Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Extra: On Mike

Just a little tilt.  Too much and you look like a buffoon.  You don't just accidentally have your cap perfectly off-kilter.  I'd say it took me 6 months or so to get it just right.  Now, I never miss.

For the longest time I was tilting the cap to the right.  Rookie mistake.  Nobody wants to see a cap leaning to their left.  It's just wrong.  Once I realized I was looking at a mirror image of myself, the proper cap placement was a snap.

But Mike, I hear you ask, what's the big deal?  Two words.  "The Ladies."

Hey - it's a competitive world out there, no matter what anybody says.  It's mano a mano.  Dog eat squirrel.  Or whatever.  The guy who takes advantage of every opportunity will go home with the tail.

Take that creep Aidan Fuller for example.  Big shot quarterback.  "Giant Slayer."  Back when I was a kid, he was my idol.  Sure - he ruined my big brother's shot at the state championship.  Petey was never the same after that loss.  They all said he was the reason the Giants lost that year.  The team was supposed to destroy the Wolves.  No excuses.  Petey just choked the game away.

But still - I couldn't help but admire Fuller.  The procession of poon that guy was landing?  Whew!  "Aidan's Maidens" they called them.

Of course it was all handed to him.  What chick wouldn't be conned by the 2nd string QB of the underdog team. Then they squeak out the heroic win for the championship.  And to top that off, his dad had been killed a few years earlier trying to rescue a puppy.  Aidan Fuller had the back story that guaranteed a lifetime supply of top shelf beaver.  Lucky Bastard.

But now, I've got the cap.  I'm the boss.  And Aidan?  He's late for his shift again.  Crazy how things turn around.  Maybe if he gets here in the next 10 minutes or so, I won't fire his tired old ass.

Well, enough of my gabbing. The mirror here in the men's room confirms what I already knew.  You, Mike.  You're one dashing S.O.B.  Go get 'em, tiger!  Rawr!


Mike finishes his pep talk to himself and scrapes his arm on the changing table as leaves the McDonald's restroom*.  Damn kids, he thinks, as he puts the table to its closed position.

A few minutes later, Mike can be heard shouting commands to the crew in what can only be described as one of the most beautiful displays of choreography known to man or beast.  Your scintillating McDonald's dining experience is due to Mike's management skill.  Much like His father and brother could run a football offense, Mike steered the fast food restaurant to victory every single day!

* I bet that will come back to bite him.  Just sayin'

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Something for Aidan's Song

Below these words are words on a blogpost.  Agreement fulfilled.  Touche.

"Time out!"  Aidan needed a minute.  This was the most important moment of his life.  If they could pull the upset, Aidan's team would be the first from this school to win state since his father manned the helm some 25 years before.

"I know you're helping me pops!"  Aidan whispered to the sky as he ran over to the sideline to tell coach his idea.  The sold out stadium was shaking with the roar of the crowd.  About 90% rooting for Aidan and his team.

Aidan's opposing team had won state 4 of the last 5 years and looked to add another one tonight.  Their fans were fewer in number.  It was old hat to them.

Coach smiled to relax the kid.  Since Aidan had taken over at QB, the team had won 6 straight and got themselves into this title match.  Coach already knew he was going to go with whatever idea Aidan had.  The kid had a head for this stuff.  He could be a hell of a coach some day, thought the coach.

"Hey Coach," Aidan began, "I have an ideeeeeAAAHH!!!

At about 7 feet from the sideline, Aidan slipped through the earth.  To the onlooking crowd, he seemed to just vanish.  From Aidan's perspective, he was falling and spinning.  It was complete darkness.  He didn't know where he was or which way was up.

After what seemed like about a minute, the spinning slowed and the darkness was giving in to a faint light.  A moment later, he was standing before his dad.

"Dad?"  Aidan ventured, not daring to hope it was true.  He had been without his father for 6 years.  He always said he had a million questions for his dad if he ever saw him again.  Now, here he was.  Casually sitting on a grassy embankment.  Blue jeans.  Plain black T-shirt.  Slicked back blonde hair.  The place seemed familiar to Aidan, but he couldn't figure it out.

"It's me, son."  Dad's eyes were a little watery.

"What is this?"  was all Aidan could manage.  The million questions gone.

"I don't have a lot of time kid.  But here's the deal.  You've got this thing.  Go with your gut and you'll succeed.  I guarantee it.  I've seen it."

