me. I was too out of it to put up a fight and let him pass. Then I stayed on his tail best I could but then I saw the top of the lot, I had to beat him! Just another gear up and standup and I was gone! Left him in the dust! Ok, maybe just a few inches, but thats only because I had to pass him in such little time.

Then I just tooled around the lot for a sec, trying to get my breath back and drink some water. Turning my wheel back towards where I just came, I knew there were some killer downhills waiting for me as well as a hot meal my wife was taking care of to have ready for me when I got home.

A great day.

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