What’s up Doc?

18 06 2010

I’m slow.

When I pop into the roadie discussion forums on the internet, I’m forever reading how guys average 25 miles per hour on their casual rides. I’m lucky to achieve 25 kilometers per hour.

So either these guys are blowing smoke because, on the internet no one can tell whether you are who you say you are, or I’m just slow.

Today's turnaround was the Jericho Sailing Club.

But if there’s one thing that will help quicken my pace, it’s a rabbit.

No, not the furry kind with long ears that you may occasionally glimpse along the side of the road. I’m talking about the cyclist way up ahead that causes the competitive instinct to kick in and your legs to pump a little harder as you set yourself the challenge to catch that rabbit.

It doesn’t matter if that rabbit up ahead is another roadie, a dude on a mountain bike weighed down with panniers, or a little old lady on a cruiser; the race to catch the rabbit is on.

I mean, it’s not like I’m pumping like Mark Cavendish in a 100m sprint to the finish line, just quickening the pace a bit to achieve my goal.

And there’s always a twinge of satisfaction when I catch my rabbit, especially on a climb.

Of course, as I’m not at the top of the cyclist food chain, the hunter can just as easily become the hunted. It’s pretty humbling when I’m the rabbit to some guy in stovepipe jeans riding a creaking, rusty Miele, or, as happened to me a couple of years ago, a craggy old man in a flannel shirt booking it up the Northwest Marine Drive hill on a mountain bike, not even breaking a sweat, or a smile, as he blew past me; I’m betting he skulks in the bush at the bottom of the hill, just waiting for the chance to show up the “fancy boys on their sleek carbon and aluminum racers.”

Today my rabbit was a young hipster on a fixie. We traded catches for about 10 blocks; I’d catch him, get ahead, then he’d catch me at the next red light, and we’d begin the hunt all over again. It was good sport, and we exchanged small talk as we waited out the red lights. But in the end, I knew I’d outlast him; slow and steady wins the day.