I have a nemesis. At least I think I do.
Either that, or there is a fellow cyclist out there who coincidentally happens to ride on exactly the same roads as me at random occasions during the week, and then proceeds to overtake me with a ‘whoosh’ of expensive bike, and disappears off into the distance with alarming ease.
I suppose that’s entirely possible, but I like the nemesis storyline.
Although I’m no slouch, this guy appears over my shoulder and is past me before I can react. I’m pretty sure he usually grunts something in my direction, but it’s entirely possible it might be a grunt of mild surprise coming from me, as this prime athlete appears in my peripheral vision and has gained ten metres before I can offer so much as an “‘ow do mate”.
If he were to sneak up on me and exchange even the briefest of pleasantries before demonstrating his physical dominance we would have an altogether different relationship; as it is, he remains an enigmatic, nameless, faceless, personality-less cyclist.
To coin a phrase: half man half bike.
There is perhaps one glaring hole in my description of him as a nemesis. The definition of a nemesis is of an opponent that you can’t beat or overcome – so far so good – but this assumes that some kind of struggle has taken place in order to confirm that fact.
When we two meet out on the roads of Lancashire, take it from me: only one of us is struggling.
So who is he? What does he look like? Perhaps there are cyclists all over Lancashire being systematically emasculated by this phantom menace?
Having only ever seen the back of him it’s hard to say. I’ve noticed that he has a habit of half glancing back once he’s gained those initial five metres just to see if I’ve jumped onto his back wheel; if only!
Before I have a chance to consider my options, he’s gone.
“DAAAMMMNNN YOOOUUU!” I want to scream.
I never do.
The fact is he’s probably a really nice bloke who’s just genuinely very quick on the bike, but I think I’ll stick to the nemesis theory.
It helps with motivation, and a bit of drama now and then keeps the mid-week rides interesting.