Scattante Stories – Tim

Next up in our list of favorite entries from our Scattante Stories Giveaway is this little gem from Tim, where everything is not how it first appears (what can we say, we love hearing a good yarn):

The images are as vivid as the day it happened…I was astride my Scattante spinning the Dura Ace cranks at over a hundred RPM. The climb wasn’t new to me, but the feeling was. It was as if I was riding up one of those “Mystery Spot” tourist traps where water flows and balls roll up hill. I had never climbed or even seen anyone climb so effortlessly and quickly. But it was me and I was on a rocket to the top.

I saw him as I rounded the next curve; The athlete’s athlete. His physique looked like the muscle diagram posters I had studied on the gym walls. But I was rapidly gaining on him. The uber cyclist was moving with the same effortless flow that I felt, but he was riding a much more expensive steed, with parts that had not been in the stores yet.

Could it be? As I got closer I imagined passing him…Lance. To my amazement, I soon realized it was him, and I was about to blow his doors off!

I couldn’t do it. I paused on my pedals in mid stroke, slowing down to say, “Good morning!”

I surprised him so much that he swerved and almost rolled off the pavement.

“Woah,” Armstrong exclaimed. “I almost bought it.”

He gathered his wits and commented, “Great climb for such a flat state.”

“You bet,” I replied.

I then explained how the 1987 Pan Am games used this very climb for the road course. The fans here were asked not to push riders up the hill. They seemed to only be helping the American riders and the UCF officials thought that was unfair.

He chuckled and told me of how he planned this to be his last bike ride ever. I couldn’t understand why since I had watched him improve in the professional ranks and considered him to be the future of cycling in the USA.

Lance confessed that he had been pre-diagnosed with “Cancer of my boys,” as he put it. He was in Indianapolis seeking the best treatment possible.

His voice quivered when he spoke of the uncertainty he was facing. I pedaled alongside, all ears.

Soon we were near the top. I thought I would give a little challenge and started to hammer. I dropped him, probably because he didn’t expect it. I looked back and he was out of the saddle and hammering himself right behind me. I could hear him as he breathed down my jersey.

Finally the climb was over I turned ready to high-five the Texas star, but he was nowhere to be seen. I was left with my gloved hand hanging in thin air. I know he was right there, but suddenly vanished from the Hoosier Hill.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I laid my two-wheeler down and took a seat on a fallen log next to the road. I was suddenly out of breath myself as I struggled to make sense out of what just happened.

Drained physically and mentally, I collapsed on the leaves and pine needles. Laying there I kept replaying the scenario in my head. When did he leave, drop off or pass me? Or was he even actually there?

The next thing I know, my wife has her hand on my shoulder as she stirs me awake, “I thought you were going to ride your Scattante today, sleepyhead.”

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Scattante Stories – Aaron

Before we reveal the winning story in our Scattante Stories Giveaway, we wanted to share a few of the other stories that we thought were great.  It was a really hard task to pick a winner from all of the fantastic entries that were submitted, so we just have to share a few of the very best with all of you.  First up is Aaron, who wrote about that feeling of having a perfect day in the saddle:

The day started well before dawn. I drove into the elementary school parking lot greeted by volunteers holding flashlights waving me to my parking destination.

I could see the excitement in the faces of my fellow riders despite their bloodshot eyes. We walked into the school auditorium and had more volunteers pin our bibs to our jerseys. After eating my fill of muffins and bagels I took my bike to the starting line.

It’s best to ride with a group in these events. Not only do you have the opportunity make new friends, but you go a lot faster in a pace line. I found a group leaving at the same time as myself and tagged onto the rear of their line.

The route took us uphill almost immediately and I was please to see that my level of fitness would soon leave my pace group behind. After a few miles I had left them and found myself playing mind games as I struggled to catch another group that was some distance ahead of me. The weather started to change as we ventured toward the coast and I was grateful for my arm warmers.

I finally reached the group that was led by some skilled riders. I settled into the back of this line only to find about 5 rider just behind me that were unnoticed yet had the same intention of myself. I guess I had been leading a group for a short while and didn’t realize it.

Now I was in the middle of a large pace line and I suddenly remember why I love this sport so much. My cadence was perfect and settled into a rhythm that was not too soft or too hard on my legs. I looked down at my computer and found I was going 25 mph while expelling relatively little effort. The roads were wet with the pre-dawn dew while drops of water fell from the eucalyptus trees on all sides of us. Our group, now led by what must surely be accomplished racers, rounded a number of corners while maintaining their speed and cadence.

The less experienced riders in the group, myself included, slowed down in fears of crashing on the apex of each corner, only to quickly play catchup realizing that our caution was unwarranted. As we continued forward I could feel the gentle sting of the dew in the air slap against my skin. I looked down and saw I was covered in beads of water.

We pushed through a number of corners now in perfect cadence to the rest of group and found ourselves in the second large climb of the route. Like a well choreographed dance troupe we jumped off our seats as the syncopated clicking and popping of gears gave our intent to overcome gravity and fly up this hill with the power of muscle and our will alone.

I was forced to hide my shameful juvenile grin as I found myself passing other riders racing for the top. My heart raced from the effort and excitement as I realized this hill had nearly killed me just 1 year before. Near the top, I took stock of condition and found I was saturated with water and sweat. Then, on cue, the sun opened up and revealed itself and the blue sky. Very few times in my life have I felt so great. Today is a good day.

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