Getting Stronger


Every now and again, when I’m out on a ride, I come to a spot that once gave me a great deal of trouble and realize that the spot has now become “just part of the ride.”

In the past two days, there have been many of these moments. There’s the ever so slight rise to the top of the Rusty Bridge over East West Boulevard. Three years ago, I was huffing and puffing to get up that minor hill. There’s a similar rise to the bridge over MD100 that used to nearly kill me. The Naval Academy Bridge once looked like a mountain that I’d never be able to climb.

And then there’s the satisfaction that comes with overtaking and dropping another rider. I’m not usually competitive on my rides. I’m not usually one to gloat either, but I’m going to allow myself to do so today.

I was about 25 miles into my ride yesterday as, I approached the Rusty Bridge headed south on the B&A trail. I noticed cyclist on a Cervelo coming down East West Blvd. Since the trail is closed just south of the Rusty Bridge, he went up Light Street Ave before getting on the trail. I had to follow the same detour, which meant slowing down to get though some switchbacks, and that put me about 75 yards behind the rider when I re-entered the trail.

A number of thoughts went through my head:

Should I sprint to catch up with him?

You are 25 miles in on this ride. You are getting tired. You might not have the strength.

If you do catch up and don’t want to talk with him, what do you do? You’d look like an ass if you couldn’t keep up with him.

I started peddling like mad and shifted into a higher gear. I was gaining on him pretty quickly and then I made the decision.

I’m gonna drop him.

And I did. And it felt great.

To be fair, my feat may not have been much of a feat at all. I’ve got no idea whether he is a strong cyclist. I have no idea where he was on his ride. He may have been out for a short recovery ride. Perhaps he was just stretching his legs.

And yet, there is still a certain satisfaction about smoking a guy on a bike that easily cost three times as much as mine.

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