It’s an instinct that probably goes back to our days chasing mammoths over a cliff. Cyclists see another rider ahead and do everything they can to pass that bastard.
If you get lucky, that rider is about the same speed. Then you can work together. If you are unlucky, they are just fast enough to never get caught. Fuckers.
Usually I try so hard my hands and feet go numb, and I can’t think straight. I catch them, then they drop away and won’t help. But the worst happened to me this summer.
It was on my weekly easy ride with Wolf (that’s his real name). We talk and bullshit the whole time. We quit after 20 miles and drink beer for a few hours.
We were spinning away on the river path east of the Third World club. In the distance, we saw lights. We stopped talking and we started pedaling, and pedaling and pedaling. After 2 miles we closed the gap.
After 3 miles, we passed the rider. She’s got the cycling clothes and a decent bike. But she was obviously a “commuter” with big bags full of shit hanging over the back wheel. It felt great to pass a skinny fuck who looks “fast.”
She enjoyed the draft for a few minutes, then rolled past us without a word. We should have left her in the dust, with those bags and extra weight. Wolf could, but I couldn’t.
The path got slightly steeper, and I faded. Attack of the Asthma. Wolf swallowed his pride and eventually fell back to join me.
He was talking, I couldn’t. We got to the turn around, where I took a short rest. We went back down the little slope to the bar in shame.
“I’m hitting my inhaler before every ride from now on,” I said. ‘I didn’t think we were going to be in a fucking race up this little shit of a hill.”
There was a long pause.
“It’s too bad we couldn’t catch her,” Wolf said. “It’s embarassing.”
We have been riding together for 4 years, and now you’re fucking embarrassed? Hey, I’m embarrassed too. But you are riding with a Fat Biker in a shirt that says “Old Fart Cycling.”
After a pitcher of Dos Equis amber, we felt better.
Best Ride Ever
Reminded me of the best bike event I ever had. It was the Tour of Mesa, a ride I’ve done a handful of times. Started out like shit. Had 2 flat tires before I even got to the start line. Some little staple I didn’t find the first time, popped the tire again. Fuck.
Got there 20 minutes after the official start.
All the bikes were gone. The motorcycle cop escort fell in behind the last riders. People in orange vests waved us through the timed started gate, and closed the gate behind us.
- In 3 minutes, we passed the motorcycles.
- In 5 minutes, we started passing cyclists.
- In 10 minutes, we lost count of how many we passed.
My rank in bike events are like my SAT scores, I’m in the 60th percentile — 4 out of 10 are better than me.
But that slower 60 percent usually start at the back. And we rolled by them. Sometimes one at a time, sometimes in bunches.
It was 50 miles in and 3 hours of feeling like the most powerful man on earth. My inner child was channeling Monty Python’s “The Black Knight.” The voice in my head repeating and repeating “None shall pass.”
Usually we hit a hill and the Fat Biker phenomenon sets in. Those little skinny fucks don’t have to fight gravity. We took a 5-minute water/food/pee break right before Usery Pass (a 4-mile climb at 3-4%). I was ready to watch them all go by me again.
Passing with a 60 Percent
But we were surrounded by the “60-percent”. People were stopping. Some were off the bike and walking it up the hill. Others were barely making the pedals move.
I was just spinning at a steady 8 mph. Most “riders” climb that hill at twice that speed. But not these fuckers. These were my people.
For the first time in my life, I was grinning like a fool while going uphill. Maybe a few people passed me – but I didn’t see them.
Crested the top and a line of cyclists grabbed my wheel. I led a pack of maybe 50 people down the hill. It felt like I was passing skinny fucks every 10 feet.
My legs started to cramp but who cared, I was “winning.” They still couldn’t pass me.
Got to the timed finished. Checked the clock — even adding 20 minutes for the “late start” it was my slowest time by more than 10 minutes.
Shit. It felt so good. I felt so fast. Ask all those fuckers I passed — that god damn clock must be broken.
It’s times like these I wish I was a caveman. Before humans measured time, you beat the mammoths to the spot like a god damn hero… everybody eats and nobody gives a shit if it took 10 minutes longer than last year.
But “time” fucked me over again…
Until I looked at the results page a few days later.
Finished around 500 out of 1200 riders. That’s right, I passed 700 riders that day — and anybody who said they passed me is a fucking Fake News liar.
Take that you bastards…
Just to prove that people have not really evolved, I’m pretty sure I ate a mammoth’s weight in steak that night.
PS — If you are wondering about the title – here’s a definition for Counting Coup — it’s fucking wikipedia so it’s probably wrong, but it fit this little line of bullshit.