Some things make you smile. Big.
On Thursday morning it was pitch black as I rolled down PV Drive North to the start of the Flog Ride. Just before making the left turn to go up Via Campesina my headlight caught the edge of a pink t-shirt flapping in the wind. The rider blended into the dark better than any owl. She had no headlight, no taillight, was wearing black tights and riding a black bike. Did I mention it was pitch black outside?
She had earphones in so I didn’t say anything as I turned and started up the golf course climb. Halfway up I heard the sound of tires and glanced off to my left. She was charging past me, full gas, long legs spinning the hell out of those pedals. I’d planned on an easy warm-up but she passed with such authority that I couldn’t let it go.
I picked up the pace a bit, sitting about ten yards back. Pretty soon I was breathing hard and not closing any ground. “Ah hell,” I thought. “I don’t want to chase anyway.”
At the right-hander she went straight and I turned right, summited, and started the descent. Then I heard those wheels again. This time she bombed by, buried in the darkness, gone before I could see much more than the flapping edge of her shirt. “She’s gonna die,” I thought.
At the 180-degree turn she’d slowed down, a lot, and since I had a light I easily went by, going straight and starting the long climb up Via del Monte. Pretty soon I heard those tires again. But I had some momentum and matched her pace as she pulled alongside me, covered in sweat.
“Hi, there!” I said.
She pulled out her earphones. “What?”
“Where are you headed in such a hurry? You’re fast,” I said.
“I’m just doing a 45-minute ride before I have to work.”
“You’ve got talent,” I said. “I can see that in the dark.”
She laughed, embarrassed. “I just finished my first Ironman and am kind of new to cycling.”
“There are people who are real old to cycling who couldn’t keep up with you.”
She smiled again and we chatted going up to the stop sign, where I pulled over and gave her my card. “Hit me up if you ever want to go ride with some cyclists. You’ll get mansplained to death, but you’ll get faster and better. And it might even be fun.”
“Thank you!” she said. “I’d love that!”
That evening I got home and had an email waiting, an email filled with the enthusiasm and excitement and joy of a young person discovering that she can ride fast, and that there are other people out there just like her.
Grinning at my keyboard, I tapped out a reply.
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