Posted by: fizzhogg | May 21, 2011

Vengence is Mine

My return to Cycling Mecca and The Goat could not have come sooner. Okay, it could have, but it didn’t. For nearly four weeks I’ve been out of town due to work, and though I was in a very cycling friendly town (Portland, OR) it rained so much that I was never able to mount a bike.

Today I joined my peeps – The Conejo Valley Cyclists – for our weekend club ride. The route was a 34-mile ride with just over 2,000 feet of climbing. 22 miles into the ride is “7 Minute Hill” – so named because that’s how fast the pro riders attempt to climb the thing. It’s 2 miles long with just over 600 feet of ascent. Hill Slugs like me try to do it in under 14 minutes.

I rolled up in my club kit and saw we were going to have approx. 30 riders for our stage. I was greeted with friendly hellos and Where-u-been’s. The Goat was admired and envied. It was like coming home. I do seriously love this club, and despite it having over 350 members, most everyone I’ve met has been fantastic.


As I stood waiting to roll off with the troops, my right foot clipped in (sporting my new Giro shoes – heaven for your feet), a woman I’ve seen on other rides turned and began a conversation with me…

Woman: Hey, nice to see you.

Me: Thanks, good to be back.

Woman: Where you been?

Me: Out of town. Have only ridden once in the last 3 weeks.

Woman: Well, don’t expect me to give you a bungee cord to help you up the climb.

Me: friendly chuckle

Woman: Seriously, I hate people sucking my wheel, always wanting me to tow them.

Can you, Dear Readers, guess the very next thing that went through my head? No, you cannot.

The very next thing that went through my head was:

Sammy Davis Jr. in the beautiful and under-appreciated movie TAP yelling, “CHALLENGE!”

At that moment a giant red target appeared on this woman’s back.

We rolled out and started the run toward 7 Minute Hill. I stayed in the back half of the group, my eyes rarely leaving Miss Target. She was up in the first 8 or 10 riders, cruising along, unaware that a Goat was stalking her.

Our first climb came about 3 or 4 miles before 7 Minute. It was maybe 5 or 6% max for no more than a mile. Underneath me the Goat was like a bull in a chute – bursting to be unleashed – but I kept reminding myself to save it for the Hill. But the Goat was just too powerful.

We crested this first mini climb and I could not help screaming by her on the descent. My new plan was to drop her so far back that I’d be done with 7 Minute by the time she got there. One thing stood in the way of that plan.

The city of Agoura Hills implementation of traffic lights. After achieving over 38mph on the descent I sat at a red light for a full minute. When the light changed and I pushed off and started clipping in, she rolled by me at a good 15mph pace.

My revenge would have to wait for 7 Minute Hill.

I steadily paced myself back up with her and the group, staying about 3 or 4 riders back of her. I could hear the music from JAWS in my head. We rode on, and eventually the group stopped at a rest stop to let everyone catch up and refuel. We were four miles from 7 Minute. I watched her at the rest stop, laughing with another woman, drinking from her silly little water bottle.They were probably mocking me and the Goat.

Always wanting me to tow them.

Not soon enough we were rolling again. I watched my cadence and my heart rate – keeping them at 85 and 140, respectively. The Goat was getting angry. Like an old man trying to return soup at a deli. I calmly preached patience.

There’s another 4% climb prior to 7 Minute. The Goat wanted to take her on that hill, but I held back. Staying three riders behind, waiting. Running through my mind all the different choices of things to say when I drop her…

Where’s your bungee cord now, sista!

Please don’t try and suck my wheel, I hate when people do that.

Want me to tow your fat ass?

Oh, it was going to be so very good.

As we rolled along the half-mile flat before 7 Minute I purposely rolled by her, wanting her to see me, to remember me. I sat just ahead of her for fifty meters or so, then dropped back alongside her. Up ahead the leaders were making the left turn onto 7 Minute Hill. My heart was pumping at 168 and I realized it was because I was so excited about what was about to happen. I breathed…

I dropped back a rider or two behind her as we made the left turn. My plan was to let her start the climb. Let her get a half mile or so into it, to where she’s really feeling the burn, then I would glide by as if on a beach cruiser down by the surf, and I would say my line. What line was it gonna be?

You’re looking pretty good for a woman of your size and age.

Don’t give up, it gets easier when you drop all that weight.

Suck THIS wheel, baby!

The Goat and I started the climb. I settled into a nice spin – my next to last gear, and an 80 cadence. There she was. Bent over her ominous black Specialized, her ominous black helmet, her ominous blonde mane sticking out the back. Can blonde be ominous?

The Goat and I got closer – but not too close. I did not want to give her ANY chance of saying she towed me even for a second. We made a tight corkscrew turn, she got out of the saddle, and I knew this was it.

I launched the Goat.

It responded like a wraith, blasting through that corkscrew, up the left side of the woman and by her. As I passed I turned to her, ready to deliver my line…

And I nodded.

I climbed the hill in 11 minutes.

She did it in… well, as we all waited at the summit for the rest of the group, I stopped looking at my watch after 14 minutes. No need.

On this day when life as we know it was scheduled to end, I took my revenge, and took it quietly and professionally. Gloating is always better in the mind than in reality. And God strike me down if I ever become the type of person who says “Seriously, I hate people sucking my wheel, always wanting me to tow them.”

You want me tow you? More than happy. Because I know how great it feels to be towed.

Eat better

Ride your bike

RIP 108

Fair winds and following seas, Willy


  1. I actually do hate people sucking on my wheel, even when I’m on my 20″ folder and they’re in full kit on crabon–though in that case, there’s admittedly an ego compensation.

    • Yeah, but you’re just a cranky old man riding in the city.

      Come ride with Country Mouse – and you will find the love again.

      • Even on a brevet in a rural area, I don’t like being drafted unannounced. At least buy me dinner first.

      • Keith,
        Even as cranky as you are, I doubt you would ever say what she said in the context she said it.

        I have faith in you.

      • No, no, I’d never say that. And I don’t mind taking a pull. I just hate when I look back and find something stuck to my butt. I’m like, say hi, you know?

  2. Haha! Love it. But half way through the tale I was half expecting her to get up and climb like the Pirate and destroy all in her wake!

    Thankfully this wan’t the case… ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thats one of the best ride reports, in so many ways, that I have EVER read ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. You took down a cycle snob who thought she had your number. I love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Well done! You showed more restraint than I would have. At the very least, I would have ridden alongside slightly ahead of her for an uncomfortable period, then show her my best Lance Armstrong look-back stare, and drop her like a bad habit.

    Either that, or split a gut in the attempt and sit by the side of the road, puking my guts out. After a snotty comment like hers, there could me no other option for me than these two scenarios.

    • Nothing like giving the Lance “Look” is there Steve?

      I’ve only needed to do it in anger twice and the rush it gave me was amazing !

      I’d agree that should have gone down here ๐Ÿ˜€

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