One day Larry invited me to join him on ride to the park. I hadn’t been on my bike yet that day so I jumped at the chance to ride a little. He would ride by my house and we would leave from there. When he showed up his roommate Andy (my ex-boyfriend) and two other friends were with him. Larry knew Andy and I weren’t talking to each other. He was the last person I wanted to see.
It was perfect weather for bicycling. Not too hot or breezy. I couldn’t refuse to go without making a scene so I tried to make the most of it. I managed to keep my distance from him as we all rode to the park. Larry explained as we pedaled up the bike path that Andy and the others showed up at the house just as he was getting ready to leave so he invited them to join him. Someone decided we should take a different route back to Andy and Larry’s house. When they were riding down High Street, Andy pulled up beside me and challenged me to race him back to his house. I knew I could never beat him but I couldn’t resist the dare.
Andy introduced me to serious bicycling and taught me to ride in traffic. It was a baptism by fire. Our first ride together took us up High Street in busy traffic. I was petrified at first but after that first trip I was thrilled by the challenge.
I gave everything I had to racing against Andy. I knew I couldn’t win but I had to try. I had been riding 150-200 miles a week that summer and I was in good condition. Andy was working full time and working in a lab on campus that summer so he didn’t have time to train. But he was a foot taller than me and much stronger. Each crank of the pedal took him further down the road.
The short race, maybe a mile and a half, was a blast We were racing on public streets in traffic. I couldn’t believe I was keeping up with him. Was he letting me keep up just to be nice? No, that wasn’t Andy. Was he just waiting to sprint away as we approached his house? We arrived at his house almost tied. He had a wheel’s length on me.
Several minutes later the rest of their party arrived at the house. Larry was laughing at us while the others were chiding us for running red lights.
Then Andy almost passed out. That’s when I noticed the “I gave blood today” sticker on his shirt.