What's Cool In Road Cycling

Episode 4: Redneck Spotting

This week we find our hero – Rusty Beall – battling evil both local and “untelligent” as alien life forms driving rusted four wheels polution contraptions take at him from all directions… What perils await him next as he dutifully logs his weekly training miles? Read on…

– By Rusty Beall –
It’s been one of those weeks, you know, where the planets aren’t lined up right, your chi is wrong, and your luck is shit. One of those weeks where it seems every motorist that drove by me was a toothless redneck with his pregnant girlfriend’s name tattooed on his bicep, no brake lights, a bad bumper sticker (my personal favorite being, “Lift your truck, Slam your bitch”), expired plates, a neat little drawing of Calvin and Hobbes urinating on the cab window, the mandatory gun rack complete with a rusted Remington … and, oh, I almost forgot, a roided Rottweiler. YEE- HAW!

Our little bout of this seemingly cyclical misfortune began on Tuesday with your prototypical bemused, barmy, cross-dressing hick. This particular specimen, who dressed in Adidas warm-up pants, snake skin cowboy boots (with the pants tucked in), and a flannel shirt, didn’t know whether or not he wanted to play soccer, shovel some poop, or saw down a tree. He passed two of us as we climbed up a shallow grade, single file; with us waving him on as soon as it was apparent the road was clear. Next thing you know, Billy Bob is on his horn telling us that we’re number one, slamming his truck to a halt in the gravel and claiming that we tried to take his life by gesturing him by while there was a double yellow. My training buddy stops next to the Jell-O-filled, redwood tree of a man, throws out a few big words — I remember hearing “pontificate,” something about a code, a paragraph number, section number, and some specific lines — ,and the man turns belly-up in total capitulation. “I didn’t know I was dealin’ with no law-yerz and poe-lice,” he said shaking his head, then shaking our hands, mumbling something about how great it is we keep ourselves in shape, and sending us on our way.

The next few days were the same way, we were even bombarded by two hippies, who, while driving a beat up blue VW Bug with rust holes and spewing a cloud of oil smoke so large it looked like a Kuwaiti refinery fire, yelled to us that, “WE HATE YOU [email protected]*&%!.” Hmmm, somehow that didn’t coincide with what their “Free Tibet”, “God loves all Creatures”, and “Alternatives to Oil, Save the Environment” stickered car said and discharged skyward. But then again, maybe they bought the car used and like the way their hair looks pulled up in a bandana and the odor they emit from not showering for days at a time. POSERS.

Despite the tough week of hecklers, we got in some really great training with another twenty-five hour week of base and ended on a positive note. Heading home I saw a kid about ten years old hammering up an eight-percent grade in Keds, a USPS jersey that hung to his knees, and intensity and motivation on his face. It wasn’t too long ago that I was doing the same thing, and it gives me faith that our sport will continue on … and thrive.

We have another couple weeks of training before our first race, the Pine Flat Road Race, on the 15th of February. We’re having our official “press conference” on February 10th, at the Claremont Resort and Spa in Oakland, California. I’ll let you know all about it next time.

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