Some things stick with you. Good or bad, they become part of you, and no matter how much you might care one way or the other, they aren’t going anywhere.
When I’m riding, I remember things. I remember the cars that have shown me respect, and I remember the cars that haven’t. I remember well organized rides, and rides that lacked something. I remember the grueling hills, the long flats, the wind and rain, and moments that make me wish for bike mounted guided missiles, and moments that have filled me with such joy and life that I had to laugh out loud.
Two things I should have written about a long time ago finally find their way to my site…
I remember one day, riding with Chris and John, two of my cycling buddies. We’d decided to ride from Olathe to Lawrence via country roads south of K10. It’s really an excellent route… rolling hills without any tortuous walls, plenty of scenery and good surfaces the whole way. This particular day it was overcast with some ugly clouds looming. We got about 20 miles out when it hit and hit hard. So bad that were I driving, I would have pulled over. Fortunately, there’s a little one-runway airport on the route. We pulled into the open hangers and took shelter next to a rusty low wing bolt bucket that clearly hadn’t seen air in years. Unfortunately, as I found out later, this little escapade caused irreversible damage to my bottom bracket, which I had to replace later in the summer. Still, at the time it was fun and oddly exhilarating. Without reservation I can say that a cold rain on a hot day can be nice.
After a little while, the rain let up and we go going again. 5 miles later we came to the top of the hill, and I tell you what, the view coming over that hill, with the rain just passed and the mist crawling over the road and fields, the sun glinting off the wet leaves and puddles was absolutely fantastic. Unable to help myself, I just laughed out loud for the sheer joy of being alive. That sort of reaction doesn’t happen often, but that day it was undeniable. Scenes like that make all the walls in the world worth climbing.
Earlier that summer, Chris and I were riding that same route. It was just the two of us, and it was one of the first times we’d ridden the route. We weren’t that far out of town, I don’t think. Maybe 10 miles. The road still rolled a bit, and there were trees sheltering us from a crosswind. We were riding along in our groove, drafting and making steady progress when a pickup truck passed us. Out of the (probably stuck open) passenger window someone yelled “Dip ass!” and continued on.
Seriously. What does that mean? We were just puzzled at first, having no clue what he was trying to say. Obviously, it was meant to be unkind. He wasn’t complimenting us on our fine form, or chiseled calves. He was trying to be derogatory and mean. Even so, we started laughing about it. We figure the idiot was trying to say “Dip shit!” or “Asshole” and the best his alcohol/chew addled brain could do was “Dip ass!”. Or maybe he was asking for some chew, but forgot to ask politely… “Hey, do you have any dip, ass?!” To this day, it’s become an inside joke between us. Now I give it to you. Enjoy it. Say it proudly! It has it’s origins in the best and brightest of us.
I have plenty of other memories that I’ll be putting up here, including two close calls in the mountains of Oregon, smoke screens, and crazy heat. Until then, happy riding!