Saturday, 2 October 2010

energy sucking rain

There is nothing like it for sucking energy out of yourself. Rain.

Today, Rob and I cycled from Cambridge to Brantford via Paris on the rail trail. For most of the ride, it sprinkled rain, or poured. The temperature hovered around 8 degrees Celcius.

This does two things to you when riding: one, the trail becomes very soft relative to what it is like when dry which adds considerable drag, and two, the temperature, combined with the wet, sucks the energy out of you making a 68km ride feel more like 100.

Nevertheless, it was a terrific ride. We set out at a brisk pace and warmed up in about 2 km. The trail was virtually empty of people, and we were able to maintain a good clip without undue effort. This prompted us to bypass Paris and head on into Brantford - I cannot get out on the bike tomorrow, so extra km today were a good idea.

It did not really start to rain hard until we started back.

We got soaked.

***

Have you ever noticed how strange people behave when they are in a group of like minded people? 

I have encountered groups of cyclists on the road or on the trails that are wonderful people - chatty, friendly, interested in making new friends - who, when they encounter another trail user, become strangely psychotic and aggressive, yelling and screaming at people who are slower than them or who "get in their way" somehow. 

I have seen this same mentality with groups of runners.

It is truly odd since I am willing to bet that most people who act like that from the protection of the group would not consider acting like that when alone. The pack mentality is a strange thing.

Take today. We encountered a very pleasant group of people around our age and younger (I will let you guess what that means) who had done some canoeing on the Grand River. They, like us, were soaking wet and they, like us, were just going about their business and walking onto and down the rail trail. There must have been about 40 of them. They filled the trail from grass edge to grass edge and left no room to go around.

Virtually every single person or group of people we have met on the trails has been considerate. There exists this mutual understanding that all of us are trying to get where we are going and trying to enjoy the trail equally. People say hi, slow down, move over, give each other space. Dog owners pull in their loose dogs. People smile. Not too shabby.

This group did not do that. They would not move. In their defence, they probably were not expecting a couple of soaked cyclists to appear, but ringing the bell, saying excuse me politely, asking for a bit of room, and even pointing out in reasonable tones that we cannot go around and and have to get through produced almost no effect. It took almost five minutes of very slow manouvering to get through. It was truly bizzare. Every one was super friendly, but they would not share the trail willingly.

The pack took over.

It makes me wonder what they thought of us trying to get through.

***

Back to the ride. I ran out of "gas" about 10 km from the end. The cold and wheel sucking trail had done its work and I needed fuel. I felt great, but had no energy.

The sad part is, I want to go out again even as I write this.

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