Who'd of thunk that a large, fast-moving group of cyclists could create a roadblock for more than a few moments?
The residents of Woodside, of course.
This is my 4th year of racing. For FOUR summers, I've been wanting to go on the Wednesday night Valley Ride. But I've been afraid. Afraid of being dropped. Afraid of the rumors of sketchy riders. Afraid of looking like the dreaded "Fred", well, maybe "Frederique". My coach finally talked me into it. "Just try it" he said. So I decided to just try part of it. "Be sure to get a good warmup in". So I did a couple of 10 minute efforts to get some intensity into my legs. I knew I'd have to blend in from nearly a dead halt and append onto the back of the pack, and that was going to be tough, since I'd planned to join in from a slight downgrade section.
I went about my business warming up, and then waiting. Waiting whilst rolling around. Finally, the group arrived, and yup. Had to join from a dead halt. The entire group passed and then I sprinted to latch onto the back of the pack. And they just sucked me along. I moved up and whoosh, whoosh. It was fun! Over a slight crest and then back down again. Whooshing along. Didn't seem sketchy to me, at least not last night. Over another crest and then damn. I had to use my biggest gear so I wasn't spinning my brains out. I don't think I've used that gear in a very, very, very long time. And then we turned, it were going down a long, section of gradual rollers. On an uphill roller, I eventually blew up and popped off of the group. I worked pretty hard to catch up to a teammate, and then we rolled along to the re-group point. I figured the group could just pull me along, back to where I'd parked, and I'd be good to go. So I waited. Once we pulled back onto the road (Kings Mountain Road) and started heading towards 84 and Roberts Market, there sat the Sheriff. I heard voices saying, "Single file! Everyone ride single file." which I tried to do. But others were passing. Then we spread out again as we approached the stop sign at 84 and Kings. The first group got through the left and the rest of us had to wait for traffic. Finally a nice motorist stopped and motioned us to go through. This is where it gets weird. There wasn't much room between the motorist and the head of the group of cyclists, but somehow, Mr. Man (the sheriff) drove through it. I felt like he'd endangered us, but I already know that as a cyclist, my opinion does not matter. Not in Woodside. He cut us off and then parked sideways, in the middle of 84, just to get out and lecture us and make a huge showing for the motorists. I'm thinking to myself, "Wow, what a jerk". He proceeds to lecture us about taking up the entire lane and riding 5 abreast when there's no bike lane, and how he'd gotten FIVE calls already about us. This is where I have to call bullsh*t.
I know this group, and I know the route. The group is traveling at the speed limit for cars. This is why it's so damned hard to stay on the ride. It's FAST, and if motorists are angry because they can't get around, then that tells me they are speeding. And due to the speed, the entire group is present in Woodside for maybe 25 minutes. Tops. I caught the group out in Portola Valley at 6:25. I was back at my car in Woodside at 7. I got popped at 6:35, in Woodside, and part of the route is going up the backside of Kings Mountain to Huddart Park. So for those 5 or 10 minutes, the group is not in the vicinity of any vehicular traffic. Five calls my arse. The whole lot of us would take things more seriously if the door swung both ways. Where was Mr. Man 45 minutes prior when a dark gray Mitsubishi Eclipse passed me within about 2 inches out on 84. I was over to the right as far as possible and there was no oncoming traffic. The driver was just being an a-hole. Where was Mr. Man last week, when I was again, as far to the right as possible, and one of his beloved Woodside residents blew past me in a HUGE, white pick-up truck, with a BBQ strapped in the back of it, on Kings mountain road, missed me by an inch or so (again, no oncoming traffic) and then turned into his driveway? Where was Mr. Man 4 years ago, when some stupid woman ran me off the Kings Mountain descent and I crashed into the ditch, breaking my helmet and denting the sh*t out of some residents fence (said fence kept me from falling down the ravine). 8 out of 10 times I ride in Woodside, I nearly get pegged by some jerk-off motorist, trying to MAKE A POINT. As cyclists, we don't really bother filing complaints, because we know nothing will be done.
But if you're a Woodside resident and mad because some horde of cyclists makes you sit behind them for about 1 minute or so, watch out. The Sheriff's got your back.
Me thinks I'll start spending my Wednesday evenings at the track, where there are no Sheriffs or rich, angry residents with nothing better to do than bug the cops and prevent them from tracking down the speeders, stop-sign runners, drug dealers, meth labs, pimps, prostitutes and bank robbers plaguing the community at large.