Monday, July 7, 2008

Cyclists Beware!

Roadies have long been wary of rednecks in diesel trucks who lug their engines to spew clouds of black exhaust in our faces, teens who take pleasure in throwing the remains of their blood-clotting, obesity-inducing fast food meals at us, and jackasses who drive while talking or texting on their cell phones and never see us, BUT, there is a new danger out there that is equally as disturbing and dangerous. I have had a few recent run-ins with this threat, and one of the guys i was riding with last weekend didn't fare so well when he encountered this particular danger: the overly cooked (often fake-n-baked), big hair, convertible-luxury-car driving grandmother.

Incident no. 1

Last fall i was riding home from doing some intervals on Wasatch Drive. It was later in the evening, so the sun was low on the western horizon. I had just gone through a green light on a pretty busy intersection and was riding through a residential area when I thought i heard someone yelling, but looked around and didn't see anyone, so i continued. As i approached a stop sign at which i had to turn left, however, a convertible lexus with a woman easily in her sixties, big hair, and a black tank top pulled up next to me and the woman started to blabber on about how she had almost hit me. I don't know where she came from, and i hadn't had any close calls, so i wasn't sure what she was talking about. She kept going on about how she had almost hit me and how it would have ruined her life. I assured her it probably would have ruined my life even worse. At this point we had come to the stop sign and i had stopped. She kept talking about how awful it would have been, and in an attempt to solace her about this near miss (that i still couldn't place) i told her that i had been hit a week earlier and had survived the collision. As i said this i hit my thigh were the car had hit me. Wrong move. Her eyes lit up and with infinite pleasure she responded, "oh yea, spank that spandex!"
What? i was dumbfounded! i wanted to get away, but i didn't want to turn left in front of her since she had already confessed she had almost hit me. She went on and on now asking me if cycling had changed my life and if i thought i was a happier person because i cycled and on and on. I kept telling her that cycling was great, but that i had to get going because after all, it was getting dark and i really didn't want to get hit. I pointed out that i had to turn left in front of her, and as a clipped in and started off i heard her parting comment: "oh yea, i guess i'll go home and spank my own spandex."

Now i'm not sure how close she really was to hitting me since i didn't even see her until she pulled up along side me, but all in all it was a very disturbing incident. Jim, did not fare so well in his encounter with a pretending-to-be-30-years-younger grandma type.

Incident no. 2

Last weekend a few of us decided to pre-ride the mt. Ogden road race course. We got up earlier than i would've liked, but since everyone else has kids and wives to appease we had to get the ride done early so they could get home and be good husbands and fathers. We set out at a mellow pace and rode the first half of the course down to Ogden and back up the North Ogden divide without incident. Just as we were starting our descent of the North Ogden divide back towards Eden a brand new black convertible corvette crested the pass and started down, splitting our group into two. There were four riders up front, the convertible, and then another rider and i behind. The descent is narrow and curvy and the road is in pretty lousy condition with lots of potholes. As i'm tailing the corvette i see that she keeps signaling for me to pass her, but she didn't slow down or pull over to allow me to do so, and there was no way i was going to pass around blind corners on a double yellow with all of the F-350s pulling horse trailers and boats up and down that road. Ahead of me i see that one of our guys has pulled off on a pullout, and at the same time the corvette pulls over and slows just enough for me to pass on a short straightaway. i catch the other three guys and we finish the descent and are coasting along the rural roads at the bottom waiting for the other two to join us. I tell them that Jim had pulled over, but i'm not sure why so we soft pedal for a minute waiting for him to catch us. About t his time the corvette comes down and pulls up next to us and the driver, a big haired blonde in her sixties, faked-and-baked to basted turkey orange perfection, tells us, "your friend pulled off up there, but there wasn't anything i could do," and with that she drove off. I had seen him pull off, so i thought that was what she was referring to. We thought maybe he had some sort of mechanical, so we turned around and started the climb back up to offer assistance. Just then he came down, blood dripping from his chin, handlebars askew, and visibly shaken.
"Does it look ok?" he said referring to his chin as he pulled up to us. I could see the piece of skin hanging from his jaw from which the blood pooled and dripped onto his jersey, hands, bike, and road. No, it didn't look ok, but no one wanted to tell him. Seth did his best to say it wasn't that bad.
"That woman rode my ass [i'm not sure if he really said that, because i don't know Jim well enough to know if he would use that word, but this is my version of the story, sorry jim if you didn't say that], then when i tried to pull off to let her pass, she forced me off the road and i went down in the gravel."
"i saw you pull over," i said.
"yea, that was just to fix my water bottle, but when i started down again she was right behind me riding right on me. when i went down she just honked and kept going."
Seth observed, "so when she came down and said, 'your friend pulled off up there, but there wasn't anything i could do,' what she meant to say was, 'i just ran your friend off the road and he crashed and i left him for dead.'"

We rode jim the last few miles back to the car where Seth had some handiwipes he used to clean the cut out. Seth snapped this photo, then we loaded up and drove him home where his wife took him to the instacare. Tyler almost threw up in the car when he got a good look at the damage.

Seventeen stitches later the moral of the stories is, beware of older women with big hair in convertible luxury cars. They will do you harm.

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