I did a short ride today with a friend...Rob, who works at Adidas and owns just one bike. This one bike is an old, I mean old as in over 30 years old, Bridgestone Submariner. The main tubes are all stainless steel. It is in stellar shape and it is a heck of a cool bike. He does have some more modern parts on it, but not like what I am riding. His bike is set up as a single speed but it still must weigh 22 pounds or so. I was riding the only bike I have with road slicks right now, the Specialized S-Works Roubaix--full Dura Ace. Yeah, a little difference in the bikes.
However, Rob does have some cards in his favor. He used to run for a Division 1A school, I think either Georgia or Georgia Tech. He is probably in his late forties now, but he has remain in pretty good shape and in the past has done some triathlons and other related activities. The dude is competitive. He commutes back and forth downtown from Beaverton on 46/16 or 17 gearing. He climbs up those hills up by Washington Park 4 or 5 times per week. Basically, he is in pretty good shape.
I have never ridden with Rob before even though we often have talked about riding. He also really wants a singlespeed cross bike. And I now have one so it was a good excuse to have him over to show it off and then go for a ride. he arrived a little late and I only had about 90 minutes to spare so it was a short ride.
I picked the route and the highlight was a little climb up the west side Springville Road to Skyline Drive. After pleasant conversation while riding on Cornell Road to Cornelius Pass Road it started to get a little more heated. On some of the back roads there weren't the traffic signals nor the traffic to really slow us down. He had me lead and at one point going down a hill he told me to open it up. Prior to that I didn't want gap him or anything since I had gears, but with that comment it was on.
I was hot out of the saddle stomping up some of the short hills and pushing it on the flats and downhills. I couldn't drop him. He just stayed on my rear wheel--drafting me. Obviously, I was doing a bunch of work out there this windy day, but still! I have gears I would have thought I could have pulled away. Umm, not so much.
Finally, we arrived at the bottom of a long climb up to Skyline Drive. I told him it was a long one, more than 2 miles I thought. After a quarter mile or so Rob asked me where to go when we get to Skyline. I said that we turn right. And then he was off.
It wasn't like I was going easy. I was in the big ring climbing out of the saddle, the bike rhythmically pitching left and right and as I rocked my way up the road. He took off at a nice clip. His cadence looked good. I was disheartened big time. Nevertheless, I continued my pace which for me was near heart bursting as it was.
I noticed that after a half mile or so he stopped pulling away. He was about 75 yards ahead of me. I gained on him a bit, but not much. Then I heard him make some animal noise--probably from the pain induced by that hill and that gear he was pushing--and I noticed I was actually getting closer. And closer. About 50 feet before the stop sign at Skyline Road I caught him and passed him. I had to take a break, my heart, lungs and legs were ready to explode. We stopped and chatted for minute, he ate some crackers he had in a ziplock bag in his shorts...yummy. Then off along Skyline road and while passing at the cemetery Rob offered to take a pull. Man, it was nice to relax a bit. I realized once again how nice it is to sit behind another's rear wheel.
Back at the homestead, he thanked me for the ride and told Bridget that he thought it was nice that I took it easy on him. Umm, no. I didn't. At least not for the second half of the ride. Geesh. Gotta get him on a cross bike. Those couple of miles up that section of Springville Road were among my more painful this year.