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Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My right leg wasn't at 100%. In fact, it hasn't been since I set that little Personal Best Saturday night. It felt fine at the time, but I woke up Saturday night with an intense cramp in my right hamstring, and while I felt okay during the day Sunday, when I was riding the Gringo's route, I started feeling some twitches in that muscle.

Then yesterday, it was tender enough to scare me out of riding. Today, the hamstring itself felt okay, but the iliotibial band was tight above the knee and down by my extensor digitorum longus at the ankle. Or something like that.

It wasn't bad, it didn't feel like a tear or whatever, but I was concerned about aggravating it, turning a minor inflammation into an injury that would put me off the bike for weeks. So I arrived early for the Brewery Ride, early even for me, and rode some slow, lazy laps around the neighborhood to warm up and feel things out. I figured if riding slowly on relatively flat streets felt like it was aggravating things, I'd just hang the bike back on my car and hope to be healed by Thursday. And I figured warming up would help prevent injuring things further if I did do the ride.

I didn't want to stray too far form the Brewery though, because I thought Roj and Jill would be along to depart at 6:00 and I didn't want them to see my car, not see me, and figure I'd already headed for the hills.

So I took Washington until I was just shy of Gregory, then headed west until I was just shy of Ward Parkway, then headed back south until I was just shy of 75th Street, then looped through the Brewery parking lot before doing it again. I think the first lap was shorter, turning a street sooner on the northern leg. I did three or four laps, and my leg felt better.

So cyclists were showing up (though not Roj), and when 6:30 rolled around people started to roll out. And this woman walked up to me in the parking lot of the brewery, pointing at me, and at first I thought I must know her from somewhere, so I stopped and tried to place her.

'You!' she said. 'What's the idea of following my fourteen year old daughter?'

What the hell are you talking about?

'My daughter, who is only fourteen, said you followed her from Chipotle, a big guy on a bike in a Hawaiian shirt. What's the big idea? She's fourteen!'

So again, I said, I don't know what the hell you're talking about. I didn't follow anyone.

But this jerk wasn't having it. She kept repeating her thesis, which was that her fourteen year old daughter had been stalked by some freak in an Aloha shirt and I was obviously the perpetrator of this crime.

So I told her again, I don't know what the hell you're talking about and I managed to take off before I lost sight of the slowest riders. And I was pissed.

I didn't explain to her about the warm up laps because the way I read the situation, she would only have taken explanation as proof of guilt. I saw lots of people, some of them teenagers, as I did these laps. Some of them I saw three or four times. I saw adults, too, and dogs. Dogs being walked, mainly by grown ups. The most remarkable individual I saw on those laps was an obese dachshund who ran, panting, to the end of its leash in a way that lead me to believe it wanted to play with me.

Plus, I don't owe anyone an explanation for riding my bicycle on public streets. This broad is lucky I'm such a nice guy, because you could get your ass kicked making baseless accusations against strangers like that. I have a fourteen year old daughter myself, and I can't imagine driving around the neighborhood looking for cyclists on such a flimsy pretext. She wasn't saying I'd talked to the girl, I didn't offer candy or try to abduct her or whatever.

And dude, I'm on a bicycle. That scene in Silence of the Lambs with the couch and the van, that wouldn't work if the serial killer was on a bicycle.

Then, as I rode in increasing solitude (besides not being fast enough for this group, I wasn't fast enough for myself for fear of that right leg), I had more conciliatory thoughts. As I say, I have a fourteen year old daughter myself, and presumably this idiotic troll was, by her lights, trying to protect her own. I wonder, is it the daughter or her mother who thinks she's such a hot tamale that I just couldn't control myself, but maybe I have to give her credit for being wrong for the right reasons.

Then I thought, wait, what about the Salem witch trials? Weren't those girls about this age?

I half pictured arriving back at the brewery to find this asshole still there, and maybe having called out the law. And my next thought was this: bring it.

Because if I see this moron again and she starts this bullshit up again, I'm calling the cops. I'll press whatever charges I can: harassment and slander come to mind. I ride a bicycle in shirts that would make Tom Selleck blush. Deal with it. I'm not looking to date your 14 year old troll offspring, so shut it.

On the plus side, after the ride, Dr. Jill worked on my leg and it after her twists and massages and tweaks, it felt better than before the ride. Feels even better now that I've put ice on it. I predict I'll be back to form and ready to unknowingly stalk teenagers by Thursday.


R.D. said...

You should have smiled and stared blankly at her for 5 minutes straight while occasionally breaking the silence with "I AM HAPPY!"

Chixulub said...

That or (this is probably disgusting: I have no idea what her daughter looks like since she didn't bring the kid along as a visual aid, and since I don't remember ogling any beauties on my warm up laps), I should have shrugged and said, 'If there's grass on the field, play ball!' and rode off.