One of the few joys of road biking is dominating the bike lane — easily passing runners, beach cruisers and mountain bikes.
My last ride in San Diego that giggle got fucked up.
Got a little lost around Del Mar. Found my way back to the Pacific Coast Highway and headed south to La Jolla. A little tired, a little sore, but as Joe Cocker would say. “feeling alright.”
At the Torrey Pines state park the road goes uphill. Not the worst hill in the world. About 1.5 miles and 450 feet climb (5 percent slope).
I’m carrying speed from the previous downhill. They have “two bike lanes” on the PCH for the uphill with a margin to the right. Plenty of room to pass walkers, joggers, and mountain bikers with their big, fat, slow tires.
I quickly spin past the first runner. I’m surprised I caught her so easily. On the skinny fuck scale, she’s a “super” (skinny fuck). Wiry muscles. Long and strong legs and striding easily at the base of the hill.
Momentum gone, it’s time for me to settle into my “climbing” pace. Easy gear. No pressure on the bad knees. Slow spin. No pressure on the exercise-induced asthma.
But it’s enough to knock the breath out of me. Get the heart rate climbing. The sweat flowing.
Well passed the runner, I move into the right bike lane. Any real road bikers are going to fly past the fat biker in the Old Fart shirt.
It feels like I’m climbing a little slow. I forgot to haul my pump to San Diego. Tire Pressure low. I can “feel” the road — see the tires squishing into the ground.
I need to spit. Look over the left shoulder. With the Covid, best to spit into the middle of the road at the cars and away from people. Just make sure no one is rolling up with their windows open.
Shit, runner is right there. She’s so light, I couldn’t hear her feet hit the pavement. She makes less noise sprinting up a 5 percent hill than my 9-pound dog makes in walking across the carpet.
I go to stand on the pedals and see if I can lose her again.
Her head isn’t moving. Her arms are barely pumping. She’s passed me before I could get my fat ass out of the seat. She’s 100 feet ahead before I could push any harder on the pedals. Jesus you paid $5,000 for this bike, you can’t let someone in $50 shoes go flying past you…
Nothing I could do. Lungs full, heart pounding. Legs burning.
OK new goal, just keep her in sight for the flat spot at the top and catch her on the flats. That way I won’t have to quit this shit in shame.
I pass a “big” couple on two cruiser bikes with just a few gears.
“It just keeps going up and up,” I hear the woman say. I don’t have the heart to tell her she’s not even half a mile into a 1.5 mile climb.
I pass a mountain biker. The runner had flown past them all. Think the mountain biker was just glad I was on a bike. But he still looks embarrassed to be passed by a fat biker. I squeeze out a mini-giggle.
Another road biker passes me — but not as fast as the runner did. He didn’t catch her on the hill either.
I get to the flats at the top — runner is out of sight. I see the other road biker. He did a U-turn and was rolling downhill for a repeat.
Get to the first stop light at the top of the hill. There’s the runner. She must have beat me by about a minute — maybe 2. She’s waiting for the light. She’s going to run down the hill and back up again.
Not me, sister.
I tell myself it was the low tire. If I had my damn pump, I could have cut a minute off my time and held her off.
Check my Strava stats. It was my 3rd fastest climb EVER, up that hill. I was within 25-seconds of my personal best. I couldn’t beat that skinny-fuck runner up this hill on my best day.
Now that’s god damn embarrassing — even for a fat biker in an Old Fart shirt.