"Really?  We're going to win the game?"

"Game?  What game? Oh you mean the football game?  How the fuck should I know?  Seriously kid.  Your dead dad comes from the grave to visit you and you're thinking about a sporting contest of some sort?"

"Sorry, I just. It's just that it's happening right now, so it's kind of, you know ..."

"Yeah I understand kid. Listen.  You're a good kid ..."

At that, Aidan instinctively turned to see if anyone was behind him.

"Son.  Stop fooling around and listen.  Some hard news is coming.  I need you to be strong for your sisters."

"Sisters?  What about Mom?  Oh."

Aidan knew when he saw his father's head bowed.  The spasms of his big shoulders.  His dead dad was crying.  Weeping actually.  It was sooo embarrassing.

"Dad?  Why would you cry?  Doesn't this mean you and mom will finally be together?"

Aidan's father nodded and regained his composure.  Wiping tears from his eyes, he looked at his son who had become a man and said, "That's the problem, son. If you know what I mean.  Wink wink nudge nudge!"

"What is this place?"  Aidan asked his dad.

"I think you can figure that out.  Look around you."

Aidan scanned the horizon.  He was at the bottom of a tiny valley.  Dad was sitting at the edge of a steep hill.

"Nope.  No idea pops."

"You're in the same place you've been all night, Aidan.  This is how the field looked when I was a boy."

"Weird," said Aidan.

"Ok son.  I gotta go.  Why don't you go win that championship now!"

"Sure thing pops!"

"And son?"


"You won't forget about the taking care of your sisters, right?"

Now Aidan was getting a little impatient.  He didn't want to cool down before the biggest play of his career.  He exhaled, "No dad.  Mom's gonna die and you need me to be strong.  Blah, blah, blah."

"Fair enough.  One last thing son.  Don't be a dick."

Aidan's father faded from view.  Aidan found himself standing in front of coach who was yelling at him to get out there and finish this thing.  The crowd noise was deafening.  There was suddenly a sharp pain on the left side of Aidan's neck.  It felt like he was cramping up.  Not now, Aidan thought.  Just one last play.  But it was happening again.  It always did.  Always before the last play.  Aidan reached up to try to massage the kink from his neck and in so doing, woke himself up.

The crowd noise became the white noise blasting from the television, long off the air.  The pain in his neck was from falling asleep sitting up with his head against his shoulder.  There was a half drank bottle of beer resting on Aidan's enormous gut.  Aidan looked at his watch.  "Shit.  5:30.  I can't be late for work again.  Fuckin' Mike.  Like it matters at all if I'm a few minutes late."

But it did matter. Those Eggs are aren't going to McMuffin themselves, Mike always said.

Aidan grabbed his dirty McDonald's "Jersey" from the spot on the floor he'd thrown it last night.

"Another day in paradise," Thought Aidan, age 47 as he lit a smoke and raced his way through the sleepy neighborhoods in his piece of shit 87 Buick.

"Look at this Fuckin guy,"  Aidan remarked to himself, pointing with his cigarette, as he gunned the Buick and changed course toward the bike commuter "in his way."

To be continued.  Not really.  I was just goofing around with ideas.  God, I'm lazy.  Goodnight.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


About a month ago, some guy was all, "Hey - why do you want to race?"

Then he was all, "Hey - what if you go race and nobody seems to be paying attention to who wins? Then would you still race?"

Then this girl is all, "Big words, blah blah blah, psychology, brains, etc, etc.  I used to be like you.  I have to install a bike rack and stuff."

Then I'm all, "Hey - why do I race?"

But then, "Hey - I don't race.  At least not very often.  But I always think I'm going to next time.  Why is that?"

I used to race quite a bit about 10 or 12 years ago.  I wanted to do well and before my first couple of races, I believed I had a shot at winning.  I was wrong.  I got dropped from all of my first several road races - usually on the first climb of the first lap.  I was pulled from most crits in the third or fourth lap.

By the time I stopped racing about 7 or 8 years ago, I was roughly middle of the cat 4 pack.

I stopped because I couldn't get it together and it was expensive and golf.

Then I got fat.  So I started riding again.  I never wanted to race again.  Just get into better shape.  I wanted to be a part of the Wednesday Night Worlds again.  That was it.

But guess what?  You can't just make "that it".  They won't let you.  Once you get good enough to be competitive, you will be badgered to race whether you want to or not.

