I’m vacationing in St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia) with my family this week. It’s the second time we’ve vacationed here, the last being Spring Break in 2006. As before, I brought my road bike with me to do some riding when I wasn’t at the beach, collecting bugs, or laying around the condo doing nothing. The first trip I found a Friday group ride put on by the St. Petersburg Cycling Club. I remember asking someone before the start how fast the ride was, and he told me it split up into several groups – then pointed out the slow riders to me! I said no thanks, I’m looking for the fast guys. There were definitely some fast dudes there, and I had a whale of a time mixing it up with them for a flat thus fast 20-miler.
After arriving Saturday night, I looked up their website to see if they had any more rides during the week besides Friday, and voila! – rides every morning at 8:30am. So yesterday morning I showed up at the same spot in downtown St. Pete and waited for the ride. I’d given myself an hour to get there, unsure what traffic would be like, but it was no problem and I got there rather early. Gradually riders began to show up – some old guy on a Pinarello Prince, another grandpa wearing Jan Ullrich’s Telekom German National Champion jersey, a blue hair with a Cervelo and matching kit. As the riders showed up one by one, a definite theme emerged – it was a bunch of old guys riding really expensive bikes! I started getting nervous – could these guys ride, or was this going to be a Sunday stroll to yack and complain about their “prostrates”? I considered ditching the ride – I rode around the parking lot out of sight a little bit trying to decide. Then I realized – at 52 I’m certainly no spring chicken. I looked down at my anything but cheap LOOK 585. I wasn’t wearing my matching LOOK kit, but I do have one (and I wear it). It occurred to me – I’m just like them – even down to the complaining (about my waning abilities).
I rode with them. I had a great time. And yes, those old dudes can still kick it!
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009