I was pretty bummed out after the Flog Ride last week to learn that Michelle was formally retiring from our Thursday morning beatdown. Anyone who did the ride with any regularity at all knew Michelle; she had been there from the very beginning. Along with Emily G., she was a woman who showed, week in and week out, that women are way tougher than men.
And like everyone who stuck to the Flog, she got better, stronger, faster.
Unlike everyone else, though, she did it with unstoppable good cheer. Whereas the rest of us were sour, sourer, sourest, Michelle took her weekly beating and always had time to laugh at the beginning and laugh in the middle and, most importantly, laugh at the end.
When the Flog started out, laughing was no easy matter because it was a six-lap, all-out race, and if you got shelled, you spent the better part of your pre-dawn Thursday … alone. And it was dark. And it was cold. To top the shit Sundae off with a cherry of misery, those early floggings served up people like Emerson Orante and Daniel Holloway, not to mention Chris Tregillis, full-on Wily Greek, Derek the Destroyer, on-form Hair, 800-watt PVDN Jon Davy, Eric A., and strongmen like Craig the Pilot, Canyon Bob, and Ugly Pedal Mike Hines. Every week delivered beatdown hash, guaranteed, with solid regulars like Crowbar, Shriver, G-Jit, and a slew of other riders.
So many South Bay riders have never even done the Flog once, so frightened are they of its intensity, its intervals, its sprints, its grimness.
None of that fazed Michelle. She’d finish in as good a mood as she began, something that no one on the Flog has ever been able to say but her. Michelle wasn’t satisfied with being satisfied, though, she spread the cheer at the legendary post-Flog coffee klatsch overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Golden Cove. She took photos. She cheered people. She had a “caboose” of riders who went at it fang and claw, but who were always friends when the ride hostilities ended.
But that, apparently, is history. She’ll be missed.
Hell, she already is.
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