This is a groundbreaking discovery – a real news event.
I think I discovered a new set of physical properties today; this is not to say that the laws of physics have changed, but there is a substance that has a tremendous effect on them – more on that later.
Today was a beautiful day for a ride, in the low 70’s and low humidity. The club ride today was with the southern branch of our club; they were going to climb the Helderbergs today. A nice climb and would count for my weekly “big climb” ride. The ride distance was 40 miles, and the ride could be classified as an A/B group – not too fast but a lot of climbing.
As the group was forming in the parking lot I noticed this one guy pull in, looked awfully Fred, had a non-descript bike, a tattered plain yellow jersey but what really set him off was that it was clear that his idea of a workout was a 12 oz curl. This guy had definitely build quite a tool shed, at least a 6” overhang. If I were a cardiac surgeon with kids to put through college I would have quickly handed him my business card. I looked at this guy and felt sorry for him; man was he going to suffer. More on that later as well.
The first big climb was going to come about 12 miles into the ride, we started out at a nice pace, about 19 mph over gentle rollers, since this was a group that was new to me I was mid pack. We come over a crest and there out in front by himself was Fred, I thought to myself, man buddy if you don’t want to die come back and draft off the pack before the first climb.
We get to the first climb, some riders pass me, I pass a few. I was taking it easy, as there was a lot of hill work to go. I am not really paying much attention by the time we get to the top of the first part of the climb – about 3 miles. Then I think, I don’t recall passing Fred, he may have turned around and I didn’t notice. I look up ahead and about ¼ mile up are a few riders, it’s hard to tell who but I suspect it’s some of the <140lb crowd who passed me. About an 1/8 mile up are three riders I did know so I started thinking about closing the gap before the next hill as well as putting in a little more effort to work my way up to the lead group.
By the time the second part of the climb comes I have caught that second pack and I work hard and get to the top – the lead group is not that far off. In that group is Fred! That does it – I gotta find out more about this guy. I start throwing the coals on. The last part of the climb consists of two short steep sections and then a gentle climb to the top. I catch the lead group just at the base of the first steep section; I have a lot of momentum on and just stand up and attack the hill. Fred is like one bike from the lead and I pass him, I hear him say $h!t, and then hear the heavy breathing on my back as he is trying to get up to speed. There was no way – I had too much momentum but I was also quickly depleting reserves – I was going to pay. The second hill came too fast for me to recover and charge again and he passed me. But at that point I had all the info I needed – I now knew how he defied the laws of physics.
As we started down we passed the overlook at Thatcher Park, that’s when about 5 riders and I peeled off to have a look – heck we paid for the view and we were going to take it in. Let the other riders go.
Pics looking out onto the Hudson River valley from Thatcher Park.
When we got back to the start all the other riders had left and I did not get a chance to speak with Fred and verify my theory. I know my theory must be correct otherwise all the stuff about needing to be no more than 2lbs/in to be a good climber are BS, all the stuff about needing a super light hi-tech bike are BS, basically the laws of physics must change and we all know that isn’t going to happen. What I suspect was that under his jersey he had a substance first discovered in 1961 by Prof Fred Brainard and since refactored for use in bicycling. What he had under that yellow jersey was Flubber - not ...