... A white minivan, and not even a fancy one. Ours was a manual 5-speed with windows that you actually had to roll up and down with a crank. So what does this have to do with cycling? or getting older? Whenever I drove that minivan, no matter how fast I was travelling, everyone HAD to get ahead of me. That vehicle exuded uncoolness, so anyone nearby had to get away. Again, link to cycling?
Some days out riding, I have to accept that I am that white minivan. No matter how great my kit looks, I'm still an older female; that is more than enough reason for everyone else (at least those of the male persuasion) to pass me, no matter how much energy it burns. As I was riding up the canyon today, three guys glided past me in pretty close succession. They weren't that young, and their legs definitely weren't shaved. (Technically, I should be able to stay ahead of this class of rider). My humiliation was amplified a few minutes later when another rider FLEW by as if I was standing still. (I did experience some satisfaction as I watched this guy overtake those other three).
After a couple of minutes, it was clear that I was riding at the same pace as the third guy in the bunch; he just passed because of my uncoolness factor. I slowly crept up to his wheel, but as soon as he realized I was there, he took off again. I gave up and just maintained my pace to the top, passing a few folks on the way; a tandem (usually can pass on a steep incline) and a mountain biker (he may have a blog about pushing 70... not sure).
This is where all my theoretical riding hierarchy (nonsense) fell apart... Because of my alpine skiing background, I am usually pretty competent on descents, especially this one since I ride it regularly. But guess who passes me??? The old guy on the mountain bike! He pulls me halfway down the canyon, and I stay behind because I'm not sure I could go much faster! Finally, he briefly stretches his hip flexors and I pull ahead and hammer as hard as I can, but after about a mile, he's back again. I'm going to have to re-evaluate all of my riding stereotypes... Perhaps this fellow was just an anomaly.
All in all, great ride!