Schooled by Coppi

last night after work I debated if I had enough time for a post work ride
the combination of the late shift on Tuesday/Thursday and the Wakefield race on Wednesday
left me feeling like I best rush home for some assistance with the kids...
only after a short ride
if I want to start this season... I need to start it now
after the reminder of the great feeling cycling gives me I felt I had to get back into riding
I know that if I stretched my ride out a little I still had time to be home to dress Dean, tuck him into bed, and read him a story or two while lisa does the same for Grant

so I weaved down M Street
passing the bumper to bumper traffic
splitting lanes.... hands always on the brakes.... eyes always on everything
eyes trying to ignore the eye candy on the corner
trying to anticipate the next move of each unpredictable driver
always expecting the worst... always expecting the illogical and the ignorant
always putting my bike and my body in the location that is least likely to allow me to be harmed
zig zagging from what I feel is the safest line to split
always riding defensively in a manner that that is offensive to some
always trying to keep speed
always trying to ride that perpetual wave

knowing I need to be back in time for Dean's wind down to bed time
I pointed towards the Capitol Crescent Trail for a sprint up and back to Bethesda

K Street under Whitehurst Freeway was as blocked up as M Street for the first many blocks
as the traffic thinned I was moving as a pretty strong clip
feeling a bit of a rush from the post work race the day prior
ontop of the pleasure of splitting traffic fast
starting to feel like a cyclist
starting to feel cool

then out of no where a roadie passed me fast and close with no warning.....
his eyes were locked forward
never paying the fred with the backpack any mind
seeing the petite lean man in his Coppi jersey and his Coppi shorts.... I let him go
I was off doing my own thing

then several minutes later I was on the Capital Crescent Trail 10 yards behind this same roadie racer type
so I decided to hang 10 yards back and borrow his pace

in no time at all in a frustrated way I was waved on by the "Koppi Kid"

like I were an insect buzzing by his ear he motioned me past
so... I rode past him at pretty much the same pace

keeping the same strong pace
staying clear of the big ring
I spun nice fast circles in the small ring in the front and the small cog in the back
paying no mind to much other than the sites around me
college girls jogging...
commuters riding
roller bladders complaining that there feet hurt

after some time I glance back....
the Koppi Kid is pacing off me 10 yards behind
no change in pace
I continue doing my thing
over time I forget that he is there and keep doing my thing
trying to stay fast
trying to stay safe
giving an audible on each pass of fellow trail users
slowing at any point that I felt merited such

then out of no where the Koppi Kid comes rolling by
again with the same postition
like a machine locked forward he moved past me
no warning
no comment
no glance
no wave
just eyes locked forward and legs spinning

I let him go
did not change pace
just accepted that he is faster and stronger

fought the impulse to justify things
made no mention of the knobbies on my cross bike
never did I try to weigh his bike against mine or his body against mine
did not try to make it clear that he is schooling me on pavement and that I would school him on dirt
did not do it
there was no panicked justification of my return from an injury
nothing... just this day... just this reality
just let him go
watched his petite little body spin faster and forward into the distance
eventually the trail turned
when I entered and exited that same turn
he was then completely out of view

it is good to be humbled
it is good to be schooled
there is always someone faster
there is always someone stronger

if this were the old west
I would have learned long ago that I am not the fastest gun
that is a lesson that can only be learned one
thank goodness this is not the old west
thank goodness I like bikes and not guns

thanks Koppi Kid for showing me up
thanks for helping me to pick up the pace
see ya on the trail

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