Monday, April 5, 2010

Kindness of Strangers

Had a great ride this past Saturday. We had a small group of 5 who went up around Tobaccoville. The hills tended to have long but low grades, giving me practice climbing at a reasonable pace for extended periods and my companions were a nice mix of a Pro-Continental rider (over from France to visit his family) and two novices who were out on their first long ride of the season.

The pro guy (Rich) kept pulling of the front and circling back and the girls were off the back a lot. However, despite their protestations, we agreed that everyone should stay together and get through the ride together. The three guys each took turns at the back keeping the group together, pulling, breaking the wind and letting the weaker riders draft. While I was at the front, Rich went off and I decided to go with him and we burned up the road for a good 5 miles. My legs were screaming, my lungs were screaming, my heart was screaming, but I was able to keep up for a while (drafting admittedly). After we turned to return to the group I had a chance to do a little solo climbing and when we got back together Rich made a off-hand comment that made my day. It was clearly meant in jest but I felt pretty good about my climb and the comment was opportunely timed.

"You climb like Sastre", Rich said. Obviously I don't, but I was feeling good and that little pick me up really reinforced the good feeling I had. For my part, at the end of the ride one of the girls said she appreciated the time I spent at the back, pulling. I made the ride more enjoyable for them. Since I know what being the weakest riders feels like, having been that on more than one occasion, it made me feel good to finally be able to return the favour.

This kindness came at a good time to jump start the road season. I'm now motivated to get in some more climbing and get to a higher level than last year. I want to get to the same level as last year earlier and then build on that for the rest of the season. Thank you strangers.

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