Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We're all the same.

Michael and I met up in Banff on Sat morning and rode out to Castle Junction where we met Paul and Marilyn and proceeded to Radium and back. Michael and I had just connected with Highway 1A and were just passing the MuleShoe campsite when we saw a cyclist in the distance. Both of us were well aware we were going to be late for our planned 9am meeting at Castle Junction with Paul and Marilyn so we were taking short pulls and not going easy. We passed the cyclist like he was standing on the side of the road. I noticed he had big hiking boots on, big flowy Goretex rain pants and jacket. His big hood was up over his head and his helmet was perched on top. He had cheap plastic toe cages, but the buckles weren't done up. Probably because of the hugeness of his hikers. He also had a backpack.

I thought to myself it was pretty cool that this dude must be riding out to Johnson Canyon or one of the hikes along the 1A. Anyway, when we passed him, I was taking my pull. I was crouched down over the handlebars and riding a solid tempo. A few minutes later, I wave Michael through and start to come around. I did a double take when the hiker was tight on Mike's wheel !! He skillfully dropped back so I could slot in in second. Just the smooth way he did that I knew he was an experienced cyclist and I didn't really have to worry about his skills.

Michael and I came to the first of the hills along the route and laid it down pretty good. Michael's coach had told him to 'hit every hill like it was an interval' so we did as prescribed. At the top, we rolled up into a big gear. I thought it was too bad there were these hills or our hiker friend would have had a draft to his trailhead. ... ... That's when I heard the familiar 'click click click' of gears behind me !! The dude was right there !! Awesome!

Anyway, Michael upped the pace and we traded pulls even harder to the second set of climbs. The hiker was a shadow, skillfully ensuring to stay in our drafts while we pacelined.

At the summit of the next climb, there was a car parked at the side of the road. We followed the aim of the camera lens sticking out of the window and there was a MASSIVE grizzly sitting just to our right as we rolled by. Pretty cool.

Nearing Castle Junction I slowed up and waved the hiker up beside me. I could barely hear myself yelling to him over his billowing rain gear.

Turns out he is a Danish fellow here to see the sights. He rented the junker bike in Banff to ride the 1A to Lake Louise and back and see everything in between.

Us cyclists are funny. When there is a draft to be had, speed to be had, and a quicker time to our destination, I am not sure many of us would pass it up. The dude didn't even see the grizzly !! He was so intent on sticking to a wheel !!

I would have done the same thing in Denmark!



Dallas said...

good write up./ awesome. .. just like how in Provincial Road race I dropped my $150. Ipod NANO. but refused to stop and pick it up... didn't wanna get dropped, but got dropped anyway later on.
Then went back after and my Nano was still there on the shoulder :)

Dennis said...

Yes I think it's a universal thing. When I rode with GPM10 a few years ago in the Haute-Savoie (Chamonix) region of France, we stumbled across a local race team that was training. They attacked but we were glued to them as they redlined the final 20 km into Annecy. It drove them crazy, and that was the closest I had been to passing out on the bike just to hang on.

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