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Square Wheels Cycling

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Yesterday, I went out on my normal evening ride, and there is a straight 1%-2% slope that is really fun to push it on if you are wanting a chance to put some power down.  I find the slope is just enough that you can really put a good effort in, and folks in this area know that section well (the top is usually a popular place to turn around and sometimes folks stop for a BBQ sandwich there as well).

Anyway, that was not my "thing" yesterday as I was just riding to ride, but as I approached the last 50 meters or so before the section ends, two guys blew past me at a furious pace. The lead guy in team kit, and the second guy sucking his wheel.  Anyway, they got a nice gap, and continued in the same direction as me.  Eventually, I saw the team kit guy pull off to stop/turn around, and the second guy kept going.  I thought, I guess I should see if I can skedaddle up to him before he turns around or I hit my turn around.  I made slow progress as he was a bigger guy and the flats and downhills are always gonna put me at a disadvantage to the bigger, stronger guys, but there are enough undulations in the path that I slowly reeled him.  On a final uphill a couple miles from my turn-around, I was easily matching his pace and sitting 30' back and aware that  if I passed him on the climb, he would easily repass me on the descent on the other side.  Better to just shadow him from a distance and enjoy it.  

Well, he did a look behind him, saw me, and immediately turned on the juice.  Still on the climb, I really didn't do much other than up my cadence, but as it leveled out and then started going down, it became a bit more challenging to match the pace, and he would check every so often and then up his pace some more.  It was pretty fun, as it really demonstrated the seemingly huge disadvantage being a lead rider - even without a draft - has when someone can follow and just match the pace and bide their time.  Eventually, we hit his turnaround spot about 1/2 mile before mine, and I rolled past. 

On the way back, I got to the bottom of the climb I had caught him on (descending it now), and he was there on the side of the trail doing something, but he looked right at me, and I knew he would be starting up to chase me down.  C'est la vie, and I didn't change my pace or anything.  After about five miles or so, he was there behind me.  Like I did to him, he did to me - sat off my wheel by about 20'-30' and matched my pace.  Anyway, he trailed me for another 5+ miles before a bit traffic separated us a mile from home.  

Of course, almost none of these guys are "public" on Strava, so I don't get the chance to say hi. :(

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