Those were the words that zoomed through my head as I rode home today. I was waiting at a red light when a fellow bike rider came along side and then proceeded to run the light. I hate it when other riders do that because it cast the rest of us in a bad light. I held my tongue and when the light turned green proceeded on my way. It wasn't long before I overtook the "light running cyclist". I said nothing as I rode by.
He must not have taken too kindly to being passed because shortly thereafter he came zooming by me in his lowest gear. He was grinding the pedals and pushing for everything he was worth. I'm a bigger man than that. I'm 50 years old. I'm mature. I've seen too many things in my life to let something like an overweight teenager lull me into a battle of the bikes. NOT!!!!!!
I dropped down a gear and increased my cadence just slightly. I stayed 20 feet behind him. Pushing that kind of gear, I knew he wouldn't last long. Then I saw the signs, he started to sway side to side in the saddle, he shoulders started to slump. I knew his legs were burning and his heart was pounding out of his chest. He looked behind to see how far back I was, what met his gaze did not cheer him - he found himself in a battle - but was too young to realize it was a battle he couldn't win. He stubbornly turned around and threw himself back on the pedals in one last ditch effort that lasted maybe another 10 pedal strokes. I stayed 20 feet behind him. I'm not one to gloat. I'm above kicking someone when they're down. I'm a grown man. I've raised children. I have grandchildren. I'm successful. I'm professional. I'm above petty little teenage rivalries. NOT!!!!!!
He imploded on himself. His pedal motion ceased all together and he slumped over the handlebars in complete exhaustion. Now was the time for me to be the better man. I could ride alongside and offer words of encouragement. As someone older and wiser and more experienced, I could use this as a coaching moment and explain the reasons why it's best to stay in an easier gear and increase his cadence in lieu of pushing a harder gear at a low cadence. After this gentle encounter, he would ride on and be a wiser young man. His life will have been enriched as a result of crossing paths with me. NOT!!!!!
At just the moment he imploded, I dropped another gear and shot by him like I'd been fired out of a cannon. The last I saw him, he was tiny little, minuscule dot in my helmet mirror. I waited until he was clearly out of sight before I gave my screaming legs a break, stopped pedaling and allowed my soaring heart rate to return to normal. I was completely spent physically. It was childish thing to do. I should be ashamed of myself. I had a chance to take the high road, but without hesitation shot down the low one. Now that I'm out of the heat of the battle, I need to stop and reexamine my actions, learn from them and as result be a better man. NOT!!!!
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