Monday, August 19, 2013

Going through the car wash

At home in Linköping Martin's a bike commuter. He trains for long events by commuting 40km (25 miles) each way. When the weather's really bad – and I believe the weather does get bad in Sweden – he takes the train in one direction.

Yeah, we don't really have his kind in California...

Bike commuters develop special instincts. For when someone, a driver, is about to do something stupid. For trouble spots on their route. For behavior that might be less than innocent, might be intentional.

So Martin doesn't judge me for chasing the Audi. The one that sprays windshield fluid at the precise moment it passes on the road into Arendal. We both know this is no random act.

The driver is enraged that we're not on the cycle track. The one that recently appeared on the other side of the road. Who knows where it ends up and we missed the entrance anyway and our group is traveling about twice the speed of other cyclists there (commuters).

Furthermore after a thousand kilometers in the last 72 hours, fuck the cycle track and anything that doesn't lead directly to Kristiansand.

A mist of cleaning fluid hits the left side of my face and upper body. Technically there's a slight delay as adrenaline dumps into the bloodstream and reaches my brain. But I don't feel any delay. It's a sudden chemical high.

I stand up on the pedals and sprint, taking the lane. Moving the same speed as traffic. No need to pass me now. Four metal circles on the rear hatch, just like the one we used to have. Same color too.

Feels so easy and natural, going full bore. There's no pain at all. I observe muscles shaking with anger but all the shaking is recycled back into effort. The bike is solid and freaking fast, on target like a drone. Wasted effort on this lowlife? Hey the adrenaline has to go somewhere...

Right at this point there's a little roller and I think oh please lemme catch him, just this once, I've been good. 

In full tuck now, moving faster than traffic, gaining ground. Downhill physics favors the cyclist. No coward face in the mirror but he'd have to be asleep not to see me coming. what are you gonna do? Beat him up, get arrested for assault? Go to jail in Arendal instead of finishing the ride? A dialog starts with the policeman assigned to the case. He is threatening, patronizing, trying to corner me with questions. I'm unrepentant.

Still in chase mode, coming up with a plan... confront him, scare him. Next time he sees a cyclist he won't think victim. He'll think twice. If the window stays up grab the windshield wiper, snap it right in front of him. Yeah. Those little bits cost a fortune to replace.

Another bump in the road. I stand up and it's just gone.

For a moment on the next downhill it looks like I might have a shot. Then a traffic light goes green and he's got space in front. The Audi moves into it smoothly, pulling away.

It's the weirdest thing. Three days' worth of lactic acid, completely gone from my legs. All of it! Brand new quad muscles. No soreness, no residual anger either. The legs and emotions have gone through the car wash. By the time Martin and Niels-Kristian arrive it's all good.

Another beautiful day on the bike in a big, confusing Norwegian town. And a new technique for renewing the legs on a brevet.

Don't hold back.

No comments:

Post a Comment