While having my coffee and reading my email this morning, I receive a phone call from my LBS. It is the owner, Matt. He is speaking as if what he has to say is urgent; “Three tri-guys from the town over just bought Madones, and are now talking smack. They invited us over to their stomping grounds for a… gentleman’s ride.” Mark explains how he and his employee went on a century ride the day before, and still feel like toast. “Andrew, come with us and show those Ironman wannabes what Rule 42 really means. We could use your help.” At this point, I had late night flashbacks of Alain Delon in Le Samouraï, imagining me being a contract killer… but on a bike. Yes, my guns were for hire.
I was pumped. It’s getting to that time of the season where the legs are peaking, and rides are showing who took the time to train. Like Jean Reno’s character in The Professional, I took time to prepare and polish my guns, before use. Lunch time; I decided the leftover steak in the fridge could wait, and had a bowl of zucchini and pasta. Up until the minute we departed, I was checking my blood sugar on the hour, every hour [yes, diabeetus]. Nothing was overlooked. I wanted to be able to dish out enough pain that these tri-guys would be scared straight and never wear wetsuits on a bike again.
My body was prepared; now to do some maintenance on the steed… I made sure that the bike’s summer filth was removed, and shone according to my very discerning eyes. The drivetrain was as quiet as a mouse, shifted as calm as a Hindu cow, and as fast as Di2 possibly could. The bike spoke for itself by the silence that filled the garage. It was ready.
Our crew of three met at Matt’s shop, and departed to the meeting point given to us by the tri-guys. Once there, we were greeted by three men in sleeveless jerseys and one of them even had a double carbon bottle cage setup behind their saddle, eventhough there were already two cages on his bike. This was embarrassing. I felt like I was in the presence of something wrong. Something very wrong… These tri-guys just ride for better splits in their little swim, ride, run game. There was no feeling these so called cyclists honored the the way of a grimpeur, and I felt the obligation to fix that. I’m sure these wetsuit-wearing cycling poseurs had names, but I never took the time to listen to their greetings. I performed one last gun check in the parking lot, and we rolled out.
Our group set the tempo first by laying the hammer down. This trio of tri-guys kept up fairly well, and to my surprise, they could hold a line. *Gasp* We were coming up on the first climb. Quadbottle jumps off the back of the pack, and goes for the peak of the hill. I look at Matt, and ask him if I should make a response. He calmly says no, as we summit. What was directly in store for us left Matt and his employee attempting to shift into their lower chainring. Benched, false flat… Here, the climbing truly began. Matt gave a knod, and set me off of the leash like a dog chasing a car. My cadence was at the perfect tempo, and my stroke looked like Anquetil himself was pedaling. I was in the zone, and nothing could stop me. Quadbottle’s other friends came after me, and eventually caught up. They were a little more adept at this non-aero bar riding than I thought. I wouldn’t goof up and misjudge them again.
I brought the guns to the party for a reason, and here I was, getting ready to fire. The pain was brought with magnificent exuberance as I climb a couple hundred meters. I meet up with the ringleader of the three on the next to last hill, and see he is maxing out his gears. I ride past him, and look upon his face turn three different kinds of ugly. He grits his teeth, frowns, and shakes the dripping sweat coming off of his helmet. The feeling of passing someone with ease, and having gears to spare is a wonderful experience. Knowing you could be pedaling easier, but not needing to, all while those behind you are suffering… It is a beautiful thing.
Someone must have entered a cheat-code for infinite ammo, because the tri-guys were hurting, and my guns were still firing with no problem. I made it to the end of the ride with a few minutes until the next rider could be seen. It was a great moment; not only was I able to represent my LBS and town with honor, but also showed these tri-geeks what cycling is about. My buds were proud of me, and I was still feeling strong. Their training ride turned into a breeding ground of turf rivalry, and tough learning; they let me go off the front, knowing I was genuinely nearly peaking.
There was no one around me. I had slain them all. All that was left was to get home, give the legs a break, and enjoy some fine dinner. I didn’t stop exuding greatness until the Velomihottie laid the dinner plate in front of me while I kicked back in the La-Z-Boy. Just as I started to indulge on the steamed dumplings, I received a call; it was Matt. He stated, “Good work, you killed them all.” Apparently the tri-guys phoned Matt and wondered if this is how every gentleman’s ride unveils. With a straight tone, Matt replied, “Of course, what do you think we are? Triathletes?”
In the end, I was hired to lay down the law, and teach these weenies a little something about riding a bicycle, and I did just that.
My reward? A new nickname: The Hitman