But this is a good thing.  Racing is fun.  Not fun in the traditional way. Fun in the "You think this hurts?  How about this!" kind of way.  It is the most painful thing you will ever do to yourself.

You know how when you get a bad flu and first you just want to feel better.  Then it seems like forever and you just feel horrible.  Then you think that dying would be ok if it would end your suffering.  Then you start to get a little better.  You're still sick, but you feel better than you ever remember feeling.  That's what a bike race is like.  Except there's a lot more sweating, puking, and hallucinating going on at a bike race.

Late last summer, I was feeling pretty fit and Shim kept pushing me to race.

I was like, "Geez. Why can't I just do WNWs and not tie up my Saturdays?"

I came up with excuse after excuse.  But after reading the blog post called, "Bro, do you even race?*," I had to think about it.

I didn't race Papillion last weekend.  When I told my wife it was because I wasn't happy with my current fitness, she was all, "What - are you only going to race if you think you can win?"


That was it.  That's the real answer that's been hiding from me.  If I don't think I have a chance at winning, I won't race.** No wonder I couldn't find it.  It was in my brain all along.  I never look in there for anything.  Talk about psychology, blah blah, blah.

But I really do want to race.  I guess I'd better get into shape then.


*It's actually called "Racing"

** Unless it's Cyclocross.  That shit's just fun.  Still that one kind of "flu like symptom" fun I describe above, but cyclocross adds, "being mocked by a huge crowd of drunken spectators" fun.  Sign me up for that shit 1.5/4/120!***

***This is an ancient shorthand for the cyclocross training season.  It means 90 minutes, 4 times a week for 4 months.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Extra: Eye of the kid

For most of this year, I have not had any interest in road riding alone. Usually if it's just me, I would prefer to hit one of the mountain bike trails.  That's a lot more entertaining than miles of road just for the sake of riding.

For a few months, the bulk of my rides has been either commuting or group riding. If I do end up on a solo road ride, I just don't have the motivation to push myself.  I'll decide on a route and endure it at an easy pace.

I'm writing this post for two reasons:

1) I may have found some new spirit from an unlikely source.  Kids.

2) There was nothing much to read anywhere today after Robin Williams and Ferguson.

Two local kids (ages 12 and 13) raced the Category 5 Papillion Criterium this past Saturday.  I had volunteered to help out for the races.  I had no real interest in racing, but when I found out these kids, who are a part of the Devo Dirt Militia program were racing, I was excited to see how they'd do.  I knew they were strong riders, but I never expected them to do as well as they did.

They stayed with the main group throughout the race.  At one point they were able to bridge up to a pair of riders trying to catch the lone breakaway rider.  It was incredible.  On every lap, you could see them straining to stay with the group.  To get into good position.

Watching them fight so hard for so long was inspirational.  It made me want to work harder in training.  When I saw the following picture posted, I thought it brilliantly captures what I saw at the race.  They used to always talk about "The Look"  Lance Armstrong gave to Jan Ullrich just before dropping him on L'Alpe d'Huez.  I don't know.  I think this one's better:

I've made no secret that my "helping out" at Devo is for selfish reasons.  I learn at least as much as the kids (if not as fast).

Last night Mark Savery started a CX training series for the Devo Dirt militia.  I went to help/learn where needed.  The night's lesson focused on the importance of getting a good start and how it can set the tone for the rest of the race.  He was arranging all the kids into 2 rows and rearranging them after each run through a small course he had set up.  At one point, he told me to get in the third row.  I was more than happy to oblige.  The kids were having so much fun I really wanted to join in.  After a couple times of that Mark also jumped in on the fun.

At the end of it, Jack and all the kids had learned a ton and had more fun than I've ever seen at one of these things.

Today I commuted to work and drilled it the whole way.  I felt a little silly, but no sillier than I felt having a blast at the Devo CX training last night. Thanks kids.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Extra: Something for you to read (now with audio support)

Amazon Prime membership now comes with streaming music.  So that's pretty cool.  There's some stuff I wouldn't normally listen to or even know about that I can at least check out.

One that I'd never heard of before was "Old Crow Medicine Show."  It's kind of an old-timey sort of bluegrass country thing.  Think "Oh Brother, Where art Thou" soundtrack.  Not that they're on it as far as I know - it's just that's the kind of music they play.

