usually revolves around the anticipation of Saturday morning’s
chance to test my progress on the Hump. It takes something really
special to get me to miss that ride, but today a rare opportunity
came along, so I bailed out of the pace line in order to join a ride
led by Rachel Piker. It was time well spent. Rachel taught me a lot
about commitment, challenge and the true meaning of biking.
Rachel is the youngest regular rider that the Orange County Bicycle
Club has been privileged to have as a member. At six years old, an
age when many have not yet gotten their first bike, Rachel has
numerous Club rides under her belt and has already progressed to her
bicycle is a Specialized HotRock, which she spotted several months
before her sixth birthday and immediately knew would be a worthy
ride. At that time she was riding a Schwinn with training wheels and
was told the HotRock doesn’t come equipped with them, so she would
have to learn to ride without. By the end of the next day she had
her training wheels removed and was riding free form. Her commitment
and patience was rewarded when she received the bike on her
exhibits a talent for picking the best equipment and using it
correctly. She has the most beautiful pink helmet, highlighted by
purple flowers; and she wears it squarely on her head, securely
fastened at the chin.
protects her eyes with riding sunglasses while her riding gloves
show that she is prepared for all eventualities. On today’s ride she
chose warmer clothing than her usual riding gear, a choice that
proved useful, because it was cold and began raining.
met the Pokers and B’s returning early; but, despite the rain,
Rachel chose to continue her ride. She met the challenging hills and
distance with a grace beyond her years. When she finally decided
that we should return home, all riders knew that we had been pushed
beyond our expectations. The full ride lasted about an hour, which
is a big ride by any measure.
Rachel if she knew what she would like to be when she grows up. She
brightened considerably and gushed, “Oh yes!” When I asked what, she
brightly replied, “A Mommy!” I took that to mean she knows a very
special one who has inspired her considerably.
When I left
Rachel and her dad in the parking lot, I was confidant that she has
the talent and ability to do whatever she wants when she grows up.
On special Saturdays in the coming months, you may be fortunate to
find Rachel enjoying a chocolate reward for having overcome the
miles to Country Dreams, as she prepares for the return trip.
She is a good
and thoughtful leader. I highly recommend that everybody take part
in a ride with Rachel. You will not be disappointed!
Article #1, previous to the
one above, was the mere publication of Bob's e-mail to the club's
Membership Chair at the time of his joining. The article above,
was submitted as an actual article attached to the following e-mail:
Hi Roberta : )
Humbly submitted for possible inclusion in [newsletter] is an attached
Word doc article: "Rachel's Ride."
If a byline is given, you may use "SlingShot."
Since the A's were calling me that last summer, I assume "SlingShot" is my
nom...unless it is a generic term used to describe a rube that goes too
fast down any given hill only to be hammered on the next
uphill...excepting where "The Prince of Pain" pushes them up it, laughs
and shoots them over the top. It is a name I hope to grow into and change
to mean, "That sucker can blur off the front in an instant with no
After the Rachael's Ride article ran, Roberta wrote back the
Now that you've gotten your
feet wet, I hope you'll consider writing some
other stuff for the newsletter. The A's could use a literate
To which Bob responded:
There are probably better
voices to represent the A's than mine. I guess it could work if literacy
can be substituted for biking performance. At this point I'm dropped on
every ride and have managed to finish other than dead last only once this
year...though two Saturday's ago I did post a personal best 19.6 mph
average on the new hump. Last year I was pretty proud of never having been
the last one off the hump, but this year I've been focusing on dropping
weight, which has affected my performance...at least that's my story and
I'm stickin' to it.
My orientation to the A rides is a lot more self involved than my ride
with Rachel and Seth, but I'll put together some stuff and let you decide
if it should be published or not...it just wont be about group finishes
The rest, as they say, is history.
The nom SlingShot did eventually become
synonymous with speed and rolling off the front, but only because some
people started thinking the SlingShot character Bob wrote about
actually existed—outside his figmentary imagination. Thus his effort to
bring himself beyond his self-involved state in the rides, so he could
write about them, finally did pay off. On occasion riders would crack
(just before Bob would have) based on SlingShot's reputation alone.
Ah, the subtleties of road jousting.
sake, the A's being spoken about were then the front group. This was
before everybody got tired of Bob trying to ride with them so added the
category of Double AA's in order to get rid of him. It didn't work. Now he
rides with the Double AA's. Although, he still leaves it up to them as to
just how quickly they want to drop him or not, but he does require they do
that on a ride, not in the Board Room of Ride Labels.
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