Friday, May 10, 2013

Hulk Jr

On the way back from this past Sunday's group ride to Missouri Valley, the tempo picked up on Old Lincoln Highway. A pace line formed, two abreast, and long pulls ensued. Even with a tail wind, it wasn't a moderate effort. There was no soft pedaling up front for sure.

Inevitably on such rides, it's only a matter of time before someone announces to the group that they're going to go solo up the road and put in some "serious" effort.

Lucas was the first to do so. He told us of his intentions, and we let him go. Considering that we were going about 30 mph at the time, Lucas had to put down some serious wattage to get away from us. And once away, he had to sustain a strong effort from being swallowed back up by the group. We let him hang out there for about 15 minutes before reeling him back in.

Mod was the next to go up the road. But Mod's way of announcing his intention was unlike Lucas' way. Mod simply launched a silent attack off the front when nobody expected it. It's okay. World Champions are granted some leeway in this matter.

When Mod jumped, Lucas picked up the pace. I followed, along with Shim and Noah. We gave Mod a short leash of about 15 yards. At a small hill just south of Crescent, MOD got out of his saddle. Lucas remained seated. The gap between us began to increase. Shim came around me, I grabbed his wheel and Lucas took mine. By the time we crested the hill, the group was back together once more.

And just as the pace let up, I announced my intentions to solo up the road for a serious effort with my own silent counter-attack. It was clearly a breach of protocol among us non-world champion plebeians to act so rashly. Please forgive me.

My initial effort felt like five minutes, but it was probably closer to three before Lucas came around me. I rode his wheel for a few minutes before going up for another strenuous effort. A few minutes pass before, I hear another rider coming around me. This time, it's Shim, and he's riding with his inside shoe unclipped from its pedal as he attempted to pass. Jackass!

Shim's mockery flashed a memory in my mind of being harassed by my older brother Matt when I was a kid. Separated by a year and half, Matt and I competed in everything. Everything he did, I wanted to do better. Of course he was better, but it didn't prevent me from trying. He was also bigger in size. A lot bigger.

Competition led to friction and friction to fighting. When we'd fight, it was serious business. All-out fist fights were uncommon, but not unheard of. Usually, he'd allow me rope-a-dope him until I was thoroughly exhausted, and then he'd bull-rush me to the ground. Once on the ground, he'd sit on top of me and taunt me. Wet willies. Pick my nose, slap my face, thump my chest, etc. Ultimately, he'd get bored with all that and then go to the horrid goober dangling over my face. Lots of laughter on his part ensued during this whole ordeal.

This was all calculated on Matt's part. He was like an evil scientist conducting an experiment and I was his skinny lab rat. He'd pester me just to see how long it'd take before I cracked and unleashed a monster within. He'd call me the Hulk Jr when it happened.

When I blew up, I demonstrated unbelievable amounts of strength for a 60 pound kid. He probably weighed 120 lbs, but with proper motivation, I could go from being pinned on my back to standing up, all the while being bear-hugged by him.

I can still hearing him laughing hysterically during those moments.

Sometimes I'd show great restraint and withstand 20 or 30 minutes of this sadistic game. Other times, it only took him being a jackass for a few seconds before Hulk Jr broke loose.

So it was with Shim this past Sunday when he attempted to pass me while pedaling with one leg. Something inside of me snapped. Uncapped reserves of raw, possibly gamma radiation-induced, energy had been released into my bloodstream. My eyes dilated as my head turned away from that grinning fool. The road opened up before me, a straight run into Council Bluffs.

The monster within took over. It hunched over the yellow road bike's drops and began mashing mercilessly  on the pedals.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I heard my brother laugh. Or was that Shim's cackle?


  1. Behold Brady... before cycling, before he shaved,
    and after he smelled "wild hyacinth"