The Cold Sprint

I’ve written previously about the morning ride I do and the legendary sprint at the end. Today I’m posting another email that I sent to the list, commentating this morning’s sprint. I have a good time writing these things up, and hopefully those cyclists out there get a kick out of them, too :)

The sprint started very mellow this morning. We had a large pack making its way through the beginning of the Presidio, two abreast into the cold morning. I started shit talking early. Chris graciously offered a hearty effort. I retorted saying it was every man for himself. Silly, I realize, and also ironic. Read on.

Up the first bump the pace was mild. I know this because my out-of-shape ass was able to keep up. And even slower we went as we crested the first little climb, each rider waiting to see who would lead us to the finish.

Then, out of nowhere, Brian K, who’s probably in worse shape than me, made a jump. A jump only rivaled by Mark Renshaw. What a heart that young man has! (He’s my age.) Immediately the pack went from mellow to chaos. Riders were unsure about where they were, whose wheel they were on, and how they would fair when the final turn came. The whole thing was crazy, really. Robert told me later that he forgot his name. You could see fear in some eyes, opportunity in others. Eventually, though, the peloton would find some order. Brian, giving everything he had, would stay on the front until the second-to-last turn, with Jared on his wheel, Chris on Jared’s, I on Chris’, and the rest of the pack behind me.

With just one turn to go, Jared, exerting himself so much that he wasn’t even able to see his power output on his bike computer, had gapped Chris and me. But I waited, patiently and selfishly hoping that Chris would close the gap.

Around the last turn we went, and out of the saddle I jumped. I was already spent, but I smelled blood. The blood of Jared, who at this point was at least 5 bike lengths in front of me. I was determined to catch him before the speed bump as if my life depended on it. According to Strava I peaked at 34mph. But despite Chris’ mighty effort, I would fall short. Jared, having been on the front since the second-to-last turn, would take this morning’s victory. I closed the gap, yes, but not enough.

Congratulations, Jared. You deserve your victory. But those of us in your wake long for our opportunity at the crown[1]. Now if only Strava would unflag the damn thing …


[1] For the last three years I’ve screamed to Jay, “I’m coming for you!” on each climb, and I’ve still never caught him. So I could be 100% full of shit.