7.02.2004

Joel and A Thousand and One Excuses....
Today my boss and I switched shifts....I will be staying late through the show. This gave me time to get of bed slowly and to go for a quick prework ride (well, only after hanging with Dean before he headed off to pre-k and entertaining 4 month old Grant while Lisa hiked the dogs.) I miss riding more than 15 minutes before work. It is such a refreshing way to start the morning and puts a different 'spin' on the day.
I went north up Rock Creek towards Bethesda and took the Capitol Crescent Trail past the Chevy Chase City Bikes shop into downtown Bethesda towards Georgetown. I moved the bike at a healthy clip, always passing other trail users with respect and courtesy, even having to slow and stop for gathering of trail users that I would have been spooked or injured had I dashed in between.
Not far into the trail I caught up to an older female rider on a road bike. She was moving at a steady clip with her helmetless head and her headphones blaring. I passed with an audible warning that she did not hear, she courteously asked to draft, I asked that she did not and explained why, her headphones were too loud for her to hear what I was saying, but the slowing of my bike and eye contact aided in her grasping my point. She matched my speed and we worked our way down the trail. At this point my rate of speed was above what I usually travel at, and my legs which still have not recovered from the weekend past's 24 hour relay event were feeling sluggish. She passed me and I passed her back....then ahead I could see a Park Service truck on the paved path, now running parallel to the C&O Canal and the towpath I made a tactical error. Thinking that the truck was stopping I thought I could pass the truck on the high ground and pull away from this lady roadie. To my dismay my speed dropped as I hit the soft beige gravel path of the towpath, while the truck and cyclist pulled away. I accepted my loss, dropped speed, dropped down a short grassy hump back onto the paved Crescent Trail and let my legs spin and cool down.
Soon enough, I was 20 yards behind this same female cyclist, her pace had dropped as well. The game of cat and mouse was behind us. I had bonked, she had won. As we meandered down K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway along between Georgetown and the Potomac River we began to chat. It was a friendly exchange. We each smiled as we talked. Then it happened. As I flattered her for her being fast and dropping me she then added..."and 20 years older than you no less!" "57?" I asked. ""not quite" she responded.....then as our conversation continued I felt the excused stacking up in my head....all preloaded.....my mouth started to unleash them one by one.....
"had this been a time trial, I would still be ahead of you"
"I am on a mountainbike with fenders and knobbies while you are on a road bike" (I actually did not say that)
"my body is still recovering from a 24 hour relay race last weekend"
or something to that effect
then I caught myself
and changed the tone
it was still pleasant
and she was enjoying it all
then I said...."none of that changes the fact that you are a fast cyclist and that you dropped me"
she said thank you
before I peeled away I commented on her helmet and headphones, but her being an adult and having a right to choose
we said our good byes
and both look forward to SHARING THE TRAIL (and the morning and a ride) another day!

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