Went for a ride the other day. That is remarkable enough in a summer when that seems to rarely happen, but something else happened along the way - I got caught.
What do I mean by that? I mean that another rider that I had passed caught up to me. Not in a race (not literally), but just out on the trails. There are times or places that this is a regular occurrence and not noteworthy. And it definitely isn't that I am that strong or fast. But the combination of riding lots of empty roads, riding with groups that move along reasonably quickly, and, once in a while, being strong enough to pedal a bike quickly, means that it has been a long time since I have been caught by someone from behind.
And, I am here to say . . . it bothered me.
It shouldn't have. There is no rationale reason for it to bother me whatever the circumstances. And the fact that there was a strong headwind on an exposed trail and I was riding my commuter bike and my commuter bike has lights and fenders and giant wind-catching panniers and I was tired from riding a couple of days in a row and . . .
See, it does bother me. I should be a tad relieved because I had passed a rather elderly woman on a mountain bike and the first time I looked back I thought she was catching back up to me, so I guess I should be glad that it was a fit guy within a decade of my age (yes, he appeared older) on a mid-level carbon Trek rather than an ancient woman on a mountain bike, but still.
When I ride I don't normally look behind or worry about it, but in this case my heart rate was pegging over and over and I was getting tired and I was getting close to the trailhead and I had passed 15 people and for some reason I looked over my shoulder and noticed someone getting inexorably closer. I finally gave up the effort and slowed because I just didn't have the last 1 - 1.5 miles in my legs. I suppose the reality is that if I had dug in at a slower pace I still might have made it to the trailhead or a lot closer, but I threw in the towel and he closed the gap. That was when he graciously said that he had been working for 6 miles to catch me and he had struggled to catch me and I replied by starting to list my excuses for why I wasn't going faster. Yeah, not a proud moment in retrospect. I should have just said, "nice work" (which I did, by the way, just in the midst of other stuff), and left it at that.
I will do that next time. I just hope it is a really long time until it happens again.