Sunday Races

I don’t think you can definitively and accurately name the mood I have been in for the last week.  Pissed, sorrowful, stressed, disengaged, antisocial, quiet, lazy….all of those things evenly placed into the bowl and blended together in perfect harmony with a balanced bouquet of spiteful aftertaste.  Yep, that’s me…finding it far easier to make excuses and find reasons not to ride when a few weeks ago I was spinning fantastic yarns in order to go ride.  I would tell the boss I had a family thing, I would tell the family I had a work thing, all the while stealing a few hours a day to go ride.  Not so much now, its too cold, its too windy, its too_______ (fill in the blank) I am both outwardly and inwardly ashamed of myself. I have also been dealing with yet another health issue…now I have shingles. So I survive Swine Flu and am afflicted with the painfully horrid shingles on my ribcage. Did you know shingles are brought on by stress? Have I been stressed out for the past month? Why yes, yes I have been and there is nothing I can do about it right now.  For the past two days the weather around my parts has been unusually warm.  Like 60 degrees warm and yesterday it crept right up to the line that separates the 60’s from the 70’s.  I decided enough was enough, no more puttering around the house, no more excuses.  I went to Indian Springs which has an 8 mile long paved “trail” and I use trail for a lack of a better term to use.  I chose this path as an alternative to playing in traffic.  The path heads into the woods and for about 6 miles is a winding tree lined path broken into two lanes much like a road would be.  Being American you ride, rollerblade, skateboard, walk on the right hand side.  The last two miles of the path is a giant loop that at the half way point in the 2 mile loop is a mile marker.  I have in the past ridden to the loop and pedaled my way around the loop over and over again with each loop I try to break my own time record.  The loop section is typically desolate because for some one to walk the loop they would have to walk the 6 miles through the woods to get to it.  So on a standard day you will typically just see cyclists out there.


So I ride the 6 out to the loop, set the timer and start my own personal Crit against myself.  I hammer past the mile mark check the timer and see I am heading for a personal best.  A cyclist is riding toward me in the opposite direction and we pass each other (no wave) I finish out the first lap with good time and reset the clock for lap 2.  I am just passed the mile marker again and I see the same cyclist, fancy bike, matching kit, matching helmet etc.  I am about 20 feet from him and it looks like he is yelling something….his mouth is moving he is making hand gestures…I cant hear him over top the headphone music so I ignore him and pedal on.  Second lap….better than the first, reset the clock and head for lap 3.  Approaching the mile marker I can see him in the distance, out of the saddle, bike rocking back and forth, mouth open…again he is looking at me and saying stuff.  Again I ignore and pedal on.  Lap 3 slightly slower than lap 2 I reset for another lap.  Again I pass the mile marker and again serious cycle dude is saying stuff…this goes on for 8 laps.  Each lap we meet each other near the mile marker and each lap he is trying to get me to listen to him.  Finally I get off the bike and sit on a bench on the side of the path, curiosity has finally gotten the better of me so I am going to get to the bottom of this one sided conversation once and for all.  After a few minutes I see the other guy riding toward me and I wave him to a stop.  This is the conversation:
Me:  Just what the hell are you saying to me every time we pass each other?
Him:  I was giving you the score!
Me:  The Score?
Him:  Yeah you took 6 of the laps and I took 2 of them
Me:  We were racing?
Him:  I though we were?
Me:  (blank expression)
Him:  Yeah I figured you were racing me to the mile marker each time?
Me:  Actually I was just racing myself for time.
Him: (blank expression)
Me:  I mean if you want to race I suppose we could?
Him:  I think we have time for one more before we lose the sun.
Me:  Ok, bench is the finish line.


We arrange ourselves heading in separate directions and he yells Ready, Set GOOOOO!  And we tear off down the path heading in different directions, 2 miles later I pass the bench about 40 feet before he does.  We decide if we want to escape the woods before absolute darken we had better get a move on toward the entrance.  We ride and have a lighthearted conversation on the 6 mile ride back.  I peel off toward my car and he says “I will be here on Tuesday if you want to have another race.” 


Tuesday it is.

9 thoughts on “Sunday Races

  1. Well, if that didn’t brighten your day, I don’t know what will. 🙂 What are the odds of randomly meeting someone whose actions give you such a boost? Sounds like you had a great time 🙂

  2. I bet you didn’t think about shingles one time during that whole time. What a great story. It would be so worth it to live in Michagan just to be the time keeper for the race. lol Enjoy your ride tomorrow.

  3. What a hoot! I’ve always thought “It ain’t a race unless both parties think it is!”.

    Good job for getting out and doing it!

  4. Simply awesome story. Seems like you guys are about the same level of fitness. These races should be a good source of motivation for you in your training.

    Give him hell! 🙂

  5. I’ve been doing the same thing; coming up with excuses. It’s been a week of late meetings and early sunsets. This story was the first thing to make me smile in 7 days.

    Thanks Gene!

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