"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer

9.8.07

Geese, Payback, and A.B.

First, a clarification about the geese comment. Yesterday was the xXx fitness-check time trial. Everyone on the team meets up at McFetritch St (the east/west street that's just north of Soldier Field) and the Lake Shore Path, right next to that big steel monument to Chicago's families, or mothers or whatever. We go off at 2 minutes intervals, heading south to the turn-around point at the 52nd St. overpass. Then head back, pretty simple. Except for the geese on the path. These things are lazier than pigeons. Even when, what must look like some kind of frothing, panting monster, comes barreling at them at 25 miles an hour, they refuse to get out of the way. Coming back I had to scream at one, lest his dumb neck get tangled up in my spokes. However, teammate Matt Moran informed me that they do respond well to honking. Yes, honking. He demonstrated a good one for me. I needed another hour of endurance yesterday, so I headed back out at lunch and tried it out. Worked pretty well. So remember, give a couple loud honks as you approach the gaggle of stubbornness sitting in your way, and they will move.

By the way, I continue to improve. My first effort back in April was 29 minutes flat for the 9.7 mile route. Just over an average of 20 miles an hour. It was a brutally cold and windy day however, not to mention, it was probably the first time I had ever ridden that hard in my life. My second effort six weeks later netted me a large improvement at 26.40 on another equally windy and crappy day. On my 3rd installment of the FCTT I clocked in at an RCH under 26 minutes - 25.58. And yesterday I knocked over a half-minute off it, at 25.23. Yeah!

Payback

Speaking of my lunch time ride... As I was headed back north yesterday, around that section that juts out right next to the water, just south of the 35th street skate park, I passed this absolutely gorgeous woman on a nice bike. She was moving well, had good form, looked pretty experienced. Except she was wearing no helmet. So I thought I'd have a little fun. "Where's your lid?" I asked as I pulled up along side her. She grinned and replied, "It's in San Francisco."

"You know, we may not be as hip as San Fran, but we do have bike shops here in Chicago."

She didn't think it was very funny, and told me, in more choice words, to ride on. Which I did, without further comment. However, less than a half-mile later, a got a flat. And I had stupidly neglected to transfer my tube and pump in my backpack to my jersey pockets before heading out. She came by about a minute later.

"Why don't you go find a bike shop!"

Somebody did stop, on account of my team jersey, and donated a tube and some air. Turns out he knew one of my teammates, Nico. Nico, if you read this, email me and I will pass along his name. Your father sold him his house.

A.B.

A.B was the owner of the little shop across from the security desk at the entrance to 410 N. Michigan, the North Tower of the Wrigley Building. He always greeted you with a cheerful hello in his thick Pakistani accent, if he wasn't on the phone, or always tried to hilariously upsell you a beverage with your banana or granola bar: "Sumt'ingk too dreenk??" He's been a fixture in the building for as long as I've worked here.

Every once in a while the gate would be drawn, if he'd decided to take a day off, but it was never more than just a day. However, it has been closed since Monday morning, and today we were told that A.B. had died on Saturday.

It made me sad, and I felt like a writing a few words about him here. I only knew him through the few dozen or so words he'd spoken to me, but he was as much a part of the Wrigley Building as it's Clock Tower, or the brass molding over it's elevators.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude you got hit by some instant karma.

Next time you talk to a beautiful woman, use bravado and flattery, never sarcasm. Brag about the high speed criterium crashes you survived in SuperCrashWeek because of your helmet. Not to mention the gargantuan steel SUVs. Tell her she has a beautiful brain but you'd never want to actually *see* it. Offer to accompany her safely to her favorite coffee shop.

Or something like that.
.driss anonymous

The Car Whisperer said...

Yes. This is why I never get laid.