Anyway - that's not why I'm here.  I'm here to talk about "Rockabye Baby"

Amazon prime offers about 600 songs from "Rockabye Baby."  They are a bunch of rock songs arranged into lullabies that you could, if you wanted to, play in an infant's room.

They have music from the likes of Metallica, Bon Jovi, Guns 'n' Roses, Led Zeppelin, and so on.

I've listened to a bunch of it mostly because it's really funny.  They make Black Sabbath songs like "War Pigs" and "Paranoid" sound like serene, happy little songs.  I could see how they could sooth your newborn.

There's lots of heavy xylophone use in these songs.  Plus, there's usually the random cricket chirp.

So I'm working my way through these lullabies, thinking they might actually work when I get to "The music of Nirvana"    

It might be the most horrifying thing I've ever heard. "Smells like Teen Spirit" comes across way darker than the original or it's accompanying video ever thought of being.  I was sitting here listening to it in broad daylight and I became anxious and fearful.  There weren't even any crickets at all.  No way I would play this to a baby.  Unless I was in the "Serial Killer" raising business or something.  I feel like the Rockabye baby people lull you into thinking these are safe, then bam!  Your kid is hurting small animals.

Actually, the Rockabye Baby version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" might be the best version there is.  Even better than the original.  Even better than Al Yankovic's. Go check it out.  I'm going back to the "Old Crow Medicine Show" to try and wash the trauma away and hopefully prevent night terrors.

Good day to you.

P.S. I will also note that I just listened to Rockabye baby's "Hurt" by NIN.  That's not putting any kids to sleep either.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Lightning War of Speed and Strength

There is no "right" way to commute by bicycle. There are different types of bikes, commutes, and riding styles that best suit a particular commuter.

I prefer my super light, super fast "racing" bike.

In the past, I've outfitted the bike with panniers. I don't care for them. I never found a way to keep them completely out of the way. I don't like the way they change the feel of the ride. The bike has more weight in different spots.

Maybe it's because the road bike geometry is not well suited to luggage. I am currently in need of a new bike to be in accordance with the rules. It makes sense for me to get a touring bike that I can load down with all sorts of crap.

Until then, I'll just use my wonderful Banjo Bros Backpack.

I like to wear my regular "road" kit then change into my "work" clothes once I get to work. My clothes stay clean and dry and the ride is comfortable.

When I'm commuting in my fancy getup and big old backpack, I am aware of how silly I look to motorists and cats. They don't understand that everything I do or wear is as much about function as form. I don't expect them to understand. They are not cyclists (they are either motorists or cats). If they see me and think anything at all - it is that I am trying to have a certain look. "Get a load of this guy," they'll say, "He's gotta be like 50 years old and he thinks he's some kind of pro biker like Lance whatsisname!"

Then their wives slap them on their enormous gut and taunt, "Ira. You should look so pro!"

Then they curse the day they listened to the rabbi who advised them not to marry that 'shiksa.'

On Wednesdays, I usually drive the car to work if I think Brady will be attending The Wednesday Night Trek Store ride.

Then it's my turn to judge. But since I understand the thinking behind all types of bike commuting, I aim at motorcyclists. My kneejerk reaction to these guys is something like "Whatever dude."

That's what most people who see me on my bike are thinking, so I try to figure out why on earth the motorcycle commuter dresses/acts the way he does.

I can almost always come up with something.

Normally, I see guys just riding their normal motorcycle in normal clothes and normal looking helmet. They are obviously just commuting to work. These guys look normal to me, a non-motorcyclist. I think the equivalent cyclist is in his work clothes, riding a comfort bike on the sidewalk. Not that I think a cyclist should be on the sidewalk. I know better. We're talking motorist POV here. Remember that.

Next, it's the guys on Harleys (or other cruiser type motorcycles) that think they are cowboys. They wear chaps. They have black leather saddle bags. Lots of black leather fringe everywhere. These are the recumbents of the motorcycle world. Mostly. The recumbent riders are stupid hippies (not cowboys) but they do have thick idiotic looking beards, so.

Then there's the guys on "crotch rockets."  They look like they're giving their bike a good doggy style rogering, if you know what I mean.

Usually, these are the guys weaving heroically through morning traffic at ridiculous speeds.  I normally say a tiny little prayer for their instant demise.

Regardless - I still get what is going on here. They also wear backpacks or knapsacks. They are aerodynamic. They are efficiently moving through traffic - and to me - they look completely ridiculous.

