I have been in the weeds for the last week or two, hard core work things going on (we’re talking back to back to back 70 hour weeks), so I was a little dismayed to see a brawl broke out at cross nationals. Seems like some dumb ass was heckling Page during his post race interview, and his bro in law told him to stuff it, and pushing and wrestling ensued (of course there were no punches thrown, these are cyclists after all – remember the Bobby Julich slap fight awhile back??). The worst thing though, these bunch o’ hooligans (I’m including everyone here), trampled on some of the Richard Sachs’ bikes. Sacrilege I say. Pure unadulterated sacrilege. Bear in mind, I don’t even like steel bikes, but I can see and take pleasure in art when I see it. I have a friend of mine that rides for Sachs, and that cross bike of his, drool worthy. It’s a damn shame you have to have a couple of dumb asses (I don’t care who started what) wrestling around a bunch of art gallery worthy bikes. Seems though like the Page family is a bit sensitive when called out on something. Page’s brother in law could have just ignored it as a loudmouthed asshole at a race (there are all types). But no, he took it into his own hands. Just let it go man. Just let it go.
This does remind me of a group ride that I was on once. There is a local ride in Chapel Hill, leaves every Saturday morning like clockwork at 10:15AM from the Performance Bike Shop in Carrboro, NC. Over the years, the route has more or less remained the same, but it has been added on to in recent years, just a little longer of a route these days then when I first started riding it. One day, a few blokes from over Raleigh way came over for the ride. Somewhere around the first “hill” in the loop, someone cut someone else off, and the on the bike slap fight was on. I was sitting behind the 2 when this happened, but needless to say, it was fucking hilarious. It all started with something like, “Don’t cross my line DUDE!” and a retort in the vein of, “I’ll do what I want this is MY ride…” A few more choice words, a shoulder thrown to push the other guy into the oncoming lane of traffic (there were no cars coming thankfully), and then hands off the bars, with a slap here, and a slap there, and some cussing. If it wasn’t so pitiful, it would have been really funny. 2 skinny wanna be bike racers slapping each other while trying to ride up a hill. Look folks, most bike racers, and bike racer wanna bes should A. Never get into a fight, because, B. They have the upper body strength of a 9 year old schoolgirl. There was this one exception to the rule though. See below for an explanation.
Back in my younger cat 3 racing days, there was this HUGE guy racing bikes. He was freakin’ fit, and fast, and by big, I mean, like wrestler bike. He could climb, he could sprint. He could pretty much do it all, and suffer like nobody else. He had long hair, and was unshaven, and a teammate of mine knew him from Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. Yeah, this guy was in the Army. The United States Army. He would never really say what he did in said Army, but from the appearance of him, he was an operator. Meaning, Delta Force, the baddest of the bad US special forces. I saw someone start some shit with him once during a race, just some back and forth smack talking, and he mentioned something about seeing him, “After the race.” He did. The other guy got taken down in about, 0.25 seconds and was literally crying in the parking lot, See, when a guy who is a decent racer, and has guns bigger than fucking Hulk Hogan tells you to shut the hell up, maybe you should, especially if you’re a 145 pound “climber type” with a mouth writing checks that your ass can’t cash, and especially when the other guy is a member of an elite special forces unit that regularly kills a lot of people. He’s pretty much going to fuck your shit up, and there really isn’t anything you can do about it. Last time I saw the guy from Ft. Bragg, was about 1 week post 9/11. He mentioned that he might be “going away for awhile”, and I haven’t seen him since. I hope he’s all good, ’cause he was a bad ass, and a nice guy.
Sure, we’ve all almost had our conflicts out on the road, mostly with drivers, but how many of us have actually gotten into the shit with someone? I’ve come really close a few dozen times, but in the end, the guy getting out of the car really didn’t want to do anything anyway. He thought he was being “tough” but if they’re not going to throw a punch at you in the first 10 seconds, pretty much nothing is going to happen. That’s happened to me a bunch of times. Someone buzzes me, gives me the horn, flips me off, and when I give them the single finger salute back, for some reason, they take major league offense. Like a guy in spandex can’t flip them off. They stop, get out of their pick up truck (it’s always a pick up truck it seems), get all in my face, and then, do nothing, and drive off. I actually told a guy once that unless he wanted to get his ass kicked in the middle of the road, in the middle of town by a guy wearing spandex, he ought to get back in the truck, and drive away. Sure, I was talking tough, and probably would have gotten MY ass kicked, but he thought about it for a second, and then realized, hey, maybe he didn’t want to get his ass kicked by a guy in spandex (even though that was a remote possibility), and got back into his large scale pick up truck and drove off. The old heart rate was racing then, and my teammate Curtis at the time, had already ridden off (thanks for the back up). I’ve since calmed down a lot, and try, really really try, not to flip anyone off, unless I get it first, and even then, I just smile and wave. It tends to make them more mad.by