although i didn’t realize it, my thoughts began to diverge about three months ago when i noticed this one inauspicious looking homeless guy on the bike path. i guess i don’t really know for sure if he is homeless. i can never tell if he is wearing the same clothes from day to day or not. however i do notice the same shoes. not that wearing the same shoes everyday is an indication that someone is homeless, but his shoes were something that i noticed. they were these light colored high top work boots they looked very rugged, practical and solid like they’ve gotten some use. if fact this guy looked the same way. in fact he could probably be a metaphorical clone with his boots.
this guys is always in the same 2 mile stretch of bike path. i never see him walking, just sitting on a table staring out into the river. i never had contact with him, only because he always seems to be looking away from me. he seemed a little scary, but only because he was a bit weathered his spirit seemed to be broken. i normally don’t spend time trying to figure out the life of a homeless person, but this was different since i passed him almost twice a day…everyday. i wondered if he had just lost his job because of the bad economy, or if might have been a traveler, and this was his life, or maybe he was a man running from the law after killing his family.
the closest i ever came to having contact with this guy was when he was sitting on a picnic table next to a long stretch of bike path, i could see him watching me from the distance. as i got closer he looked out over the river once again. this story has no ending really. the guy just stopped showing up after that day. maybe he found a job, or moved on, or got caught, i’ll probably never know.
after an hour or so of non-shop top i remembered that i had rode my bike in, and it was getting late… and i had two awesome beers. it had been a very active day that included a ride to work and a lunch race/ride. i didn’t have much to eat except for some “munchies” and a vitamin water. so these two beers were sitting pretty well inside me when i started my journey back to the car. i set up my lights, and stuffed my bags, and put in my buds and rode off into the dark. now that i think about it, i had my vest with me, but completely forgot about it…hmm. i wasn’t drunk or anything, but i could feel the beer’s effect as i pedaled harder and harder.
the trail was dark and cool with the after glow of a recently full moon, and lights reflecting on the calm polluted river water. kind of eerie but cool. the first time i rode home on the denver bike path in the dark i was a little afraid, but tonight i was much more relaxed. it was really nice tonight, there was a slight breeze, just enough to keep the bugs out of the air, and not enough to slow me down. i was spinning lightly and the legs were good and the music was so appropriate. psychedelic sounds of the dandy warhols was just unbelievable. i was in my own world for a brief memorable moment.
i wasn’t really thinking about anything, but i was observing everything. that’s usually what hapens at night, the senses are higher and not too many things go unnoticed. i could tell that my headlight were shining backwards…wait what? that wasn’t my headlight, someone was behind me. i turned back to look and could only see one really bright light. for a moment i thought it might be the trail police [if there is such a thing] trying to catch me because i wasn’t supposed to ride the path at night. i kind of slowed down a moved to the left to let him pass. as he passed i could see that it was in fact someone training for a triathlon, or something because they had aero bars. this is not right i hate getting passed by anyone, especially someone with aero bars. so i switched into a bigger gear and started my chase.
it wasn’t difficult to catch him, but after a short time at maximum lactic threshold, my beer began to work its way back out. i had to really step it up to keep it down. but to get dropped by aero bars? i couldn’t let myself get dropped, and after a couple of times of nearly loosing it, i finally managed to stop thinking about my stomach and focus on the light in front of me. i could see in the dark distance that he was looking back and trying to accelerate. each time he looked back i would get a little further behind. i decided to turn off my head light and ride in the pale moon light. it worked. in just a minute or two he looked back and then started cruising. ha ha my evil paln worked to a tee! with one little exception. now i was sprinting and i couldn’t exactly see where i was going. nothing new for me, i often ride with faulty lighting.
finally i got close enough to him that he could see my tail lights. by then he knew wasn’t messing with a normal person. at the next junction, he turned off and never looked back at me. i kept going for another mile or so at this super fast about to throw up pace. when i finally let up, i no longer felt the effects from my beers, except for the fact that i was super thirsty.
i love riding :)
the thing that i am most worried about is my butt. i don’t think it’s going to make it. as i said, i can bail anytime i want or need to.
it’s coming up in a couple of weeks, i’ll keep you posted.