Posted by: fizzhogg | April 20, 2010

He’s Baaaack

I wasn’t going to ride today. I have a lot of work stuff going on, and figured I could take a day off. But after a morning of working, I encountered a problem that needed some think time, and so I thought what better way to think than to get on the UM and ride?

So I geared up, loaded the UM into my truck and drove over to the levee trail. I thought I would ride out and back – about 8.5 miles – without my iPod, and just think about my work problem, and get in a nice 30-40 minutes workout.

I hooked my front wheel on, pumped my tires, and as I climbed on, my nose told me I was in for a bad allergy day. I usually make sure to down some allergy meds before each ride, as I live in the 4th worst city in the country for allergies. But in my haste to go for a “casual” ride, I didn’t think about it.

I started at the east end of the levee and as I rode into a headwind, I thought how nice that tailwind will be coming back. Then, just two minutes into my ride – yes, I said TWO MINUTES – something flew into my left eye. A bug or grass, I don’t know. But it immediately watered my eye and I caused it to start swelling and turning red with my futile rubbing.

About a mile into the ride, as I was contemplating turning around at the halfway point and going home to wash out my eye, I saw something coming toward me on the levee. But I couldn’t make out what it was – a cyclist? A rollerblader? A big dog? I squinted with my one good eye and suddenly it became very clear.


My nemesis. My Moriarty. Galactus to my earth.

Just ignore him, I thought. Keep riding. You’re out here to think about work today, and your eye is screwed up, and besides, he doesn’t even know you exist.

I kept looking over my shoulder to see if his nasty little head would spin back toward me. But he just kept riding with his nice little tailwind. I looked at my computer and saw I was 1.5 miles from where I started. I guessed he was riding twice as fast as me – tailwind and all – and thus, I would go 3/4 of a mile in the time he’ll go 1.5, at which point he will be where I was when I first saw him, but then I will be approximately another half mile down the road, and then factoring the wind, and his cadence, and… and… carry the two…

I gave up on the math and just started to pedal my large tuckus off. I literally told myself, “He ain’t catching me today.” How lame is that? This guy probably has no idea I’m the guy from the other day, though I was in my UofA jersey, which isn’t the most common sight in this part of Missouri.

I rode on into the headwind, knowing he was coming. Feeling it. But telling myself to forget about him, just ride your ride, and get back to work. I got to the levee trail entrance – the one HE uses, where he has to walk his bike up and down the gravel incline, while I, the Silver Surfer of the roadways, roll straight up or down without fear of flatting. Okay, maybe a little fear.

I stopped there and looked back. He was nowhere in sight. But I knew he was coming. I could feel him in the deepest marrow of my bones. And because I know the levee trail dead-ends back where I started and he had no choice but to turn around. I had to decide right then and there. Do I ride down off the levee trail and into the streets – because I know that’s where he’s headed? Or do I forget about him once and for all, continue on the levee trail, and try and deal with my work issue?

I looked back up the levee and there he was, cranking on that old Giant, hunched over in his long-sleeve blue jersey and black tights. Black like his heart.

See? I told you he was there. I snapped this while waiting for him. Okay, so you can’t really see him in that shot, but he’s there. If you print it out and take it to your nearest photo lab and have them enhance it, you will see this dark, hunched over spawn of Satan waaay back there.

I spoke ti myself again. “Just let it go, dude. Ride your ride. You don’t have the time, nor the Gu to be riding off on another 20 miler, not today.” Okay, I’d made my decision. I was going to man up and clear this guy from my head and continue on across the levee.

Then I rode down the incline and headed for the roads.

Lefors will not beat me today.

Despite my red, swollen eye spewing water like the Bellagio Fountains, I rode down off the levee, onto the outer service road running along I64, and up and over I64, pausing at the pinnacle of the overpass – about 400 meters from the levee entrance/incline – to look back at my nemesis. My Moriarty.

There he was! Hunched over, cruising along, not like Armstrong, Hincapie or Boonen, but more like the witch from Wizard Of Oz movie. I watched him approach the incline and decided the second he climbed off his ride, I would hit the gas and leave him wondering if I were a cyclist or an SR-71 Blackbird.

But before I could clip in, Lefors fired the first shot. He RODE down the incline. WTF? He doesn’t do that. I do that. Lefors WAS coming for me. He KNEW I was out there after all. He wanted to drop me just as MUCH as I wanted to drop him… from 400 meters out.

I cranked the Unfat Machine and it responded like a machine possessed. Headwind, tailwind, crosswind, it didn’t matter. I was on a mission – to NOT let Lefors get even a hundred meters from me. I rode and rode and rode, back over the same route I remembered him riding the first time he was chasing me.

The bug or piece of grass or shish kebab skewer that had flown into my eye was apparently trying to push its way into my brain via my cornea. My eye swelled shut, but I kept riding.

I rode and rode, trying to look back with my one good eye and seeing nothing. No Lefors. Nothing. But I couldn’t tell. I only had one eye.

Cut me, Mick. Cut me.

I paused to squirt water into my damaged eye. I looked back. Way back. Nothing. No Lefors. Nobody. I began to feel like I’d won. Like I’d done it. I had ridden away from that evil destroyer of planets.

I was the Silver Surfer!

And as I rode farther and farther away from the levee and from Lefors, an odd feeling overcame me. Like I’d forgotten something. Why don’t we scroll up to one of the earlier sentences in this post and see if anything jogs our memory…

So I geared up, loaded the UM into my truck and drove over to the levee trail.


Something tells me the Silver Surfer never made this type of error.

As I turned around and started my ride back to the levee trail, Gu-less and almost out of water, with one good eye and cooked legs, here he came.


Yes, he had been out there the whole time. I was right again. And as I stopped and fumbled for my Blackberry to get some real evidence of his existence outside my mind, he whizzed by, and gave me that same, stupid, condescending smile and wave. I got no shot.

I had planned on riding 8 easy miles today. Thanks to Lefors, I rode 20 nasty miles.

To all the Lefors out there – real or imagined – who push us to work a little harder, go a little farther, and be better than we think we are, this one’s for you:

Eat better.

Keep riding.

Stay thirsty my friends.


  1. […] had done more of these than me. I memorized her outfit, bike and size, hoping we would meet again. Lafors passed through my […]

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