Shifting Gears #7: Teriyaki-flavored revenge

Neal Karlinsky makes time to ride when he can — and recently had a run-in with some kids in a car.

Too busy to ride? So’s Neal Karlinsky. But the married father of two, who’s also a national television news correspondent (you may remember his bombshell 2010 interview in which Floyd Landis admitted to having doped with Lance Armstrong), just got his first USAC race license in 25 years. He’ll be blogging here throughout the year about re-entering the race world in middle age and trying to juggle training and team obligations with work, family, and unpredictable days-long trips to cover breaking news.

This isn’t a race report, it’s a detective story, complete with a marginal-speed chase, hard evidence, and hot chicken teriyaki. And it’s probably happened to you … maybe not the chicken part, but still.

I’m riding home, on the final hill to my house, just happy to have squeezed in a quick ride after work. I’m in the saddle, inside a generously marked bike lane, when all of a sudden, “whoosh, clank!” Was it a bottle or a Pringles can that was just thrown at me? All I know for sure is that three teens are in a car whizzing by and two of them are hanging out the window, flipping me off, laughing and calling me something I won’t print here.

If there was a way to capture rage on Strava, I’d have KOM’d it — because I stomped on the pedals and started chasing. If that bottle had gone into my spokes, I could have broken my neck and I wanted those guys to know their game is no joke. I was desperate to get my phone out of my back pocket and get a picture of their license plate, but because I had a vest on, I couldn’t do it very fast and when the geniuses in the car realized I was chasing them, they took an obvious detour to get away and avoid a light. I got a distant picture — you can make out the model, color and dent in back, but you couldn’t read the license number. Disclaimer — chasing cars isn’t brilliant. But phones with cameras are our friends. And I just wanted a picture. I also wanted them to see me taking the picture and, if I was lucky, pee their pants out of concern. Everyone is accountable.

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