Track-Stand Boy (TSB) appeared one day as I waited for the light to change at San Tomas. As he drifted past me he tossed out a "nice bike" before assuming the position immediately in front of me. I'll admit my first thought was a profane... "WTF"
The light changed and TSB broke from the gate so hard I thought momentarily I was moving backwards. I clipped in and rolled out as he quickly pulled away. A bigger man would have taken a deep breath and smiled, but with race radio crackling in my inner ear, I took the bait, stood on the pedals and put the hammer down for ten seconds to reel TSB back in. The gap shrunk giving me a chance to size up the competition. Strike one, helmet mirror; strike two, woolly legs, strike three... the man oozed arrogance.
We reached the next light and TSB rolled between cars on the starting grid with a sense of entitlement as impressive as it was annoying. Three feet directly in front of the cars he canted the front wheel and stood, motionless on the bike. Pole position again waiting for the flag to drop.
This is how it went, light after light for miles. TSB never touched the ground and I stayed three or four bikes lengths back in his rear view mirror. Eventually I zigged when he zagged and our routes separated but I hadn't seen the last of him. Two miles later I glanced over my shoulder and there he was pulling in behind me. One last red light before home... Race Street (of course) I stop and put my foot down. TSB freewheels by to perch nervously half a bike length into the intersection waiting for green.
Now I'm smiling and I don't bother chasing as he peels away only to veer right at the next block... and he's gone.
So what does any of this have to do with shaving. I'll explain. Last week we crossed paths again as he turned left from a sidestreet in front of me. I'm sure he recognized me, the bike and/or the Rapha kit. Try as he might (and I'm sure he was trying) he couldn't shake me, so instead each light became a circus demonstration of one hand track stands, while the free hand adjusted his shorts, helmet, bike, checked his cell. Frankly his balance is uncanny. He and the bike are as still as if he was locked into a trainer.
This is where my mind started to wander and I figured if he'd had a razor handy he'd have proceeded to shave for effect. In the interests of cycling research I decided to give bicycle shaving a try today. Pretty smooth, no nicks or cuts. Maybe the next time I run across TSB I'll offer him a can of shaving gel as a worthy prop for his prodigious track standing talents. His call whether he shaves his face or those unsightly legs.
If this catches on, remember you saw it here first. I only wish I'd talked Cole and Ryan into giving it a try on the Rapha Tour of California ride. Grizzly Adams never wore Rapha.