Shirtless in Seattle


Yesterday we rode, and Hans had big plans. Rather, he had one big plan: Beat down the old man. A scoring system was set up: ten climbs, one point per climb. Hans had a big dinner, went to bed early, and got up at six for our seven o’clock departure.

Hans never gets up at six.

“We’ll grab breakfast halfway through,” I said.


“It’s always hard to get re-started after a big midway meal, but it will be tasty and fun.”

“Okay!” he said again, with a funny grin.

We dropped down Silver Spur and headed to Malaga Cove for Climb #1, the PVDN-Flog Ride Climb. He hung back and wasn’t even trying. Weird, since the climbing contest had been his idea. Halfway up the climb I sat up. He came up to me, happy and chatty. “Okay,” I thought, “he’s changed his mind and it’s just going to be a cruise-along day.” I was kind of tired anyway.

Same thing for Climb # 2, the Cove Wall. En route to Climb #3, the Lunada Bay Alley, we got passed by a baby seal all kitted out. The baby seal got a good ways ahead. Something was grinding on Hans. “Hey, Dad,” he said.


“Can I go get that guy?”

“Sure!” I said.

He unleashed a 1,500-watt flat pedal pop and I barely got on. The baby seal was bludgeoned over the head, skinned, and tossed in the front yard of a $10-million mansion. “Okay,” I thought. “Game on.”

On Climb #3 he hardly even tried.

Climb #4, Millionaire’s Row, he soft pedaled.

On Climb #5, Via Zumaya, the only animation he showed was when we stopped to take off our shirts and were passed by a brace of seals. (Note to reader: riding a bike on a hot day without a shirt is the best.) We remounted, clubbed, and continued to the top.

The best part of the ride happened next, and it never happens on “serious” rides. We stopped at the cafe in Malaga Cove and each had a bacon-cheese-egg breakfast burrito.

Climb #6 was the Golf Course Climb. “Man, that was good,” I said. “But my legs feel like they’re filled with sand now.”

“Really?” he said.

“I can barely pedal,” I said at the bottom of the climb. I reached for my water bottle. As the nipple touched my lips I heard a sound and saw a blur. 1500 watts and he was gone.

“You fucker!” I cursed, jamming the bottle into the cage. I came around the hairpin and he was a tiny dot, but I could see him crouched over the bars, digging deeper than a bad cavity.

I gave it all I had, everything. He was starting to sway and had slowed noticeably. He looked back and saw me gaining. As we approached the summit he beat the pedals with his tennis shoes and gave it one last lunge, taking me by a wheel.

“That was the sneakiest, lowest, back-stabbingest bit of doucherie I’ve seen since the last time I raced Chris Hahn,” I said.

“Thanks!” he said, happy as could be. “I knew you’d like it.”

And I did.



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12 thoughts on “Shirtless in Seattle”

  1. It would have been eerie if you would have eaten a sausage egg and cheese burrito, then rode with a guy without a shirt!

  2. East Coast baby seal

    Old age and treachery beats youth and skill nearly every time. Youth, skill, _and_ treachery? You’re screwed.

    1. You have trained the young ‘un well. When the student surpasses the teacher, it is a great moment for both.

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