There is a little bit of background information crucial to understanding today’s vignette. I promise to be brief if you promise tolerate a little cycling terminology. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I have faith in you.
To begin with, let’s talk about the term ‘pacelining’. Pacelining basically means riding very close together in a single file line at a uniform speed. This means the person in the front of the line works the hardest, takes the brunt of the wind, watches for obstacles, etc. And in an unofficial paceline, the person in the front sets the pace. The riders in the middle make sure to keep close to each others’ wheels to ensure maximum efficiency. The person in the back calls out approaching traffic, stays close to the person in front of them, and basically kicks back to enjoy the work done by everyone in front of them. In real pacelines, there is a lot of “peeling off” which involves a constant rotation of the person in front moving to the back, but that does not apply to today’s story. The thing you need to know is that it is never, ever, EVER acceptable for the slacker in the back to tell the person in the front to go faster. Is is bad, bad form.
The second thing you need to know is I rarely use profanity. I happen to think that I sound stupid when I curse. Believe it or not, I try to avoid sounding stupid. On the rare occasion that I employ a naughty word, it is NEVER done seriously. I don’t curse when I’m angry, frustrated, or any other time I might actually mean it. The sparse profanity is saved for humorous outbursts and a select group of people who share my slightly off sense of humor.
So, now that we’ve covered pacelining and profanity, let’s get to the story.
On Monday, I went cycling with my friends April and That Laura. We rode out to beautiful Igo and then took a spin out to Happy Valley. I was in the front, April was in the middle, and That Laura was in the back. I was quite enjoying our pace and the interesting scenery that is Happy Valley. For instance, we passed a house with a white flocked Christmas tree standing proudly in the front yard. Hey, I had a pole in my Christmas tree stand, so who am I to judge? There is also the house that is a shrine to Coca Cola. Everything Coca Cola has come to die there. Me, I prefer Dr. Pepper, but to each his own.
Anyway, we were happily pedaling along when That Laura yelled from the back of the paceline “Faster! You have to go faster!”
Did she just tell me, the Paceline Leader, to go faster? The audacity! The moxy! The cajones! That Laura deserved nothing less than a sarcastic tongue lashing. The words “You get up here and go faster, bi*ch!” were just about to launch themselves out of my mouth when Laura said these terrifying words, “Faster! You have to go faster! He’s gaining on us!”
He? He who? I looked back and running uncomfortably close to That Laura was a black dog, the kind that herd sheep and other smelly animals. The owner was yelling at the little black blur, but the dog was obviously mesmerized by our tasty Spandex clad legs. This dog was way too close for comfort. We cranked harder and the dog turned and ran back home.
If you’ve ever spoken to me for more that five minutes, you know I’ve had several incidents with animals while on The Rocket. I’ve raced with a turkey, been pooped on by a bird, hissed at by a snake, and was spooked so badly by turkey vultures that I almost wet my Spandex. Never, ever have I been chased by a dog. And never, ever have I been so frightened on my bike. After the dog retreated, my heart pounded against my ribs.
So, the next time my friend, That Laura, tells me to go faster I will not think of sarcastic tongue lashings to deliver. I will tuck my head down, spin my pedals extra hard, and go faster, bi*ch.