Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My arrogant good deed for the day:

It’s a busy road up the canyon at the end of my ride, and I hardly ever see another cyclist here, even though it’s got a wide shoulder and makes a pretty decent road to train on.

Today, though, there was one, and he needed help getting going after a flat tire. He was fidgeting with a little pocket hand-pump as I approached, and looked noticeably relieved to see another cyclist. I swung over to a stop as he waved. “Hey, man, can I borrow your pump? Mine’s broken.”

Getting stranded sucks, and that’s why checking to make sure your gear works before you leave home is a pretty good idea, but I’ve broken stuff before, too. I explained that I only had a C02 inflator, which is good for exactly one use, but he was welcome to it.

Those stupid little hand pumps take about 1,000 strokes to get a tire up to anywhere near decent pressure, and more arm strength than a skinny little cyclist like myself can often muster. A C02 inflator takes about 10 seconds and the push of a button. Whoosh! He was up and running again. “Thanks, man, you saved my ass.”

Not a problem. We chatted a bit as we rode up the road*, and then we got to the part where you could either continue right, or turn left up a nice little leg-burner of a climb, a bit over a kilometer at 10%. He indicated he was turning left, and I nodded. Hey, I didn’t expect that.

The cars clear, and I do my thing up the hill. I’ve learned that this is considerably quicker than most people do. I’m out of the saddle, spinning a 21-tooth cog. Screw that. Upshift, upshift. I’m not flat-out, but I’m breathing pretty hard by the top. I glance down as I turn right.

He’s nowhere in sight.

*As I wrote that sentence, I almost went back to edit it, but I’m leaving the silliness intact.


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