Yep. And when I did, we were both a little surprised. Me: nondescript-looking lady on a (sadly) filthy flat bar road bike, decked out with panniers and pretty-in-pink fenders. Him: Velo Orange Man - 20-30-something, facial piercings, immaculately clean uber-Rando-chic Velo Orange road bike. Gorgeous burgundy paint, long-reach cantis, Brooks saddle and matching handlebar bag, the whole nine yards..You could've eaten sushi off of his drivetrain, and from the looks of things quite honestly it wouldn't surprise me if that's exactly what he was riding to Arcata to do.
If I had had time to think ANYTHING, what would've passed through my head is, "Thank god I came down here in 2010 and got established - if this guy's here, the rest of Portland can't be that far behind...."
Clearly, I had caught him napping, and I wasn't going to be able to make this one stick, but - what the hell. Once you pass someone, you are committed to at least make it look like you meant it. Sure enough, top of the last "climb" on the bridge, he passed me back. But...not...by...much - and we were just at the top. I tucked in behind him, made a stunning (to me, anyway....) move coming through the corner, and passed him back. I figured either he was in, or he wasn't. He was.
OK....I can handle the "over threshold" pace for about a half mile, then I ease up. As he comes around, he makes some noises about "the headwind" and takes over. That's fine with me. Half a mile later, I'm coming back around.
We kept it up on 1/2 mile intervals all the way to town.... 1/2 mile of blowing up, 1/2 mile of not blowing up. Over the tracks without incident - he was in front at that point and I was a little worried about getting back on, though it turned out to be a non-issue.
I SERIOUSLY considered jumping off early, at Jackson Ranch, and pretending that was my normal ride home. But on a certain level, that would've been cheating, so I stuck it out. My payoff was the satisfaction of knowing that we BOTH slowed down when I let him know that I did have to get off at V Street. I thanked him and coasted home....
Long story short (or short story long, depending on how you look at it), I took 10 minutes off of my 9 mile commute just by working hard (and smart, by working with someone else). And it was FUN! But I was really not that sorry to not run into Velo Orange Man on Wednesday. You should only do intervals a a couple times a week....