A couple weeks ago C-Mac and I decided to cruise up to Glenwood Springs to do a little canyon riding. As we’re heading west through the Rockies, this little, scraggly-haired guy in an Audi with two bikes in the back comes tearing up the slow lane on I-70 at about 100mph, only to maniacally swerve within 5 feet of my front bumper and back into the left lane when his path was cut by a truck going 50.
After a rare F-Bomb by yours truly, C-Mac (in an even rarer display of disgust) goes, "What a Bleep."
To which I immediately respond, "I think that was Roberto Gaggioli. I knew he was kind of crazy but...wow. I bet he gets pulled over. I guess he drives like he used to race."
After a couple more choice exchanges, I then educated C-Mac on R-Gag's career and how he was one of the first Italians I could recall that came over and feasted on American Crits back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Rocking red shoes and looking more like the lead singer for RATT than a professional bike racer, R-Gag tore it up back in the day. No question about that.
I then recounted my memories of him winning in San Rafael when I was 12 years old, over the likes of Eric Heiden, Tom Schuler (the reigning USPRO Champ) and the rest of Team Slurpee and Team Tooth (Crest). On a side note, I recall Marianne Berglund winning the women’s event that day – and gaining many male fans in Marin along the way. I also remembered something about a rather shocking post-race assault later in Gag’s career as well. Oops. Dude, it’s all fun and games until someone gets assaulted with a wooden two-by-four.
Anyway, no more than a mile down after we got through the Eisenhower Tunnel, we see the Red and Blue Flash behind that very same Audi that nearly swept my front wheel back in Georgetown. NAILED.
-I guess some people never stop shooting the gaps. Or getting involved with Five-O for being reckless. Or nearly killing me and my fiancé by driving like there is a cash prime at the next exit. I clapped louder when I saw that cop than I did back in San Rafael twenty years ago. Risking lives to get ahead is not cool – in a bike race, after a bike race or on the highway.
Not to preach too much, but I believe that how you drive is a clear reflection of your respect for life. Your own and those of everyone else out there with you. It’s not Pole Position and the risks of driving like a moron always outweigh the benefits. There is rarely a prize for being the fastest guy on the highway. Just an increased probability of a speeding ticket at best and a vehicular manslaughter conviction at the worst. Thankfully, R-Gag only has to deal with the former and not the latter – this time.