My wife reads this blog frequently, trying to spy on me and make sure I'm actually at work and not off on a bike ride or something. So honey, if you've gotten this far despite the warning, turn away and run now.
Today on my ride, on my way back to the office, I was flying up a shallow climb. Seated, big ring, hammering away and feeling pretty good actually. I was on a section of the climb that is essentially a false flat, so I was moving pretty quick. Just as the climb started to get steep again, I stood up to maintain my speed. At that precise moment, a car load of teenage/ twenty-something guys drives by and throws a full Super-Big-Gulp-Soda-Supertanker at me and the bike. Fortunately it happened as I was standing so I acclerated and the soda bomb nailed the rear wheel and sent ice and soda all over the back of the bike and not into the front wheel and spokes. I skid a little on the ice and soda, but was otherwise unhurt and didn't crash. Had I been seated, with my weight on the rear wheel and going slightly slower, the tanker would have hit my front wheel and would have likely caused me to crash. The jackasses sped off, directly behind another car and then passed them in a turn, going uphill. The car that was behind them and closest to me honked and waved to them, so I'm not sure if they were expressing a show of support or what. All in all, the experience was a bit unreal.
Now, this occurrence is nowhere near uncommon to me, as I seem to have a bullseye painted on my back. I have had so many close calls, and direct hits, over the years that I ride very defensively and pretty much assume that most people are out to kill me. Paranoid, I know, but with two children and a wife, I believe in watching my back closely. Very closely.
This is the kind of thing that makes my wife scared to let me out of the house to ride at all. I can't even ride my rollers in the driveway without her getting a little jumpy. She did, after all, see me after I was hit and nearly killed last year. She has good reason to be nervous, as do all of our friends, loved ones and spouses/ significant others.
I drive a car too, but I have never had the thought to toss crap out of my car with the intent to scare or injure somebody else. What sort of tweaked pathology are we looking at here? What crazy group mentality overtook the passengers in the car? Where did the thrill of trying to kill me come from?
If you follow the conversations going on these days and see the cycling news, lots of people are getting killed on their bikes. It just crushes me each time I read or hear of another cyclist getting killed by a motorist.
If I would have caught the car, and I sprinted my ass off to try, I would have enjoyed busting a window or two. Idiots...
Ultimately, I'm glad I wasn't hurt and I was having a great ride on a gorgeous day. I was doing something I enjoy, planning new ways to take over the bike world. I was distracted by the attack, but I still finished my ride and got to come back to a job I enjoy and will see my family tonight.
I am lucky. You stay lucky too.