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Home » Cycling » You ever get that sinking feeling you just walked into a bazooka fight with a Swiss Army knife? On a bicycle?

You ever get that sinking feeling you just walked into a bazooka fight with a Swiss Army knife? On a bicycle?

April 2018

A few things, right up front:  1.  Contrary to popular belief, worldwide, it is illegal for a private citizen to own a rocket launcher in the USA.  I know, you hear some crazy stuff in the press, it’s mostly wrong and designed to keep you ignorant.  2.  They don’t technically make bazookas anymore, that I’m aware of.  I was trying to illustrate a simple point.  3.  I was pretty sure that it really was that bad…

I sent out a text yesterday morning, “Ride at 5pm my place.  Road bikes, paved roads”.  I figured one, maybe two of my normal “B” group friends would show but as chilly as it was (39° F or 4 C but it felt like dead-nuts freezing with the whipping west wind).  In fact, I was hoping nobody showed so I could strip off my cold weather crap and ride inside.  Still, when you send out an invite, you suit up… So I did, and I got the Venge ready (the Trek’s on the trainer and I didn’t want to bother with the wheel).

There I am, dressed up and ready to ride and I look out the front window facing the driveway, and I see a van.  Pickett?!  Then I see Newman on his gravel bike (I say gravel bike, because it is technically a gravel bike but it’s a nice Scott gravel bike – maybe 17 pounds, max), and McMike…  My only hope is that Newman’s on his gravel bike with a 1x Drive and McMike is on his 21 pound Schwinn Paramount.  I think, “Hey, it’s April and it’s cold out, it can’t be that bad.”  Oh yes it can…

I rolled my bike out.  We talked about the crappy weather for a minute and we were off – three A guys and me.  Now, we’re all older (I’m the baby at 47) so you’d figure there’d be a warmup mile, right?  Wrong.  Pickett had it up to 24 mph with a crosswind within a quarter of a mile.  I went into oxygen debt at that point and never recovered… but I didn’t give up, either.

After the first mile we turned into the wind.  Pickett kept it pegged at 24 but when I took my turn up front I dropped it down to 22 and I didn’t last very long at that.  I arm-flicked Newman up after a half-mile or so and he kept my pace.  I almost started to recover.  Then McMike took his turn and mercifully took it down to 19.  I was quite happy with that.  Sadly, Picket was up next and he accelerated to 22 almost immediately after McMike arm-flicked him.  Three miles in and my tongue was dangling down by my spokes.

I took the next mile or so and kept it at a lively pace but I eased off a bit, too.  Then Newman, McMike and Pickett again… he had it into the wind, which was starting to pick up.  From there things got a little hazy.  I was the only one who knew the route, and it’s a tricky one (19 turns in 17-1/2 miles) and I was trying to shout out directions in between hyperventilating breaths.  It was awesome.  We came out of a subdivision and Picket took it up to dizzying speeds with a crosswind from the right but I was holding on pretty well at that point.  I took the next mile with the tailwind and all seemed well….

A mile later and the rotation had cycled through again.  Somehow Pickett ended up on the front again going into a quarter-mile uphill followed by a long two-mile stretch, all tailwind.  We were up the hill at 22-23 mph, and then it got fast.  I looked down at my computer, 27… 28… 29… 32-1/2…  I didn’t bother looking anymore, I was just trying to hold on now.  We were 12 miles in.  We were fast enough that we could have been fairly pulled over by the police for speeding.  Then I ran out of gas, just like that.  Bam.  Done.  I held 23 easily enough with the tailwind but the other three started to pull away.  It was okay, too – at that point it was only three turns to home and McMike knew exactly how to get there.  They didn’t need me anymore.  I spent that tailwind stretch breathing – finally.

I came to a stoplight at a corner and there they were, waiting for me…  I don’t think they had to wait but 45 seconds, but how cool is that?  I latched on the back and we rolled home…  19.5 – 22 mph with two miles of crosswind, 27 for one of tailwind, and 18 mph for the last mile.  17.7 miles in 53 minutes on a really challenging route to hold any speed.  20 mph average on the nose, and the fastest I’ve ever ridden that route.

Looking at this positively, as I usually do, I thought I’d brought a pocket knife to a bazooka fight.  Turned out I was a little better than I’d thought.  I’ll take it, and I sure do feel some kind of awesome this morning.


  1. heavyman927 says:

    lol I know the feeling! I did a post called The Nauseator. You get the drift. That feeling you get when certain friends show up….. 🙂

  2. unironedman says:

    Sometimes a pocket knife is the best thing to have.

  3. Brent says:

    I haven’t been keeping up with riding enough this winter. Only a couple times out on the fat bike because the snowfalls were infrequent and melted so damned fast. So I’m going to be out in another week or so when things finally warm up and it’s going to be ludicrously bad. I’ll probably be 3 mph off the end-of-season average speed (which was 0.7 mph off the year before) for a while. Ugh.

    So good for you that you were able to mostly hang with the A guys. I’ll be lucky to hang with the C- crowd for the next couple months.

  4. Sue Slaght says:

    Great job Jim. Sounds like you have lots of gas in the tank after years of riding. A strong base to work from.

  5. theandyclark says:

    I salute you. I had a wind take me down to EIGHT MPH this week. Not a great analogy though. If you are facing a bazooka with a pocket knife and you can dodge it once, you’ve got the advantage (I can’t swear to it, but I don’t think the tube would work well is a club).

    It’s really more like charging a machine gun nest with a pocket knife. You make a little headway while the wind is reloading, but you’d better get your head down when the rounds start coming again!

  6. bribikes says:

    Great story, haha! You should feel very accomplished, I knew swiss army knife were good quality, but I think you just took them to a whole ‘nother level.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Chuckle… Thanks! I haven’t seen your photo in a while! How have you been?

      • bribikes says:

        Life has been a huge rollercoaster the past year or so, I was fighting to hold on for awhile but I have doing much better…until the last three months. Cause in January I left the States to visit my sister in Brazil and it has been amazing!!! I have been really growing in my relationship with God and others and I am feeling so alive again.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Awesome! Know you were missed. The way you write about God always helped me to reflect on my relationship with Him as well. I missed it.

  7. Pete says:

    Not a rider,
    grossly overweight, extremely old
    and lazy to the point of atrophy
    but thoroughly enjoyed your posting
    thank you for helping me remember my youth!

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