Mark — SkiBikeJunkie in the comments here and in his own blog — is one of the people I met on the blog before I met him in real life. And when I met him for the first time in real life, I was not exactly lucid — I had in fact just finished riding my bike for 20 hours and was on the well-charred side of cooked.
But still, I appreciated the fact that he had waited around in the parking lot all that time, and had brought me some ice cream. And I appreciated even more the fact that he somehow knew how much I love ice cream after an epic ride. Soft-serve is the best recovery food ever. Or an ice cream sandwich. Or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Or a chocolate milkshake.
I think you get my drift.
Anyway, a few days later, Mark was visiting the area, looking for a job and a house, and I took him on a ride. He was slow — even beat from a huge ride, I still had to take it easy for him to stay close.
But things have changed a bit since then.
For one thing, he’s moved to Utah, buying a house in the cyclist commune known as Suncrest. And for another thing, he’s gone from being a slowpoke to being able to drop me at will.
Which means, naturally, that whenever I see Mark, I see nothing but a giant target (which is not to imply that Mark suffers from gigantism. He does not.). A guy who used to be much slower than me who is now faster than me? Man, that’s a slap in the face.
And then there’s the fact that while Mark’s faster than me, he’s not radically faster than me. See, Brad is now so much faster than I am that if he’s riding with me, I know it’s because he’s taking a rest day. If Brad decides to ride away at speed, the gap between us expands so quickly that there’s an observable Doppler redshift.
That redshift gag was awesome, by the way. Trust me on that. Try it on your friends. They’ll think it’s hilarious.
Anyway, my point was that while Mark’s faster than I am, he’s not so much faster that I just give up hope. He’s attainable.
Mark is, in short, now a human rabbit, as far as I am concerned.
Last Friday, a good-sized group of us rode to the summit of the Alpine Loop and back. I wore the helmetcam — I love seeing how people wince as I join a ride and they see me wearing this big ol’ skate helmet with a lens and cable hanging off the side.
Oh, and I remembered to make sure the lens cap was off, the batteries were fresh, and to lock the keypad once I had started recording. I’m learning.
And so now I have video of the group ride, and of me trying desperately to catch — or simply keep in sight — Mark. As a word of warning, the soundtrack is “Gypsy Road,” performed by the Hair Metal band “Cinderella.” This is due to the fact that Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) was talking about what a great riding song it was, shortly before he rode away off the front, never to be seen again (at least, not until the summit).
Well, what do you know. “Gypsy Road” is a great song for that video. And I apparently look straight down when I’m sprinting, which does not necessarily make great video.
PS: Seven more pounds, and I will catch that wabbit.
PPS: There seems to be an ongoing debate on whether the road on this ride was “wet” or merely “damp.” Please feel free to weigh in with your assessment, based on what you see here.