Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Story of Zeke

Back in '90s, a group of coworkers and I used to mountain bike together regularly. Usually an afterwork blast at St Eds/Big Finn Hill or Tiger Mountain. Actually, I've ridden with coworkers everyplace I've worked from the '80s up to the present. This story however occurred riding with pals from the Mackie Designs days...

We had just finished an afterwork ride at Tiger Mountain, near Issaquah (that be Washington). Tiger Mountain is a very well used mountain biking spot for the Seattle area. The dirt parking lot sits right off busy Highway 18, within sight of speeding cars and trucks. Most of the riding gang had already loaded up their bikes and headed out, leaving me and riding pal Sevrin packing up our cars.

In the lot, some dude was hanging around by his pickup truck - not a mountain biker. Mid 30s, maybe 40, lean, super tan; like he worked outside - maybe a landscaper, roofer, carpenter kind of guy. Fairly normal appearing, but a little off - you could just sense it on first appearance. He tries to engage us in conversation as we change out riding shoes and load up bikes. Me being an idiot and amped from the ride, take the bait and chat with the guy. He's a few car lengths away from me, with Sevrin on the other side of the lot.

"Why don't you guys just ride motorcycles instead of those bicycles?" was part of the "conversation" as I pull off my front wheel and lift the Fat Chance onto the Nissan roof. The guy is freaking me out a little, but this a goof as well. I tell him I used to ride dirt motorcycles and raced motocross years ago. "I used to ride a Honda 90 all over these woods before the mountain bikes took over." - as he starts walking towards me.

Bike loaded, shoes changed, and I'm in the driver seat about four seconds before he gets near my passenger side door. I then lock the passenger door about two seconds before he's trying to get it - pulling on the handle. Holy crap, this dude is a freak.

I look in my rear view mirror to see Sevrin jump out his car and head over, looking pissed. Weirdo Dude stops trying to get into my car and laughs it off. "I'm just F%$@ing with you guys." Nice.

Servrin, who's a pretty big punk rock dude, stops mid parking lot, some words are exchanged, then Sevrin heads back to his car. We both pull out and crank down Highway18 away from Psycho Guy. We drive side by side, shaking our heads and laughing.

I get home and when unloading my bike from the roof, could not loosen the quick release skewer holding the fork to rack. While loading up in a rush and a little freaked about Psycho Dude, I somehow developed super human strength. I guess adrenaline will do that - sorta like when Grandma lifts the Buick off Grandpa after the cheap jack stands collapse. I needed a piece of PVC pipe over the quick release for leverage to pull it loose. Yeah, it was pretty tight.

Next day at work, plenty of laughs concerning Zeke - what we decided to name the guy. Lucky for us, we never ran into Zeke again during future rides at Tiger Mountain.

However, the story of Zeke lives forever.


  1. I have only ran into one person that after talking with him scared me and that was on the AT.

  2. That was a freaky man. Reminds me of an encounter I had that ended up with pepper spray, I'll have to blog that sometime.

  3. Where's Burt Reynolds with his hunting bow when you need him?

  4. I thought I heard banjo music in the background...

  5. @Bikewright - what's the AT? I'm a guessing a trail near you.

    @MrDavey - we gotta hear the pepper spray story.

  6. AT= Appalachian Trail is the nation's longest marked footpath, at approximately 2,179 miles.

  7. Appalachian Trail - of course. It even runs through my home state of New Jersey.

  8. Didn't you and I encounter some shady goofballs up at Walker Valley with a similar demeanor? At least those guys didn't try to get into the car!


  9. @Jim - Besides being buzzed by dirt motorcycles, don't remember too many dangerous types at Walker Valley.

    I think we only rode there once - way back in the '90s.