27 September 2012
A week out from the race, and it was time for the Cyborg and Groucho (who, he had learned, held the 00C rating!) to head out for some more trail riding experience, and to work on tactics. Groucho, being a recovering roady, was much more learned in the ways of race tactics including things like drafting, which would be handy on some of the more exposed fire trail rides at the Back Yamma. So they set off for the hallowed hills of Kowen Forest, which somewhat resembled the trails at Yamma (and were great fun!) And it wasn’t long before the 00D found himself once more beside the track, with a slash through his front tyre.
“It’s okay, I have a tube,” he informed 00C as he began to strip down another tyre. Fortunately, it did give the Cyborg an opportunity to try out his CO2 canister, which provided him with a Quantum of Solace. With the situation under control, Groucho headed off before cooling down too much, leaving the Cyborg to add a little more pressure to his tyres.
It was shortly thereafter that the Cyborg’s day, and his mission, took an interesting turn. Two men turned up on mountain bikes and stopped where the Cyborg was halted with his upturned bike, into which the Cyborg was just tightening the quick release, “It’s okay, thanks guys, I’ve got it.”
“Oh, it looks like you have it all under control, 00D, we just want to make sure.” said the taller of the men.
“Really, I’m fine,” responded the Cyborg, taking a bit more interest in the men now that they had called them by his designation. One of them was off his bike, and beside the Cyborg seemingly reaching out for a friendly handshake. Naturally, the Cyborg responded by putting out his hand, which was met by the shorter man grabbing his wrist with both hands and giving him an extremely painful Chinese burn - the worse burn he’d ever had, even worse than that of Bully McReedy in year five! The Cyborg had withstood the fist-crushing handshakes of climbers, and that was nothing compared to the crushing power of this grip!
While this was going on, the taller man was walking over to the SuperFly, a pair of side-cutters in hand prompting a question from the pained Cyborg, “Who are you, what’s going on?"
“Oh, you could call us concerned citizens, Mr Borg.” replied the taller man, as he proceeded to cut the cable to the rear derailleur of the SuperFly.
“What?” Asked the Cyborg, “Why did you do that? Do you expect me to walk?”
“No, Mr Borg, I expect you to fly!” said the tall man with a maniacal look on his face.
“Please don’t call me that, you make me sound like a tennis player.” responded the Cyborg, “And how am I going to fly without gears? You’re crippling my bike!”
“Yes,” replied the tall man, “now imagine what it would be like if that cult of singlespeed took over... We’re just trying to give some focus to your mission, 00D.”
The shorter, stronger man released his savage grip of the Cyborg, pushing him to the ground, then both mounted their bikes and rode off into the bush, shortly before Groucho’s return.
“Aren’t you finished yet?” Groucho inquired, looking at the nasty red swelling on the Cyborg’s wrist.
“No, I had a visit from the SRAM people. They cut my gear cable!”
“Why did they do that? And how do you know they were SRAM?”
“Only someone who has spent ages mastering the grip shift would have the skills and strength for such a powerful Chinese burn! As to why, that’s a very interesting question.”
“We should report this to M. It may change our mission parameters.” suggested Groucho.
“No, let’s keep this one under our hat until we have some proof,” replied the Cyborg. “In the meantime, I still have a working front derailleur, and a pumped up tyre, let’s do some riding!”
And with that, both riders set off into the bush to hone their skills.
Stay Tuned: Cyborg’s Adventures continue in Part 6: Ride Royale