Last week I was commuting home on my 30-year-old steel mountain bike with my panniers and came across a fellow rider. He was riding an entry level Carbon Fiber Trek road bike.
I rolled up to him at a stop light and said hello. It always pleases me to engage a fellow cyclist. I was very disappointed that he did not respond, maybe because he was wearing headphones (which, in my option, is very unsafe thing to do on road), but most likely he was looking down at me as a roadie snob. I apparently was not worth his time.
When we rolled from the light, I was shocked to find him riding my wheel. Although I was not good enough to acknowledge as a fellow cyclist, I was apparently worth using as a draft.
I was left with two cycling choices.
- Sit up and let him go around me.
- Ride him off my wheel.
Insanely, I went with ride him off my wheel. I ramped up my 30-pound bike and plowed into the headwind. My heart rate climbed and the dude just stayed on my wheel. When we started a climb, I figure I was about to fail and was going to come around me. He did not, because he apparently was hurting and remained glued to my wheel. I dug deep, maxed my effort, and did not look back.
When I came to a stop sign at the top of the hill, I looked back expecting to see him. With a schadenfreude feeling, I saw him struggling to climb against the head wind, about a quarter mile behind me.