Just when you think you've lost it

I did a hilly training ride this morning. The brief was fairly simple: ride for c.2hrs, keep it low z2 on the flats, but go hard (threshold) on the hills.

Anyway, I wasn’t feeling it - no legs today. But my competitive urge got a bit sparked.

At about the 3/4 of this particular route, you come out of a little village, then begin a long, almost dead straight, slightly uphill drag to a crossroads, where you turn right and have a short-ish sharp-ish rise to the top of the hill.

As I came out of the village, I caught sight of another rider perhaps 400m away from me up the road, so I decided to try and catch him. At a steady 260w, I was making no headway. At 280, I was gaining slowly. I then went all in at well over 300w for the remainder of the climb and he still reached the top perhaps 50m ahead of me.

At this distance, it was obvious that the rider was an older gentleman, and - with no offence - he didn’t look especially athletic, so my failure to catch him was, well, a worry and a surprise.

Anyway, I gasped and panted my way past him just over the top of the hill, heart rate in the 170s, where he initiated a conversation, with apparently only slight shortness of breath. I had spit and snot everywhere and could only manage short phrases.

Just when I was about to chuck my bike in the bush, call a taxi and resolve to take up bowls, I clocked the bike: an e-bike!

So, I’m now a) mildly re-assured, and b) considering getting one for the wife and getting her to pace me up the hills!


I’ve been passed by ebikes many times, and it only takes me a couple of seconds to identify them now. Truly strong people make it quite obvious with the way that they pedal. There’s no way to put down big power sitting bolt upright and pedaling at 60rpm.


in NYC we have a bike share with Ebikes. I have been passed in all kinda of humiliating situations by commuters on their way to and from work!

I was doing hard intervals up a sizeable hill once, far from town, I could hear two guys about to pass me while casually chatting. I was beginning to question my life choices, but it turns out they were in business attire, riding Onewheels. So many questions…

Plot twist: the older gentleman wasn’t using the motor assistance!

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Happened to me recently on a ride, for an instant it’s a dent in your confidence then the realisation of the e-bike rider’s big belly and the type of bike.

Then comes the determination to not let the same e-bike rider pass you again on the next climb.

“ So, I’m now a) mildly re-assured, and b) considering getting one for the wife and getting her to pace me up the hills!”

Would give new meaning to the saying “you always hurt the ones you love” :wink:

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Another ready to quit story:
At about 50 years old, I decided to loose weight & train to beat my PR on a 3 mile climb. Met my target weight and was ready. Long warm up and stretch before attack.
Behind me I see a bike coming, but it is just a guy in pants, work boots, over weight & a lunchbox on a $200.00 Canadian Tire bike. After he passes, off I go. I soon realized I was not gaining on him super fast, strange?? As I finally caught him he looked over and said “ Hey, you got one of those fancy 10 speeds”. He picked it up a bit to my pace and said he was going to work at the local steel mill.
We rode side by side for 2 miles. At the final short kicker he went by me never never to be seen again. I was ready to quit forever. This mill worker had the genes of a world tour pro. I learned “ There are athletes, and then there are real athletes “.


And they usually don’t wear helmets and are on their phones to boot. I can still pass most of these people, their bike assist caps out at 15mph. But the next gen of citibike e bikes will supposedly have a top speed of 20 mph, which will be much more dangerous and harder to pass.

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I’m not mad at people on ebikes as a concept, you know one less car and all that. But so many of them are wildly irresponsible and have no concept of safety and rules of the road

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