Thursday, May 14, 2009

0-39 in 40 minutes

Coming out of my days off, I had rested my legs, but hadn't slept enough. My heart beat slowly, heavily as I warmed up.

Traffic seemed surprisingly heavy for the time of day. It wasn't bad in my neighborhood, but thickened up on the highway. It wasn't thick by urban standards, but thicker than it has been. In summer the population of the area more than doubles. Around the lakes themselves, seasonal residents and visitors outnumber the locals at least five to one. The real surge won't hit until schools are out.

My legs felt strong, but the rest of me wanted to go back to bed. I was making fairly good time in spite of that. The morning was cool and pleasant, mostly sunny.

Nearing Wolfeboro, traffic slowed where utility workers had blocked a lane and were letting only one direction pass at a time. A dump truck passed me as we moved into the waiting line. Two or three more vehicles got ahead of me. I wanted that truck, but I knew I would kill myself if I tried to sprint after it. I plodded on, watching the situation ahead. The vehicles stopped. The traffic controller turned his handheld sign to release us. The gaps through which I might get to the dump truck didn't look attractive.

A van from a local glass company was right in front of me. What the hell, I figured. Let's see how it goes.

The line of traffic accelerated gradually. I clicked to high gear quickly so I would be ready for a jump. I figured I would hang on as long as I could and then peel off. That turned out to be at least a mile.

Snug in the pocket behind the van I could not see past it. I assumed the big dump truck was controlling our speed from farther up in the line. When the van finally accelerated beyond what I could manage with my gearing and tired cardiovascular system, I dropped back and drifted to the right. That's when I was able to see that the van had been maintaining that speed purposely to work with me. The rest of the string of vehicles was long gone. I waved thanks and farewell as the van pulled away.

More on the workday and the ride home in another post. I'm running late to leave for this one.


Grendel said...

Oddly enough I think I had a similar experience this morning with a capped pickup truck. He accelerated off a light rather slowly so I easily stayed in his draft and signaled well in advance when he needed to turn right. It's so bizarre to have motorists working WITH me.

Ed W said...

It's a great feeling when this happens, though to be honest, I just don't have the legs for it anymore. I've surfed the bow wave in front of a big truck going into the wind too. It's like having a big hand pushing on your back.

cafiend said...

Now THAT is ballsy. Yo.

Ed W said...

Well, not so much ballsy as just the convergence of wind and traffic on a narrow county road. My commute includes a mile shared with gravel trucks. The northbound truck couldn't pass me due to opposing traffic. He was OK with following me, and I'm OK riding with the truckers because they're professionals who know the limitations of their machines. If only I had the legs to jump in behind them...