An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Three-up Riding

I've never had a great sprint on the bike. I did okay in high school track and even in the 5K distance in college, where I at least wouldn't get left behind. But on the bike, I've just never had that big snap, the acceleration to come around some one at the end of a race.

I can't tell you how many races I've ended up third in a 3-man break away. I'm very good at creating a break away, and keeping them going to stay away from the group, but when it comes to the finish line, I'm the caboose.

One particular race stands out in my mind, mainly because I had a comfortable solo lead going over the last (huge) mountain, but was caught by two on the descent, and when the final sprint was there, I was third.

This brings me to yesterday's shop group ride. Nyer, the owner of Inspired Ride Bicycles, wasn't going to make it, and I was working the day, so I got there early and settled in, prepping everything. When ride time came, there was that familiar number -- three.

It's usually a non-competitive ride, somewhat social but still scooting along. Sometimes if the group is larger, it'll break up into two groups, one going faster, and maybe longer than the normal loop. With the small numbers, and me having to be back to open the shop doors, the normal loop was the call of the day.

We set out, and I led through the first few miles where we wind through a park, and made our way through some busier roads before crossing Meridian, the major north/south arterial, and onto the chip-sealed back roads. I didn't want things to get too pedestrian, so I kept the pace on the high side for the group.

Once into the open road in Sunrise, an out-of-place four lane road, the other two finally came to the front and pressed things. A nice downhill, and then they started flagging on the gentle incline on the other side. This is where I usually start pulling the group apart if there's going to be a split. We stayed together, but I was pushing it. Heading west into the sun, one right-hander, another downhill, and the biggest hill of the ride.

As some one who's always been a pretty good climber, I can usually leave most people behind here. Not today, though. Those two stayed on my wheel, and I could already envision the familiar third-place finish as they sling-shot around me for the "win".

When it came, I was already settle with it. My place as lead-out man was secure, as was my normal role in criteriums and flat road races.

And so this ride ended as most of my three-up rides do -- I finish third when the last sprint comes.

Me came in first, with Myself a close second, and I followed in with a smile.

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