Wheelsucker is one of those 20 mph+ cyclists who ride in groups. He writes the inside story of what goes on during training rides.
Be afraid, be very afraid. They are out there, lying in wait for you.
The Wheelsucker had an ideal workout description from his (cycling) coach:
“Sit on the back today. Don’t get in the way, hang off the back of the rotation and even drop back a group if necessary. Use it like a motorpacing session – high cadence, steady – but not excessive pace.”
Official sanction for not taking pulls (leading the pack of cyclists); the Wheelsucker pays his coach good money to get that.
So the group rolled out slowly at first, with the Wheeluscker near the back. The Wheelsucker may have accidentally rotated to the front once early in the ride, but mindful of his coach’s instructions, immediately pulled over and got tucked in near the back. But some rider with yellow Mavic shoes so bright it made it hard to see, started frequently going off the front, with the lead group – towing the Wheelsucker.
(Later) the Wheelsucker was near the back after the turn onto South Polling House road. Then, while hammering down the descent before the stairstep climb, sticking like glue to the back wheel in front of him, the Wheelsucker was attacked by a squirrel.
Dead squirrels lying in the road do not normally attack anything even when you roll over them. But this squirrel somehow got up from the pavement, got a grip on the Wheelsucker’s front tire, and rode the tire up to the fork.
The squirrel was too big to fit through the front fork and brake caliper, but it sure tried, getting halfway through before becoming firmly stuck. The Wheelsucker watched in horror expecting the front wheel to lock up at any moment.
Doing close to 35 mph downhill, the Wheelsucker was expecting the very next thing after the front wheel stopped turning was his launch over the handlebars. He squeezed the rear brake and got as far back on the bike as he could.
The squirrel stayed put at the fork, sliding on the front tire – though bits of squirrel fur and flesh were flying off him and landing on the fork, the frame, the front wheel, and the Wheelsucker – and the front wheel kept turning.
The Wheelsucker rolled to a stop and then had to undo the front skewer and remove the front wheel to extricate the squirrel – or what was left of him — who dropped back onto the pavement whence he had come from.
While the Wheelsucker had showered in the morning and had been wearing freshly laundered kit, it was immediately apparent that the squirrel had not showered recently. Indeed the squirrel’s BO was quite noticeable. So noticeable that just the bits of squirrel stuck to the bike and rider were exuding noticeable BO.
The Wheelsucker joined up with two other gapped riders and headed for the Park & Ride, shortcutting the route by leaving out the loop. He stopped at the red light at 214 and immediately noticed the “dead squirrel essence” wafting off the bike and him. Fortunately the green came soon, and forward motion took care of the problem for the moment.
Once back at the Park & Ride, the remaining contents of the Wheelsucker’s water bottles were consumed rinsing squirrel off the bike and the Wheelsucker. Later, the bike was carefully hosed off and washed and the kit thrown in the laundry pile.
In the morning, the Wheelsucker was unable to detect any “squirrel essence” coming off the bike.
That squirrel had guts.