Tom looking totally PRO in head to toe Pactimo !
This past weekend Hottie and I attended a retreat for my company. It was awesome. The weekend included a modicum of work and a lot of fun. There was a chunk of free time on Saturday afternoon and two of my coworkers and I had planned a ride along a stretch of one of the most scenic portions of the Columbia gorge.
I had tapped into Oregon cycling legend Lynne for some specifics on the area and she was able to provide some direction. When my team had passed through this arealast summer we had to portage a couple times and ride a bit on I-84 which was extremely not fun.
It turns out that after my team rode it last July the final leg of the bike path was completed the following November. Therefore on this trip my friends and I had smooth sailing with no freeway riding. The route was an idyllic mix of paved trail and retired roads (HistoricHighway 30, completed in 1913) before we had to share the winding road with cars.
Men of Gnarl !!
Our group was composed of myself, Alex and Tom. Tom has been riding for years both on and off road but for Alex this road bike thing is a whole new world. Alex is a strong young buck and I had little concern about his ability to hang with us.
The day was perfect. Temperatures around 70, blue skies with puffy white clouds and shade from the trees as we rode. The views were amazing and our pace genteel.
Over the past six months Tom and I had been sprinkling Alex with bits and pieces of advice as he entered the world of road cycling. He had a nice bike, good clothing and had enjoyed his cycling thus far. Tom is an exceptionally nice guy and even though we hadn’t spoken a word on the subject, the plan was to keep it inclusive and not drop Alex.
As we got underway the scenery was breathtaking and we were correspondingly quiet. As the ride stretched out we settled in.
Alex’s shoulders were rocking and he spent too much time in the big ring. On the one hand we could see there were a dozen things we could correct about how he was riding. At the same time the grin on his face and the glint in his eyes reminded Tom and I that too much “coaching” could ruin a great ride.
We metered out a tidbit here and there, but mostly the three of us just chatted and rode. The ride was an out and back with a single sustained climb to reach the turnaround vista point. Nobody attacked on the climb, yet we maintained a respectable pace.
Pactimo Style !
While stopped at the vista before heading back, Alex had a couple of what he called, “beginner” questions. We didn’t flinch and I know that back when I was getting started I asked a thousand questions and still made a hundred mistakes. Ben was the name of my cycling mentor. One of the ways you know you have a trusting relationship with another cyclist is when they quietly share their own, “Once, when I didn’t know any better I actually ______” stories. We all have those stories.
On the way back we had a tailwind and our pace picked up. With just a few k’s left on our seventy kilometer ride Alex confessed this was his longest ride ever. We smiled and congratulated him. When we finished he was all smiles and at dinner that night he was eager to share the details of his accomplishment.
In my journey to curmudgeondom I find I suffer fools less and less. Even my cold, thorny heart is touched when I see someone discovering something (cycling or otherwise) that fills them with wonder and joy.
It was a good day on the bike.