Today’s Yehuda Moon comic got me thinking about how odd it is that a perfectly mature and otherwise normal adult on a bicycle may be turned into a hyper-competitive adolescent by the sight of another bike rider.
Many of us with competitive tendencies have experienced it. You’re riding along and you notice a fellow rider up ahead. At your current pace you’re going to overtake him, but suddenly he notices you and he picks up the pace. You had no intention of racing the fellow, but now that he’s trying to prove something, by golly, you also have something to prove, and the race is on. You accelerate and he accelerates, you back off and he backs off. The cat and mouse continues until someone blows up or you reach the finish line (that would be the next stoplight). If you do manage to “bridge the gap” and catch the fellow before the light, you feel triumphant for a fleeting moment, but only until you realize your work clothes are soaked and you’ll be spending the day offending your co-workers with your, ahem, “aroma”.
Of course, the other possibility is that you were imagining the entire thing and the other rider wasn’t even aware that he was in a race. This is humiliating, especially when you realize the other rider is 20 years your senior and he’s riding a bike that weighs 20 pounds more than yours.
Oh well, so much for the “Thrill of Victory”… :-)