I hate to say it, but these are like the road bike commuters.  They can't slow down even though they are only going to work. On your effin' left, for Pete's sake!

Ok.  So I guess that's it.  Every motorcyclist who at first seems to be wearing something ridiculous is actually just wearing what best suits his ...

Wait a minute.  What's this guy behind me doing?

I'm at a stoplight and glance in my rear view mirror.  What I see at first startles me because I think I'm about to be pummeled by a Centurion.  After a frightening second, I realize what I mistook for a Roman soldier was just a guy on a motorcycle.  His helmet though.  I've not seen its equal.  It had a magnificent red plume of the finest horsehair.  Luckily, I now have a capable smartphone and was able to snap a shot of this glorious fellow just as he prepared to make a left turn.

Ok, so surely there's an explanation.  He's um - a delivery driver for a pizza place, maybe?  Sure, that makes sense.  Centurion Pizza.  The taste will decimate you!

Whew.  I'm glad I figured that ... Uh oh.  I mean - I know that the Romans controlled Germany, but I'm pretty sure they were out of there before WWII.  Just as I was laughing at myself for the silly notion that I was about to be trampled, I was overcome by a new panic.  "Oh my god.  Are my papers in order?"  I asked myself.  This roman guard had on a jacket that identified him as none other than an officer of Hitler's Schutzstaffel (S.S).  Here's what he was wearing. Really.

I'm not sure why it says "Speed Strength" on the sleeve. All I know is I was having a tough time justifying a Roman Nazi commuting to work.

I tried though. Maybe the plume was convenient for brushing dust off the bike at the end of the day. Maybe the jacket makes it easier to interrogate suspects.

But I never really could explain it. All I know is I hope he doesn't ever cross paths with poor old Ira and his bitch of a wife. Oy vey!


Seriously.  I mean my blog post is done before the squiggly line.  But who the fuck thought designing a black jacket with "SS" on the sleeve was a good idea?  Fucking Nazis, that's who.

And sceeeeene!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Extra: The Mystery is Dead. Long Live the Mystery.

One time about a year ago, I walked into the break room nearest to where I sit.  I went in to get some water.  We have these water dispenser things that claim to use some sort of reverse osmosis filtering mechanism.  I don't know what that means, but it says right on the dispenser "Filtered by Reverse Osmosis."

I remember something from science class about 35 years ago where the teacher guy took some sort of plastic bag filled with either water or a solution.  He then stuck it into a big tub of water that had either water or a solution in it and then some stuff from in the bag got out or something from outside got in.

I hope there wasn't a test on it.  Anyway, I'm pretty sure he used the word "osmosis" during this messy little demonstration.

So my thought on this water in the break room is that the machine it comes out of somehow does the opposite of what the teacher guy did.

Next to this magical water machine is the coffee machine.  I don't ever get the coffee.  Once was enough.  I bring a Thermos® of coffee from home now.

Anyway - on this particular morning about a year ago, I noticed that between the reverse osmosis filtered water machine and the coffee machine was a tall steaming, lipstick, stained cup of coffee.

It looked like this:

My first thought was, "I guess some old lady forgot to take her nasty-ass coffee with her."
Then I thought, "Well maybe she's tried the coffee before and left it here on purpose."
Then I thought, "Well, why even pour it into the cup then?"
Then I thought, "That lipstick is fucking disgusting."

I didn't think it was an abandoned cup, because as I mentioned, it was steaming hot.  It is possible that this coffee steams even when it's cool.  It's not very good coffee.  I don't know its behavior other than tasting horrible.

Well this went on for a couple of weeks.  Every day I would go in to get me some FRO (filtered by Reverse Osmosis) water to find this steaming hot lipstick cup of coffee.

Then for many months, I stopped going in there to get water in the morning.  This is related to bike commuting.  I will take my water bottle and drink it's contents (after my Thermos® full of coffee) in the morning.  Even though the tap water from home is nowhere near as tasty as the FRO water, it seems wasteful to just dump it.

But I drove to work this morning.  No Water bottle.  FRO, here I come.  But the Lipstick Coffee cup wasn't there.

I didn't expect it to be there.  I didn't give it a thought.  It's been a while, so I had forgotten about it.  While I was cleaning out my coffee cup (that I use for the water), a skinny old lady with bright red lips walked in.  She was carrying a tall Styrofoam™ cup.

Then the memory of the mysterious cup came back to me.  I looked to see that her cup was indeed lipstick stained.  She walked over to the coffee machine and filled the cup.

