Once we got over the big climb, we settled into the gentle rollers of Wilson Pike and I spy the blinking red light of a cyclist.
“Rabbit,” I think to myself. “I like chasing rabbits.”
I pick up the pace.
“So much for a laid back ride!”
I gain ground on “Rabbit” but Rick was drifting off my wheel, so I slow down to let him catch up. We crest the hill and pick up speed on the descent. I get close enough to see that “Rabbit” looks like a character from Dr. Who! He is gray-haired, has on a long-sleeve T-shirt, and a warning triangle on the backside of his helmet blinks incessantly. His hybrid has fat tires, fenders, a saddlebag on a rear rack, and a large mirror…I mean big in biking terms.
“Not exactly a sporting chase, but a rabbit is a rabbit!”
Rabbit spies us in his rear view mirror and takes off.
My brain works overtime trying to find the logical explanation to how an old guy on a heavy bike could ride so fast. One conclusion emerges…
“Is he better?”
I shake off my doubt and eyeball the upcoming rise. “Okay, Rabbit! Let’s see how you climb!”
Rabbit rolls up the grade at a good clip, and on the downside, keeps moving.
“Damn you, Rabbit!”
As fate would have it, Rabbit turns onto the same road we plan to take and slows a bit. Rick, who loves good conversation, sprints up to introduce himself. I’m not one for chit-chat, especially when in “chase rabbit mode,” so I take the lead and listen in. Rabbit’s real name is Jack, he’s retired, and he’s 67 years-old.
“Sixty-seven? And he can hammer like that?!”
They talk it up for a mile or so until Rick peels off for home. Jack stays on course with me and I decide to end “chase rabbit mode” once and for all.
I rev my Colnago up to 26 MPH. After a minute, convinced Jack was a distant memory, I glance over my left shoulder.
Jack was on my wheel!
“Damn you, Rabbit!”
I refocus on the road, note the upcoming rise, and hit it at a hot pace, hoping gravity and time will grind him into submission. Once more I check on him.
“Are you kidding me? Give up, Grampy!” Only I wasn’t sure if I meant that for him or me.
Remembering my big ride coming up, I decide to back off the pace. He comes along side me and I swallow my pride and say, “Jack, for a sixty-seven year old, you’re amazing!”
“Thanks, but I have some help.”
He points to a box attached to his down tube. I take note of it, wondering how I missed seeing it before. Must have been all his blinking lights!
Jack sees I’m dumbfounded so he explains: “It’s an electric motor.”
The reality of it all sinks in. I smile, relieved that my nightmare was a joke, of sorts.
I chuckle, “Well that explains a few things!”
He returns the smile. “The other day, I passed a 20 year-old on a big hill. You should have seen his face!”
Yeah, Jack, I wish I could have!
I wonder if Jack’s on Strava? 🙂