It's been a lovely week off for me. I've gotten in lots on riding in the beautiful fall weather. On Thursday, I joined the Wheelmen on their weekly breakfast ride. We started up the bike trail heading out for breakfast in Rocklin.
A rider I didn't recognize joined us, with a retro euro-fabulous white kit and sleek light blue carbon machine to match. Looking at the legs I would guess him to be about 30, looking at the face about 85 years old.
The advanced age wasn't what caught my attention, it was the way he rode. He held himself with control and finesse-- suplesse that takes decades in the saddle to hone. He seemed weightless on his bike and moved around the group effortlessly. The upper body was completely relaxed, shoulders down and arms bent. He balanced his weight on that sweet spot when out of the saddle. His bike wasn't weighed down with do-dads and gizmos. A very elegant rider. This was form that couldn't be bread out of someone. It made the rest of us look like bumbling oafs.
When I got a chance I said to him, "You are a very nice rider. How long have you raced?"
He grinned and replied "You speak French?" Sadly, I told him no and we continued talking in a limited way. It turns out that he had raced professionally in France since the age of 14.