I was riding home from work a couple of weeks ago when I caught up to a young guy who had been delayed by a red light. He rolled through the green just as I edged up behind him, so he didn't know I was 10 feet off his wheel.
He was riding a couple of miles an hour slower than my pace, but with only a block to go before my next left turn, there was no point in passing. I settled in behind him and watched him catch a little air at curb cuts as he put a little twist on each jump.
After a short distance, he looked over his shoulder and saw me. Maybe it was the gray beard or my ugly face, but he clearly didn't want me hanging.
He accelerated like somebody had shoved a bottle rocket up his ass. And everyone who has been in such a situation knows what he did next.
Yeah. He started looking back to make sure he was dropping me.
"Sorry, kid," I thought to myself, "but I've only had a mile-and-a-half warm-up from my office, and I'm in a middle-ring mood. I'm lettin' you go."
Besides, Dimond Boulevard at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday is a lousy place for a testosterone-fueled bike race. I really don't need to get hip-checked in front of a Cadillac driven by some blue-hair who's struggling to see over the steering wheel while a psychotic Chihuaha bounces on her lap.
I don't know if I'm gettin' wiser, or just older. I looked at the guy's jeans, day pack and too-low saddle and figured all I'd have to do is wait for a block or two, then pull ahead as he gasped for air after his pointless sprint.
But that seemed like way more trouble that it was worth.