I was actually surprised at what happened next.  She put the cup on the counter and left the break room.

So I have an answer to my question, "Why is there often a lipstick stained Styrofoam™ cup of hot coffee left unattended in the break room?"

It's because some cat lady leaves it there.

But why ...

To be continued?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday extra: bike commuter fever. Catch it!

Since I started working here at the company, I've been pretty much the only bike commuter.  But now I'm seeing an encouraging trend.  In fact, in recent months, the number of folks who "ride bikes" to work has nearly doubled!

So I got that going for me.  Which is nice. 

Now to get the lunch taco ride going.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Lycra Horde

A man with all the powers of Hell at his command. He could turn the day into night and lay to waste everything in his path. He was especially hard on little things-the helpless and the gentle creatures. He left a scorched earth in his wake befouling even the sweet desert breeze that whipped across his brow. I didn't know where he came from or why.  -- H.I. McDunnough, Describing the Keystone Trail during WNW.

Lycra.  That's what I've always called it anyway.  I guess technically the general public is correct and I am not.  All the non-cyclists I know call it "spandex."

Spandex is the generic term whereas "Lycra" is a brand name or something.  Kind of like "Roller Blades" vs "inline skates" or "Thermos" vs "vacuum flask"

But if you went to Target and said, "Where are the vacuum flasks?" they'd surely point you to the carpet cleaning stuff.

But Spandex.  When I hear somebody call bib shorts "Spandex,"  I always think of some non specific glam rocker from the 70's, jumping around, doing the splits, spinning the microphone stand, etc.  Or maybe Stryper.  Yeah - I think of Stryper when I hear the word Spandex.

We didn't know what Jesus would do so we came up with this
So I prefer Lycra.  We are The Lycra Horde!  Hoo-ah!

A few minutes before the appointed time (6 PM sharp), the warriors assemble.  They seem an easy-going sort.  But it's a facade.  There are a few jokes and conversational comments going around.  There are failed attempts at levity.

Most of the riders remain silent.  Dark glasses conceal the singular gaze of each man.  Grim faced. Tight lipped. Waiting.  Until the ride begins, there is nothing but mental preparation.

Several riders distract themselves with unnecessary last minute equipment adjustments.  There is an unmistakable scent of ozone from all the electricity in the air.  At first, some of the older riders try to blame Munson until they remember that he's locked deep in the bowels of the Trek Store's hidden chambers.  So great his fall, he's now relegated to the role of "Cat 2 Wrench."

The men must not dwell on Munson's utter failure.  Focus is the key to successful conquest.  The upcoming assault will require all the skill each rider can muster.  When you are terrorizing joggers, children, and dogs, you must be on your game.  These puny trail users are an unpredictable lot.  The goal is to remain upright upon your steed as your prey take cover.  A moment's inattention can spell doom for you and the entire band of bastards you call "brother".

At exactly 6:04 and 36 seconds, Shimonek Khan takes one last look around.  Not everyone is there, but we cannot be forestalled.  He shrugs and drops the flag.

"I guess the rest of them had to get their toes done!"  he mocks to the delight of the horde.  We all give a hearty laugh that is more tension release than sense of humor.  The assault begins now.

For the next few miles, from roughly Nebraska Furniture Mart to Democracy Park near Fort Street, we will reign supreme on the narrow multi-use path.  We are The Lycra Horde! Hoo-ah!  But of course, I mentioned that already, so ...

As we charge down the path, kicking up a cloud of dust thick enough to block out the sun and bring darkness upon the land, I look at my brothers and laugh at all who flee to avoid the wrath of our bicycle tires!  I'm positively giddy about it.

It is a nice night, so traffic on the trail is heavy with joggers, young families and their pets out for a nice walk.  Little children learning to ride their shiny new bike they got last Christmas.

The Lycra horde descends mercilessly upon them all.

Many see this work as evil, but we know better.  We are on a mission from God.  Like Moses's pet locusts, we were sent to cleanse the trail of comfort bikers and their ridiculous clip-on aerobars.

... I will bring cyclists onto your path tomorrow. They will cover the trail so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left, including every toddler that rests in a Burley. They will roll right over your dogs, your wife, your kine, and ass(literally) — something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now. Also, I'll send them next Wednesday, too, because that's the sort of stuff I do -- Exe. 10, Plague of Lycra, paraphrased version.

