Doing it all the hard way...

Monday, April 25, 2011


I have perpetrated a terrible joke on a friend. I feel just awful about it. In order to cleanse my soul, I offer my confession and ask that you all absolve me. I am already going to hell, so this is just icing on the cake.

Hottie and I attend a spin class a couple mornings a week and our spin instructor is known to us as Spinner John. We have so many Johns that are connected to biking that we had to nickname them, Spinner John, 2020 John, Crash John (sorry), Front Desk John, etc.).

We all have our faults, and I know I have mine. This is, however, my blog, so while I may feel compelled to confess this sin, I don’t feel like confessing all of them. With that preface, Spinner John while being a nice guy and all really likes to “one-up” everyone. He always wants the last word and is persistent enough that he generally gets it one way or another.

After spinning in his class for several months, he found out I had ridden double centuries in the past, and he invited me to ride with him in the Davis double century last year. His idea of “riding with” happened to be the same as my idea of “starting with.” He had looked upon my Cyclocross addiction as an oddity, yet he signed up and raced four races last year. He beat me by a couple places the first two races and I beat him soundly the last two. He had sworn he would never race on the roads as it was too dangerous, yet he joined a team and has been racing on the road following my race schedule with stalker-like precision.

I better not look over my shoulder....
It could be my imagination, but it seems to that while he doesn’t want to be me, he sure wants to beat me. My road racing this year has generally been in the 50+ category and John isn’t old enough to join my races, so he has been racing the same events with the Category 5’s. The week of the Ronde van Palouse, John asked me if I was going to do a race that was being held down past Olympia. When I told him I was doing the Ronde, he tried to reschedule a doctor appointment for his child to he could go and race it as well. To add insult to injury I told him I had been selected in the lottery to ride RAMROD this summer. He was bubbling at missing the chance to one up me.

The Ronde was a lot of fun and they had something most races don’t; trophies. The cool trophies were captured by Hottie’s camera and were impressive. On the way home from the ride Hottie had an idea and told me to pull over while she grabbed a rock. The basalt rock was the same kind that could be found on the other trophies. The plan was in motion.

After the Ronde I told Spinner John what a great ride it had been. He kept interrupting me to tell me how well he would have done if he had been there. I finally told him that I had won the Most Aggressive Rider award. The MAR is a coveted award that is usually only given in stage races. One day races like the Ronde usually don’t give out such awards and the Ronde van Palouse was no different. There was no MAR award given, yet I was claiming it. Not to worry the prize was in work.

That evening I took a grinder to an old cog and chain ring. A block of wood and the rock mentioned previously. Hottie secured a plaque and we had our creation.

At class this morning I brought the trophy in a musette and put it in front of my bike. John, ever curious if not bordering on vigilant, spotted it and took the bait.

“What is in the bag?” Spinner John asked anxiously.
“Check it out,” I offered smiling.

He pealed back the fabric and looked inside at the trophy. Then, instead of unveiling the piece of work to the whole class, he silently stared inside with a longing that was obvious to Hottie and myself. He then covered it up and extended his hand and congratulated me. “I’m going to do that race next year so I can beat you and get that trophy,” he said to my amazement. Just as I was thinking, “he actually said that out loud,” he set the bag down and walked away to speak to another class member.

Looks real to me..
Hottie and I exchanged glances and I felt like Jean Baptiste Tribout.

In 1991 an America rock climber named Alan Watts had been working on a new route at Smith Rock in Oregon. Before a climb is completed it is referred to as a “project.” The first person who completes the climb gets to name it. A year earlier a visiting Frenchman named Jan Baptiste Tribout had tried a project that Watts had been working on and did it. Alan Watts was broken hearted. He told the Frenchman he didn’t want a repeat and asked him to stay off his project.

I won’t tell you who climbed the route first, but the climb is named, “I am a bad man.”

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