Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Buddy System

I took a couple weeks off from the bike recently. It wasn't due to injury or lack of motivation. It was simply being busy before going on a week's vacation.

By the time I got back to saddling up Old Yeller, my conditioning wasn't optimal. I decided that the Wednesday night group ride would be a good test of fitness.

The axe fell quickly. There was no mercy. After being severely dropped about five miles from Ft Calhoun, I had to solo (hobble) back to the regrouping point. Thankfully, there was my good old pal Shim, who like Charlton Heston with a touch of gray, was visibly concerned while stoically shepherding the wayward back into the fold of the group. I was saved! What relief I felt to know that would be spared the misery of slaving away solo for the next hour.

After a quick respite, three of us -- Shim, Joe Savoie and I -- were on the chase to reel in Kevin Limpach and John Wait along S HWY 75. As we took turns pulling to make up the ground, I was growing alarmed at a rising heart rate & dead-feeling legs. Then, with only 10 meters to close, Limpach and Wait launched a massive counter attack. Crap!

Shim and Joe managed to bridge up. I flamed out and was going backwards; my heart knocking on my ribs. By myself again, misery became my company.

But yet at another regrouping miles down the road, there was my good old pal waiting for me again. Shim's not bad, I thought. In fact, for the remainder of the ride back to the Trek store, he let me hang on his wheel. Moses would've been proud to see such a sight.


A few days later, having rested and licked my wounds, I joined the UP lunch riders, Wes and Ed. Shim was absent. I was about to tell the group about the Wednesday night ride when I found out that they already knew the story.

Ed: So I heard that you had a bad night on Wednesday. Shim said you really sucked, man. What happened?

Wes: He also said that he was the only one to bridge up to Limpach -- that you and everyone else were dropped.

And on and on and so forth. Sucker puncher! Even more, throughout the rest of that ride, I listened to the embellishments and self-aggrandizement Shim had concocted about himself and his impressive riding skills. Sucker punching megalomaniac!!


[ FFWD-> Boyer's Chute Pace line on this week's Trek ride ]

Brady: I heard that you were talking behind my back & telling how much I sucked last week.

Shim: I wasn't talking behind your back. You just weren't there.

[ FFWD-> one revolution through the pace later ... ]

Shim: Anyway, I didn't say you sucked. I said you blew.


Fifteen minutes later, after being dropped on the first of the two Ponca hills, I was on the chase and closing the gap on Shim, Limpach and Pete Duryea. Though aware of the similarities from the previous week, I was determined. This time, I was stronger and brimming with WSCG confidence.

With rapid staccato breathing, a forehead dripping burning sweat into my eyes and hot snot bubbling around my nose, I valiantly (rabidly?) pushed forth. 20 meters, almost there... 15 meters...

And as if on queue at 10 meters, Shim, Limpach and Pete stand and launch a counter attack.

My engine sputtered and flamed out. Again. And just before the group crested the hill to leave me for good, Shim calls back, "C'MON BRADY, YOU CAN DO IT!!"

What a buddy. What a pal.

That is Shim.


  1. What's the launch time for the UP lunch rides? I'm down the street on the mall at RDG and might be interested in some lunch rides if I can hang.

  2. Hi Brian - Come join us anytime. We meet at UPC's Southside (Douglas St entrance) at 11:45. Look for a blond guy with the name Wes. He rides nearly every day.

    Hi Wes. Meet Brian S.

  3. "hot snot bubbling around my nose"... that's were I lost it.

    Man! I have to clean the Mt. Dew off my monitor.

    And now you know why I have a 7:00 appointment every Wednesday. It keeps me from suffering the same fate. Although I rarely make it all the way to Highway 36 before I find myself alone.

    Someday, Someday, I'll lug my long haul trucker with fenders, racks, panniers, and mirror up that first hill before every last person has already turned onto highway 36.

    I can dream can't I?

  4. The key is to look like you actually wanted to get dropped for a much more noble reason. Here's the deal:

    1. Feign concern for a slower buddy--like my pal KOC. After keeping up with them on the first hill, hold your breath and say, UM I gotta go back and check on ____. Then slowly glide/slide off the back like the character Lance in Apocalypse Now burying the Captian.

    2. Feign a mechanical. Pretend your cleat is loose/broke and flop your leg like Al Czervik does after his arm is hit by a ball.

    3. Feign indignence. Self righteously think to yourself, "I don't need this pain!--These guys are NOT my friends!"

    4. Ride Lots.

  5. Now Brady, you know that good ol' Ed would never tell a lie right? So, while I may have mentioned casually in passing that you looked a little weaker than normal, it was simply out of concern in a conversation in which I was questioning the lunch group about your recent lack of presence and the possible reason that a hammer such as yourself was lacking his normal kick.

  6. Murphini: What Shim does is one better. He feigns concern to draw in the weak and then uses them to launch an attack to bridge. Then, dropping the weak for good in the bridging process, he UTTERLY CRUSHES their remaining dignity and pathetic hopes of salvaging what's left of the group ride.

    Hi Shim. You shared nice words. Thanks pally.

  7. I've talked about it before, but the problem with Shim is his mouth says what his brain thinks. It's usually offensive because it's true. Having said that, he waited for me twice after 2 flat tires on the High Gear ride once. Very cool. And oh, thanks for blogging something, you damn dirty ape.

  8. Well put, Taylor. But where were you in 1974 when the franchise* suffered and died?

    The Planet of the Apes (TV series) was cancelled after half a season because of low ratings, due to direct competition with NBC's Top 10 hits Sanford and Son and Chico and the Man.
    -- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Now Sanford and Son I can understand, But Chico and the Man?!? That's knit-picking now, isn't it?

    * I don't even want to get into Burton's re-imaging

  9. I'll tell you where I was. I was sitting next to my brother watching it. That's where. We only had to watch stupid "Sanford and Son" and boring "Chico and the Man" if our parents stayed home that Friday (which was rare). Otherwise we watched Planet of the apes, starring "Starsky and Hutch". Ok, maybe not, but that's how I remember it. Plus, it was the same Cornelius (Roddy McDowell). The baby sitter let us watch whatever we wanted after "Love, American Style" was cancelled (her favorite show).