As a young girl trying to avoid us rolls her pretty princess bike off the trail and into creek below, I toss a skin of airag to The Khan.  He roars his approval and shows his teeth in a maniacal grin.  He throws his head back and takes great swallows of the fermented mare's milk.

We love nothing more than the conquest.  It is the only time we are alive.

Earlier this year, our numbers dwindled to the point we could hardly scare the occasional bunny rabbit.  But now with the beautiful weather --  WE. ARE. UNSTOPPABLE!

As a new warrior to the horde, I typically find myself in the last rank.  This is not all bad.  From this vantage point, I witness first hand, the destruction wrought by my brothers.

Usually, it's a grouchy look from an enemy cyclist who has been forced onto the grass. Sometimes, the vanquished rewards me with his verbal assessment of our clan.  Usually, it's "Jerk!"  Sometimes "Jackass!" and every once in a while, my favorite, "Really?!?"

"On your left!"  I'll reply, knowing full well the time for "On your left" is long past.  Hoo-ah!

In conclusion:  maybe we should spread it out a little while we're on the trail, eh guys?  What do you say?  No?  Ok.  I'll continue in the last row then.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Monday Extra: Please hurry up or slow down.

Yesterday morning, I joined the GSV crowd for the 9:30 Sunday ride.  Spence was there so we were guaranteed some hard efforts.

The last few times I've done this ride, it has been relatively mild.  I expected about 40 or 45 miles or so to Ft. Calhoun and back.

Nope.  I guess the wind was more southerly so we went to Glenwood instead.  This makes it about a 60 mile ride.

About 20 or more people were there, but Bernardo, Stu and I were the 3 that managed to hang on to Spence's wheel for the most part.

If we did a paceline, the speed would drop about 3MPH whenever Spence stopped pulling.  We would remain at that lower speed until he pulled again.

For me, it ended up being a hard day on the bike.

As I was making my way home, going west on a flat 27th and Burt, I heard a loud and disgusting belch from behind me.  I turned to see some weirdo on a full suspension NEXT mountain bike, wearing a full face downhill helmet.  The bike looked exactly like this (they sell them at wal-mart):

The helmet looked kind of like this:

I was exhausted and having a nice and easy pedal back home.  My Garmin said I had 64.67 miles in so far.

So the guy pulls up along side me starts talking to me.  I'm sure it was the furthest thing from his mind, but I imagine he's judging himself to be pretty much the shit since he easily closed the gap on some fancy-pants road guy.

"What's up?" he says.

"Not much," I say.

"Sweet.  Where are you headed?"


"Sweet.  Where's that?"

"About 3 miles yonder," I point with my finger in the general direction of forward.  It's none of this guy's fucking business where I live.

"Sweet. Where'd you ride today?"

"It was a group ride to Glenwood.  About 60 miles."  Even though I don't care at all what this guy thinks, I find myself wanting to justify his catching up to me.  Yeah - I'll never change.

"Sweet.  Where does the ride start?"

"Blue Line coffee.  9:30.  Sundays,"  What do I know?  Maybe he's an accomplished rider who gets a kick out of looking stupid on wal-mart bikes.

We are now at 33rd and Burt where the road goes up.  He drops into granny gear and says, "Sweet.  Well, maybe I'll see you there sometime."

"Yeah, maybe," I say.  I'm fascinated.  He's spinning at about 120 rpms but his bike is not going any faster.  That was a small gear. He was obviously showing me what he had.  My earlier thought that he was somehow proud of catching me was verified.  He was done talking.  He could no longer ride at my slow pace.  It was time to kick it up a notch and attack this hill.  He knew there was no way I could keep up with him, so he bid me adieu as the road pitched to the heavens.

At first, I wanted to just let him go on up the hill and leave me alone.  Then we'd both be happy.  I waited for a minute, soft pedalling, but he wasn't getting any farther away from me.  So I just decided to ride my own easy pace up the hill.  One second later, when I flew by him, he ... grabbed my wheel.  He was trying to keep up with me.  His breathing became dangerously labored, but he was doing it.  At about halfway up, he was still with me.

My legs were tired.  Real tired.  But soon, my ears got more tired of hearing the struggle going on behind me.  I am embarrassed to say that I went the rest of the way up the hill as hard as I could.

Well, that got rid of that guy - but then I was forced to listen to my own labored breathing for the next 5 minutes or so.  Oh bitter irony.