It's a rest week this week, so I'm riding recovery, keeping it under 225 watts or so, just chillin'. Naturally, I've had several really close calls. Man, that'll teach a guy to go slow.
The first one was going up the Cap Crescent, on the evening commute. I slow down behind two walkers (a mother and a young child), as two riders are coming up in the oncoming lane. There's no room, the two riders are slow rec types on hybrids. No need to be a jerk, right? I then notice a girl bombing up on a time trial bike, no drops, just aero bars. "Track, track, track" she screams. ("Track." Yes, really.) The mother jumps into the weeds, dragging the kid. I'm on the right hand edge of the paved path. Tri Girl comes flying by, mostly in my lane. I decided to gently voice my displeasure. "Way to scare the pedestrians, jerk!" (Hey, at least I didn't drop the f-bomb).
The second one was three. Riding up the Crescent today, again doing recovery, I spun up to the little bridge by the elementary school and coming down it, passed a woman and this guy I'd seen coming a long way off. I was not going hard - again, 220 watts maybe, 14-15 MPH uphill, very low effort level. So I pass the guy, he's on a black bike, bike shorts, toe clips, white cotton T-shirt, no helmet, kind of weaving. I just spin by, like I said, recovery. The guy all of a sudden switches on, pulls up next to me on the right, and accelerates, then slows, then accelerates, then slows. I'm doing like 18, easy spin, recovery, constant wattage. Finally I try to slow, then the guy slows. I see a couple bikes in the oncoming lane, they're going to make me crash out since Phred has forced me onto the yellow line, so I punch it up to 300-400 watts, for 30-40 seconds, put maybe 100 yards on the Phred, and settle back into an active recovery pace. About two minutes later, I hear pedal mashing noises and panting from behind me. It's Phrucking Phred again. So I just keep spinning because at this point, I'll be damned if I let some BTG (Bike Trail Guy) screw up my training and goad me into crushing his laboring @55. Eventually, he comes around me, in the drops, mashing for all he's worth. Shoulders bobbing right to left, got the hooks in a death grip, and he's holding his breath so hard to keep from letting me know he's panting, that he's shaking. Did I mention he waited to pull out until a couple oncoming bikes were very close? So he pulls past me, nearly causes the oncoming bikes to crash, and takes off for all he's worth. Meanwhile, I'm on the bar flats, chilling, Hr at 130, 220 watts constant. I didn't yell at him but I should of. At the time, I thought it would be pretty smart to just let him go, and head on home so he could pleasure himself thinking about how he crushed some racer dude on the Cap Crescent. I think by now he's had three or four happy endings, so I can tell the world what a complete ass the guy made of himself. I really should have called him out, and it's a screwup that I didn't.
Here's the thing. Both of these dipsticks pulled really dangerous stunts out there. Phred in particular flirted with three crashes. This is *sooo* much more dangerous than the typical crit... I'd rather go down at 30 with 10 guys going in the same direction, than get forced into the opposite lane while I'm doing 20, only to get hit by two people heading downhill at 25.
I've resolved to call more people out on their crapulent behavior on the trails. We have to share with pedestrians, other riders, and, God forbid, roller bladers. Cruising 25 in areas tightly packed with two-way bike and ped traffic... unacceptable. Buzzing down the line, splitting 4 pedestrians... unacceptable. Trying to play racer in traffic, and riding wildly and dangerously... unacceptable.
Yeah, it means I'm going to be an arrogant ass. And yes, nobody listens. At least for now. But if everybody starts taking just a little bit of care, I suspect it will help 'clean up' the trail over time. Here's the thing - I saw maybe 50 bikes on the trial tonight. Precisely two of the riders were badly behaved. We don't need to get everybody to ride better, we just need to get 5 or 10% of riders, to ride better.
We have to do it. There are no grounds for complaining about conditions, if you don't take responsibility for cleaning up your own corner of the world.