Thursday, May 3, 2012

Best Intent

I have about a month to go before I head out on my first Century ride.  I’m still not getting as much time in the saddle as I’d like although I have logged almost 500 miles since the start of the year.  The weather has been the biggest culprit; I have taken a ride every time I could although I’m a bit of a fair weather rider.  Below fifty degrees is a no go.  Rain is, too. 

On the plus side, I also make sure to get in my workouts at the gym including thirty five to forty five minutes of cardio on an elliptical trainer after weight training that consumes about thirty minutes.  My heart is responding, I just wish that my legs didn’t feel like lead after a ride that is longer than an hour.  Makes me think I’m going to be cooked before I ever get to the magic 100 mile mark. I find myself thinking that the fast twitch muscles I have in abundance (I was a pretty good sprinter back in the Jurassic period) will stand me well in a short race but the long twitch muscles that provide endurance are lacking.  I need to read more about that. Wonder if you can switch the ratio in later lifer?

I have a plan to build up the miles at the end of May.  My Bride and I are heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week.  That’s going to provide me with an entire week to spin for hours on nearly flat roads!  Wind is always a factor there (it’s where the Wright Brothers first flew back in 1903 and they chose it because the Weather Service told them it was one of the windiest places in the US) so I’ll still get some seriously strenuous rides but we all know that for every head wind, there is a tail wind in the waiting!

Close Call

I was out on a ride this past Sunday afternoon.  The weather was perfect, just under seventy degrees with no wind.  I had been out for about an hour or so, on a planned three to four hour ride, having completed the hilly section of my loop.  I turned onto a two lane road and spun up a slight incline that is tall enough that you can’t see vehicles coming in the other direction. 

I heard the sound of a large engine revving up and looked in my little rear view mirror.  A small dump truck was coming up behind me and since the way ahead was blind, I expected them to slow and wait until they could see if the way ahead was clear.  I don’t like to hold anyone up; hey, I’m a driver, too.  But I was already doing twenty miles an hour and I didn’t really have anything more to give. 

I was about halfway up the incline when I suddenly heard the engine roar as the driver dropped a gear and accelerated, pulled out across the double yellow line and began to pass me.  It turned out that the truck also had a fairly long trailer hitched to the back, loaded with all kinds of yard materials.  The logo on the truck said “Lot Scapes” and it was clean and nicely painted, advertising the business.  MB and I are entertaining a large landscaping project in the future, too.  I wondered if they’re any good.

The truck got past me and the trailer was almost clear of me when the driver whipped back into the lane.  The slight hill had slowed me down and when I saw the trailer and understood what this moron was doing (passing illegally and in a very unsafe manner for those of you scoring at home) I moved my hands to cover the brakes just in case I had to stop quickly. 

The rear of the trailer missed my front wheel by a couple of feet but it was enough to give me an adrenaline rush.

No sooner had the truck pulled into the lane then a large pickup truck heading in the other direction (I live out in the country) came roaring past me with the driver clearly upset at having just missed the dump truck which had been driving in his lane.  Evidently, everyone was pissed off except the dump truck driver, the target of our collective wrath.

As a business person, I know that time is money.  I also know that any business is only as good/successful/valuable as its lowliest employee.  I took the time to point out as much when I sent an email to Lot Scapes via their website and also suggested that the owner needed to take the time to instruct her employees that a moments’ stupidity could put the entire organization out of existence.  (I’m not a litigious sort but could be motivated to become so, depending on the circumstances.)  Seriously, if getting somewhere is so damn critical, leave a little earlier.

An hour or so later, I was pedaling along another two lane road in the same general vicinity.  Except for the dump truck incident, it had been a fairly uneventful ride.  All the drivers seemed ready to share the road and I even got a few waves from people.  The weather was still gorgeous.  This sort of thing lulls me into a false sense of security, I suppose.

Suddenly, a motorcycle blew past me in a very loud blast of noise. He passed so closely and at such a speed that the wind buffeted me for a second.  Two more passed me, right behind the first, but riding on the other side of the lane so it wasn’t nearly as close or as jarring.

I swear that my heart stopped for a second; this absolutely terrified me.  And when I realized that it had been a motorcycle, I went from extreme fear to intense anger to complete disappointment.  Geez, guys, I’m forever reading how motorcyclists are being mistreated by people driving cars, too.  Aren’t we brethren here?  Just because I can’t go as fast or accelerate at quickly, does that make me YOUR target?  Does shit really have to roll downhill???

Once my heart returned to an almost normal rate, I continued to turn it over in my mind.  Maybe they just hadn’t seen me and realized, too late, that someone else was occupying the far right side of the lane.  Yeah, that had to be it.  For all I knew, because I never caught a glimpse of them in my mirror, the rider had to maneuver quickly to avoid hitting me in the first place so, it could have been much worse.  

Yeah, that’s it.

I crested the rise that hides the large convenience store on the left side of the road and saw the three motorcycles parked at the gas pumps.  For a split second, I entertained the idea of pulling off to ask them what had happened.  (A part of me wanted to go push their bikes over, too, I admit it. I’m such a crappy Buddhist.) I like to assume best intent whenever I’m able, at least that’s what I tell myself.  Now, here was a chance to do it.  

I decided to let it be. 

Going National

One week from today, my company’s national sales meeting will be complete.  Meaning that all the work I've put into it will have been delivered.  I have a really huge piece of this one and, as a result, I’m on edge.  A little. Okay, a lot. 

I’m counting on a large group of people to step up and do a great job.  If they do, we’ll be praised and lauded for our efforts and skills.  If they don’t, it’ll be my ass.  That’s exciting!  I love a good gamble!  It’s a good thing that I’ve been blessed with a fair degree of confidence in myself and the same in others.

If it fails, I’ll have to assume best intent.

P.S. The owner of Lot Scapes responded to my email with the following message.  This is the entire message.

Thanks.  I’ll speak with the driver.

(Sigh. Assume best intent.)


  1. As usual with your usual wit. "Thanks I'll speak to the driver" (Thanks - Don't stress yourself)

  2. Brian, I live in Harley Country and during Bike Week I stayed off the roads. The Harley crowd are far and away the worst. And I used to be one!

    There must be a psychological explanation. Psycho-logical.

    Good luck with your sales meeting results.


  3. Hey, Brian! Sometimes one of my friend's posts will grab my attention and I'll rip out five or six hundred words in the comments, then decide I am hijacking their Booger and not post them. I just did that with you. Not this message; I just deleted a long comment about rompin' and stompin' in the Corporate Matrix and as I typed I realized how much I missed the Game. Oh well, you're still in it and good luck. I look forward to hearing how things turn out.

    As far as the rude drivers go, 'twas ever thus and the adrenaline rush of a close call is rush enough. I refuse to indulge in letting them piss me off. I just came in from a sixty-miler and I was all alone way out in the middle of no where when some big-ass bloated Chevy came by. I felt the pressure wave just a split second before and swerved and they missed. Hah!

    Stay alive brother, and keep 'em coming.


  4. I feel your pain Brian. My favorite motorized moron is the one that passes oncoming traffic at warp-speed into my lane (I know that day-glo YELLOW jersey is tough to see); Bluetooth in ear, coffee cup in hand, middle finger erect as their shock wave pushes me off the shoulder. Class acts.

    I know it's wrong to wish ill on someone but just once, a trooper in the weeds at an opportune time would be so rewarding. Karma can be a wonderful thing.

    Ride on through the storm!