It is officially Spring, because SlingShot and the Black Widow
have returned from Florida (State) and have attended their first group ride. So
a little ride teaser is in order to get people thinking about getting back out
on the road. Maybe this teaser is not so necessary, because everybody has
probably been thinking about getting back out on the road for some time already.
Plus the first little Springtime birdie already mentioned that Chester Pete has
been riding each and every day throughout the winter.
Knowing there's a Chester Pete out there with this many rides under his wheel
has many people quite concerned, and Pete himself should be put on notice that
this situation is unlikely to be tolerated. CP is widely known for his constant
complaining, which is ok, some would say picturesque even, but a CP who
complains plus is FAST is not going to be accepted by anybody. Or at least that
is how the little birdie put it. But back to the teaser.
On Wednesday, Palletman hosted a "Welcome Home SlingShot Ride"
which was every bit as well attended as would be expected. As for the ride,
there were lots of little hills, and roads which were not that familiar to
American Road Cycling. There was at least one road never seen before.
That Palletman! He sure does know some roads, with some beautiful hills.
Here's the teaser in SlingShot's own words:
"Well, before I start, I should mention that we did not find that much of what
Twin Lynn has been saying about Palletman to be true at all. Lynn says he
is not any better than your average Poker, but we found him to be every bit as fast
as some of the best Pokers. Lynn must have been exaggerating to make a
Additionally, in terms of his acuity as a tactician, he is rather advanced,
because I saw him...well, I should digress to put this in context.
The last time I saw something this beautiful was when I
dropped back on Four Corners Road and watched Jim Derosa stalk a strong
new rider like a lion stalking its Serengeti prey.
The prey in question was riding without clips, on a rather inappropriate bike
for the ride, but had proven himself throughout the ride to be much stronger
than expected. During the extended lead up to Four Corners, he had exhibited
what Jimmy Nails later called, "moron muscle," then on the climb up Four
Corners, with Demarest Road in site, I watched DeRosa making a considered
attempt trying to decide how best to take out this prey on the next climb. Jim
was just behind the guy's wheel, moving first to the left, then to the right,
backing off slightly, coming quickly back to the wheel, eyes frozen on the prey
while sizing up the potential danger, and playing with this little overly
muscled mouse with all the crafty wile that only years of racing provides.
I am a connoisseur of such shenanigans, so I was very pleased to be in a
position on the "Welcome Back Slingshot Ride" to watch Palletman
stalk the Black Widow in very much the same way. [If you've come back to
read the above as a refresher,
click here to return.]
But I should digress again to put this all in context. This was the Black
Widow's and my first NY Spring ride, just a day after we got back from
Florida. It has been almost impossible to explain to people how wretchedly
horrid it is to cycle in Florida. Best description is probably, "Boring, boring,
boring!" No hills, just a constant howling wind which often howls from several
directions at the same time. Many times on the way to our daily workaday ride we'd see
flags on opposite sides of the road blowing in opposite and apposing directions.
That is to say, one flag blowing bold and straight out to the East, while just
across the street another flag is blowing equally bold directly West. One time
the Black Widow said, "We should get a picture of this, and put it on the
web site." I replied, "Everybody would just think I did it with Photoshop."
Really, you haven't lived until you've ridden in a wind that has flags flapping
straight up into the sky. I mean this direction: ^ I'm not kidding!
All this wind business makes a 78° day in Florida
feel like a 40° day in NY. One native Floridian told the Black Widow this
year, "Yeah, I couldn't believe it. We were in NY and it was only 20°, but it
felt like it does at 50° down here." Of course, you aren't likely to believe
this, nobody ever does.
In any case, we were quite happy to be back in real-world weather, and on hills,
so as not to be so fucking BORED like we'd been for the last 3 months.
But I should back up a bit, and fill in some details for context.
The Black Widow had a big lay off in Florida due to a Yoga accident. I
say accident, but it was pretty much a function of her own volition. When the
guy on TV said, "Arch your back...and for those of you who can't hold it, just
rest on your hands." the Black Widow, in prime Black Widow
fashion, took this to mean, "Use your hands to torque your back in this reverse bend as far as
humanly possible, actually farther than humanly possible...if you but can." So
she did, and four weeks of Chiropractic help later, she was just coming back
when she decided to crash her bike into a barrier post at a street crossing for
the Pinellas Trail.
I say she "decided" to crash her bike, because nobody could have done that
accidentally. We had passed that tall, orange and red tipped barrier pole at
least 200 times before over the previous two months. She absolutely must have
done it on purpose. There's no other explanation for it.
Her dislocated rib was just starting to stabilize when we drove back to NY
jammed in the front of a pick-up, and immediately Palletman mentions a
ride is happening.
All things considered, the Black Widow was for once playing nice, staying
on the back, trying not to stress her rib, which
Dr. Art (whom Mary is now calling a genius) had just pushed back
into the right place...once again. The first time for Dr. Art of course, but I'm not
going back anymore to pick up the fallen details concerning the Florida Chiro.
Just stay here in the present for awhile.
Well, the Black Widow WAS playing nice, until I fucked up and spoke. I
thought I was being considerate, and cautionary, when I finally caught up with
her and Palletman after the second of the three climbs that took me
momentarily out of the ride, and asked if her right leg was ok, because her spin
was not smooth, but stabbing.
The next thing I hear is the Palletman saying, "Hmmm...looks like she's
kicked it up a notch." And I said, "What did you say that got her all pissed
off," but I knew full well who had said just what, and to whom, and what this
current result was stemming from. I just hadn't thought all this through before
I spoke. Generally, everything goes along a lot smoother if I just don't say
However, I'm in better shape than expected, so I did get to
watch the following.
Palletman made the extra effort to spin up close behind her wheel, then
for the next little bit of time he made several moves very similar to what I
witnessed from Jim DeRosa that time on Four Corners,
He moved quickly left, right, backed off, then tested the strength of the waters
by returning close to her wheel again. I watched a few double takes as he tried to
understand why we were working hard on a climb, but the Black Widow was
riding almost upright relaxed, with her left arm dropped to her side. When she
took a drink, he moved up even closer and began coasting every chance he could,
while Mary moved into her drops, started pacing, and the final hill approached.
I got the distinct impression, no, actually I could hear Palletman's
thoughts, 'When the bitch moves, I'm takin' her out!'
Then we were on that last hill on Kaisertown, and Palletman decided the
Widow's jugular was in full view, so he clicked, pushed, and started
around. At that very moment Mary sat straight full up again, and said, "That's
it, I'm not going there. I don't want to blow out my rib again."
Typical. For context, diverge for yourself, and
read this little poem by Nuclear Dan Buckley. Then come back here and
realize what I say is true:
'The Black Widow is nothing but a little cog teaser!'"