For the last month, I have spent nearly every waking moment with the same person. Someone I hadn’t met until we stepped off the plane in the sprawling metropolis of Deadhorse, AK. After spending some 300 hours together, I feel like I know him pretty well. I thought you may be interested in what I have learned about the inimitable Mike Green.
Mike is 53, married, two kids. He lives in California, grew up in Washington. Like myself, he is retired, although he had arguably a longer, more successful career than I did, in telecom. He claims to have been a part-time model. I’ve no way to fact check this.
Mike knows a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. He also talks like he knows a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff, so it can be hard to tell the difference. There is a greeting card that has ascended to the heights of myth in family. In the greeting card, there is an old man, explaining to his wife that an islet is known as a “stick out” because of the way it…”sticks out”. My father is a master of the art of the “stick out”, making grandiose, sweeping claims about varied subjects with no real knowledge or background info. The key to mastering the “stick out” is confidence. Luckily, I am trained in spotting these, and while is nowhere near the level of my old man, he certainly could be with a little guidance and tutelage.
Mike’s very favorite stick out, and one which has proven itself to be a stick out over and over again, is to claim that the road will “follow this river for quite a while, so we shouldn’t be climbing much.” If I had a loonie for every time he has uttered these words and been wrong, I could retire all over again. A particularly egregious example was outside of Chicken, AK. As soon as he proclaimed we would follow the river, we began a 3 mile, 8% average gradient climb. In the burning sun. Follow the river indeed.
Mike eats like a bird whilst riding, but goes full fat when he gets to a restaurant or gas station. It frightens children to watch him eat. I have seen him consume, in a single sitting, a double cheeseburger, french fries, pie a la mode, and a cinnamon bun with a pat of butter on top of it that made my heart hurt looking at it. That meal was in Chicken, so we immediately started climbing in 90+ degree. I’ve no idea how he didn’t puke. He must have an iron stomach.
Dude rocks a dorky ass helment, clear safety glasses, and a Jafar like sun hat.
He rides in flat pedals and freakin’ Keen sandals.
His pride and joy are his Gold’s Gym weightlifting gloves in which he rides. Each time he tells the tale, they have lasted longer and cost less and less. At last telling, I think he got them 53 years ago and Gold’s Gym paid him $40 for the privilege of having the man, the myth, the legend (TMTMTL) Mike Green wear said gloves.
Mike rides a fat bike with all the bells and whistles. The thing is a damn creak factory. I swear to God there are a few creak gnomes that live that bike. Their business plan looks something like:
Step 1: Make MG’s bike creak like a mother.
Step 2: ????????????????????????????????
Step 3: PROFIT
There is no way he is sneaking up on anyone. Any knock, tic, or squeak you’ve ever heard on a bike, this one has done it, and done it better.
Mike was deathly afraid of bears. He is getting better, but now is afraid of mosquitoes. He thinks everyone is an axe murderer.
Mike is also fast. It is demoralizing to get my ass kicked by an old dude on a fat bike wearing Keen’s on the daily, but here we are.
Mike could talk the ears of off Dumbo. He tells everyone we meet all about his plans. He told the lady on the AT&T support lady about how he was riding to Argentina. When we’re sitting around, he has a way of pointing out his bike to unsuspecting folks.
“I can move that bike that you hadn’t notice out of your way even thought it’s not in your way. Yea, that bike that I’m riding to Argentina. What’s that, you want to know more about it even though you’ve not responded?” Next thing they know, Mike is sitting next to them, and it is all over.
One of Mike’s stated goals for this trip is to learn to slow down and relax. To not plan too much and take life as it comes. I’m giving him a PhD level crash course. Waiting on me as I futz around, make him pose for stupid photos, and generally waste time has turned him into a Zen Buddha master in one short month.
There was only one photo that Mike did not want to take for this post: him bowing down to my kavs. I decided not to push it. He is a legit good dude, funny, generous, and outrageous. He puts up with me and my constant needling and comes back for more. Dorky ass hats and helments off to you, Mike.